Mayoral Candidates Q&A | Video (starts @ 2:20:00) | Roswell Daily Record candidate profile

Arts not Aliens




"I think it's time that we really decrease our emphasis and reliance on the UFO phenomena and industry as our source of identity, and tourism." - Guy Malone

UFO Lore is Aging Badly

There's definitely people that think it's cool and that it happened just the way the sci-fi channel says so, but there's also quite a few people here that honestly, I'm sorry if I offend, but there's lot's of people here who don't believe in it, or they think that it's all stupid, or that it's creepy, or demonic, or that the 1947 incident happened, but not the way Hollywood and the marketers like to portray … And, well, those here who operate only from the mantra “Well it makes us money, therefore it is good” have had their turn, in my view. And they've had their say and they've had their way here for quite some time.

There are also those, who think that the love of money is the root of all evil, and who don't think that City promotion or endorsement of alleged aliens is really appropriate from a governing perspective … and that's the faction that I hope I'm speaking to with this angle, and asking for your real support, in the way of your vote, if you want to see any chance of change on this front happening in Roswell, maybe ever. I ask you, has any other mayoral candidate ever said “Hey Roswell, I think it's time we give this alien thing a rest, and see if we can't actually do better?”

Now, this camp that doesn't really care for the alien thing being preeminent in Roswell has been “the silenced majority” in Roswell, I'm just speaking up for them. Always have, as many already know, but now in a new way.

If you know my history and how I came to Roswell in 1999 you'll already know that I don't personally believe that aliens exist, much less that they crashed in Roswell anyways.

For more: Video: Roswell 1947: What Really Happened? by Guy Malone
Video: Not Against Flesh & Blood by Guy Malone
RDR Article: Speakers Say Alien Lore Covers Up Truth

I do sometimes conduct public lectures to promote my views and it raises some discussion for a day or a weekend, and I've honestly changed lots of minds worldwide with my presentations, but then life goes back to normal here and Roswell goes back to hocking the alien story to sell t-shirts.

Now I want to be clear that I'm not attempting to legislate on this just from my personal views though, or to prohibit the rights of anyone who has different views. That's unAmerican and I won't have it. I just strongly feel that The City of Roswell as a corporate entity needs to get out of the UFO business.

The City Competes with Local Businesses

One reason, is that it's a smack-in-the-face insult to every business owner downtown that The City of Roswell is their direct competitor for souvenir sales. If you think aliens are cool and that selling T-shirts of them is how you want to make your living, that's your choice, but you shouldn't have to pay taxes to a City corporate entity that is also selling t-shirts, and alien caps and mugs downtown, right where you have your shop. By selling UFO merchandise, our City is directly taking dollars out of the hands of the tourists who should be walking into our local small businesses to spend their money. Instead, they're walking into our visitor's center for information about Roswell and shops to visit and places to see, but they're walking out broke, because they bought their hat and shirts and UFO coffee mug from The Visitor's Center and now they don't NEED to continue to explore the shops downtown! Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. The Visitors' Center should be pointing people to your businesses, not acting as your competitor.

Same for the UFO Festival. The UFO Festival started off as a grassroots effort from private businesses like the UFO Museum and other interested businesses downtown, who are now all but crowded out of the festival by City employees that have no expertise in UFO topic whatsoever, or event management, but is wasting resources and personnel, running a separate side business to the affairs of literally running the City. My belief is that a City governmental entity is not formed or designed or called to administrate events, or festivals : Law and Order, Parks and Rec, waste management, and what's up with the recycling around here..? Those are things a City government entity is called to do, not steamroll over local business owners and grassroots volunteers - I won't read in detail but on screen again for any who want to pause this, I'm going to leave quotes up from former Roswell City Councilors who have been arguing this, largely unsuccessfully I think, for many years.

Here's from older Talk Roswell forum and a Letter to the Editor, council members Bob McWilliams and Dusty Huckabee - strange bedfellows for me I guess - both in 2010 I'm almost certain, publicly stating that, “the UFO Festival needs to be returned to the UFO museum” and that, “putting the festival back into the hands of local merchants and vendors will only be in our best interest in the log run.”

