Thursday, March 27, 2008

Build It and They Will Leave

Tucson, Arizona. The Arizona Daily Star has a Patrick Finley piece today about the departure of the Chicago White Sox to a park in Glendale and the all but inevitable exodus of the remaining baseball teams from Tucson. The Diamondbacks and the Rockies also want out. Why? Ask a different person and get a different answer. Spring training in Tucson was a great idea and a lot of fun. I enjoyed watching Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling pitch from a seat right on the first base line in the third row. So what if the beer was six bucks? Some would assert that those responsible for economic development would recognize spring training as a valuable resource to be supported and managed with a degree of competence and ability to produce results.

Apparently not. An anonymous comment at the thread about the TREO feast next week asserts they are going to take credit for a large University of Arizona Bio 5 National Science Foundation Grant. Liza has suggested that TREO invented the internet, and an email advises they are the masterminds behind post-it notes, bluetooth, and chicken nuggets, "Parts is parts!"

I ran into "economic development guy" again. He and Cigar Man do not see things the same way. Either that, or they see things the same way but have completely different frameworks for explanation. Econ Guy is entirely functionalist, asserting that TREO is performing its mission perfectly, which is to maintain status quo and produce glossy nonsense. Established profiteers in posh positions seek to perpetuate a system that works well for them. Everything is terrific for certain Larrys and Jims and others and no one is to change a thing. Econ Guy confirmed that while not alone, this blog did play a part in influencing the TUSD board to select a superintendent who had experience in education.

I asked him what was so functional about the loss of spring training after spending $37M on a ball park. I asked him what was functional about the imminent failure of the Fox Theater after spending $13 Million to renovate it. That's $50 million dollars. He laughed, "Check your premises," producing a flash back to Atlas Shrugged. I just looked at him, and he cut me a "I thought you were supposed to be smart" expression. Then he sighed, "Who makes money?"

I made a face and he smiled, "The system is about serving the taxpayers."

Then he winked, "Some of them."


Blogger Dustin said...

nobody likes baseball anymore, at least I don't. I thought the whole endeavor was a waste of money in the first place. wtf are we supposed to do with a ballpark nobody even uses?

3/27/2008 2:24 PM  
Blogger Robish said...

Don't be knocking the Fox now, x4mr. Only $3.5 million of the $13 million renovation was a government grant. The city got federal tax credits for over $5 million and saddled Herb and the board with the debt. It's not realistic to think it can be repaid. The rest was privately raised.
The Fox is beautiful, does a lot of shows (yes, could do more), and is one of two Rio Neuvo success stories. Both of RN's two completed projects were no-brainers and were very cost-effective compared to some of the projects planned for the other side of the river from downtown, costing tens of millions of dollars.
The key line in the Daily Star article that x4mr linked to is: "Some board members seem to think they'd do a better job." Look no further than the next paragraph to see who thinks he can do a better job and would like to seize this opportunity to try. He works for the city and makes a nice salary. We'll be seeing some empire building, I'm convinced of it.

Innuendo should be directed not at Herb but at Rich.

This is a job for the 3 private eyes.

3/27/2008 5:01 PM  
Blogger Cigar Man said...

I concur entirely with robish.

"Imminent failure" of the Fox Theater is probably too strong language for the situation. You and Herb Stratford could have a drink. Herb is a terrific person who, like you, poured his heart and soul into a vision and actually succeeded in many ways. He managed to shoot a few cement heads, but ultimately there were too many of them.

The story behind the Fox Theater is as rich and crazy as the one behind SAIAT. They ground him down. Herb could write a book, but I don't see it.

3/27/2008 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allow me to confirm the prior two remarks. We have yet another example of a champion on a mission being ambushed by non-producers.

robish demonstrates an understanding of the background and is spot on.

How long will (using x4mr's label) "goons" dominate this town?

3/27/2008 6:24 PM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

How interesting. It sounds like two flavors of the same ice cream. A visionary creates and owns a particular idea. He produces results. Then the attack ensues.

Board members without an understanding of the operation?

Thinking they should replace the executive director?

Maybe this happens in every town everywhere, but the blogosphere allows us to be more aware. Snell destroyed SAIAT. If Robish is correct, the knife in Herb's back belongs to Rich.

The cast of characters at this place seems to be growing. I don't know who anyone is. x4mr knows Cigar Man and Associate. Does he know Thelma? Robish? Doctor? Liza? Dustin?

I am a cowardly blogger. No one knows me. I know no one. I like it that way.

3/27/2008 10:03 PM  
Blogger The Associate said...

