2017-04-04: Ken Bradley's Cartoon Map
On the 27th of March, I received an email from the Manson Chamber of Commerce
announcing a meeting scheduled for the morning of the 29th. An item caught my
attention: "We'll get a brief overview from Steve Davis on a new valley map
For the past year or two, Steve Davis has been keeping company with Ken Bradley.
Among other things Steve promoted Bradley's abortive 2016 PirateFest, and
solicited from local businesses donations for Bradley's supposedly charitable
Santa and Reindeer displays.
Given his reputation, it serves Ken Bradley's purposes especially well of late
to have someone front for him; but it is something he has always done. Before
Davis, a local woman named Beth Bettis as well as Bradley's daughter Maria put
themselves on the line for Bradley. In years prior, there were numerous others.
I was curious what this "map opportunity" could be. Fully expecting to learn
about Ken Bradley's latest bid for other people's money, I attended the meeting.
A little background is in order. Back in 2011, a clever promotional cartoon map
was produced which represented the City of Chelan and the nearby town of Manson.
Local businesses and attractions were represented in caricatures, laid out upon
a roughly-accurate street map as a guide to visitors. The map exists online and
is still displayed here and there around town.
It goes almost without saying that such promotions are a great idea for any
community such as ours. Everyone wins if it's done well. The vacationers and
weekenders who are a staple of the local economy are well-charmed and well-
informed; and participating businesses are well served.
Here's a transcript of Steve's talk to the Manson Chamber:
Steve Davis presentation to Manson Chamber of Commerce, Manson WA, Thursday 29 March 2017 ~9:00AM
[Redactons shown by ellipses. Notes in square brackets.]
Judy Dai: ... and our guest speaker Steve Davis is here and I'm not quite sure... it's the valley map that you are - ...
Steve Davis: Yeah [inaudible]
Judy Dai: It's an opportunity that [inaudible]
Steve Davis: Yeah. ... We've got a timer, right? ...
I used to sing a [inaudible] ... but I've got a poem this time so no singing.
...[reads a poem about valley, tourists, map]...
[poem ends with] ...If you're not on the map then you don't exist.
Pretty, pretty tough there. But that is, that is exactly what will happen when newbies come in here, tourists, right, they don't know anything about our valley. There's people here that don't know, that come here and don't know about some of the places. And that's just, all this is - Do people remember, do any of you remember that's been around for a while, this map? [Steve holds up what appears to be a laminated copy of the 2011 cartoon map.]
Yeah, six years old, it's outdated. We got it now. Lake Chelan Map. Okay?
And now we're gonna be using this, this is the one. And we're gonna go around, we're going around, I've talked to a couple of you already. And we're putting people on this map. And uh, we can sit down and talk about it, I'm not gonna talk about prices now.
But uh this is gonna go out to a lot of tourists. We know we're gonna get five thousand of these published. 'Cause we got so many spots on here, times fifty, and then that's five thousand and it's gonna be plus. [These numbers assume more than 100 businesses will buy into the promotion.]
So ...[inaudible]... But this thing is our - map - our treasure - this is stage two I'm not going into this, because I'm not gonna have time, is that uh, this map that we converted to this size and so this will be the introduction to our Pirate Fest coming up on the July 4th weekend.
And I'm not gonna elaborate on that but if you wanna get together with me I'm gonna, I have handouts, it has phone numbers, we can schedule I've talked to some people already; and uh, and there are discounts. I have discounts. So it's not gonna be that price. [inaudible] do that whole thing.
So, a combination that can just... that's it. The Lake Chelan Map.
Jeff Conwell: So uh, the other thing that I think Steve didn't share about this is that you can sell these in your place of business for five dollars a map and make back whatever your investment was in the map. Pretty cool map. In my opinion is if we're gonna do it it would be great for as many of us to get on it as possible, otherwise it'd look kinda silly. So, uh, think hard about it, uh, if it makes sense, [inaudible, SD interrupts]
Steve Davis: You brought up a great point. I would love to have, there's on here the Manson Business Association ...[inaudible]... I would like to keep it on there and I would like to work with you to keep that on there. And it'll be 350 bucks. Okay. To get a newbie on there. But like I said there're discounts. And there's ways to work with that.
But newbies, it's ah, and there's, yeah, there's different changes different prices but the biggest thing is the combination. And uh the newbie he would, let's say Jeff got on here [Davis is probably referring here to Jeff's own relatively new local business, the Green Dot Sub Shop]. He would get uh, about 70, 70 maps. 70 posters, this size. And so he can sell 'em. He can give 'em away. Can do anything you want to. However you want to do that.
And the people that are, the people who've been on here, they're, ah, that have been on here since then, is that they'll get 50. And they get a smaller price. Price is 250 dollars. So. Yessir.
Audience Member 1: Did you actually buy the company that made the former map?
Steve Davis: No, we have the map. We're working with the artist.
Audience Member 1: The same artist who made this map?
Steve Davis: Yes sir. So, we tracked him down finally.
Audience Member 2: I might add that Steve said that, we talked to him all day, is that one thing I noted about the map is that Chelan is very well represented on that map and Manson's not.
Steve Davis: Well I tell ya, Manson got on the new stuff already and, like, Red Apple, Red Apple, [inadible] is on it, you guys got on the map.
