Monday, June 2, 2014

By Jim Barton

City Wants to Send A "Delegation" At Taxpayer's Expense to Denver for the 2014 National Civic League All-America City Award

Partying, Conferencing on Your Money
With no lingering hangovers from their March Bikefest in Fort Worth which cost the taxpayers from $900 to $1430 per traveler, Brownsville's entitled bureaucrats are asking for another free trip.  Denver is the destination this time for the gimmicky All-American City Award, given annually to wannabe cities desperate enough to pay for it.  The other nominated city from Texas is Marshall, which shows you this "award" is about low self-esteem, not greatness.

At Fort Worth's bikefest, taxpayers footed the bill for representatives from the city's parks, planning, tourism and health departments.  The taxpayers also sent City Commissioners Rose Gowen and Estela Chavez-Vasquez, Assistant City Manager Jeff Johnston.  Brownsville Metro was represented by Norma Zamora(City buses do accommodate bikes on front bike racks.) All enjoyed the plush accommodations of the Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel & Spa and $56 per diem for meals if they didn't like the food served at the conference.

Below is the agenda item to be presented with a straight face by Finance Director/Assistant City Manager Pete Gonzalez:

13. Consideration and ACTION to approve travel request for the delegation of city employees to travel to Denver, Colorado, from June 13, 2014 through June 16, 2014, to attend the 2014 National Civic League All-America City Award. (Pete Gonzalez-Deputy City Manager)

Below we reprint our earlier article about the All-American City Award:

"No Thank You!" The Taxpayers of the Nation's "Poorest City" Can't Afford Any More Awards!
(republished from April 11, 2014)
Charlie Cabler, David McCarthy
Do you remember "bannergate?" Two years ago, a Warsaw, NY "businessman," attending theU.S. Conference of Mayors in Orlando, FL, sought out Tony Martinez(likely with a pic of Martinez in his pocket) to let the mayor know that Brownsville was one of 15 cities to be honored nationally with a Community Showcase Award.

The award, according to Community Showcase CEO David McCarthy, would "show the city of Brownsville's economic vitality and the support of the business community."

With a contract letter in hand from the City of Brownsville, clearly indicating the award would be at "no cost to the city," McCarthy and a buxom companion, identified as Itza Pena, began visiting Brownsville businessmen to sell banner packages ranging from $600 to $4,000. It was emphasized that the meager $600 package was only for "churches and non-profits. Upstanding businessmen, who "supported Tony" were expected to cough up four grand.

Variations of this scam are legendary, including upfront money to make your five year old a Hollywood star or get your invention patented and in production. "Flattery", whether directed at individuals or cities, according to the late actress Mae West, "will get you everywhere."

The City of Brownsville, increasingly recognized as the "poorest city in the United States," is in contention for another award, that of "All-American City." All-American cities aren't picked the same way as All-American football players.(Marshall is the other Texas city, along with Brownsville, still in the running, both city's "90 lb weaklings" as cities go.) It takes self-promotion andMONEY to get the nod. Fayetteville, NC estimates expenditures in excess of $170,000 to garner the honor in 2011.

Note this comment to the Fayetteville Observer:

"It would be interesting to know how many folks who have moved to Fayetteville recently did so because of the previous designation as an All-American city. Seems to me that the city could use that money for something more worthwhile."

Arturo Rodriguez, who must have an extraordinarily light work load as City Health Director, gave the half hour power point toUnited Brownsville in February about the city's quest for the All-American designation.(Arturo shows up again and again on travel requests, just spending a week at the bike seminar in Fort Worth along with a large delegation at taxpayer expense.)

The All-American City designation is like being in the "Who's Who in College" book. The benefit is psychological, appealing to municipalities with low self-esteem. What if for $39.95, a city can be listed in the book, "Great American Cities," and you get a copy of the book?

Here's the scary part for Brownsville's hardworking, overburdened taxpayers. According to Brownsville Herald reporter Ty Johnson:

"City officials will head to Colorado this June to make their case for Brownsville to be named a member of the 2014 All-America City class now that the National Civic League has identified 25 finalists for the award."

Please don't tell us Ty that Brownsville taxpayers are 
Arturo Rodriguez, Pete Gonzalez
sending a large delegation to Colorado to plead their case for this award, while attempting to scrimp by on a $56 or $71 per diem meal allowance at a plush Denver hotel and spa.

We will be keeping an eye on travel requests made to the City of Brownsville. Oh, by the way, is there an award for conserving and protecting taxpayer assets? I didn't think so.


Anonymous said...

It seems that our city employees are more active in "out of town" events than they are doing their jobs here. Can anyone give us a list of achievements or advances made based on any trip funded by the tax payers???? We hear about the trips and the conferences...but we never hear how this tax payer funded trips help the city or the citizens. The city officials seem to be taking lessons from the United Way.....make big statements but never give evidence of anything.

Anonymous said...

Nacoville goes to Denver? A high-tech area ?

JR said...

What a horrible waste of taxpayer funds!!

fyi, your link to MEANMISTERBROWNSVILLE has an extra letter (m) at the end.

Anonymous said...

Hey County Officials are also attending this event. Who is paying for their trip??? Hey Juan are the County Elected Officials your friends so that is why you do not mention that they are also going to Denver on County Paid Trip???????????

Anonymous said...

Stupid is as stupid does. A shout to dumbokrats please enlighten us ONE just ONE successful achievement "your kind" have done.
Oh yeah we have the dubious title as THE POOREST CITY IN AMERICA LMAO LMAO LMAO

Anonymous said...

What a waste of city money and human capital. But we keep on electing these Bozos. No one to blame but ourselves.

Anonymous said...

wait a minute, did they say DENVER COLORADO???? i wonder if this has anything to do with the same outfit that just franchised the ports railroad, this sounds like it has grandpa all over it, i wonder who got paid out???
let me bend over ....

signed a taxpayer!!!

Anonymous said...

And many thought Jeff Johnston was going to change things once he was moved positions. Im sure he has seen so much corruption.