Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the red state

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why the downtown cartel isn't interested in Route 66

Many may have wondered why the city of Amarillo and those pushing the Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc.-Amarillo Globe-News plan for downtown have given such short shrift to Route 66 as an economic driver. And my interest in this matter came up because an advocate of the Wallace Bajjali plan spread some false information on Facebook.

Here is the text of the post and linkto Facebook:

There are limited uses for HOT, which Lissa apparently doesn't understand. Demerson is right about San Jacinto, but he's fighting an uphill battle, and that is a battle against the way the city promotes and supports development. The city in general does not proactively manage growth here, mostly it sits back and watches development happen and capitalizes on that by instituting lots of silly building ordinances and collecting building permit fees. I can't imagine the city becoming proactive about development planning; it would seem far too "liberal" and interfering for the locals. But maybe he will draw attention to our city's need to maintain its historical neighborhoods. We'll see.

Well I have a theory. I just did a PRAD search of Southwest Sixth Streetand not one of those properties is overtly owned by the downtown development cartel members like the Wares, ANB, Joe Bob McCartt or Alan Rhodes. Some of the owners along that stretch of the Mother Road (that’s what it is) are clearly non-Anglo, non-Panhandle pioneer names. That should explain a lot about why the power elite in Amarilloaren’t promoting Route 66.

The assertion that the city doesn’t “proactively manage growth” here is so false on its face that I can hardly respond. The entire rationale of the downtown development debacle and the Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc.-Amarillo Globe-News plan is to “proactively manage growth.” Unless, of course, economic development isn’t growth. Oh, wait, it is growth for the insiders’ bank accounts who knew what the then-City Commission and prior City Council had planned.

The city has been overtly picking winners and losers for at least the last eight years — with nothing but a cascade of lies falling on more lies. And, Colin Cummings, your post above is a good example of the lies, disinformation and propaganda the Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc.-Amarillo Globe-News cartel continues to spread, Goebbels-like, including throwing down the “L” word in order to paint the resistance to the Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc.-Amarillo Globe-News plan as bad for Amarillo.

If you want to throw down the “L” word, thrown it at the then-City Commission, prior City Council and the city administration who bought the prostitute services from Wallace Bajjali with the Globe-News and DAI serving as main pimp and madam.

Resignation and honor, an example to follow

One of the reasons I’ve not attacked Paul Matney about his support for the Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc.-Amarillo Globe-News ballpark is that at the base of it, I judged him an honorable man. And, he proved himself that today by resigning from the DAI board.

However, DAI still has a major problem with its executive director and board treasurer. Melissa Dailey, I believe, continues to violate state election laws, her organization’s own by-laws and city conflict of interest rules by doing all the advocacy for her Wallace Bajjali-inspired plan. This conflict has arisen since the City Council placed the advisory vote on the ballpark on a city ballot for a Nov. 3 vote. Dailey should have immediately and radically modified her behavior.

As for the DAI board treasurer, Les Simpson, he is in a similar position to Matney. Either he has to leave the DAI board immediately or he must henceforth restrict any mention of the Nov. 3 election to the outlet’s news pages. Any advocacy of for the Wallace Bajjali ballpark must stop forthwith. Otherwise others should, and likely will, file formal complaint with the proper authorities. Given the Globe-News’ track record for journalism ethics, I don’t hold out much hope for either of those events to occur.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lies, damn lies and the Amarillo Globe-News

Not too many years ago, corrections or retractions of articles in a daily newspaper were rare. And less
frequently were legitimate accusations of news stories containing outright lies for propagandizing. In addition, when running either opinion pieces or editorials, facts and some semblance of truth informed the newspapers’ opinions. Somehow in Amarillo, we have fallen far from those standards.

The Sept. 20, 2015 version of the Amarillo Globe-News offers readers two examples that should have never seen the light of day.

The first is the long and winding editorial, about defunding Planned Parenthood and the videos that purported to show that the organization is “hit with a scandal involving the sale of aborted baby parts.”
The editorial continues with this entirely false one-sentence paragraph, “Speaking of the videos, there really is no debate justifying an investigation, not if you look at the videos from a logical and nonpolitical perspective.”

This line is such an outright lie that I don’t care if someone thinks my criticism is discourteous and unseemly The videos made public were from a rabid anti-woman group that secretly recorded and edited content in the worst way possible — to portray the exact opposite of the facts. It isn’t news when it’s done that way. It is fomenting lies based on the kind of propaganda Joseph Goebbels promoted against Jews during World War II. (Yes, I am playing the Nazi card here, because that is how low the Center for Medical Progress and the Globe-News stooped to put out their lies.)

