Thursday, May 29, 2008

TIF for TAT - Rio Never

Oakland, CA. One might imagine how it occurs from a coffee shop in downtown Piedmont (nestled inside Oakland) to read a story about Tucson's yet again delay of a downtown project (Hein Slams Brakes..) that is part of the Rio "Nuevo Gonna Happen" TIF for TAT fiasco already captured at this blog. Yesterday, after spending some time on the Stanford University campus, my daughter, friend, and I walked through downtown Palo Alto, a single block of which (two at most) has the retail horsepower of Park Mall. I won't even mention the smorgasbord of restaurants.

In Tucson, local sentiments regarding Rio Nuevo run about the same as they do for economic development (worse than transportation). At the Citizen, a poll currently shows less than 15% of respondents have confidence in the plan now touted for 2011.

This points to a little more than meets the eye. The days of Hein's putting the brakes on the antics of the Keene/Thoreson/Shelko dance have passed. Now Hein seems to be blaming consultants for somehow misrepresenting reality (nonsense). Remember the Congress Street Stakeholders and the Tucson Downtown Alliance? Both emphasized RETAIL development to generate future TIF revenue. Then the cloth descended. Let's "expand and consolidate" into larger do nothing groups like the Tucson Downtown Partnership and the Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities. Let's pay suits six figure sums to 1) squander millions on gloss and furniture, 2) fly to resorts at other cities, 3) take the funding of other non-profits.

What kind of agency pockets funding intended for another and brags about it as financial performance? (What financial performance? Both DTP and TREO live on handouts.) TREO took money from an agency that improved the skills of the workforce (SAIAT), helped struggling tiny businesses (MAC), and crippled children (Goodwill). What's next, the food bank?

Back to Mission San Agustín. Rio Nuevo was approved in 1999, and we are still mostly talking and planning. Welcome to the world of cloth, where people get paid lots of money to 1) do nothing, 2) create a vacuum so that someone else steps up and accomplishes something, and 3) take full credit for it when something does get accomplished. I don't know names, but I bet there are some frustrated individuals in both the private sector and among those who actually get the phenomenal possibilities for this town being squandered.

Maybe the Arizona Historical Society won't be able to take it any more, raise their own funds, produce their own design, and make something happen. Maybe the University of Arizona will finally sigh and get its own Science Museum built. Perhaps if the cloth can hold enough meetings, conduct enough studies, and create enough gloss, people that actually do something will relieve them of the need to earn their salaries.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typical. Do you know what Albuquerque will have by 2011?

5/29/2008 4:11 PM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

I love downtown Palo Alto ... wonderful place to walk through on a summer night. There used to be a nice ice cream store at the NW end, then eat your code while walking down to the SE end, hitting all the bookstores along the way, and anything else of interest that evening.

Ahhh ... memories ... haven't been there in about a decade now.

There used to be a pretty good Indian restaurant at San Antonio and El Camino if you like the cuisine.

5/30/2008 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Tucson Citizen had an opinion article today calling for them to call it "Rio Never."

5/31/2008 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Concupiscence said...

The El Centro Redevelopment Plan was drafted in 1979. Rio Nuevo is a huge addendum to a plan that DDC went Bankrupt trying to implement. Land banking parcels, or maybe 'sandbagging' parcels for pals. Valley Bank took the hit. Mosher left under the wire. DDC hobbled along with impunity, and are now back at the table with a list of underground supporters that would rival the mob. They were essentially bankrupt save the take over of the loans by the City of Tucson. The delays are shamefully transparent as we await the line up of the insiders. Erstwhile the poor merchants wait for the eminent domain game to be played by the A Team. Somewhere in all this must be some karma.

6/05/2008 1:39 AM  

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