Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Cloth Clash at the Star Corral

Tucson, Arizona. Following up on O’Dell’s piece about cloth trough aficionados Jaret Barr and Fran LaSala, who annually snarf $100K each as cloth operatives, we have the sparring that occurred in the resulting comment thread between DTP Cloth operative Cara Rene and some former downtown supporters, starting with a reference to the volunteer effort once aligned with the DTP’s non-cloth predecessor, the Tucson Downtown Alliance. While they occur as tame to me, some remarks crossed what the Star could handle, and three of those below were deleted from the paper's thread.

#1 – Patrick M.
Yet there is no money to support the old and loyal downtown volunteer program. In fact, they never even bothered to thank them; all 83 of them, for their immediate response to the call for help for the New Years Eve event "First Night". I guess that is called "messaging."

Skipping to #66, we have DTP cloth beneficiary Cara Stuff-n-Puff Rene’s inability to resist chiming in as Lady Rubysky. Rene, a former Citizen reporter and the wife of city council member Nina Trasoff’s right hand guy, is paid $65K to show up (perhaps) four times a week.

#66 - Lady Rubysky (comment deleted by the Star)
Hey #1: Not sure where you are getting your info. But, according to some folks who volunteered for the partnership and that event, it was the former paid volunteer coordinator who was responsible for such things and never seemed to get the job done.

A cousin and friend of mine volunteered for the event and said the volunteer coordinator - who now no longer works there - was incompetent. Hopefully they will find someone better and not just rely on people who have long-time times to downtown. Better to go with people who know what they are doing rather than pander to those who are just furniture pieces.

#67 - Bob K.
The bottom line here is once you are a suck-up to the city the old boys club will always look out for you. Like others have said why do we pay another $200,000 for positions that did not exist until the suck-ups needed a new home? The city is full of suck-ups who have found out just how easy it is to do nothing in Tucson but to get paid at least $100,000.....In low wage Tucson this is big money.

The power player forced out Duncan (a total suck-up but not enough of one) from the downtown alliance and put in the wife of a staffer from Nutty Nina. All the while this is accepted from our gang of morons. The list of directors we pay over $120,000 number way over 100 this is just stupid considering the fact most of them are not qualified to perform the task that they must do.

I agree these city morons could not find money to pay for fireworks but boy they sure can find the grease to payoff total suck-ups. Just keep an eye out for that total fool Shelko he will end up on some sort of board paid by the city (an easy $125,000). Do you ever get the feeling we are getting the shaft as we always seem to be paying more money for less performance?

#70 - Patrick M. (comment deleted by the Star)
Well now Poster #66; Lady Rubysky, who the world of downtowners know to be the one and only Cara Rene, Executive VP of the Partnership and the official director of messaging, who is also the $65,000 a year 4 day a week deputy referenced in this article. Her message herein is clear, and quite aptly telegraphs the modus operandi of the new regime. Which is that knowing the people and places in the downtown community is of no value to them. Poll the merchants and you will discover that an overwhelming number of them have never met RUBY.

The former Volunteer Coordinator, who was in fact not paid, and at one time represented one of the largest land owners downtown, logged in endless hours for the merchants, happens to have 30 years of Event Management expertise with nothing but positive feedback. Such positive feedback that continues to get invitations for he and his platoon of volunteers to staff events directly for the Merchants, events like Dillinger Days, which the Partnership was unable to staff. A couple of hotels, the Gem Show, and Fourth Ave Trolley continue to enjoy the participation of the Furniture Volunteers. It is the communication style of DTP executive staff that is legend, so it would follow that they want to work only with friends and family. Watch closely dear readers as the probability is quite high that Ruby will either be getting a raise or one of her "cousins" will be the actual paid volunteer. Any bets?

All is well that ends well, and not volunteering for such a supercilious group is quite a relief, especially for retired Marines and soldiers, the same relief that has been afforded three of the former staffers who were not able to tolerate the unique communication style of the management and resigned. This furniture has ears, self-esteem and a positive zest for life currently vacant in Rubys world. That furniture is me - the former volunteer, the furniture that many landowners and merchants in the CBD would like in their living room. Many have been friends with the furniture for 30 years. Fine furniture is not aesthetically compatible with the plastic chairs of the DTP anyhow.

