Wednesday, June 13, 2012

ZAP! #90: Shoveling Spin

ZAP! #90
     Staff of the CCR needs a little help.  No, not that kind!

     After a recent shindig sponsored by the Las Colinas Group to showcase their pretty scale model and the delivery of fluffy-rhetorical information on the $250 million Entertainment Center, we cannot determine if the LCG’s PR hack was reading from the script of “Chicken Little” where the sky was falling, or “The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf” to scare those in attendance to rush out and pick up a shovel to start construction of the project that very day.

     Here are just a couple of the quotes shoveled by the Entertainment Center’s new comedy spin team of Margulies&Page from articles in The Rambler.
“Other communities are looking at this.”
     the CCR Sez:  Perhaps, the vision of other communities doesn’t include their entering into an agreement with a developer that utilizes fluffy numbers, an unfavorable bond report, an agreement that requires serious financial modifications, or their city not being in control of the overall project.
“...because every day an empty lot sits next to the convention center is a day of wasted opportunity for growth and development.”
     the CCR Sez:  Even if this was true, wouldn’t this still be a great day since the tax payers would not be on the hook for bonded debt that the city could ill afford.  Wouldn’t this still be a good day inasmuch the city would actually be in control of the project?  (Currently, the folks visiting the convention center -- and any entertainment venue -- would have to walk across a broad, open, barren, vacant field after getting off the highly anticipated DART train.  Who wants to do that?)  
“The IEC (Entertainment Center) is the only shovel-ready project to do the job.”
     the CCR Sez:  Since we’ve seen how ‘shovel-ready’ projects have placed our national economy in deep debt, one should be leery of anyone pushing this type of a deal on Irving tax payers.  Here’s a new adage: If you cannot afford the shovels, then you cannot afford the project.  And the LCG has yet to demonstrate that they have all their funding in place to buy the shovels needed.  In fact, they now want the council to give them a YEAR to pull together their funds to be able to buy the shovels.  And this should be considered a ‘shovel-ready’ project?
     What seems strange in all this is that there is always a lot of PR hype by LCG, but often a severe lack of official documentation detailing that their total financial commitment is/or will be in place by deadlines according to the terms of the current agreement.  

     Where is the actual plan for council action -- not verbal hyperbola for media consumption -- for all the impromptu changes to the current agreement LCG continues to float in the community?  Where is the identification, documentation and verification of all the proposed funding sources required of the LCG?  Was this recent PR presentation by LCG just another unconvincing attempt to apply pressure on the council to extend the LCG deadline for having their capital in place by the established August 6th deadline?

     Once again, LCG utilizes the flim-flam and almost comical oratory skills of Marguiles&Page (with ex-mayor Gears probably whispering his Kool-Aid thoughts in council member’s ears from the wings) in their attempt to sway public opinion at a noshing event replete with entertainment.  It seems apparent that LCG is really striving to have the public force a financially flawed decision on the council instead of meeting their contractual requirements.

     Do you wonder if they had a Kool-Aid fountain flowing at this event for all the guest to sip...thereby increasing the number of those already addicted to this ever changing financial smoke and mirrors scenario?

     Hopefully, the city council will heed all the warnings of the Standard & Poor’s bond rating report, hold the LCG to the August 6th deadline to demonstrate (according to the current agreement) that all their funding is in place and act with fiscal responsibility to tax payers over the din of the developer’s media blitz.  

     If the council doesn’t act with due diligence, then tax payers had best pick up a shovel, because there will be a big load* of spin next to the convention center that needs shoveling.  And Irving tax payers will probably be paying for the shovels to shovel this load!  
Note: The following link is to one of the articles in The Rambler used for some of the above quotes.
* For literary purposes, load and crock in this instance should be considered interchangeable.