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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Don't let Cheyenne's "can't do" mayor ruin Superday

“Our staff rocks! Complainers can kick rocks.” – Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr to those who dared challenge her on Facebook about the city's recent handling of Superday

            There is so much that might be said about those seven words from the Capital City’s “can’t do” mayor. 
Marian Orr’s attitude toward those who pay her salary is outrageous. But it also is not anything new. It was on display even before she took office: She used every dirty tactic she could think of to win her 2016 election. The haughtiness. The pettiness. The arrogance. Her recent effort
Superday attracts thousands  to Lions Park each year.
to dump members of the Downtown Development Authority who stood up to her when she tried to slash that agency’s budget is more proof of all that.
But that is not the subject of this column. Rather it is about Ms. Orr’s “can’t do” mentality that continues to hold Cheyenne back. Rather than adopting a vision of greatness for the Capital City and then finding the means – any and all means – to execute it, projects and ideas are cast aside because, well, they just can’t be done.
Listen to the mayor complain to the local newspaper about Superday, which has been in place for 37 years and has been one of City Hall’s greatest gifts to those who live here:
“The tents at the events don’t set up and take down themselves. It takes (city) staff, just on that particular day, an extreme amount of time, not to mention the planning that goes into it for months beforehand. It really takes a lot of manpower.”
Oh boo hoo. The city has to spend some money and use its personnel to create an event that brings Cheyenne together in ways that no other event does, not even Frontier Days, because it is free and does not try to milk every cent out of residents. (Or at least it has been free until it started charging for armbands. More on that in a moment). Superday truly is a great event that helps bind City Hall to the people of Cheyenne. That Orr is even considering shutting it down shows how small her vision truly is.
Orr’s complaints about Superday have no merit – except perhaps to those local naysayers who do not want city government to use its funds for anything except streets. There always is money when city leaders want to do something – like spending $16,000 on flowers for downtown pots, right mayor? So complaining about the costs of Superday isn’t a reason, it’s an excuse not to do something Orr doesn’t want to do.
Similarly, the complaint about the time it takes to put up and take down the event is just so much political hot air. Getting the personnel in place is simply a matter of budgeting and paying employees for their work. Schedules can be maneuvered to keep overtime to a minimum, and money can be set aside in advance to pay for the work. Again, it’s amazing how funds can be found when City Hall wants to do something. When it doesn’t, well, the whining begins.
Similarly, charging $30 per person (that’s $120 for a family of four) for armbands at Superday is a slap in the face of the everyday people of Cheyenne, and again it shows Orr’s disdain for them. Perhaps to someone who makes $95,000 a year and surely salted away the big bucks when she was lobbying for corporations and others in the Legislature, $100 is nothing. But to the people of Cheyenne – whose pay is depressed here by the very people Orr lobbied for – that is not nothing. And to take an event that was once free for all and turn it into an elitist happening is scandalous.
At least the president of the City Council has his mind in the right place. Rocky Case told the local newspaper:
“This thing has grown into a fantastic one-day event every summer. … I think the Community Recreation and Events Department should do their best to break even, but they should not be in the business of striving to make money.”
Mr. Case and the rest of the council should send a firm message to the mayor that they will, in no way, allow her to kill or cheapen Superday. The large number of comments on local Facebook pages regarding Orr’s plans should tell the council that their constituents have no interest in seeing Superday go away. Council members also should stand tall against any and all efforts to turn Superday into an event that only those with money can afford to attend.
Perhaps council members could encourage Orr to grow her volunteer corps or develop more sponsorships. Of course, a “can do” mayor would think of those things herself.
No doubt, Her Honor won’t like the City Council dictating to her what she can or can’t do. But that’s just too bad. 
Maybe she should just go kick rocks.

