Monday, June 23, 2008

Heat on Hein

Tucson, Arizona. Yesterday’s Star had an article that speaks of a growing rift between council members and City Manager Mike Hein that could lead him to quit or be fired. As the article notes, the rift has to do with a lot more than bus fares. Either the paper misquoted the Mayor, or the Mayor misspoke (either are possible) in defending Hein as obtaining the extension of the TIF funding for the downtown projects. Hein had positively nothing to do with the extension of the funding, save that those who chose to trust him (now regretting this move), The Congress Street Stakeholders relied heavily on the new manager's name in 2005 as someone who could get things done and make the TIF money produce solid results and quickly.

Well, that sure came up roses and peaches galore.

CORRECTION 6/24/08: My mistake. I have from a reliable source that in fact Hein did participate in obtaining the extension, as an anonymous comment (#5) below notes.

Since then, the self-serving cloth meisters packed their fancy suits into a room and decided to disband the Stakeholders and expand the perfectly functional Tucson Downtown Alliance into the completely dysfunctional cloth infested Downtown Tucson Partnership, adding more do nothing suits and high paid white guys to sit around and stroke each other at taxpayer expense while nothing gets accomplished. Earlier promises get broken and clothophiles get first take at the trough.

In the meantime, frustration with the tenth floor's "leave us alone and let us do whatever we want" style of times past is wearing thin. Naturally, I did not create the expression "tipping point" but it appears to have caught on at least by GOP Committee Man Bruce Ash (told me to my face he got it here) and Pima Board of Supervisor challenger Joe Higgins (ditto) who also posted a piece from here at his own blog. Summarizing, The Tipping Point talks about the shifting political dynamics that occur as a community's population surpasses one million, and Tippers and Change talks about the beginnings of this as local citizens start to run for office to do something about it. The Tippers talks about those not ready to run for office or even speak without anonymity, but nonetheless come forward with information regarding local shenanigans by the status quo cloth.

Well, the cloth meisters can expect the temperature in the kitchen to continue to rise. Cheerleader Mayors who state that companies needing customized training can just "go to the community college" and a city manager who thinks he can unilaterally nix multi-million dollar Rio Nuevo commitments without consulting the council are in for some feedback (regarding lack of performance) such as:

"(I don't know if it is) deceit, incompetence or just being overwhelmed."
Councilwoman Karin Uhlich

If the city is so tight on funds that it is seriously looking at raising bus fares on the poor in the community, why can it continue to stuff the coffers of a do nothing organization like the distilled cloth of Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, which produces nothing that would not happen anyway? If nothing else, the city could have trimmed its funding 15% to free up funds for more useful endeavors like helping citizens get to work. Consider the Metro Tucson Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Shaving their budget 10% would free up over $400K, and our Food Bank, one of the most productive places a person can put a dollar, is in serious trouble and needs help.

Can someone name ONE productive result of expanding the Alliance into the cloth bloated DTP? At what temperature does cloth catch fire and burn?

It's hot in Tucson, but apparently still not hot enough.


Anonymous Observer said...

If only you could see, x4mr, the slides and presentations these organizations produce for their dog and pony shindigs. You would not believe (or I suppose you would) what they take credit for.

On another note, you would make Colbert proud. I just love "clothophile".

6/23/2008 9:26 PM  
Blogger Robish said...

I heard the whole story on how the TIF was extended from some acquaintances I have in the legislature. (These same people tell me that the legislature is now looking carefully at a temporary or permanent suspension of the TIF. The R's never trusted the city council to do anything intelligent with that money, and now they feel vindicated in that belief at the same time the state is desperate for cash.)

According to these legislators (from the Tucson area), Mike Hein does deserve credit for successfully chasing the TIF extension, but he has squandered the opportunity through his mismanagement.

From what I understand, the core of the conflict downtown has been that the downtown people wanted the city to invest the Rio Nuevo money (TIF) in public-private partnerships like other cities do, to generate more sales tax-producing commercial enterprises, but the city continued with its old pattern of thinking this was free money for them to use for whatever pet project they wanted, whether it has an economic impact or not. Usually not. Mission reconstructions, museums that have failed on the university campus, art centers, and so forth.

