Sunday, July 05, 2009

Cloth Fatigue

Rob O’Dell has an essentially benign Cloth piece in today’s Star discussing the local rise of Clothmeister Glen Lyons, head of the Downtown Tucson Partnership, which is emerging as the epicenter of Tucson’s Clothiverse, the downtown and economic development initiatives that intertwine richly funded agencies, lobbyists, attorneys, developers, business leaders, and outright crooks.

Lyons is thriving among the set of folks raking in massive amounts of money to forward rhetoric inside of a charade wrapped around a zero. Perhaps DTP’s rise is filling a vacuum left by TREO, the economic development agency that hasn’t produced any results in over four years. Lyons has forged a tight allegiance with Council Member Nina Trasoff, firing a director so he could hire the wife of a Trasoff staff member. He is also working city manager Letcher and the council for a sweet "consulting" gig for "assistance" regarding Rio Nuevo projects. In return, the partnership can serve as a means to circumvent nuisances (like the law, public approval, etc.) in terms of granting gigs and giveaways to friends and family.

Speaking of sweet gigs, it will be interesting to see how (if at all) Lyons addresses the current altercation between the Rialto Theater and DTDC developers Martin & Stiteler. Rialto president Michael Crawford has formally asked the DTP board to chime in on the theater’s behalf, while Nina apparently sides with the DTDC (which held a fundraiser for her campaign). The DTDC was poised to get millions in free land from the city, but after a delay has decided hard ball yields a better bottom line. Perhaps Lyons can figure out a way to pay DTP board chair (not kidding) Larry Hecker a quick $50,000 for legal advice on the dispute. Lyons can also advise potential developers how much to pay "lobbyist" Dan Eckstrom in exchange for consideration in land giveaways or other Rio Nuevo payouts.

Ugh. Now out of Tucson a full month, I’m getting Cloth fatigue. The events now occur like re-runs. It’s the same nonsense, again and again. Clothmeisters rake it in as they present a plan, a blueprint, a concept, an idea, a projection, an org chart, and then start over. When something actually does occur, such as a solar energy company moving to town (imagine), or an expansion of a firm that’s doing well, they take credit for it.

The comments following the piece, not subject to editorial opinion or the constraints on the reporter, are more interesting than the article itself.

I always like to see others use the Cloth distinction, as Larry does in the first comment:
Glenn Lyons is a puppet for the cloth. He shines Hecker and Lynns shoes and kisses Nina's ring. The cloth wasn't interested in his redevelopment experience, only his willingness to take orders and hand out the fat.

One has to love Teddy:

This captures the other angle:
Lyons is close friends with Trasoff's chief of staff. Trasoff's chief of staff is married to Lyons deputy. Also, the incoming chair of the partnership board (Hecker) is Trasoff's campaign treasurer. As someone said the other day, something smells. Other merchants have told me that Lyons no longer lives in Armory Park because he and his wife did not feel safe living there. Which is ironic and very upsetting to us because we've seen a dramatic decline in security and maintenance downtown ever since Lyons took over. It is clear that security and maintenance have suffered at the cost of these higher salaries.

A certain anniversary rapidly approaches. One of the goals I set for myself some time ago was to fully distinguish the Cloth and the characters that feed at its trough. Various blogs and the comments following O’Dell’s article give me cause to believe the distinction has been delivered. My days of paying attention to the swine snarfing YOUR MONEY (not mine anymore) are drawing to a close.


Blogger Liza said...

I think the Clothiverse will be both excited and relieved that you are through with them and you're moving on.

I've felt this way for some time, that this is a neverending story with the same third rate players. It reminds me of those soap operas that have been on TV forever, like "Days of Our Lives" or "The Young and the Restless," where some of the characters are played by these actors who literally have the role for life.

A lot of people live in Tucson, and it is certainly sad to see the stranglehold that these predators have on the city. But getting rid of them really requires a movement from the ground up, and that kind of leadership is non-existent in this town.

But you did what you could and it was certainly more than anyone else has done to draw attention to the greed and incompetence that underlies Tucson's problems. And you never know what will eventually happen, or when.

7/05/2009 1:41 PM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

My sentiments match those of Liza (as usual).

Almost every single comment posted after the article expresses the outrage and disgust consistent with what x4mr writes about the cloth. The last comment x4mr quotes is particularly damning, noting the actual decline in performance since Lyons took over. That perfectly matches what this blog has been saying for years.

The DTP at higher cost is LESS effective than the Alliance. TREO at higher cost is LESS effective than GTEC. Snell and Lyons commit robbery every time they cash their obscene paychecks.

I don't think I've seen TREO in the press in two years. Do they even bother to go in to the office?

7/05/2009 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

We're all tired, and you have more than earned a rest, if not outright retirement, from the Tucson nonsense.

7/05/2009 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

As Navigator said, the last comment x4mr referenced is particularly damning, and that's so because it comes from a downtown merchant, so says its author.

Let's face it, many if not most of the commenters on StarNet aren't well-informed about the topics, and they merely react viscerally to what appears to be one revealed scandal or scam after another.

The criticism of Lyons' performance and the concern about his connections to Hecker and Trasoff is more significant when it comes from someone whose livelihood is at stake downtown.

7/05/2009 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

TREO hasn't been seeking the limelight as of late. They are in a rather pathetic place at the moment. Believe it or not, some of them are reasonably decent people trying to help in small ways (for small pay). Snell is sociopath.

Lyons is a more formidable figure clearly consolidating his network of support and becoming part of the inner echelon of the "Cloth infrastructure." No doubt he's prepared for the scenario where Nina is ousted, having established strong ties with the city manager as well as Hecker and Eckstrom.

As x4mr probably knows, he never stood a chance reaching the point where he could actually cause the ouster of the cloth and meaningful transformation. What is great, however, is that he served the appetizer and framed the language by coining the word "cloth."

As a result of his efforts, many more than before see the highly paid schmucks pretending to develop this town as greedy slime.

It actually makes me think of what has happened in Iran. The scum are still in place, but no one buys their bullshit, and no one respects them anymore.

Enjoy the $150,000 you stole from x4mr, swine Snell. Do you get what he then took from you? Nevermind, it's nothing. Those people smiling at you are being authentic.

No one thinks TREO stole funding intended for other agencies. No one. No one doubts Lyons is a downtown savior eager to serve. Ignore those comments following the article. Those people are just bitter because they aren't invited to the party.

7/05/2009 9:26 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

If Nina Trasoff were not re-elected, wouldn't the Cloth find a place for her given how she has supported them as an elected official?

I just can't imagine that Nutty Nina would be cut loose.

7/05/2009 9:57 PM  
Anonymous kaneui said...

If we unveil the Clothmeister hierarchy, who's at the top of the food chain? Is it Click and Diamond as part of a select group of megabuck powerbrokers, with Huckelberry, Hecker, Trasoff, Lyons, et al, their first line of command?

Since we're pulling back the curtain, we might as well identify the full lineup.

7/06/2009 1:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We could start by identifying Larry Hecker's clients.

7/06/2009 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another ex-Tucson Citizen staffer has joined DTP. An editor, Teresa Truelson.
Believe Teya Vitu is working there too along with Cara Rene. What's up with all that?

7/14/2009 5:02 PM  
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7/17/2009 11:54 PM  
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11/20/2009 4:40 AM  

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