Baseball may not be the most exciting sport, but it’s all that we really have. Besides collegiate sports from the U of A. We can’t even keep a AAA baseball team in Tucson. For the size of Tucson we should be able to attract some kind of major sport venue. The Pima county cement heads say that all they need to do is have a few concerts there to justify the empty 37M dollar stadium that is just going to fall apart.

The Sidewinders are moving because Reno is building them a new stadium, and the city is committed to supporting the program 100%. They aren’t trying to figure out how to line their own pockets with the program.

Tucson needs to have these types of attractions to grow, look north to the mother ship, Football, Basketball, Hockey, and Baseball. Businesses utilize these venues to entertain clients, and have employee outings; it’s a selling feature for the city, sort of like a good transportation system and good schools. The citizens of the mother ship are proud of what they have; we might want to take note.

3/27/2008 10:05 PM  
Blogger Robish said...

And I wish I could keep all the flavors of "anonymous" straight.

Perhaps we can all wear nametags at TREO's reception next week.

I like the turn of phrase: "champion on a mission ambushed by non-producers". Good stuff.

The loss of baseball really sends a clear signal that this town is going downhill even as the population goes up. The evidence for this decline is right in front of us, despite the cementheads' cheerleading about how "the community is coming together to solve its (fill in the blank) challenges". Regional Transportation, Regional Libraries, Regional Water, Regional Economic Development, Regional Land Use Planning, Regional Educational Administration, Regional Cultural Planning, Regional Town Hall Planning, Regional Tourism Marketing, Regional Sports Authority. Did I leave anything out?

I would really love to see lots of candidates challenging the incumbents in the upcoming Supervisors elections and the Council elections in the years to come.

I would also love to find out who Thelma, Navigator, Associate, Liza, and of course, Cigar Man, are. Forgive me if I've left any regulars out. Perhaps we could meet up at a Regional Saloon. Perhaps we could all go on TREO's next field trip. We could go to Las Vegas and find out how that city pulled together, "got on the same page", leveraged its resources, and "made it happen" as an international gambling and entertainment capital.

3/27/2008 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 3 P.I's are just around the corner. They are wondering when the shift change is at TCC. That is, from work to the tavern on a daily basis. Which one is the workplace?
The rumor is that the Sidewinders are getting part ownership of the Reno Stadium. How can we compete with that? Our stadium cost 37 million to build, but we got about 50 million in the deal. The County 'borrowed' 6.5 million from the General Fund in the 2005-06 Budget,just to keep the lights on for some kilowat enhancement for TEP. Now, how,if ever are they going to pay that back to the General Fund? And why do they use such a silly word as "Borrow?" A million here, a million there..... And now they are going to have Camper and Company spend another mil to save us! How can infidels save the faithful? Por mi Dios! We need a leader on white horse....soon.

3/28/2008 1:20 AM  
Blogger Travis said...

The comments about Herb are true. He really made that thing go and is now getting attacked.

The Fox story would be a fantastic addition to the likes of Goodwill, the Girl's Chorus, and the Food Bank list of things that make Tucson great. Herbie and friends busted their backsides raising funds, rebuilding, and marketing that thing. Much of that money was private.

Can I propose another which may or may not sit well with this blog's regulars but deserves some consideration?

To the cheers of the same folks who cheered, and now stab Herbie... several private companies put big dollars and their backsides on the line to build residential units downtown. Residents is one of the key economic factors in making downtown work (look at any other city successfully doing it: Austin, Portland, San Diego, Denver). The businesses there (Fox included) need regulars (residents) to keep afloat.

Putting in residential space downtown is a HUGE risk. Even with city-offered deals, these are private people putting serious money at risk to help that happen.

The same group now stabbing Herbie is also tearing apart their deals with these investors (look at the names in the reports It's the same group that made some really bad decisions regarding the ballpark.

They have no clue about economics, play fair-weather games, and are so busy talking "cloth" and finding scapegoats that they're defeating the progress our city really wants to make. We need real leaders not fops.

3/28/2008 7:56 AM  
Blogger Robish said...

I agree with you about the fops, Travis. I'd like to hear more about what you think, with whatever particulars you are at liberty to share.

3/28/2008 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TREO should hold their event at the TEP ballpark, that way we can have a bunch of cementheads that do nothing in a stadium that houses nothing.

3/28/2008 11:56 AM  
Blogger Cigar Man said...

The Fox Theater situation and what happened to Herb provides additional support for x4mr's story and SAIAT.

Both Herb and x4mr had commitment, courage, and produced results in the face of adversity. Both faced efforts to take over their operations. I told x4mr in 12/06 to take comfort in the fact that he never stood a chance.

The scum that destroyed SAIAT can lie about it because few understand what occurred. Lying about the Fox Theater situation will be more difficult.

I don't know much about downtown development, but it sounds like Travis knows his stuff.