Hein didn't make much of an effort to persuade the city council to do the right thing, and groups like the Stakeholders and Alliance were just in his way when they lobbied for sensible policy. He doesn't suffer people who know too much about what is going on, or who have long memories.

A friend of mine who sits on the new Partnership board is in a unique position of being someone considered "safe" by the Cloth leadership, but actually has his/her feet on the ground. This person described how the new board came to be, like this.

Hein, his puppet Nina Trasoff, and his lapdog Larry Hecker said they created the Cloth-based Partnership to bring in regional partners and pull all the existing groups together. Sound familiar and very Cloth-like? The real reason was to use the new group to give Hein free, unquestioned rein (reign), to prevent people with a real stake in downtown from having a real voice, even as Hein and Company created a veneer of diversity on the Partnership board. The Partnership's unstated urpose is to stay clear of taking stands on policy that might complicate things for Mike and his cronies. My friend is appalled by the self-congratulation, but is curious enough to see where this leads, so is sticking around on the off-chance there is an opportunity to do some good.

Did you see who immediately leapt to Mike's defense? The Heckmeiser himself.

6/23/2008 11:52 PM  
Blogger Robish said...

One more thing. My friend on the Partnership says the most disgusting thing he/she has seen is the elevation of Doug Kennedy from the Downtown Development Corporation into some rarefied position on the Partnership board. My friend says most of the people on the Partnership board are oblivious to the 20 years of malfeasance of Kennedy and his DDC cronies, and wonders what connection the Heckmeister and Kennedy have, to justify all the stroking.

I've heard many people say something like this, when Kennedy's name comes up: "there oughtta be an investigation" or "the crook deserves to be in jail". Kennedy's group is in the all-cash parking business downtown. Need one say more?

6/24/2008 12:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robish uncovers a rock with a lot of roaches. Careful, x4mr, some of your tippers have teeth.

6/24/2008 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh...the TIF was indeed a major acheivement of the 10th Floor, whether anyone likes it or not. I would also remind many that Tim Bee and I think Toni Hellon were instrumental in getting it passed.

6/24/2008 11:18 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Both Anon's,

Yes, some information has come my way regarding parking lot shenanigans. The number 175 has surfaced and may warrant discussion.

This blog has spoken quite favorably of Toni Hellon in the past, and I think the GOP was stupid to oust her in 2006. She would have beaten Charlene easily. I did hear that both Hellon and Bee helped with the TIF extension.

Someone other than myself would have to talk to the money expended (I heard over a million) and the trips to Phoenix by certain parties who fought hard to make it happen.

I also received confirmation that Hein did in fact participate as part of the effort to have it extended, and I have corrected that in the original post. The same note, however, added that it has been "downhill ever since."

6/24/2008 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention Leal's letter calling for Hein's resignation.

6/24/2008 1:16 PM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Two of the Downtown goofs were on AZ Illustrated Friday night. What a bunch of gobbledygook. Only Steve Emerine has been in town long enough to be able to ask pointed, cutting, intelligent questions.
Which those 2 couldn't answer between them...

6/24/2008 4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which two Downtown goofs were they?
I missed the AZ Illustrated show.

6/24/2008 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Glenn Lyon(s?) and someone from city government, can't think of his name.

6/25/2008 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Greg Shelko.
The show is archived on AZ Public Media website.

6/25/2008 10:16 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Glenn Lyons (CEO DTP) and Greg Shelko (CEO TCC) are distilled cloth. The two are good for warming suits and furniture. The sum of their two salaries could fund SAIAT for a year, training over 10,000 workers.

6/25/2008 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shelko is the Director of the City's Department Formerly Known as Rio Nuevo. Rich Singer is the Director of the TCC.

$250,000 between the two of them.

6/25/2008 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

How to save a million/year (all cloth):

Shelko, Singer, Lyons, Snell, Walker, Hecker.

6/25/2008 3:37 PM  

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