Saturday, February 15, 2014

CCR 02-15-14: Mayor Double Faults?

the   Controversial  Committee   Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”

     Who said that lightening ZAP! cannot strike twice in the same place?  For CCR readers still suffering from PADD (Political Attention Deficit Disorder), a quick check of your files, or the CCR blog will note that on July 6, 2013, the subject of the following report was covered in great detail.  The only difference this time is the amount being doled out to private business concerns...all in the name of the supposedly ‘free money’ elixir -- “Economic Development.”

     And why do we raise this topic again?  Well, it appears that mayor BVD and her council tennis buddy, Brad LaMorgese, are once more preparing to serve citizens another set of political rhetoric to garner city bucks for a favorite private enterprise.  They are wanting approval to fund the very elite and highly expensive events for the professional tennis matches of the Texas Wild.  The scene for this fault-serve on citizens will be the Four Seasons Resort.

     Wasn’t the funding for this venture supposed to be a one lob event last year when city coffers were drained $400,000 to remodel the Fours Season’s tennis courts and ‘buy’ a court-load of ‘economic development?‘  From reports in the community, the repaired courts must have been hidden from the general public as the horde of attendees expected to flock to the matches didn’t materialize.  And this meant no genuine economic development bucks spilled into the community for visitors to buy hamburgers at Big State Drug store in beautiful downtown Irving.  Nor, were there any new business relocations resulting from this minimally exposed and costly venture.

     If you listen closely or tune in to the February 20, 2014 city council meeting, you might just hear Dolly Parton singing, “Here You Come Again.”  Somehow, mayor BVD and LaMorgese have managed to ‘come again’ to have two items placed on the council’s agenda.  The agenda items are: #41 for $180,000 and #42 for $150,000 for a total of $330,000.  

     When reviewing the detail for each agenda item, they almost appear to be identical in what they are providing.  The details list: site preparation, scoreboard, stadium structure, event access (free tickets?), restroom trailers, security fencing, power, ticket booths, court resurfacing for seven tennis courts (that the city doesn’t even own), and a bit of “Billy Bob-hooey” number crunching fabricating all the ‘exposure’ and goodies the city will receive by doling out $330,000.  Sure!

     Why should the city relinquish $330,000 for an event that will draw few visitors to the city?  Why should city funds be spent in such a capricious manner on a private concern (Four Seasons Resort) without reflecting any genuine return on investment?  Did the Texas Wild leave Kansas City due to overexposure or an unparalleled influx of tourist and businesses?  Or did they pick Irving because Irving has a malleable mayor who plays tennis and a council member who can carry her a fat city check book?  

     Let’s be realistic here.  Funding the Texas Wild does not even play on the same field as the Byron Nelson.  The Byron Nelson is known, watched and recognized worldwide.  When the Nelson folks are in town, every hotel room in Irving is nearly filled.  Potential businesses, considering relocation, are invited to the city to be exposed to Irving and the Nelson.  Pro golf has more known and recognizable players.  (Quickly, can you name one professional tennis player who plays for the Texas Wild?)

     Frankly, it would be remarkable if as many folks were aware or follow the Texas Wild as those who follow the USA Olympic Curling team.  Staff of the CCR believes a larger crowd supports curling activities.  This would certainly be true when one discovers that ticket pricing for a Texas Wild event cost $5,500 for Owner’s Club seating and $2,500 for Box seating.

     Other than the sponsors and marketing agency for the Texas Wild, who will actually benefit from this event and expense?  How many free ducats will mayor BVD and LaMorgese receive for their efforts to slam this personal project of theirs through the council?  (Will the city need to buy new front door mats for them to handle all the ticket deliveries?)

     Staff of the CCR would still like to see a bit more information and transparency with regards to who and how the city’s ‘Economic Development’ funds are doled out.  And the council should establish this review within the next month.  Certainly, these funds should not be a private piggy bank for the mayor...current or future.  

     However, mayor BVD does seem to be a bit piggish by wanting the city to pay for her personal entertainment and photo op of leaping across the net to cut the welcome ribbon again this year.

……………………………..Mark Holbrook

You Should Know:
mayor BVD   (972) 898-7500  
Brad LaMorgese   (214) 460-1990