Thursday, May 26, 2011

Donovan Durband to head Rio Nuevo

Some may remember that Donovan Durband once served as the able and well respected Director of the Tucson Downtown Alliance, an adept organization that promoted downtown and provided a variety of services supporting downtown businesses and activities.

During the period where Cloth Aficionados were plundering various agencies and stealing their funding, their eyes turned to the Alliance, and they replaced Durband (salaried in the $60K range) with Clothmeister Glen Lyons ($120K+), doubled the size of its board, and changed its name to the Downtown Tucson Partnership. Lyons promptly ousted Durband so he could hire the wife of a city council member's chief of staff. The DTP quickly devolved and became yet another cheer leading squad for the local boondoggles.

While the public could easily overlook TREO's stealing a few hundred grand from the various agencies that actually did something, the amply documented Rio Nuevo saga produced an outrage even the most talented Clothmeisters could not suppress. Its former director Greg Shelko, as well as Glen Lyons and said wife he hired, found other employers to pay them to occasionally show up. The FBI is now investigating Rio Nuevo, and Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup is not running for re-election.

Think what you like of Republican city councilman Steve Kozachik, but make no mistake, the man is no clothophile. He even suggested that the generously funded likes of TREO and MTCVB have performance measures, and imagine the gall, that the performance against these measures be reviewed.

Durband stayed in town when his agency was destroyed and accepted a position on Kozachik's staff, hardly putting him into the cloth corner, and now he has been tapped to take the helm of Rio Nuevo. Does this mean he's drunk the Cloth kool-aid and participated in their indoctrination programming? Is this an effort to take his talents away from a recalcitrant council member? Time will tell, but not likely.

It's difficult to imagine a former Kozachik staff member advising various contractors to pay Larry/Dan consulting for consideration in lucrative Rio Nuevo deals to produce plans for studies and blueprints for strategies. I don't see it.

Donovan Durband is accepting a difficult job in an environment where patience and the benefit of the doubt have been bled past dry. Greedy schmucks and self-absorbed egos are in every meeting. Perhaps the overarching presence of an FBI investigation and a new Mayor that can do something other than cheer for the charade will assist the efforts to transform a cloth windfall into a productive project for downtown Tucson.

By the way, Donovan, I've got an awesome idea for this really cool bridge.


Anonymous Robish said...

Hey x4mr, good to see you posting on a Tucson topic once more!

My impression of this Rio Nuevo board is that they are a bunch of no-nonsense Republicans who despise the City of Tucson, and who have been assigned the task of cleaning up the city's mess. They have tangled repeatedly with the COT in the last year or so, and refuse to sign a settlement agreement with the COT that would resolve ownership of a bunch of assets that the city spent Rio Nuevo money on, but kept in the city's name.

The question that Durband is probably asking himself is, is this new board really interested in making positive things happen with what's left of the money, or is it just out to recoup as many assets for the State of Arizona as possible? He will find out soon enough. My guess is he looks at this as a second-chance to get this right now that all Hecker and Trasoff influences have been purged. Jeff DiGregorio, who voted for the project that rebuilt his street with public funds, and Anne-Marie Russell of MOCA, which occupies a free building owned by the city, are now off the board.

Kozachik has been the only council member to make an attempt to work with Rio Nuevo. All the Democrats are hostile and scared.

According to the article in the Star, Durband lost some votes on the board just because of who his current employer is. The City of Tucson, not Kozachik.

Once he's gone over to that side, he will probably share with his new employers much of what he knows about the city's long-time mismanagement of Rio Nuevo with his new employers.

5/27/2011 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolute poetry in motion! Hecker the Hacker and Dandy Dan, are most likely seeing their primary doctor for insomnia. The FBI investigation is not going to end soon, but Donovan can assuredly help connect the dots a bit sooner. Most of those "Dots" have been malingering over 30 years of nothingness since the days of the El Centro Development Plan being adopted in 1983. They are easy to find, as they are fixtures of government co-dependency and have made fortunes as "consultants." Find the individuals who bought the junk bonds, and those entities that were part of the multiple sale/leasebacks of the Community Center, and you will be on the path to purging a systemic control of Downtown Tucson. It is the same 25. They have never changed.

5/27/2011 6:32 PM  
Anonymous Another Anon said...

There's trouble in paradise:

6/27/2011 7:05 AM  

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