I offer these just as short, non-exhaustive, evidences that not all Roswellians and not even all city councilors even, want the city to be involved in the running of the UFO Festival, and that's the side I'm on. So vote for me if that's an outcome you'd like to see your city's leadership working towards. The city needs to get out of the UFO business. If I'm in office long enough, I'll get the alien off the city's official logo. Atleast, if I have my way.

There's much better stuff we can and should be promoting.

Roswell is More than UFOs

Roswell has quietly become an oasis for the arts in the middle of the desert. We have an amazing arts community, and I really think it's worth touting - shouting from the tourism rooftops really - that Roswell is now home to several good quality performing arts centers with artists who deserve more attention than they receive.

We have a world-class symphony orchestra, for example. They perform several times a year. Surprise! But it gets even more interesting. The symphony's highly skilled conductor flies in all the way from California. And he isn't an amateur. He conducts performances with the London Philharmonic and all across Europe. He's a world-class professional, and deserving of more promotion than we've ever given him.

It music doesn't end with the symphony. The Way Way Off Broadway musical theatre is starting up again this year. This makes me so happy. I'm personally involved with the Roswell Community Little Theatre (take a bow Derek). We kept performing in 2020 and 2021, but that story gets into the whole resistance to tyranny idea. I address that in my position on secession.

That said, you can't list the sights of Roswell without mentioning the museums. Roswell is well-known for those. Man, I wish the Anderson Museum and Art Gallery was on Main Street. That's my favorite place in town to send tourists. It really leaves them with a great impression of Roswell. We also have a real space museum and planetarium, by the way. It's attached to the Roswell Museum and Art Center. You should really visit while you're there!

In terms of local art, Main Street Arts Gallery is right downtown. Tourists and locals can browse, enjoy, and purchase art from actual local artists. There are some interesting conversation starters in there, let me tell you. There are also local shops specializing in natural art. We tend to forget those exist.

My point here is that there's a lot of art and culture in Roswell worth promoting. We've spent a long time promoting tourism which centers around a handful of UFO themed destinations because it sells a boat load of cheap plastic aliens shipped in bulk from factories in China. I believe Roswell is more than this.

Alien Tourism: One and Done

Did you know that many of our local performing arts groups are perennial? Some have three, four, or even five productions per year. The UFO Museum and Festival, while it does garner lots of attention worldwide, it's also a “one and done” event for most people ... if we're willing to be brutally honest with ourselves. For all the advertising and promotion, we don't see a lot of repeat business.

In my experience with thousands of tourists over more than a decade of serving customers, a trip to the UFO hub of Roswell is a once in a lifetime trip. I'll make the case that most tourists come once; 99% never return. It's because both the UFO museum and festival are mostly a “been there, done that” experience. Yes, they do a that tiny core of super-fans who show up year after year. In fact, I'm one of them. Vendors and speakers are another group that we see again and again, but otherwise, it's pretty rare.

Even when people do come for the festival, reviews are always pretty ... how shall I put this ... mixed. I think all of us here in Roswell already knew that, though. And while we do get worldwide coverage, I think we all also know that the media worldwide nearly always summarizes us by accusing Roswell of “riding that gravy train taking advantage of gullible tourists”. Being honest, most of us are not bursting with pride over that reputation.

Look, there's lots more talent here in Roswell than we're properly capitalizing on. That's really most of what I'm trying to get across. And if these venues were promoted well, we'd have tourists within driving distance. Not UFO tourists, but tourists who would may love our excellent Theatre, world-class Symphony, or entertaining Off-Broadway. I imagine some would likely return to Roswell several times per year. They'd likely have some drinks and dinner at a local restaurant, book a local hotel, catch a show, buy a souvenir or gift, and then gas up on the way out. And they'd keep coming back for years. I believe this is an essential part of our future.

Don't Put All Your Eggs in one Basket

Last year's city-run UFO Festival spent $40,000 on an events management firm out of Dallas. I'm not even going to talk about the results. As I noted before, all that money was spent to get people to come here one time.