D. Reed Eckhardt is the former executive editor of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.


  1. Superday is the only thing we have in this town in the summer aside from frontier days! You cant expect our city to grow if she continues to take away everything the actual residents enjoy! Frontier days is for travelers and visitors. Yes partly for the town but mostly not. Your giving visitors more rights than ur own residents that are here all year that want things to do! I know I'm tired of driving 45 mins to go actually do something with my kids and my family. Scheduling FUN activities outside our CAPITAL and state which is beyond sad at this point! I think superday should be 2 days because you never get threw it all in just 1 day! This also gives our community businesses opportunities to meet and greet and tell the town there here. But then again why support each other when we just "cant do it" . It's all about choice and a future for our great town of cheyenne but for the love of all that is holy let's move forward and invite the "we can do anything if we pull together" mindset and then DO IT!!!

  2. Everyone has their own truth. Or at least that’s what the self-help book I am reading tells me. These complaints about Superday bother me, so I am going to share with you my truths on the subject.
    Truth #1. What wristbands? I’ve asked this a few times and haven’t yet gotten a satisfactory response. If the wristbands were for the bouncy houses and a (family of 4) x ($30 in wristbands) = $120, why is the mom partaking in the bouncy houses? I am betting the $30 wristbands were not for the bouncy houses but instead for the ‘adult’ rides including the bungee jumping and obstacle courses. Those rides where you could, you know, possibly get hurt? I bet the liability insurance on those rides are through the roof and coming back at you, the unwitting tax payer. Not that that matters.
    Truth #2. Orr isn’t the best mayor and she absolutely sucks at planning. Perhaps you have voter's remorse because you voted for the rude, money hungry lobbyist over to lady who actually is putting her money back into the Cheyenne community. Or maybe you just enjoy a good pitchfork lynching and the mayor is vile enough that it's just incredibly entertaining. Either way she’s going to nix Superday or (more likely) use its comeback as part of her reelection campaign.
    Truth #3. Why is no one complaining about the mud and location of the event? No one cares that the vendors in the low lying areas payed over one hundred dollars to stand in over an inch of cold, wet mud for 8 hours. The fire department even nixed their kid’s obstacle course citing health reasons due to the less than optimal conditions.
    Who cares about my ruined shoes or the hardcore flu I watched one of the vendors deal with in the days after the event? It’s all about the $30 dollar supposedly mandatory wristbands that the poor folks of Cheyenne had to pay.
    Truth #4. What’s this shit about the haves and have nots? It concerning that a day that is supposed to bring together the community is used instead for class warfare. I guess it’s elitist because I planned for Superday and showed up with $100 in my pocket. I knew there would be vendors, charities and food trucks and wanted to put my hard earned money back into the community. There’s one thing you have in common with Orr, neither of you planned for Superday. Besides, it’s obvious what the taxpayers think of your kid, they don’t vote for things like the Children’s museum and constantly bitch about the splash pad. I recall something said to me in the Echo Chamber less than 6 months ago: It was your choice to have kids. Why should I pay for them?
    I only spent $40 total including $10 in TICKETS for the rides and games. I did not partake in the bouncy houses as I thought it was for kids only. Maybe I will next year if Superday survives the chopping block. I most likely would have spent more but the second the cold, watery mud soaked into my kid’s shoes it was in my best interest to move to higher ground. I’ve seen the Cheyenne community reactions to a toddler tantrum before and I’d hate for folks to be put out by hearing my kid whine. I will however give you some unwanted advice that was bestowed upon me at the grocery store a few month back. My son asked for a $0.99 cent hot wheels car. I agreed as long as he put some treat back that he asked for earlier in the shopping trip. The kid abided. Then a nosy elderly man decided to give me his thoughts on the interaction. He said, ‘It’s ok to say no. It builds character.’

  3. I agree and have stated in the past that many wyominites have to spend revenue in other states, to do fun activities throughout the rest of the year when it is not frontier week.there should be other things to bring in people to our city and surrounding towns etc. to entertain friends and family rather than always in Colorado or Nebraska etc. I have often said we need aquariums and fun parks and adventure lands etc. Places that are open when weather is nice and indoor recreational family adventure themed places , Renaissance fairs etc.