I would hope to not dip to the level of ad hominem as did Ruby the former Citizen journalist, who would do well to review the Media Law definition of libel, and its consequent harm realized. The job of sending out thank you letters, that Ruby indicates was never accomplished was in fact preceded by a comment from her General that their was no money in the budget to prepare certificates of appreciation. Wow, maybe $40. A quarter of million in salaries to oversee the canceling of most all downtown events so as to have the money to pay themselves, and they state they have no money for certificates of appreciation! Four former staffers were present to corroborate this comment. Two months after the event Ruby demanded all the emails of the volunteers so she could send the lowest common denominator of 'Thank You' note. The "furniture" was surprised that a former journalist would not know of the impropriety of placing these volunteers on a list serve without a request or their permission.

Were one to go to Middle School mentality with all this, I would say go ahead and interview the other 82 volunteers and get their impression of the time they spent with Ruby and the General. Let’s drop this and move on to forwarding our Downtown with positive people and projects, the kind that the Merchants provide on their own.

#71 – Bob K. (comment deleted by the Star)
Well now Poster #66; Lady Rubysky, who the world of downtowners know to be the one and only Cara Rene, Executive VP of the Partnership ...

Wow this explains why this nut job kept attacking me for my posting about how we have nothing but morons in charge. Thanks for the heads up she is way under qualified and overpaid just like most city managers and directors.

Cloth MO is to trash those it throws under the bus as incompetent. The fallacy of their argument is that conditions deteriorate when they take over. The Fox theater’s situation is worse, not better. The DTP is three times the size of the Alliance and produces less than a third of the results. When TREO destroyed SAIAT, the active upgrade of the skills of over 10,000 Tucson workers every year was replaced with nothing, nada, zip. The Job Training Grant support function has atrophied, and BusinessLink, once most valuable, has all but died. The Cloth continues to inhale larger and larger sums of public funds from both city and county, and it delivers less and less for the community.

While his remarks were directed specifically at Rio Nuevo, Jim Waring, Chairman of the AZ Senate Finance Committee, captures the theme of it all, "You spent $9 million dollars and didn't build anything."

Yes, they did. They built fat salary gigs for Lyons, Snell, Barr, LaSala, Walker, Shelko, not to mention the sweet deals for Hecker, Eckstrom, Kennedy, and the list goes on.


Anonymous Robish said...

Wow, it pretty much speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Considering she called him incompetent and a piece of furniture, "Patrick M."'s response seems quite measured, does it not?

The DTP cloth-meisters underestimated their Vietnam vet volunteer coordinator with the long downtown history and lots of community connections. Never mess with a Marine!

"Patrick"'s loquaciousness and good humor were probably not a very good fit with the standoff-ish Partnership crew. They probably didn't want the Great Unwashed veterans sullying the image of their big New Year's event, which they doubtless hoped would attract a Foothills crowd.

RubySky has been commenting zealously for several months in response to Citizen and Star articles, and regularly mixes it up with anyone who dares criticize the city's performance in the downtown "arena". She whines about the Phoenix legislators taking away "our" sales tax money (the Rio Nuevo TIF), and scolds anyone who doesn't recognize the tremendous progress that is being made under the leadership of her two bosses, Nina Trasoff and Glenn Lyons.

With the arrival of Jaret Barr and Fran LaSala, her sweet 4-day-a-week, $65,000 gig now puts her as ONLY the fourth-highest-paid staff member of the Downtown Partnership. She should ask her husband to ask Nina to give her a raise.

It's amusing to read Bob K.'s comments. Whoever he is, he remembers Ruby for arguing with him on-line in the past.

Bob raises the specter of Greg Shelko returning to haunt us like a zombie. An overpaid zombie, at that. Alas, even our city leaders probably recognize what a political liability Shelko had become. He had to be sacrificed in order to keep the money flowing down Broadway without being diverted permanently to the state capital.

The Star has probably canceled both Patrick and Ruby's commenting privileges. She will have to comment under a new pseudonym from now on. But she will be easy to spot.

Perhaps most remarkable is that x4mr still has the time to keep up on all this, and he even captured these priceless StarNet comments before they got censored and removed.

6/09/2009 10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A cousin and friend of mine", huh?

That's funny.

6/09/2009 10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

X4mr is right. Once you have the concept of cloth clear, the articles are painful to read.

It is pure nepotism, cronyism, and fraud, millions of dollars to pay friends and family to do nothing.

6/10/2009 7:43 AM  
Blogger Cigar Man said...

I never dreamed such material would see the light of day. While not wishing to appear boastful, I think my notion of "looking good" builds upon the accuracy of Bob K's "suck up."

To "suck up" is to make a cloth meister look good. It isn't about kissing ass in a private setting. It is about mutual strokes in a public setting that promote the public image (funding) of the agencies (TREO, DTP, MTCVB, etc.).

