Friday, January 01, 2010

That's All, Folks!


While new posts will arrive occasionally, comments on a particularly worthwhile film, book, or thoughts on an interesting development, for practical purposes one can regard this as the final post in what has been a remarkably rewarding, interesting, and challenging experience.

I became a blogger in the spring of 2006, nervously submitting my first comments at Art Jacobson's The Data Port, Michael Bryan's Blog for Arizona, Stacy's Arizona Congresswatch, and at those free for all exchanges at Daily Kos. That fall, in the context of the AZ CD-8 and LD-26/30 elections, peppered with outrage at the Bush administration, I started this blog. It had nothing to do with my employment as Executive Director of a customized training institute.

Like many non-profits, the institute (SAIAT) relied on a public subsidy to allow it to offer services a for-profit school could never provide, but since we actually trained real people in real companies, we infuriated the local do nothing non-profits. Outside a cigar shop, I was warned we would be destroyed. I started taking classes towards a PhD. The warning proved accurate when another non-profit, TREO, stole SAIAT's funding. Instead of resigning at once, I chose to tie up loose ends and manage a six month “controlled burn” while researching and writing the SAIAT story. I dodged saboteur bullets, returned fire, and in May 2007, I resigned to devote full time to my dissertation. Something Else went live on 7/7/7.

For the do nothing money pits like TREO the story coined the expression "Cloth" which caught on in the local blogosphere. When TREO learned of the blog and the story, they considered hiring armed guards. I saw attorneys searching the material and wrote a post addressing them directly. The lawyers correctly surmised that the drama of legal action would reinforce my efforts, knowing that I had thorough and exhaustive documentation behind my facts.

The results exceeded my expectations. Local awareness of the Cloth, its lack of results, and the money squandered has reached targeted levels. On safe turf city council members fully acknowledge, "We know TREO stole funding," and people are now beginning to speak of substantive change regarding economic development. They have chosen to address leadership at the Chamber first, but make no mistake, with the Chamber they seek to have, the other money pits would have no place and no support.

I completed the dissertation, graduated with a PhD, and left Arizona for cloth free employment.

I would like to thank some of those who have posted comments. Their contributions have been invaluable.

Sirocco doesn't post often, but his remarks always contribute to the conversation. He's an extremely sharp software engineer with extraordinary depth and breadth. He's read shelves of books you haven't heard of. For reasons unknown he is super concerned that his anonymity remains intact. Maybe he's one of those genius cryptographer code breaker types that works for a secret acronym housed ten stories underneath DM Air Force Base.

Liza is a delightful human being with a real soul, one of those who truly understand that the one who dies with the most money may have in fact missed all that life is about. I've spoken with her, exchanged emails, and one of my regrets regarding how I left Tucson is that I did so without meeting her face to face over a cup of coffee. I will never forget Liza or the short story that she wrote and sent to me. Best Wishes, Liza.

Navigator was too frightened to meet with me personally. I think my border material spooked him. Nav has a thing for Liza and all but admits it. Some of his insights have been remarkable.

Observer always comes up with stuff I hadn't thought about, in particular good links to material on YouTube or elsewhere. I still cringe over his posting of people being interviewed outside of a Sarah Palin book signing. OMG.

Robish – Robish is a well meaning and terrific person truly committed to making a difference for the community. He probably understands Tucson as well as anyone here and definitely knows what it is to deal with the self-serving, do nothing goons of the Cloth.

Travis – Travis only very rarely submitted comments back in the days when I was fuming about Rio Neuvo and the Club/Cloth/Superclub, etc.. He has submitted some of the most insightful writing I have seen regarding the screwed up nature of the Tucson community.

Framer – Like myself, Framer started blogging in the context of the 2006 AZ CD-8 election, calling his blog Arizona Eighth. His blog gained quite a bit of momentum and has since merged with Gila Courier. He's now quite actively engaged in the Tucson tea party efforts. Framer, Liza, Sirocco, and I go way back to the TDP days.

Casey - I met Casey during the SAIAT days. He uses his real name and now lives in San Diego. He knows blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and all this stuff at a level I can barely imagine. He calls it "social media." Casey can probably Twitter to his Facebook page and blog at the same time from his cell phone.