As LauraBassett points out in her Huffington Post piece, a forensic analysis of the videos on which the Globe-News relies “found they are so egregiously manipulated that they would never be accepted as evidence in a court of law.” It is bad enough that the Globe-News is going to conclude those videos are nonpolitical and a logical basis the basis for an investigation. Congress has asked for the full and unaltered videos from the Center for Medical Progress. We’ll have to see what those show and whether the Globe-News will have the ethics and decency to make that information public.

And speaking of ethics, let’s look at our controversial local issue: the downtown development debacle and the upcoming vote about the Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc.-Amarillo Globe-News ballpark. In a story about DAI’s Facebook page, the Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc. propaganda rag has this line, “But voters in a Nov. 3 election will decide the fate of the $32-million MPEV.”

That is flat-out incorrect and, given the Globe-News’ position on downtown development and Wallace Bajjali, its publisher’s role in the Wallace Bajjali and Downtown Amarillo Inc., one can only conclude this is misleading on purpose. In other words, it’s a lie. For those interested in facts, the vote is advisory; it’s non-binding on the City Council.

The DAI Facebook, page, by the way, states, “DAI does not take a position on ballot issues and will not provide a forum for any positions.” That is also a lie. DAI has advocated for the Wallace Bajjali plan all along and the entire Facebook effort by this taxpayer-funded organization is advocacy for Wallace Bajjali and the fraudster firm’s plan. The law is clear on who can and can not advocate on a ballot measure and it is possible DAI’s role on Facebook and elsewhere bears investigation by the Texas Ethics Commission. Given what some of the councilors know and will learn more about DAI and Wallace Bajjali, the council may kill of the entire project and DAI no matter the outcome of the Nov. 3 vote.

And, trust me folks, when the community learns more about Wallace Bajjali and DAI, people will applaud the action that the City Council must and will take to end this fraud upon Amarillo. Stick with me on this one, folks. The Amarillo Independent was right in 2010 and is right about Wallace Bajjali and DAI in 2015.

Meanwhile, just like there are lies, damn lies and statistics, there are also lies, damn lies and the Amarillo Globe-News.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge

I don’t normally post shaky video, but when I do, it’s of content that I can’t resist. And when it comes to trains, I can’t resist. So, after finally catching up a bit on my computer stuff, here is what we caught from an overlook outside Silverton, Colo., in August. I should note that I first rode this train in 1957 when it was still part of the Denver & Rio Grande. I’ve also ridden it in 1977, 1987 and 1990, so it has become a bit of a pilgrimage.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

More misguided propaganda -- and a deconstruction of it

Nick Gerlich, a professor of marketing at West Texas A&M University, posted in his blog a discussion of the Amarillo Millennial Movement, comparing these youth to the Baby Boomers who protested the Viet Nam War. Gerlich portrays these youth as victimized by the older generation because the some of their elders are not taking them seriously.

But, Gerlich is as misguided as this youthful friends. Herewith is a deconstruction of his blog post.

A Different Voice

I am a Baby Boomer. Born in 1959, I was one of the later ones to call this cohort mine. We were a rambunctious group of ne-erdowells. We played our music loud. We protested the View Nam War. We indulged in the free-loving culture of the day. And we wore our hair and clothes in ways that made our parents cringe.

I am a pre-Baby Boomer, technically, with a 1945 birthday, but see myself more of a Boomer than a pre-Boomer. That said, Nick, I also didn’t like the Viet Nam War (maybe the View Nam War refers to it as the first real war brought into the nation’s living rooms on TV. Quite the Freudian slip for you.) However, wearing clothes and listening to music that outraged our elders was not the exclusive domain of Boomers. It’s always been a generation thing. Do study history.

But more than anything, we just wanted people to listen to us. The status quo was to be defied. Our mantra was Question Authority (and sometimes more vulgar).

Again, not the exclusive domain for you.

Somewhere along the line, though, we got a bit older, cut our hair, started families, bought houses in the suburbs, and became Republicans. In other words, we became our parents.

No we didn’t. We became somewhat more permissive and a lot more thoughtful than our parents. And less harsh and more nuanced in our child-rearing. In part, it’s because we didn’t endure the Great Depression like our parents did. Or flee our homeland; or, fight World War II, which was seen as a legitimate war.

