Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the red state

Sunday, June 28, 2015

More Political Pornography

When the Local Government Corp. announced recently that it would join with the City Council, AmarilloGlobe-News and on at least two Facebook pages (here and here), that this meeting is another ploy at propaganda to shove the Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc. plan down our throats.
Downtown Amarillo Inc., Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone and others in a community meeting on July 1, TIRZ Chairman Richard Brown and others represented the meeting as one seeking input and discussion. It turns out now as a story unfolds in the

While the first clue that the meeting Wednesday wasn’t really for community input came from reports about Mayor Paul Harpole’s “Town Hall” meetings, at which he has been reported to reject an election on the Wallace Bajjali-DAI stadium, clear confirmation arrived Sunday with the story referenced above.

“The purpose of the meeting on Wednesday is to bring before the City Council and Amarillo Local Government Corp. a review of what has been done and what’s next, so that informed decisions can be made going forward,” the article states in an unattributed paragraph. What makes this particular paragraph unusual for the Globe-News is the lack of attribution, veering from the normal style of crediting a source to every paragraph.

One other usual feature in this story is the move from bashing City Hall back to the overt propaganda for the Wallace Bajjali-DAI plan.

The other ramping up of the propaganda are those two Facebook pages. The first is a community page called “Advance Amarillo,” which purports to “work to educate our community on the importance of growth downtown and beyond.”

“Educate,” in this case, means continuing to spread the lies that no public money will pay for these Wallace Bajjali-DAI projects. It is clear that, while private investors have indicated interest in the projects, public subsidies in the form of guarantees and tax abutments will reach into taxpayer pockets. And two of the ramrods for this page seem to be Walter Riggs, a prominent banker in Amarillo, and Steve Pair, a former news director and Red Cross executive. Both have been four-square part of the Wallace Bajjali-DAI support group.

The second Facebook page is labelled: “This is the official Facebook page for Amarillo City Commissioner, Dr. Brian Eades.”

It, too, furthers the propaganda for the Wallace Bajjali-DAI plan. It would also be of interest to know if the city’s information technology people maintain this page for Eades, thus using city resources for propaganda, or if he maintains it himself.

What both pages have in common is this: Every post from someone who disagrees with the Wallace Bajjali-DAI plan is refuted, often with misinformation if not outright untruth. Further, the modus operandi of the pro-Wallace Bajjali-DAI plan is to call those opposed to the Wallace Bajjali-DAI debacle “negative,” as though it is a great insult. And it overlooks that many support revitalization, but want a more honest and rational approach.

The last city election was very much about the direction of downtown coupled with a referendum on whether the leadership in this city could be trusted. I will continue to point out that I warned this city about Wallace Bajjali and no one listened. But all said and done, I was right. There are other voices suppressed, political games played and questionable judgment infesting the entire effort so far. That the FBI and a grand jury is even looking at the Amarillo Economic Development Corp. and some of the other activities (including how the Herring Hotel has been treated) is enough taint to this process, even if no true bill is reported.

This get-along-by-going-along is hurting Amarillo in the long run. The revitalization effort needs to be rebooted and more open.