It should now be clearer than clear why someone like x4mr would utterly fail in this environment.

6/10/2009 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

Rob O'Dell has posted an article this evening on Mike Letcher hiring a grad school friend to be an assistant city manager, with no hiring process. He's promoted Richard Miranda to Deputy City Manager, and made a few other promotions. All told, another $177,000 in raises and a new hire.

O'Dell mentions the City out-sourcing Rio Nuevo staff to the DTP at the beginning of the article and at the end of the article. It's pretty clear he's not going to let that story fade away.

The article hasn't even gone to print yet, and it's got 67 posted comments. You can imagine the unanimous reaction.

6/10/2009 9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone keep last night's StarNet breaking news posting with comments? I saw the official midnight posting this morning and would love to see the initial comments.
Perhaps x4mr can post a new posting today on this boondoggle.

6/11/2009 5:25 AM  
Anonymous Robish said...

Anon 5:25am: I hate it when the Star wipes out all of the comments from an early edition when they post the new edition of the same article. Here is the link to the first set of comments:


6/11/2009 7:04 AM  
Blogger The Navigator said...


Is it really possible that all towns have such corruption and nepotism?

The image at the post really says it. These people have no sense of decency or shame at all. They get together and agree to hand each other $10,000+ / month of taxpayer money to sit around, meet with each other, and figure out additional ways to extort the community.

Then should some hardworking soul actually produce something, these worthless clowns take credit for it. The thought of being in the same room with any of this trash makes me feel soiled.

6/11/2009 1:10 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

People like Nina Trasoff make it completely impossible for me to support the local Democratic party. When she was running for city council I listened to her speak a couple of times about how Tucson should be like Portland, Oregon. I guess that would be possible if we were willing to bulldoze the entire city and start over. Nina has proved herself to be exactly what many suspected and she must feel completely at home with the other "development leaders."

6/11/2009 2:48 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

I meant to also say that I wonder if this Cara Rene was instructed by her bosses to comment at the Star and fend off criticism. She isn't successful, of course, but she hasn't much to work with.

6/11/2009 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you querry her former colleagues at the Citizen you will discover a rather low approval rating. No matter where you are there you are. And of course the oddity is her mission to conduct,"messaging" for.....who? She certainly does not represent the Merchants,so who is the Principal provider of the message? This is not a case of the cliche,"killing the messenger", it is a case of the messenger having an empty satchel.

6/11/2009 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Concupiscence said...

Was there a message in the satchel about all the cultural events that the DTP cancelled to support their own salaries? And what in the world does that goofy intern in their office actually do? Is she paid?

6/11/2009 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is there to prepare the serrepticious plans to level La Placita. Wait and see.

6/11/2009 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Different Anonymous said...

Which cultural events did the DTP cancel?

6/11/2009 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

There are over 160 comments following the O'Dell story about the promotions and the hiring of McBride, most of them expressing outrage.

I guess Cara Ruby whatever has changed her name but was quickly recognized by the nature of her comments.

The city would not be encountering such venom if it had its act together. The anger is what it is because people are seeing this is on top of millions to the visitor's bureau, more millions to TREO, and the Downtown Partnership is the money pit of Southern Arizona.

It's amazing to me how council members buy the BS these agencies feed them about their results. They claim to generate 70 quadrillion in tourism (MTCVB) or 20 trillion in capital investment (TREO) with made up numbers about things they had nothing to do with. Yet when they don their suits and present their slides, council members eat it up like sheep before the slaughter.


6/11/2009 8:11 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

You are absolutely right, Observer.

There is a lot of frustration, desperation, disgust, and rage out there.

I predict that many Tucsonans will cast off their party affiliations this fall and vote for change on the city council. The inherent advantage in registration that Democrats traditionally enjoy here won't be that important this time.

6/11/2009 8:29 PM  
Anonymous AnonAnon said...

What is Cara's new Starnet handle?

6/12/2009 5:58 AM  
Anonymous AnonAnonAnon said...


Looks like it's Betty S. (tumbleweed).

6/12/2009 7:31 AM  
Anonymous AnonAnonAnon said...

Comments 145, 147, and 150

6/12/2009 7:35 AM  
Anonymous On and On and On said...

Looks like Padraic simply proclaimed that the "Empororess had no clothes." And then StarNet police threw them both overboard. That is their job, and I support that. However it appears that the only one who violated the guidelines for posting was Rubysky. The guidelines are silent about ficticious names, which of course is 85% of the posters.

6/12/2009 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was very interesting for me to read this article. Thank you for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more soon.

11/20/2009 4:40 AM  

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