History has a funny way of repeating itself, though. Today’s Millennials (those born more or less  between 1980 and 2000) are in many ways like my generation: vocal, passionate, and desirous of change. I see that spirit (and yes, it is a spirit!) in Amarillo among a youngish crowd seeking change in our downtown. The Amarillo Millennial Movement has mobilized its forces, has a social media presence on Facebook, and is actively campaigning for downtown development and anything else that will help make Amarillo a place that they want to live.

No, Nick. You really have this quite wrong — unless as a professor of marketing you have hard data to back up your assertions. But as a long-time journalist and one who has extensively covered downtown development, Wallace Bajjali and the poor judgment of the then-City Commission and now the City Council, I see this differently. If you knew the connections between Brian Eades, one of the city councilors responsible for the downtown development debacle, you’d know these kids are not on some spontaneous spirit-inspired epiphany. It’s a calculated political move, in part evidence by the fact that the AMM is registered as a type of PAC.

And it isn’t pushing for downtown development in total. It’s pushing for the so-called MPEV. A glorified ballpark. They didn’t give a damn about the downtown development until the new City Council was elected and the supporters of the Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc.-Amarillo Globe-News plan was put on the ballot for November, thus jeopardizing the insiders’ deals.

How do I know this? I’m an investigative reporter and I’ve seen documents. Have you?

And not move somewhere else.

Yes, they will. For reasons other than some pathetic ballpark. It’s because Amarillo doesn’t have the upscale jobs base for the good kids from good programs that WT and AC are turning out. Oh, sure. Some of the teachers and health care grads will stay here because we do have the jobs base. So will some of the ag-related majors. But don’t kid yourself. We really don’t have the jobs base they really need.

The only problem is, their Baby Boomer elders are being less than receptive to this new voice, in spite of the fact that we belly-ached for change ourselves some 40-50 years ago.

We have a lot of people the same age as those active in the AMM who disagree with the AMM’s entire approach and premise and see through their charade. And, perhaps the elders who aren’t listening to the AMM, such as me for example, is because I believe they are ill-informed, manipulated and basically too naive to realize they are merely pawns in a larger battle.

Critics respond that Amarillo Millennials do not work, do not pay taxes, and by virtue of this, do not have much of an economic impact at the local level. That was true of my generation years ago, too, but that never stopped us from being loud…and being heard.

See above. The critics I know take issue with the AMM for the reasons I outlined above.

Our local activists want a town that appeals to their sensibilities. They want downtown entertainment. They want downtown living. They want a pedestrian-friendly downtown. They want downtown shopping and dining. They are in favor of the new MPEV (Multi-Purpose Event Center), parking, and retail district.

You really have that quite wrong, as I pointed out above. Their interest in the other elements of downtown development arose only in conjunction with them being sucked into supporting the Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc.-Amarillo Globe-News stadium. In fact, I’ve had Facebook conversations with some of the AMM members who have misquoted me, misquoted The Amarillo Independent and relied only on information from Downtown Amarillo Inc. You know, the DAI leadership of Les Simpson and Melissa Dailey who brought us Wallace Bajjali. You know, the DAI and Globe-News that claimed due diligence. And, trust me on this prediction, the people who are still wedded to Wallace Bajjali’s ideas will face massive embarrassment.

And all they get are complaints about how or why this won’t work in Amarillo. It might cost taxpayers a few bucks. It’s too hot in Amarillo. Cold. Windy. No one lives there. No one wants to live there. It’s too dangerous downtown (Really? I grew up in Chicago. This place is soooo safe!).

Whatevs. Just tell us you don’t want change, and you will be a lot more believable.


Really? Nice try at humor, but the situation isn’t funny. Those “complaints” you so cavalierly dismiss are legitimate. Just saying they aren’t, or calling us negative and all the other well-worn Joseph Goebbels propaganda techniques won’t change the facts or the overall truth derived from those facts. In part, every time we learn more facts, we also find that Dailey, Simpson, DAI, the Amarillo Economic Development Corp., the Local Government Corp. and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone have misrepresented the plans and contracts — misrepresented, hell, they have lied. That, too, is on will be revealed because, as a journalist, I have faith that in the end the truth wins out. Oh, and then there’s that pesky FBI and grand jury investigation. Oops.