What I'd like to see happening in Roswell is that instead of giving out $40,000 to promote a one weekend event, that we'd instead take or use available tourism advertising money and maybe give $5,000 each to the Symphony, To Way Way, to the Little Theatre, to the RMAC and Anderson Museums. Let them promote themselves, at least.

Apply the same rules as with the Lodger's Tax. The money has to be spent outside of town, marketing to tourists who will likely need a hotel if they come for the event. But in my scenario, instead of putting all our eggs one niche, sci-fi aliens, we'd be advertising to people with a wider variety of interests, like: the performing theatre arts, symphony music, cultural arts, or science museums. People with more expensive tastes can afford to visit several times, over several years, if they find out that Roswell is an oasis for such things. Heck, we even have a winery.

I bet if we tried, we'd see a greater ROI investing in drive-distance tourism 365 days per year for several different events occurring here several months apart, than we get from advertising one big event on a holiday weekend that many people can't travel on anyways.

Any business owner will likely tell you that generating repeat and recurring business is the goal to ensure long-term success. Spending most of your budget advertising mainly to new, one-time, buyer clients is actually not the smartest play in the book. Yes, I'm aware that we get UFO museum tourism 365 days per year. I'd never play down their economic impact. I am saying, however, that we'd probably still see most of those tourists even if we significantly cut our year round, tax payer funded marketing budget.

Also, the UFO Museum has its own marketing budget. Don't local already promote the festival? And after all these years, don't you think Roswell's already kinda famous. Are a few more memes, posts, or reminders really going to change the yearly draw?

I think the city should advertise the year-round performing arts in our community. They'll bring additional tourists on top of yearly the UFO tourists. More tourists means more money for local businesses and more city revenue. That's what I believe we can do, and that's what I'm running on. Call me optimistic, but I think a lot more of our residents and business owners would get behind promoting Roswell as a performing arts center and cultural hub than truly care for the endless alien-themed advertising meant solely to preserve Roswell's identity as the alien capital of America.

The Real Economy of Roswell

A website that I'm not even sure most locals even know exists, ChavesCounty.net, wrote about the Roswell Chaves County Economic Development Corporation. Its their job to help businesses relocate here.

Their 2022 Board of Directors includes both Mr. Jennings and Mr. Kintigh, whom I've mentioned here briefly already, as well as a very well-qualified group of Roswellians who … how shall I say this ... know the score. They know who's who and what's what as far as the money in Roswell. Many people in Roswell probably know at least one of them. So hey, here's what they say about our economy: One, that it's “diverse.”

They say quite clearly that we don't rely on a single company or industry for our success.

They say that the economy of Roswell is led by two industries: healthcare and agriculture. UFO tourism isn't anywhere on top of that list. So really, it's our ranchers, farmers, doctors and nurses who should be getting our thanks and VIP treatment - more so than the city vendors peddling low quality, plastic aliens.

Then there's the energy industry which includes both crude oil and natural gas. They're near the top of the list when it comes to leading industries. Tourism, however, is way further down on that list. Tourism in part includes the UFO industry. But just for perspective, I included the above list to show people that we make way more money from industries not related to tourism or UFOs than from those which do. Thank you, health care, ag, and oil, gas and energy.

Conclusion

And finally, let me state my position on the 1947 Roswell incident. I don't personally think aliens crashed here. Therefore, I don't personally feel there's a lot of integrity in keeping our city's identity tied endlessly to alien lore like it's some kind of sacred cow that can never be challenged. And I know I'm not alone in this. Yes, there was a time here when it probably did feel like that's all we had. Aside from that never being the actual case, I believe that today we can afford to take some risks and expand the scope of our marketing. Instead of branding and marketing Roswell solely as an oddball UFO curiosity, we can spend some money to promote other touristy destinations here in town. Roswell has some higher-end culture that people would love; Our town has a winery. I truly believe that there can be other very convincing reasons to keep people coming back that go beyond the UFO thing.

The future of Roswell is arts, not aliens.