I do have a disagreement with "Economic Development Guy" who apparently describes things as "working" to produce results for those who are well connected.

I disagree. I don't think the system is working as such. I consider Snell and the rest a dysfunctional fiasco of incompetent, greedy, "certified anuses" who fumble and flounder about and get to keep doing it because there is no accountability and no mechanism for exposing them.

People like x4mr and Herb that produce results are a threat to the swine and must be destroyed.

3/28/2008 2:04 PM  
Anonymous the doctor said...

At the article in the Star they have a poll where people vote on why the teams are pulling out. Over 400 people have voted. The top response was "Stadium Location" at 37% of the votes.

The second most popular, at 36%, read:

It's Tucson. We can't do anything right."

3/28/2008 3:04 PM  
Blogger Robish said...

They should have built the stadium just west of the convention center. Instead, ten years later, we still have nothing there but a parking lot and a plan to build an arena to house other minor league teams that Tucson won't be able to properly support.

There is always circularity to our dysfunction here.

3/28/2008 3:27 PM  
Blogger Dustin said...

to answer "the navigator's" question, I don't think x4mr knows me, anymore than he knows anyone else that comments here. I've been lurking here since september '06, and started commenting around the time that something else was unfolding. I'm not an insider, or even a blogger (I just don't have the time or eloquence to do it justice).

I'm just a regular dude, trying to understand. Pleased to make the acquiantance of all who frequent!

3/28/2008 4:14 PM  
Blogger thelma said...

X4mr has documented how much suffering he endured as the vultures kept jamming their needles into him. They told him they were his friends and said they supported him. That's gotta hurt.

I hope today they are thinking twice about stealing that money. God, I want someone to confront Snell on Thursday.

I have heard that Augie (inland port) is hurting pretty bad after they threw him under the bus.

I don't know how Herb is doing, but I hope his wife and family provide him some support after this loss. I bet it hurts.

I can't even tell you how much I cannot stand the people responsible, especially for what happened to SAIAT. The city council cannot claim ignorance. They all got his email.

I can't get too excited about the baseball thing. What makes my blood boil is the destruction of hard working, committed people making a difference so that swine like Snell can stuff their pockets.

3/28/2008 4:28 PM  
Blogger roger said...

This whole place is falling the F#$K apart!

3/28/2008 5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are fops?

3/28/2008 11:12 PM  
Blogger Robish said...

From Wikipedia:

The fop (also known as a fribble, popinjay, fashion-monger, or clotheshorse) is a stock character who appears from time to time in fiction. He is a person who makes a habit of fastidiously overdressing and putting on airs, aspiring to be viewed as an aristocrat (if he is not already one). A fop is also referred to as a 'beau', as in the Restoration comedies The Beaux' Stratagem (1707) by George Farquhar, The Beau Defeated (1700) by Mary Pix, or the (real-life and subsequently fictionalized) Regency character of Beau Brummell. In English, the word fop is older, but the meaning of an overdressed, frivolously fastidious man may not be; Shakespeare's King Lear contains the word, in the general sense of a fool, and before him, Thomas Nashe, in Summer's Last Will and Testament (1592, printed 1600): "the Idiot, our Playmaker. He, like a Fop & an Ass must be making himself a public laughing-stock." Osric in Hamlet has a great deal of the fop's affected manner, and much of the plot of Twelfth Night revolves around tricking the puritan Malvolio into dressing as a fop.

One of the first full-blown appearances of the stereotype on the stage is Molière's well known play from 1671, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. This play takes for granted the social structure of France at the time. Its central premise concerns M. Jourdain, a bourgeois, a member of the middle class, attempting to remake himself as an aristocrat and a "gentleman". The play's comedy comes from the title character's ridiculous overdressing, and clueless statements. One famous passage has Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme expressing surprise that he has been speaking prose all his life, unawares.

Colley Cibber as the fop Lord Foppington in John Vanbrugh's The Relapse (1696).Characterizations of the fop also appear in many Restoration comedies, including The Relapse (1696) by John Vanbrugh and George Etherege's The Man of Mode, or Sir Fopling Flutter (1676). Vanbrugh planned The Relapse around particular actors at Drury Lane, writing their stage habits, public reputations, and personal relationships into the text. One such actor was Colley Cibber himself, who played the luxuriant fop Lord Foppington in The Relapse.

"Fop" was widely used as a derogatory epithet to tar a broad range of persons by the early years of the eighteenth century; many of these might not have been considered showy lightweights at the time, and it is possible that its meaning had been blunted by this time.[1]

Suggested theme for Thursday's TREO soiree: Fops On Parade (FOP)

3/28/2008 11:37 PM  

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