Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cloth Circus Continues

Tucson, Arizona. Rob O’Dell has yet another Rio Nuevo article today that exposes blatant inconsistency and lack of cohesion around what should be a straightforward project to run a water line. First, we have the near tripling of the price from $250K to $680K. (We’re running a water line). City manager assistant Fran LaSala asserted that the higher bid was "the only true bid from a true contractor."

Excuse me?

Is he saying other bids (if any) were "not true," or that other contractors were "not true"? How does that happen? What is he saying? What logic or thinking leads to such an assertion? Is he operating in an environment rife with false bids and fictitious contractors? Yikes.

It gets worse. Archer Western did not bid specifically on the waterline job. It was awarded a contract to do all planned Downtown infrastructure work, estimated at $37 million, based on its qualifications and resources. The company is automatically awarded work on specific jobs as needed, without further bidding.

Are they serious?

All planned infrastructure work. All of it? What does that even mean? What line items added up to $37 million? Any? How was the $37 million calculated? What scope exists if the company is automatically awarded work on specific jobs as needed without further bidding? Are they really saying they create "specific jobs as needed" with no bidding whatsoever and automatically approved at any price?

Ahh, to be one of the Clothmeisters. I could run X4mr’s Awesome Blueprint Fabrication and get paid $300K for fifty pages of banter no one reads. I could make a fortune with X4MR Feasibility Analytics. I could steal from programs for crippled youth, victims of domestic violence, child protective services, and the food bank, put the money in my company’s account, and brag to my clothified board of improved financial performance. They would smile and clap and tell me what a terrific job I’m doing. I wish I were exaggerating.

What a circus.

UPDATE: At the Scarpinato article yesterday and O'Dell's piece today, for a time they had online polls asking if readers had confidence in the correct management of TIF funds (yesterday) and general monies (today) by the city. Both polls returned "No confidence" at about 90 percent.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've managed to give Fran LaSala a sex change. Good work!

3/12/2009 1:46 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Ha! That shows what I know. Thanks for the correction. I've made the repair.

3/12/2009 1:47 PM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

You couldn't steal money from a non-profit that helps people if and you know it.

You question about LaSala, despite the gender confusion, is most intelligent. What kind of thinking does have a person say "the only true bid from a true contractor."?

What's pathetic is that these clowns are truly harming the community by preventing honest and competent government.

3/12/2009 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

Fran La Sala's number one qualification for his job as the czar of downtown infrastructure is that he is a loyal soldier to King Mike.

Hein took the streetcar project out of the hands of the Transportation Department and gave that to La Sala too, so that it would be managed in his office rather than by people who actually know transportation and had been working on the project.

By the way, Fran is a former city councilman in Oro Valley. Don't know anything about his record there.

It's one thing to pick a single firm to do multiple phases of a complex project, but if you do it that way, it doesn't relieve you of the task of "project managing" them, and making sure they don't overbill you along the way.

3/12/2009 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

TREO could have killed SAIAT three times over with that water-line overage.

3/12/2009 5:14 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

It is good that Tucson Water came forward with their analysis of what the water line really should cost.

That is what needs to happen. These people have the inside information on where the ratholes are where the money is being poured. The citizens just see huge expenditures and lack of progress.

The lack of oversight is just unbelievable. And the duration of it is even more unbelievable.

3/12/2009 6:37 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

Oh, yeah, does anyone know why a Phoenix company is doing all of this work for Tucson? I love where they said in the article that one of the reasons for the higher cost was that the equipment had to be hauled down from Phoenix.

Tucson companies are not capable of doing any of this construction work?

3/12/2009 6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard that there were about half a dozen teams that bid on it, and a selection committee chose this team because they had built the infrastructure for Phoenix's light rail.

Some of the teams that tried to get the contract were from Tucson.

I say "team" because it's multiple firms working together, including contractors, landscape architects, and engineers.

3/12/2009 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Unanimous said...

I understand the overall project includes underground utility replacement, street and sidewalk repaving, poles and overhead wires for the streetcar, etc. all along the streetcar route on Congress, Broadway, Granada, and the west side end, in the area called "Rio Nuevo".

Scott Avenue seems to be the exception (the rest of the project follows the streetcar route) and I guess they chose it because it has the Temple of Music and Art on it. Either that or Nina wanted to get some free public improvements to the street in front of the bed-and-breakfast owned by her good friend Jeff DiGregorio, who she also appointed to the Rio Nuevo Board.

Red flag!

3/12/2009 8:35 PM  
Blogger Liza said...


Of course, even if they selected a Phoenix company because of their experience with light rail, they could have required that some of the second tier subcontractors be Tucson based companies.

Cities often have requirements on second tier subcontractors (ex: women and minority owned businesses.) The Phoenix company could have assembled a team that gave a portion of the work to Tucson, had they been required to do so.

It just fries me that these people are so lame.

I hope some viable candidate challenges Nina Trasoff when she comes up for re-election. Of course, no one seems to want to be on the city council except for the village (or ward) idiots.

3/12/2009 9:37 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

I'm a rather cynical guy, but the stories unfolding in the press and in particular this blog and others has me astounded. It's one thing to hear about it in vague terms.

The clarity of detail that exists here just makes a person want to heave. People get paid tons of money to do nothing. They fire people so they can hire friends who also do nothing. They talk about "true" contractors versus fake ones that get paid via pure fraud.

That Kennedy guy gets tens of thousands IN CASH with NO OVERSIGHT and it is allowed to continue like it's okay, on top of a salary he collects through a subsidiary scheme that has no paid employees.

One non-profit schmuck steals the funding of other non-profits, forcing them to close, and BRAGS about it!

Seriously, I could never make stuff like this up.

I really have been struggling lately with a painful dilemma. Would I be better off if I just hit the OFF switch to all of you, the national news as well? When I see that F-head House Republican (Boehner?) speak I almost explode. When I learn of the Cloth crap perpetrated in this town, over and over and over, I want to get violent. People that belong in jail are getting fat checks on our backs.

I might have a higher quality of life if I just tune out and do my job.

In light of the disclosures taking place, I don't know how anyone could support continuing the TIF funds for a complete disaster.

Nina Trasoff is Cloth candy.

3/12/2009 9:50 PM  
Anonymous Unanimous said...

Wheat-Scharf & Associates is the landscape architecture sub-contractor to Archer-Western on the infrastructure contract. It is co-owned by Liba Wheat, so it does indeed qualify as a Minority or Women-owned Business.

3/12/2009 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Unanimous said...

And, I meant to say also that Wheat-Scharf is a Tucson company, with their office at 6th and 6th.

3/12/2009 10:16 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

Its good to know that Tucson is credited for having landscaping skills.

I'm curious what kind of problem the clothmeisters think they have right now. Ten to one they think its a public relations problem. I'm expecting a new PR campaign to sell us on the new and improved Rio Nuevo "vision" whatever that might be.

3/13/2009 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right about that, Liza.

Look for a current Citizen reporter to become a PR flack very soon for the Downtown Partnership, after next week's demise of the newspaper. He's been doing PR for them as part of his beat coverage with the Citizen for several months now. So much for journalistic ethics.

If the city and their quasi-public, quasi-nonprofit apologists spent as much time on making things happen as they do on making excuses and distracting us all like Oz behind the curtain, they might actually accomplish something.

3/13/2009 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Anon (1:39) -- would that be Teya?
You are right, so much for integrity.
Not all of the Citizen folks are behaving (misbehaving) that way -- some are being ethical right to the end.

3/16/2009 2:05 PM  

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