Texpatriot – I bet Texpat, a friend of Sirocco's, is hot. She's a sharp example of what Republicans can be when they don't jettison intellect, education, and facts. She's what the GOP could be if it didn't drink the Dobson kool-aid and start kneeling before the likes of Limbaugh and Palin. We need more people like her. I would like someone like her with me, right now.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes to All. I honestly don't know what is next, but the time has come to make it official that this place is dropping back to a far less active status. Let's face it. How do you engage someone howling about death panels and birth certificates, thinks socialism and fascism are the same thing, and wants the world to end next year?

I'd like to extend a huge "Thank you!" to all readers. Folks are most welcome to check in now and then, for I will continue to post commentary about a particularly good film or book, or a compelling development. For example, if you can stomach it, consider this documentary about PNAC and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Labels:

28 Comments:

Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Oh no. Such sad news for New Year's Day.

1/01/2010 7:06 PM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

I would like to post what I consider to be x4mr's greatest hits. I have to do it as two comments.

Part One:

The Brighter the Mask the Darker the Soul.
This is great post that says in a nutshell what Max Blumenthal greatly amplifies in his book Republican Gomorrah.

The Class with No Cake
An intuitive and simple refutation of the notion that free markets work.

Historical Marker: Take Two
When x4mr first posted his own tombstone.

Gunfight at a Certain Corral
The bullets fly as TREO moles on the SAIAT board try to assassinate x4mr. Before my time, but I can imagine being Liza or Sirocco as this drama progressed.

Sweet, Succulent Stanford
What I think is great about this one, posted a month before the resignation when some people are figuring out who x4mr is but most have not. This is just great "controlled burn" and you can tell he doesn't care (the photo) if his identity is blown.

Something Else
The 07/07/07 blog post that links to the web site hosting the story.

The Stratification of Technophilia immediately changed what I associated with the word "omnivore."

Stupid Googling, Stupid
This is where x4mr posted a link to images most foul and destructive with the warning "Don't click!" and of course everyone did (except Sirocco). What makes it great is the comment thread.

1/01/2010 10:30 PM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

Part Two:

The Border was weird and I imagine most people just dismissed it. To help some see that this isn't idle chit chat, he offered a sample in A Trip to the Border. I'm not sure, but this post may be the one that attracted the delightful troll, Diana, who commented that x4mr belonged to a satanic cult.

Requiem For a Murdered Dream features Cigar Man's explanation for the destruction of SAIAT.

The End and the Beginning
A very insightful recap that connects the dots.

The TUSD Myers Thread actually made a difference and resulted in Elizabeth Celania-Fagan getting the job.

The Tipping Point The comments are great.

Liquid to Vapor to Concrete

Citizen Scratches TREO The feather in x4mr's cap when a newspaper article finally exposes TREO's theft of public funding from other agencies.

Toxic Distraction The T-shirt post showing the mentality of the kooks.

Cloth Clash at the Star Corral must have given x4mr cause for satisfaction.

Obviously x4mr is no longer in Arizona. It makes no sense for him to continue to comment on local events. I hope he does find another voice worth sharing here. I will miss this blog if he stops posting.

1/01/2010 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

Thanks, Navigator, for posting a few of the many highlights.

Thanks, of course, to Matt Foraker, for hosting this forum and so consistently initiating the dialogue with witty, insightful, relevant, important, significant, and subversive posts. Tucson owes you a big thank you.

I have an idea. What if we just continued this comment thread into perpetuity, with Observer, Navigator, Liza, Policon, Travis, Tex, Scirocco, and the Tucson gang occasionally posting updates on the ongoing effort to prevent the Cloth from killing what's left of Tucson? x4mr can chime in when he feels like it.

Okay, maybe I'm just grasping at straws here and can't let go.

Sunday's Arizona Daily Star has a classic Rob O'Dell article, where he goes to experts outside of Tucson to debunk the Cloth's crazy scheme to build a convention hotel that is doomed to fail and bankrupt the city. Does Rob have to find out-of-town experts because Tucson has no experts? Or because Tucson's experts have been bought off? Or, perhaps, intimidated, silenced, threatened, discouraged, frustrated . . . ?

