Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the red state

Friday, July 31, 2015

Hell has frozen over: Ballpark Vote — a change in position

Earlier today (Friday), I postedthat KAMR’s storyexposed another sneaky move buried in the Local Government Corp.-City Council-Downtown Amarillo Inc. contract for the downtown parking garage. The promoters of the Wallace Bajjali-DAI plan have placed a requirement that downtown Amarillo be “blessed” with parking meters in addition to the multi-million parking structure.

The purpose is pretty clear: People are either going to pay for parking downtown on the street or in the garage, come Hell or high water (of which we have plenty lately).

Let’s put aside the pro and con arguments of the garage and parking meters. Instead, let’s look at some underlying points:

First, this revelation is one of a long, well-documented list spin, misrepresentations and outright lies propagated by DAI, the Local Government Corp. and others in the Wallace Bajjali camp of downtown development — including the Amarillo Globe-News and (mainly) the former City Council. It is, as I wrote, the “the proverbial ‘straw that breaks the camel’s back’” in this almost decade-long push to shape downtown in the visions of:
  • A fraudster master developer in the form of Wallace Bajjali;
  • A third- or even fourth-rate planner heading DAI;
  • Boards of DAI, the LGC and Amarillo Economic Development Corp. that show no analytical thinking skills, approving without question anything the bureaucrats want;
  • The 10th-rate publisher of the Amarillo Globe-News, a daily outlet for which the only love for this city is for the amount of money it can suck out of the economy by pandering to those here who can write the big checks;
  • And, prior City Commissions/Councils so clueless and bereft of critical thinking skills that they have led the AEDC and others into an FBI and grand jury investigation.
How do we put a stop to all this?

The three new councilors ran on a platform calling for placing the proposed ballpark on a ballot so voters would have a say about downtown development. I supported all three of the new councilors as candidates on the basis of that position and their calls for transparency in city government. And, normally I would push for elected officials to adhere to their campaign promises. But in this case, I am changing my view.

So, in relation to this, why might Hell have frozen over? Because I agree with a July 18 editorialfrom the city’s propaganda-in-chief Globe-News that called on the City Council to take an open vote on going forward with the ballpark.

There are several reason why I am releasing the new councilors from their campaign pledge.

First, although I believe a decent turnout for citywide vote on the issue will defeat the ballpark, thereby opening the door to rebooting the entire downtown development effort, I want to eliminate the risk of the ballpark winning. The main ways I would consider supporting a public vote is if the City Council invoked its investigative powers under the City Code before the election and let the public judge if it wants to proceed after having all the facts exposed from people under oath. Or, if the council froze all money to DAI and others as to limit their propagandizing.

Second, I am concerned that an additional four months of fighting over this will permit the Wallace Bajjali political descendants here to use their vast wealth to buy the election. They have far more resources than us rational folks and there is a strong possibility we’re at risk of them funneling public money through the city and DAI to sway the election.

Third, the Globe-News has a vested interest and lacks the journalistic ethics to give people here the straight story. The motives and power to purposefully misinform are strong. Finally, in the category of “be careful what you wish for,” I believe the people whom the Globe-News, Wallace Bajjali allies, previous commissioners and councilors have ignored, abused and demeaned need to teach those abusers a public lesson.

In short, “the little people” need to invoke that famous quote from “Network,” the Academy Award-winning movie: “I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!”