As an educator, I have always sided with youth. After all, they have a lot more future to live than my cronies and I do. I may be getting a little bit on the old side, but my heart is still young…and it is kept young by my students. I believe in them. I trust them. I love them. They can see the future from here, while my cohort has a better view of the past.

That’s all very sweet. It’s all well and good to love, trust and side with them, but it’s misguided in two respects. First, if their view of the future isn’t informed by the past, then they are condemned to repeat the errors of the past.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” George Santayana, “The Life of Reason,” 1905.

Further, the youth you mention have no monopoly on seeing the future. Alvin Toffler was age 42 when he published “Future Shock” in 1970 and 52-years-old when he published “The Third Wave.” Those are both futurist works, looking to the future with a respect for the past.

Second, while as an educator you can side with the young, you also have a leadership responsibility toward those same young people. And part of the responsibility is as a role model. To me that means showing more respect for the facts, evidence and “truth” rather than the emotions which the writing above reflects.

And I want to see more of these brilliant Millennials stay in Amarillo. The future is theirs, not mine. Too my contemporaries dismissing the redevelopment project out of hand, I say it’s time to let go.

Let go? Of what? That’s the same rhetoric the AMM and Advance Amarillo people are using. And I counter that the elections in May have consequences and no amount of denial will change the implication — that voters in Amarillo saw through, finally, the lies and spin from the Globe-News, DAI and the now former members of the City Council.

Let go? Maybe the AMM people would face that facts and let go of the illusion that they aren’t any more than useful idiots — pawns in a greater scheme. A scheme, I might add, that could be more embarrassing for the city’s leadership than anyone imagine. And a revelation that some people think they are untouchable either by the law or by democracy.

You know. Kind of like we begged of our parents and grandparents.

Dr “Move On“ Gerlich

As Toffler pointed out in “Future Shock” by quoting Herbert Gerjuoy: “The new education must teach the individual how to classify and reclassify information, how to evaluate its veracity, how to change categories when necessary, how to move from the concrete to the abstract and back, how to look at problems from a new direction — how to teach himself.”

Peace out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

No regrets about Real News and Honest Journalism

A small thread on Facebook became the appropriate, if not perfect, place and opportunity to remind you all that The Amarillo Independent survived for six years but never thrived because the conservative business majority wouldn’t support it. Those few who did bless us with advertising recognized that the progressive editorials and opinions were well-walled off from the journalism, which we practiced with unparalleled integrity. I
look back and realize that the best advice I got and biggest regret I have over lot listening to it was from Claudia Stravato, who told me to run the Indy as a 501(c)3 nonprofit — that the old news business model was dying. She was right.

But that aside, and I know I am harping on this, the Indy’s stories and warnings about Wallace Bajjali were right and had the decision-makers here listened, well … .

The Wallace Bajjali stories weren’t the only investigative pieces that broke ground in this vast journalistic wasteland. We exposed Baptist St. Anthony's Health System’s lack of true charity care. When the Texas Medical Board took action on local physicians, we reported it, including a more in-depth look at why Dr. Roby Mitchell lost his license. We also exposed Amarillo ISD’s unfair treatment of the LGBT community; we exposed the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce for shilling an inferior health insurance plan to its members and, in another story, how the city almost shut down the chamber’s big barbeque event because of food handling problems.

I don’t regret a moment of the six years I worked so hard to practice a craft with passion and to give the community an outlet that truly represented “Real News, Honest Journalism.” And I don’t regret for a minute that I shut it down so my wife and I were no longer shackled to the City Council’s meeting schedule and the (in this case, I am proud to use the word) newspaper’s production timetable. Sometimes I wish I’d been more civil along the way, but in my heart I believe journalism was a higher a calling than the Episcopal priesthood, which I decided to not pursue.

Remember that a free press built and sustain the United States’ form of democracy and freedom and it’s as important locally as it is nationally.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The more we know, the better decisions we can make as a community

The Turner Report, a blog run by Randy turner in Joplin, Mo., has been combing a state audit and other records related to that city’s hiring Wallace Bajjali as master developer. His latest review of the documents once again shows that the now defunct master developer had an inside track with at least one Joplin city councilor, the city manager and others.

Those connections were clearly structured to have certain people benefit from Wallace Bajjali deals. And one city councilor now faces possible censure from the Joplin City Council this coming week. Don’t forget, too, that the state auditor has turned over material to a state prosecutor for review of possible criminal wrongdoing.

