Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Council Cuts Cloth

Tucson, Arizona. As already posted profusely on the local blogs, the Tucson city council fired City Manager Mike Hein today, an event many of those in the know (including Hein himself) have foreseen. No one paying attention was surprised. Almost exactly a year ago, I speculated about Tucson’s approaching a Tipping Point regarding its power structure. It stirred some conversation and led to further remarks in The Tippers, Policon Points, and Tipping Point - A Systemic Perspective. Some might recall that Hein was almost fired last year, but acknowledged clothmeister Trasoff salvaged his job.

Trasoff did not prevail this week. We have cause to consider the possibility that Tucson is indeed approaching a tipping point. The $80 million budget shortfall is a transformational agent applying serious pressure on the fraud, corruption, and incompetence of the Cloth (TREO, Downtown Tucson Partnership, Downtown Development Corporation, Rio Nuevo, and to a lesser but significant extent the MTCVB, TCC, and other cloth infested boondoggles). There’s a lot of blood under the bridge. TREO’s Joe Snell stole over a quarter million dollars from other non-profit agencies (including a Goodwill program for crippled youth), stashed the cash and boasted that the booty was due to "improved financial performance." DTP’s Glenn Lyons fired an excellent director so he could give the job to one of Trasoff’s friends. That’s only one of the throats he cut. The Cloth consider the adept a threat to be destroyed.

Hein’s departure is a blow to the Cloth. His name is strongly attached to Rio Nuevo (ironically as a reason to support it) and without him, yet another nail slams into Rio Nuevo’s coffin. Primarily focused on Rio Nuevo, I smelled Iron in the Air in mid-February, but something I’ve learned over the years is that even when the smell is so strong you taste blood in your mouth, it is not always clear whose it is. In the summer of 2004, it was so thick I couldn’t eat (lost 35 pounds) and figured the blood had to be mine. No, and worse, I learned I was holding the knife.

Back to today, the scent remains and I think Hein’s departure is more likely the beginning of something, not the end. The Cloth have cause for concern. In the comments following the Star’s article on the termination, calls for additional ousters specifically mentioned Jaret Barr (perhaps a done deal), Greg Shelko, Joe Snell, and Rich Singer. Apparently some don’t like the do nothings collecting six figure sums for the ability to wear shoes and use a rest room without making a mess. Waste, incompetence, fraud, and the Cloth have friend and foe in both parties. Like the vote to remove Hein, the circus of naked emperors does not break along party lines. Those willing and able to discern the true dynamics of this bifurcation will see that the clash is more aptly addressed as that between the increasingly obsolete “established overpaid suits” and the emerging cries for competence, integrity, and commitment to the best interests of the community.


Anonymous Robish said...

It's a great day for Tucson, but I half expected the local news shows to lead with, "City Council fires City Manager, but first, let's go to the tape of the press conference with Sean Miller at the McKale Center".

I wonder what the final nail was in Hein's coffin, although there is no shortage of candidates. Something significant must have weighed on Shirley Scott, who surely faced a barrage of pleas from the developers and "business leaders" to spare Mike from his fate.

Look for Shelko to be fired next, as the long-awaited sacrifice to the Legislature Gods. Long overdue.

Jaret Barr has no official title, but everything of significance has run through him, so he has some power. He will probably wait and see if Chuck offers Mike a job, or if Mike's business leader friends find him a lucrative consulting gig, before deciding how to move on.

Rich Singer needs to give up the reins of the Fox Theatre now, and start worrying about doing his real job, which is managing the convention center.

Nina the Narcissist is now "Nina the Naked", as she is totally exposed now. Nina's world is starting to unravel, big-time.

City employees are breathing a sigh of relief as Hein's reign of intimidation is over. Look for many tales of corruption and despicable acts to come tumbling out now, after four years of being pent-up and suppressed.

x4mr is right; this is the beginning. What it is the beginning of is up to us as citizens, and up to the city council. They have some big challenges to deal with in the short run, and let's hope they can deal effectively with the budget and with downtown.

I hope they do a national search for Hein's replacement and keep anyone named Eckstrom or recommended by an Eckstrom far away from the search committee.

By the way, there is a fellow named Dirigo who is talking about Cloth on the azstarnet comments.
He comments on there often about the "downtown cabal"

4/07/2009 10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are we concerned that the concept of "Cloth" is appearing in other forums?

4/08/2009 8:12 AM  
Blogger TexPatriate said...

Here's hoping that this blog (and others) continue to expose Cloth wherever it hides and help to root it out.

(Psst -- I think GM might have an opening for a blogger. Or Citigroup. Or Wall Street, et al.)

I chalk this one up to an exhaustive win for the good guys. =D

4/08/2009 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to see every citizen of Tucson make "Cloth" and the ongoing struggle against it, part of their vernacular.

4/08/2009 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Thanks to x4mr for introducing it into the vernacular and for the rest who are helping to proliferate it in the blogosphere and elsewhere.

4/08/2009 9:06 AM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

A most exquisite choice of images. For those who may not know, the sculpture is Giacometti's 1932 "Woman with Her Throat Cut" now at the Guggenheim.

I don't know local politics very well, but from what I have read, this development has to be alarming for Nina Trasoff. The cross hairs on Rio Nuevo had to just get brighter.

With an $80M shortfall, who can support funding the Cloth? How is the city going to address its budget? I think x4mr says a lot when he says that the budget is a transformational agent. How the council wrestles with this shortfall may be what determines who is about what.

4/08/2009 9:15 AM  
Blogger Policon said...

This victory over Czar Hein is worth celebrating. As we do, Ekstrom, Hecker, Trasoff, Glassman and Walkup are scrambling to put a new clothmeister in place. As X4mr states, "the $80 million budget shortfall is a transformational agent." And Rahm Emanuel, "Never let a serious crisis go unused."

We will surely never have a better time than this to influence the changing of council members, city management, and the overall agenda. Stay engaged and continue applying pressure everywhere you can. Keep tugging on the thread we've loosened.

4/08/2009 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Kennedy still getting suitcases of Lot 175 cash delivered to his estate?

It's funny to read the party line blogs that put Uhlich and Trasoff in the same camp. I find the sides on the Hein vote more intriguing. What are the important concepts and distinctions giving rise to a split that places Walkup/Trasoff/Glassman on one side and Leal/Uhlich/Romero/Scott on the other?

It's not abortion, gay marriage, or immigration. Hint: In the face of an $80M city deficit, how much funding do you support for Shelko (Rio No Way Ho), Snell (TREO), or Lyons (DTP)?

This is about money. Cloth money.

Those who attack Uhlich and Trasoff in the same sentence (like some righty blogs) don't get this situation.

4/08/2009 10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, they don't (get it), and neither does Trasoff's opponent in the upcoming race.

He could be as dumb as a shoe, though, and I'll still vote for him.

Karin Uhlich will be on Joe Higgins' new radio show bright and early in the morning, on 690AM. "Wake Up Tucson" is the new show, and it's on at 6:00am.

4/08/2009 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good blog.

One thing about Hein that hasn't been mentioned here is his arrogance. The guy is an ego maniac, and that is also true of the other "cloth" scum like Snell, Shelko, Singer, Walker, etc.. These people are so full of themselves.

Seriously, these people are money grubbing locusts who stroke their funding sources, accomplish nothing, and treat people who perform real work like garbage.

They are the garbage.

4/09/2009 5:44 PM  

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