Audience Member 2: We'd like to see a full town...
Steve Davis: I mean absolutely. There's a lot of people, if you wanna look at it I'll put it over here but, uh, yeah.
Audience Member 1: Is a gentleman by the name of Ken Bradley involved in this company?
Steve Davis: Uh, he's retired.
Audience Member 1: Is he involved?
Steve Davis: Well, he's uh, he's retired.
So, uh, any other questions? Appreciate the time here.
...[The meeting moves on to other business.]...
You had to be there to hear and see the emphasis on that last use of the word
Now, the fact is that Steve Davis dissembled deliberately and calculatedly when
he sought to imply Bradley's non-involvement.
On one of Davis' printed sheets I saw the web address lakechelanmap.com. On
visiting the site I found a simple front page with no links to other content.
Prominent at the top of the page was an image of the 2011 cartoon map. It had
been reduced in size so that details were difficult to resolve, but it was
essentially the 2011 map with some additions that referred to Ken Bradley's
PirateFest. The footer consisted of an unlinked image identifying the "Lake
Chelan Online Network" and lakechelanonline.com.
"Lake Chelan Online Network LLC" is registered to Ken Bradley and names himself
and Maria Bradley as governors of the entity. Its business location is Ken
Bradley's home address. Lakechelanmap.com is registered to Bradley's Lake
Chelan Online entity and uses his PO Box address. It shares its web server with
Bradley's domains lakechelanonlinenews.com and lakechelanevents.com. The site's
original appearance bore Mr. Bradley's inimitable style. "Retired" or not, Ken
Bradley is involved. Perhaps it should be termed a working retirement.
A brief search led me to the contact details of the artist who had made the 2011
map. On Friday, I contacted that individual by phone and inquired as to a
possible promotion underway in Chelan. Indeed, he said, he had been contacted
by one Brad (no last name given) of the "Lake Chelan Tourism Bureau."
There is no such business entity in existence in any Washington State records.
A similar name was at one time used by some local businesspersons, registered in
2000, but it is now inactive.
Ken Bradley has in the past used the fictional alias "Brad Snow" in his business
I was left with no doubt that Ken Bradley had given the artist a false identity
and a nonexistent entity.
I commented on these facts to the artist. We had a fairly long, friendly and
enlightening conversation, and I learned several things about his business:
- The artist usually initiates or participates closely in promotions such as
the Chelan cartoon map, and he did so back in 2010/11. He does work with
some independent promoters who handle the projects largely on their own, and
contract with him for the artwork.
- The usual procedure is for a promoter to approach businesses in the targeted
city and secure commitments from as many as possible prior to taking payment.
After the promoter has such commitments and has the artist's approval, the
artist negotiates a contract with the promoter; who then proceeds to take
payment and he (or they) go on to manage the numerous details and exchanges
that are necessary to the project.
- The map, as examination shows, contains vast numbers of details about the
locations, the businesses and often the individual proprietors. It allows
for practically anyone to buy in and arrange for all manner of widgets and
messages to be included. The caricatures of buildings and people, logos,
gags and so forth are all based upon loads of interaction with the clientele
and upon physical observations of buildings and so forth.
- The artist's fee is significant. If inadequate numbers of participants buy
their places on the map, the promoter could wind up losing money. The
artist's fee is nonetheless due and payable.
- For obvious reasons, it is unusual for a promoter to extract payment from
prospective clients prior to establishing a contract with the artist.
We spoke again on Monday morning. The artist had by then sent Brad(ley) his
proposed contract, including terms that stipulated full payment in advance,
required absolutely no use of copyrighted materials without explicit permission,
established the artist's right and intent to refuse the job if stated conditions
weren't met, and other measures meant to protect the interests and reputations
of the parties involved. I presume these are the usual arrangements but I think
it's fair to say that the artist felt they should be made known in full detail
immediately because of Bradley's full-steam-ahead approach to the project.
"Brad" has to date not supplied his last name to the artist.
I found the artist likable and communicative. He was very professional in his
approach. His whole focus is on making the project succeed if at all possible.
Adapt or Perish?
Early this morning, I found the lakechelanmap.com website had undergone radical
change. It displayed this title on an utterly blank screen:
...which I found amusing because the site's declaration of its own non-existence
was itself a web page on the site:
Ego sum ergo sum negata. I am, therefore I am denial.
Was this because of the artist's copyright warning?
Evidently not. By late evening it looked like this:
On the evidence of the website, I presume Bradley's and Davis' map promotions
are going to continue.
Mr. Bradley might seek to meet the conditions of the proposed contract. But
it's my impression that he may find that difficult. Too many local business
owners are unwilling to place their faith in him. As a consequence, I suspect
he may find himself in search of another artist if he is determined to go on.
To those who have not yet written checks to the promoters but are interested in
the project, I suggest making an agreement to pay as and when the project
proves itself viable and the artist is contracted.
The cartoon map remains a fine concept. Particularly so, in my opinion, if it
were executed as an interactive digital contrivance; which would allow for all
sorts of possibilities. Perhaps someone will come along who is capable of
carrying it off. Someone, for instance, who won't lie to people about his
(Last updated 4 April 2017)