Sunday, December 11, 2011

ER #26: AC/DC Holiday Madness

City Hall Elevator Rumblings #26

Rider #1: The “Christmas music” was rather funky at city hall after six members of the council* voted to seek approval of a $170 million bond financing package to construct what some have referred to as Billy Bob’s Boondoggle -- otherwise know as the $250 million Entertainment Center. While the music might have been appropriate, I doubt that the six council members appreciate hearing the AC/DC classic “Highway to Hell” as the theme for their vote and the path they are potentially sending Irving tax payers down.

Rider #2: Well, you just have to remember one thing. Since Billy Bob has the former mayor (Gears) lobbying city staff and council members, and being the recipient of over $800,000 Billy Bob Bucks for his failed re-election campaign, money does talk...very loudly it seems in this case! And with a 99-year lease on the project, Billy Bob will have plenty of time to laugh at the simplemindedness of those who were charged with protecting the tax paying public as they listened to what his money was babbling.

Rider #1: Yeah, this is similar to that baseball movie, “Field of Dreams.” Except, in this case, it’s: “If I spend it, they will build it.” But how do you explain six council members being blindly led down the path to wrecking the city’s bonding and financial integrity? Attempting to float a $170 million bond package could be ruinous and might certainly put tax payers on the hook if fluffy revenue projections do not materialize. Do these six members of the council not understand or even have a clue? Where did these council folks develop their bond financing ‘expertise‘ to disregard the consultant’s $105 million recommendation? And how can previously demonstrated lapses in veracity by a former mayor trump what paid professionals have outlined for the city and council to pursue?

Rider #2: If you listened to all the Kool-Aid spin and condescending rhetoric -- by the new head cheerleader for the project (Cannaday, since Stopfer will be up for re-election) -- that was inflicted on the public last Thursday, the council is only “testing” the bond market for $170 million. Want to make a bet? Even if the bond “test strip” comes back showing red, these six members of the council could probably be tone deaf to doing what is right, feasible and for the greater financial good of the city. And if they vote to strap the tax paying public with a financially irresponsible project, then the iconic AC/DC tune will be playing in the background again...loud and clear.

Rider #1: I would take that bet, but after seeing this group in action and knowing their perchance to ignore facts, sound advice and what the tax paying public deems reasonable, I’ll just save my money. By the way, has the council voted for 60/40 food and beverage service in hell, yet?

  • Council members voting against the recommendation of the city’s bonding consultants and believing they are immune from voter backlash, or recall are: Stopfer, Cannaday, Santoscoy, Patrick, Gallaway and Webb.

A note from counsel: These “candid” elevator conversations have been injected with fabricated nouns, verbs, adjectives, conjunctions, adverbs, modifiers and maybe a few dangling participles….Mark Holbrook