Rhonda Bodfield has a piece about Humberto S. Lopez starting a recall effort against Smiling Bob Walkup, Regina Romero, and Karin Uhlich. And the obligatory pooh-poohs from Tom Volgy, who I believe predicted that Nina Trasoff would have no trouble winning re-election in 2009.

1/03/2010 1:07 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Wow, Nav. Thanks. That must have taken some time. I actually thought about doing something like that.

I will still be posting material, but it will not be like before when I was actively pursuing content. Actually, I quit pursuing content quite awhile ago.

My email is at my blogger profile. Messages are welcome if you'd like me to consider posting something. Who knows? This place may become prolific again. However, if it does, it will not be about the Cloth or Southern AZ politics. Granted, events may occur too compelling to ignore.

Happy New Year, all.

1/03/2010 10:56 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

X4mr,
I think we all knew you were winding down the blog, but I am sure that it is not because of a lack of ideas for things to post about.
It has been our good fortune that you decided in 2006 to make the leap from commenter to blogger. You have consistently provided insightful, interesting, and well written posts on quite a range of subjects.
I think my favorite thing about the blog is the way you have elevated whistle blowing to a whole new level. The easiest story to tell is the truth, but not that many people are willing to do it. Most people, I believe, would just want to move on after an experience like TREO's destruction of SAIAT. But you put it all out there for public consumption and gave Tucson a rare glimpse into bureacratic incompetence, greed, and corruption that is very common but seldom reported. It really is quite an achievement.
I hope that this place does become "prolific again." I just can't imagine you without a place to organize and share your thoughts. But, if that does not happen, I am most definitely among those who are grateful to you for having given us this blog. In dark times, we all need ways to find our kindred spirits.

1/03/2010 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

I agree with all that's been said here.

As we speak, TREO faces greater skepticism than it has since it was formed. X4mr is right. Both "Cloth" and the fact that TREO stole money is now known by almost all. They are tolerated more than respected.

The group after the Chamber cannot help but mention the other agencies, and in the face of city budget problems, imagine arguing for doling out another million to TREO after what it's amassed for itself and what it pays its officers. TREO should be told to get its budget, all of it, from the private sector. The city should tell that fat f*ck Snell he's been sufficiently stuffed long enough.

You'll find another voice, x4mr. It might be a month or two to find the new drum and beat. The people that like (liked) this blog would be making a mistake not to check it every so often.

I'll bet x4mr doesn't go a week without posting something.

1/03/2010 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

I'm dying to meet many of the regular commenters from this blog. I'm curious if I already know some of these fine and intelligent people.

Perhaps x4mr could help facilitate a discreet get-together, off-line, though he himself could not attend.

Just a thought.

1/03/2010 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Robish said...

TREO will likely face much more than skepticism this week when the City Council convenes at the TCC to enact a deficit reduction package.

The budget blades are sharpening, and TREO is expected to be on the chopping block. Mike Letcher has suggested 20% cuts across the board to outside agencies, but the rumor is that some city council members are looking to hit them all harder.

1/03/2010 10:21 PM  
Anonymous Concupiscence said...

Just a regular old vigilant commoner, who will miss the sunlight you all gave to the unbounding graft,deception,deceit and pure incompetence that seeped into an otherwise very fine village. It does appear that Tucson is purging itself, and the economic crisis has only brought out more of the cockroaches.

I am one of the retired private investigators who were keeping an eye on TCC staff. If you could find them!

1/04/2010 2:39 AM  
Anonymous Robish said...

My advice to Concupiscence is to look no further than Barrio Brewing Company.

1/04/2010 8:23 PM  
Anonymous Frank A said...

Matt,

While you and I have our political differences, I appreciated your blog and your perspective with regard to "The Cloth."

Maybe because of you, things are a changin'.

Accountability is coming in the form of a detailed, forensic and performance audit.

Many of the players you spoke of will soon be finding other lines of work, and others may end up making license plates.

