Sunday, August 14, 2011

ZAP! #64: Celebrate?!

ZAP! #64...August 14, 2011

The staff of the CCR cordially invites you to…wait, this isn’t our party to sneak folks in. We may be just paying for it.

If you haven’t seen the latest edition of The Irving Rambler, then you missed the colored ad inviting the Northern String Pullers to the 5th anniversary of Capo Tommy Gonzalez as Irving’s city manager. This shindig is being sponsored by Irving’s Lubbock Mafia Chamber of Commerce. Business attire requested...ring kissing optional.

The first thought that comes to mind is...what? If the invitation ad, hotel booking (NYLO Hotel) and nosh items are being paid for by the chamber, is the funding for this party part of the $2+ million* that Irving tax payers fork over to subsidize this institution? When will the chamber sponsor a hot dog feast in south Irving Senter Park for Fred in the Water Department recognizing his 35-years of service fixing broken water mains in the middle of the night and on weekends?

Somehow, this 5th anniversary bash seems a little egotistical and self-congratulatory. Forget that tax payers could be paying for this soirée, it seems absurd that the Northern String Pullers always overlook the grief and aggravation residents endure daily with the city bureaucracy led by the city manager.

Maybe, the staff of the CCR is just out of touch. Perhaps, we should really be glad that we have the opportunity to celebrate and salute the city manager’s five years of achievements that have included: increased taxes, rates and fees; restrictive small business ordinances; low morale of city employees; compensation greater than the president of the U.S.; silent as a Sphinx when financial advisors and bond underwriters informed officials in 2010 that the city could not meet bond revenue requirements for their $200 million portion of the $250 million Entertainment Center; the killing of a rain forest by all the 6-Sigma documents, reports and other materials that gather dust on shelves; inability to often respond to reporters on topical issues where he has critical knowledge of the item; the $2 million sidewalk in the urban center; the ugly, inefficient and dim new street lights all along Irving Boulevard; inordinate number of “business” meetings and lunches on the city’s tab; the continued turmoil festering in the fire department ranks; residential ordinances and enforcers who give new meaning to the term our “brown shirts” are here to help you; bond re-financing savings going to prop up the ICVB due to slack revenue projections for the convention center project; turning the 4th floor of city hall into a bunker making it easier to visit the Pope than to see the city manager; the utter folly, cost and lack of construction for “McDougalville” in the Heritage District; collapsing positions and departments in order to provide him an invisible shield of accountability/protection from the general public; and all the unnecessary expenses associated with the creation of a new city logo that surely pleased all the Northern String Pullers.

After all, five years could be a record for the Capo. It has taken Irving residents this long to realize that their interest are secondary to those of the Northern String Pullers. And the city council appears to be as slow witted as the citizenry in this regard.

………..Mark Holbrook

* Note: $450,000 of the $2+ million that the city channels to the chamber is advertising revenues collected on the old Texas Stadium sign. There are those on the council that might not even be aware of the existence of this sweetheart deal between the chamber and the city.