Prelude to an article: Cue “The Music Man”

By Sandy Robson

I’ve been working on this article all day and I am getting a little sleepy now, but I have to shake it off so I can finish the darn thing and my editors can get to work on it. 

“On September 13, 2014, about seven weeks before the November 2014 Whatcom County elections, KGMI’s Saturday Morning Live radio show host Kris Halterman interviewed Brad Owens, Co-Chair of the Northwest Jobs Alliance (NWJA), which was created in 2011 specifically to promote the GPT project. The topic of the interview was Cherry Point industries. Owens told Halterman that NWJA’s focus has changed from focusing on the GPT project, to the Cherry Point industrial area, as Owens claimed: “In the past few months we have come to know that there’s a very organized, what I would view as an attack on our job base at Cherry Point.”

Alright, the first paragraph is tuned up.  Now back to about midway through the article.  So, GPT proponents and promoters needed a strategy shift… They probably thought that if they could convince the public that the current jobs at Cherry Point industries were imperiled that there would be a shift in the public’s……opposition… GPT………zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 

[Begin dream sequence with blurred wavy video gradually focusing in on a scene from “The Music Man.”] 

Professor Harold Hill says to his friend Marcellus Washburn: “I need some ideas if I’m gonna get your town out of the serious trouble it’s in.”

Marcellus responds: “River City ain’t in any trouble.”

Harold Hill says: “Were gonna have to create some. Must create a desperate need in your town for a boy’s band.”

Then the idea of the new pool table that just arrived in River City hits Harold Hill. He goes over to Mr. Dunlop, the shopkeeper next to the billiard hall, and says: “Either you’re closing your eyes to a situation that you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated by the presence of a pool table in your community.”

Harold Hill launches into the famous song: “Trouble.” He sings, “Well, you’ve got trouble my friend. Right here, I say trouble, right here in River City.”

Harold Hill proceeds to gather the townspeople around him while he sings his worrisome message out to all who will listen, selling them on the idea that their town is in terrible trouble. . . trouble “with a capital “T.”

And the chorus breaks out:

“Trouble, oh we got trouble,

Right here in River City!

With a capital “T”

That rhymes with “P”

And that stands for Pool,

That stands for pool.

We’ve surely got trouble!

Right here in River City,

Right here!

Gotta figure out a way

To keep the young ones moral after school!

Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble…”

Thanks for napping with me. Check back on Coal Stop in a couple days to read the article.

imdb page for “The Music Man”:

Video clip of “Trouble” from The Music Man:

One comment

  1. I was thinking a while back that the fearmongering coming from the promoters of the Gateway Pacific Coal Terminal; SSA Marine consultant for the GPT project Craig Cole, Kris Halterman of SaveWhatcom, Northwest Jobs Alliance Co-Chair Brad Owens, and terminal proponent SSA Marine, cause me to think of the musical, “Music Man.”

    Craig Cole has made a perfect Harold Hill for the GPT project. The extra bonus is that Craig Cole already lived in the community, unlike Harold Hill who was a traveling salesman and arrived into town. Cole already had relationships all around the county, so people trusted him.

    Cole et. al. convinced many of our local “townspeople”; business owners, local politicians, community leaders, and labor leaders, that Whatcom County was in terrible Trouble with a capital “T,” but instead of “Trouble” being a pool table, Cole et. al. have been trying to sell us on the supposed idea that there are no jobs here, so we need a 48 million ton coal export terminal.

    And now, Cole et. al. are trying to sell us the idea that Cherry Point industry jobs which are already in existence are in Trouble with a capital “T” and that rhymes with “D” and that stands for Deindustrializing. They have been putting forth a false premise that there are organized efforts to deindustrialize the Cherry Point industry area.

    Instead of band uniforms and instruments being the product being sold to us here in Whatcom County, the product is a 48 million ton coal export terminal.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s