Monday, February 09, 2009

Boondoggle

Daniel Scarpinato of The Arizona Daily Star has a front page article today noting the funding reductions to the university related research effort known as Science Foundation Arizona. At first glance it looks like a worthy program deserving public support, but apparently some Republicans such as LD-25's David Stevens regard such efforts as corporate welfare, including closer to home LD-30 representative Frank Antenori.

I've enjoyed a conversation with Frank over a good cigar up at the Anthony's on the northwest side. The special forces veteran has a way with words. I'm not in the position to comment on the science foundation, but Antenori was not shy about mentioning another organization with whom I do have experience, the Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities fiasco also known as TREO.

"If I could kill TREO, I would put a stake in TREO's heart tomorrow," Antenori said. "It's another slush-fund boondoggle."

Oh, if Frank only knew. A couple years ago TREO stole funding allotted to other local non-profits, $30,000 from a Goodwill program for handicapped youth, $62,500 from a small business assistance program, and $132,500 from a training institute that helped businesses train employees. All were non-profits. The institute was destroyed, its classrooms now empty and dead, including over a thousand square feet of raised floor server space with two optical fibers (right on the backbone) hanging from the ceiling. The stupidity is legion.

TREO distinguished the extra $220,000 on hand (they just padded their account) in their 2007 annual report, boasting that the money was the result of "improved financial performance."

11 Comments:

Blogger Liza said...

The one thing TREO has going for it is that relatively few people know of its existence. I'm sure they want to keep it that way.

In hard times like these people would get upset about these privileged bureaucrats who have found an easy way to make a good salary, produce nothing, and take trips at the public's expense.

TREO could be gone tomorrow and all that would happen is that the money they are costing would be saved. No one would miss them.

Someone really should look into it.

2/09/2009 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Liza is absolutely right. If the city and county were to wise up and zero the funding of these pompous, arrogant swindlers, no one would miss a thing.

TREO steals other people's money and takes credit for other people's results. You know the feeling when you see a big cockroach in the bathroom? That's what it's like to be around TREO management. What a waste of money.

2/09/2009 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Mariana said...

Does anybody, other then Frank, think that TREO is similsr to Science Foundation of Arizona?

2/09/2009 11:13 PM  
Blogger james said...

TREO is similar because its a tax fed organization that exists to benefit private business. If its so darn important for private businesses then let them fund it. My next door neighbor, a UA employee, faces unpaid leave as do I-a City employee. TREO is worthless. They're like a weather forecaster taking credit for the weather. I would have happened anyway-just like TREO. At a time when government employees are being laid off and furloughed, its a crime to give money to these boondoggles.

2/10/2009 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TREO's budget is well over a million dollars, and they do NOTHING AT ALL, except of course STEAL and LIE.

Antoneri probably groups the science group with TREO because some of the characters involved (like Ron Shoopman of SALC) go to the same luncheon banquets.

These people love to go to luncheons and wear a tie and feel important. They get together and clap for each other while the rest of us do real work.

2/10/2009 12:28 PM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

SFAz funds promising research activities that could turn into moneymakers for the university and their industry partners. I find it an investment.
TREO is NOT an investment!
Give me research any day, not trips to San Antonio and Portland, etc.

2/10/2009 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

From this week's Inside Tucson Business, David Hatfield, editor, opinion:

The folks at Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO), Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Greater Tucson Leadership have called off – for now – their planned April leadership exchange trip to Albuquerque.

I get it that these difficult times call for refocusing attention to the crisis at hand, but it’s also important for us as a community not to lose sight of what it is we need to learn and do to move forward once things start to improve. Then again, maybe Albuquerque doesn’t have as much to show our leaders right now. At least, let’s hope not.

It took experts until December to finally declare this nation was in a recession and had been for a year. Who’s to say that a year from now, those same experts won’t be looking back and telling us we were at the bottom of the cycle in February 2009 and have been going upward since then.

If that’s the case, we’re really going to like next February.

2/10/2009 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Albuquerque is a great city with intelligent leadership. They understand economic development and actually do it.

Tucson has never really had economic development and probably never will. Just consider who they hired, a guy who steals from training programs and crippled kids.

2/10/2009 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Antenori's support for axing the Science Foundation axed a massive amount of support that absolutely contributed to the U. of A. and development in the state. Two endowed chairs attracting some of the brightest scientists who attract major research fund are now axed. That is just part of what was lost. People at the U. of A. were livid to say the least.

2/10/2009 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

The last Anon (10:39) is right. The cuts to the UA (and also ASU / NAU) are devastating. I would dispute the earlier Anon who says we don't have any economic development. The UA provides a lot.

Antoneri's mistake is thinking the UA is the same as the downtown bunch. They are completely different, even though the UA is a little entangled in some of the Rio Nuevo mess.

2/11/2009 8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a travesty that these clowns have the money for TREO, or the MTCVB, or bogus rent for parking lots, but they don't have money for hardworking employees or worthwhile projects like the Science Foundation.

The city is putting its own people on furloughs, yet they still write the fat check to TREO or downtown partnership so a pig in a suit can stroke himself. Disgusting.

Just think of what could have done for the money wasted on Rio Nuevo.

2/11/2009 10:59 AM  

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