We have commented on the strong parallels between Amarillo and Joplin in dealing with Wallace Bajjali and the fallout from the fraudster firm’s vaporizing. It’s too bad neither Texas nor Amarillo have a similar mechanism in the form of a state auditor to undertake the same kind of probe as was done in Joplin. But we have an equally potent one if we care to use it: The Amarillo City Council has Sec. 19 of the city’s code to launch a similar investigation. Between the city and the FBI, the public should learn who did what for whom as part of this tainted deal.

We deserve no less than the full and honest truth. The leftover mayor and councilor need to face the fact that the more they resist letting the full truth out, the more trust they lose — and they ain’t got much left at this point anyway.

It’s time to start the Sec. 19 investigation so some information can come out before the Nov. 3 vote on the proposed ballpark.

Stupidity reigns supreme on Harrison Street

The ineffable stupidity in part of the Amarillo Globe-News Saturday editorial about the attendance at the City Council deserves at least a short comment, if for no other reason than to reinforce what a pathetic rag the faux-news outlet has become.

The drivel that Dave Henry inflicted on Globe-News readers observed that the attendance at the initial meeting of an experiment to start the council meetings at 6 p.m. wasn’t much different than those meetings that began earlier. And, that the audience was populated by the usual suspects.

Only the stupidest of people would expect that attendance at the meetings would suddenly blossom at first blush. Only the stupidest of people would also criticize that the regulars would be there. After all, they are engaged in watching city business properly, but for the Globe-News anything that disrupts the past status quo is wrong. And the new City Council surely does that.

So, keep this kind of critical thinking in mind when you see information or editorials in the Globe-News. It’s not journalism. It’s claptrap and disinformation.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

More stupidity and propaganda: Guess where

Reading the Amarillo Globe-News these days would be entertaining were it not the “newspaper of
record” for Amarillo. And, in this case, I use the word “newspaper” very loosely. But it isn’t the Globe-News alone that provides the entertainment. It’s also some of those who come before the City Council to comment.

One of those becoming a regular is one Cindi Bulla, a Realtor, who regularly spouts the Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc.-Amarillo Globe-News approach to downtown development. She has shown she will not be moved by facts. Let’s start with a Sept.8 story that Kevin Welch penned about the tax talks at the City Council Tuesday.

By the way, it’s instructive of the Globe-News’ approach to the news that the story refers to Bulla as a “resident.” That, of course, misdirects the reader away from Bulla’s portfolio or political reach as a Realtor active with the local realtor association. But that isn’t the worst of it. Bulla then goes on to tell the council, according to the article, “Work together and get the job done and get it done right.”

Like many others still enmeshed with the fraudsters Wallace Bajjali, Bulla overlooks the electorate’s mandate to shake things up at City Hall. Further, working together was the go-along-to-get-along approach was precisely that brought us eight years of wheel-spinning, word spinning. The indiscriminate acceptance of plans from Wallace Bajjali, DAI, the Local Government Corp. and Amarillo Economic Development Corp. have gotten us to a likely corrupt downtown development plan.

This isn’t the first time Bulla’s Babbittry has joined voices with the other smug, self-satisfied Babbitts of Amarillo. She indicated during a July 1 community meeting that the voters of Amarillo aren’t smart enough to assess public policy decisions, much less vote on them.

It gets better, of course. It’s not just the entertainment in the Globe-News. It’s the unmitigated gall and hubris from the paper whose publisher, Les Simpson, is so enmeshed in the downtown development debacle so completely as to destroy any credibility for his media outlet. Don’t forget, it was Simpson, as head of DAI’s board along with Melissa Dailey, brought Wallace Bajjali to Amarillo.

So when we’re greeted Thursday morning with an editorialthat purports to tell us that cutting the DAI budget is about taxes instead of a message to DAI and the community about what DAI is worth to us, I can only conclude two things. Either the Globe-News is once again engaging in a propaganda and disinformation campaign to attack those who would follow the electorate’s wishes; or, that whoever conceived of and wrote the editorial is — how can I say this nicely? (I can’t) — is flat out stupid and thinks we are too.

I will continue to wish better for Amarillo than this. And until then, I feel an obligation to help people understand how badly misled we have been by what was once a real newspaper. And how we’re being misled by a bunch of Babbitt-line insiders whose interest is their own, notthe good of the city. Thank goodness we had an election and that it turned out the way it did.

