Sunday, April 17, 2011

ZAP! #47: For Sale...real cheap

ZAP! #47...April 17, 2011


Irving, Texas

If you desire to purchase a slightly used and abused city, then now is the time. With the upcoming election, Irving has gone on the auction block. Maybe it is time. The glory days of when the city was actually run by the citizens has long passed...specifically over the past couple of years.

Currently, a council of incumbents listens more to the city administration and folks contributing to their campaigns than they do to the average voter. After all, money talks and your $50, $100 and $200 contribution is barely a whisper on the political battlefield for the soul of the city.

Regardless, to qualify as a bidder for the city, the following restrictions are going to be enforced: you must either live in the northern part of the city or have a major business connection with the northern part of the city; you will need plenty of money as the price is not going to be cheap; you should be in favor of Voodoo Financing of the proposed Entertainment Center; and you need to tell everyone that political contributions do not have strings attached. (Be sure and snicker after that last one!)

After reviewing the first filing of the campaign finance reports for the mayoral candidates, it should be obvious that two of the individuals will have an awful lot of payback to make if they are elected. While this may sound like a rather harsh statement, do you really think that those who contribute large sums of money don’t expect something in return? Please! Shed your cloak of innocence and join the rest of us in the real world.

And the obligations the candidates will have to pay back rarely benefits the citizens who elected these political-money grabbers.

To demonstrate, we’ll take the top two money grabbers in this year’s race for mayor. For this illustration, we have only listed those individuals who have contributed $1,000 or more. And bear in mind, this report filing is just the first of several to come. Some of these names could appear again on later reports.

Major Contributors to Gears ( $122,971 collected, so far )

Chris Allen: $20,000 (pledged); Charles Cotton: $5,000 (Real Estate); Robert Stewart: $5,000 (Real Estate); Billy Bob Barnett: $35,000 (Entertainment Center); William Beuck: $7,500 (Developer); Henry Beck: $1,000 (Developer); Luis Spinola: $12,006 (Construction); Frank Branson: $5,000 (Attorney); David Hanlon: $12,500 (Las Vegas); Wynona Winters: $15,000 (Billy Bob’s sister); Carl Klinke: $5,000 (Attorney); Ron Adams: $1,000 (Vending); Kathleen Olson: $1,000 (Travel); Chris Wallace: $1,000 (Chamber of Commerce); Harry Starkweather: $5,000.

Not only is the money flowing in from those who conceivably want something in return, but it is flowing out just as quickly for consultants and sleazy newspaper ads. You just have to understand the old adage that you have to spend money to make money. And some of these contributors could stand to make a bundle from the Voodoo Financed Entertainment Center, as it is currently proposed, if Gears is re-elected.

Major Contributors to VanDuyne ( $45,430 collected, so far )

Heinz Simon: $10,000 (Business Owner); J. Ralph Ellis: $12,500 (Investor and a noted buyer of Harper-Brown); Raymond Woldridge: $2,000 (Investor); Karen Ellis: $2,000 (Investor); Joseph McQuillar: $5,000 (Investor); James Driver: $1,000 (Business owner); A.D. Carter, Jr.: $2,000 (Self-employed); Steven Jones: $1,000 (Producer); Dan Flaherty: $1,000 (Owner); Shiek Shah: $3,000 (pledged).

Even though VanDuyne is lagging behind, the fact that she has locked up the other half of the north Irving piggy bank of developers and business interest should be of concerned to voters. Maybe, a few mane flips might get the checkbooks out and prompt all of her north Irving contributors to dig a little deeper. .

Of course, you are sitting there reading this and wondering: Okay, how much has Putnam and Spink collected? Well, Putnam reported $17,925 and Spink verbally reported about $6,000. Since we do not have a written report on Spink, there is no way to determine who might be contributing to his campaign. As far as Putnam is concerned, review his report on your own to see all the “little people” supporting his effort. You will not find all the north Irving moneybags looking to collect or gain something in return from his election.

Since staff of the CCR shouldn’t have to do all the work, check out the full reports for all the candidates. The campaign finance reports are located at the Dallas Morning News site. The link is:

This brings us back to the main point of the city being sold. Money is to politics what water is to a sponge. And for all the candidates who are soaking up the big north Irving parasitic-bucks, it is easy to see how the “little people” who elected them are being left high and dry.

..............Mark Holbrook