Cheers and good luck to you,

Frank A

1/05/2010 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope Frank is correct, and he might be. I too have heard rumblings about a real investigation that has actual substance regarding consequences.

I've also heard that support for such outlandish funding levels in the face of the current budget crisis has crashed.

Many deserve to be fired, and yes, put in jail.

1/06/2010 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Robish said...

Two venues seem promising, in terms of government accountability, at least with the City of Tucson.

Frank A. is referring to the State of Arizona's impending audit of Rio Nuevo, required in the bill that was passed to take control of the fiasco.

We need similar scrutiny of Pima County, aka the Kingdom of Chuck.

The second promising opportunity is the scrutiny by new City Council Member Steve Kozachik, who is shining a light on the city budget, line by line. I would recommend people check out the replays of the 1/5/10 Council meeting on the City Channel 12. It was great TV yesterday, viewed live.

1/06/2010 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an architect in town whose name rhymes with the top of a wine bottle. While the audit is underway, take a look at the number of non-bid contracts this man has garnered over the past 15 years,that have been performed as a project with the utiilization of UofA architecture students. Sort of like a Rio Nuevo Amway!

1/06/2010 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, his first name is like the word for what goes into a wine bottle, and his last name rhymes with the flat disk that you might put under a beverage glass to keep your table dry.

1/07/2010 8:04 AM  
Anonymous Mariana said...

Thank YOU.

1/07/2010 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Dork?
Roaster?

1/07/2010 7:00 PM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Pork Toaster?

No more, I'm going back to football.

1/07/2010 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something you hang on your wall.

First name has another syllable after the word for what you pull out of a wine bottle.

1/07/2010 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

I am almost certain that Frank A is Frank Antenori. Matt and Frank got along and respected each other. I remember watching them talking at a cigar event.

I hope Robish is right about TREO facing a funding cut. What an obscene waste of taxpayer money.

1/07/2010 7:51 PM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

Saw this post a few days ago, it made me sad ... of course, I completely understand getting burned out with the posting.

I agree with all previous posters about how insightful, stimulating, informative and intellectually rewarding this blog has been for the last 3+ years. I've enjoyed the posts, the comments, the folks making the comments, the give-and-take. Its a venue that will be missed.

Hopefully after a little down time something else will incite you to resume regular posting again. I'll keep checking, just on the off chance. :)

1/08/2010 9:14 AM  
Anonymous A Different Anon said...

Star reported Friday that an unknown number of people were laid off at TREO. Of course, no details. How can that be? Oh well, the truth will out as the Cloth frays...

1/09/2010 9:05 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

According to the Star article, all that is going on with the TREO lay offs is that TREO got hit with a 20% reduction in the 1.24 million dollars of taxpayers' money that the city had allocated for them. The article also states that the county is still giving TREO 740K. So, the fat pigs are still feeding lustily at the public trough, make no mistake. I wonder if any of the "executives" took a pay cut. If they did, then will they get bonuses to compensate? TREO needs to be dismantled, it is a failed agency. How many more millions of dollars have to get flushed into the TREO Toilet before the city and county "leaders" see that there is a dire need to use that money elsewhere?
Well, getting rid of Trasoff was nice and I'm sorry that Uhlich didn't go down with her.
I hope that an audit of Rio Nuevo identifies all of the hungry pigs, and gives Tucson an opportunity to clear the decks and start over. Economic development is getting more challenging than ever before, and Tucson hasn't much hope without a change in leadership.

1/09/2010 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Mariana said...

Poster

1/09/2010 10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corky Poster.

1/09/2010 11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I am Anonymous 1 and it looks like Anon 2&3 won the Kupie doll by guessing the right name. Now who in the world cares enough to do anything? They all just roll on with complete impunity.

Like dude, like ya know dude, that Larry Hecker is back at the table getting $6000.00 a month as a consultant to Garfield Traub. How in God's name does this man keep suckling from the breast of the downtown.... any he produces nada! For 30 years, nada! Are we nuts or what? No conflict of interest with the Board position on the Dappa Tappa Pata fraternity? DTP that is.

We deserve everything we get by not indicting these confabulators.

1/24/2010 1:10 AM  
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