Final thought: Councilors Burkett, Demerson and Nair, gentlemen, stay the course.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Here is more background on downtown you might have missed

Back in February, ahead of Amarillo’s municipal election, I established another blog called “The postexplained why I felt I needed a more personal blog that was distinct and a little more distant from The Amarillo Independent. I re-affirmed that explanation in a brief poston April 30 on the Indy blog.
Quintessential Curmudgeon.” My initial

The elections are long behind us — at least that’s how it feels to me. And I have returned to The Amarillo Independent as my main blog. However, the discussion of the upcoming Nov. 3 election concerning the $32 million Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc.-Amarillo Globe-News-inspired ballpark for downtown on social media and the Indy’ reaching out through social media has generated more interest in the Indy blog. In light of the continued and increased interest in The Amarillo Independent, readers may wish to look at the posted on the Curmudgeon blog. Consider this one of those ICYMI — In Case You Missed It — posts.

One of the key issues in the past elections, and indeed since the start of the downtown development effort, is the role the Globe-News played over the past eight or so years. Understanding how the paper and its publisher fit into Downtown Amarillo Inc.-Wallace Bajjali narrative is important information. As I noted, Readers should treat “information” and opinions in the Amarillo Globe-News like “Seinfeld” episode “The Bizarro Jerry.” Do the opposite and you’ll be better off for it.

I posted a foreshadowing of my recent open letter to the current City Council (“Tale of Two Cities”) on Feb. 27, a month after Wallace Bajjali vaporized itself leaving Joplin, Mo., and Amarillo holding the proverbial bag. Shortly thereafter, I commentedthat we had every incumbent challenged and that we could have a framework for the election’s issues. That posting also introduced publicly the notion of a forensic investigation of downtown development but it wasn’t until April 27 that I posted information I had found the provision in the City Code that enables the City Council to conduct the kind of probe this city desperately needs. By that time we were well aware of the FBI and grand jury investigation of Amarillo’s Amarillo Economic Development Corp., but for the latter, we’ll just have to stay tuned and hope for the best.

This was also a time I we notedthat the Globe-News became schizophrenic on us — and continued its lies, this time about the ability of the council to give the people a voted on downtown development. And with the now-discredited council in our rearview mirror, the post also pointed out that Mayor Paul Harpole had promised a vote as far back as 2011. It was also a time when none of the former city councilors would acknowledge their culpability in the Wallace Bajjali, although later some said Councilor Brian Eades did so. Still, since the start of the downtown development debacle, people called the old council arrogant and we all know why. It just needed to be pointed out. I also pointedout that Eades, who ultimately survived a challenge, couldn’t really address the issues that led to the council’s flawed decision of hire Wallace Bajjali and cozy it up with DAI. By the way, he never answered my questions at the bottom of the post.

As information about the terms of the various contracts, deal and other obligations for downtown development became public, some revelations a surprise and other information showing the downtown development leadership conducted a variety of disinformation campaigns, we posted a specific storyabout the Liberty theatre and how DAI wasn’t to be trusted. Speaking of distrust, during this time the comments on the Globe-News website flew fast and furious. DAI’s executive director pitched in on comments using an identifier that was based on her maiden name. We bustedher because The Amarillo Independent had done our own due diligence, unlike DAI in recommending Wallace Bajjali.

Less than two weeks ahead of the May 9 election, it must have been clear the downtown development cabal was concerned about losing the lock-step-let’s-support-DAI-and-Wallace Bajjali majority. Grasping at straws, DAI’s board chairman, John Lutz, suggested the old Santa Fe Depot could be an “intermodal” transportation center. The suggestion not only showed how ill-informed and ignorant the leadership of DAI is, but it pointed glaringly to another sad fact, one we have overlooked in all this discussion about downtown development.

What is that fact? The fight over this misguided effort has distracted the city’s leadership from making meaningful contributions to Amarillo’s economic development. No real effort to work with the Texas Department of Transportation, BNSF and Amtrak on a re-route of the Southwest Chief. No real attention to developing and fostering Amarillo as a railroad destination; or as a Route 66 destination; no effort on promoting the cowboy heritage with the various guest ranches in the area; no visible effort to make Palo Duro Canyon more visible. And we could go on.

As we continue toward an advisory vote Nov. 3, I am sure more will come out. However, the links and information in the Curmudgeon blog might be helpful to those still trying to decide about downtown development and whether to support the Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc.-Amarillo Globe-News plan or to reboot and do something for the whole city.