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Archive for July, 2011

28th July
written by Arizona Kid

Since the Star will not or cannot report the issue about the Independent Redistricting Commission accurately or in depth, I guess its readers will have to do their work for them. Here are some issues that the Star left out. I guess it truly is the red star.


• Colleen Mathis apparently lied in questions 6 and 22 by omission on her application to get onto the commission by not disclosing that her husband was a paid staff member of Democrat Nancy Young Wright’s campaign when she submitted her application. She admits that this was a mistake, says “she forgot”. It is likely that would have disqualified her from getting on the commission.

• It appears that the commission either destroyed or hid documents which are subject to public records request- this is a violation of open meeting laws. These were the scoring sheets that eliminated three firms from being considered in the award of the mapping consultant contract. All 7 score cards were shredded and there is an affidavit of that by a witness.

• Bid Rigging was admitted to by Commissioner Herrera – that he and the other Democrat and Chair Mathis intentionally scored Strategic Telemetry high (all three gave them a perfect score even thought they did not meet the RFP requirements, did not have the experience, and were twice as expensive as any other bid). The reason given by Commissioner Herrera was that he was afraid that had he not scored them so high, some other company would have gotten the contract. Strategic Telemetry is the most costly of the mapping candidates and it is Obama’s target mapping company for his past campaign and likely future campaign.

• There is enough smoke to indicate Vote Trading. Ms. Mathis spoke with the Republican commissioners to get them to vote for Strategic Telemetry in exchange for her votes for something they might want on the mapping portion. This conversation happened on cell phones in the parking lot after the end of a meeting. This violates, at the least, open meeting laws. An affidavit was filed with the County Attorney attesting to this.

• State Procurement Officer walked out and submitted a letter stating that the selection process for Strategic Telemetry was in violation of state procurement operations.

• Proposition 106 was passed to keep from backroom deals but that is exactly what has happened on the commission. More than half their time has been spent in Executive Session so the public could not see these back room deals being made. This is in violation of the open meeting laws that say that decisions must be made in the open so the public can see what is going on.

• The people have gone from paying legislators to draw the lines to paying 9 million dollars to 5 people who are not accountable to the taxpayers.

Read more: http://dynamic.azstarnet.com/comments/viewcomments.php?id=/news/opinion/editorial/article_47f9f4f5-a702-5d60-9df9-a0eaf75cb8b9.html&h=Districting%20panel%27s%20distractions%20need%20to%20be%20swept%20away#ixzz1TPXdEY4M

26th July
written by Arizona Kid

Beth Walkup named Interim Director for Imagine Greater Tucson

Imagine Greater Tucson is happy to announce that Beth Walkup has been named to the position of IGT Interim Director.  In her role, Walkup will be responsible for maximizing organizational capacity, overseeing and coordinating the daily operations of IGT, and ensuring a smooth transition into the next phase of the process.

Walkup has over 45 years of experience in non-profit and business management. Her experience in the region includes: Executive Director of Tucson Children’s Museum, Interim Executive Director of the Food Bank of Southern Arizona, and Interim Executive Director of the Tucson Girls Chorus. She is also a member of the Board for Commerce Bank of Arizona and the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona.

Walkup’s background in the region and expertise will be of great benefit for moving the process forward and for IGT’s own development as an organization.  Imagine Greater Tucson is both pleased and fortunate to have her as part of this effort and we look forward to the work ahead in building a stronger future for our region.

25th July
written by Arizona Kid

Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 8:00 am | Updated: 9:44 am, Thu Jul 21, 2011.

By Roger Yohem, Inside Tucson Business | 0 comments

For economic conditions to improve in Tucson and Pima County, only one thing matters: jobs. But from where?

We already have too many university and government jobs. Manufacturing diversity is weak. Real estate is in tatters. It could be 2015 before the housing debacle heals.

For job growth, Tucson trails the nation and the state. For 2011, the metro area is poised to be the only Arizona region not to gain jobs. According to Moody’s, Tucson will be one of the last cities in the entire country to recover from The Great Recession.

Around here, meaningful job growth is a fantasy. Developers are vilified by enviros and NIMBYs. Copper mines and corporate profits are characterized as filthy free enterprise. To open a low-wage burger joint, the cost of permits is equivalent to funding a government worker’s pension for a year.

Sad to say, the nation’s economic recovery has bypassed Pima County. The upturn will come about the time the Wildcats play Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

Forever lost are many jobs. Staggering uncertainty about the future has changed the economy’s fundamentals.

These uncertainties include more regulation. City and county officials continue to send anti-business signals. Plus, what will ObamaCare really cost?

Supply-demand fundamentals are out of balance. Sluggish sales create no jobs. Future demand is uncertain as costs rise for energy, materials, taxes and soon, inflation. That’s why businesses are hoarding cash and not hiring.

Tucson’s labor forecast is dismal. For the entire state, jobs are expected to grow a pathetic 0.7 percent in 2011. Tucson got a zero. The most growth will be in overburdened taxpayers and underemployed workers. That’s no way to keep well-educated young people in town.

The state’s labor analysts say Arizona’s economic downturn began in 2007. For Tucson, their most current data (through May) shows:

Construction employment peaked at 28,700 jobs in mid-2006. By the end of 2008, some 8,000 jobs had been lost. As of May, the sector employed 15,200, down 13,500 jobs due to the recession.

Since peaking in June 2001 at 33,500 jobs, manufacturing has broken down ever since. When the economy turned, the level was 28,500. As of May, the manufacturing sector had 24,800 jobs, a cut of 3,700.

In the trade, transportation and utilities sector, the May total was 58,400 jobs, some 8,000 less than the December 2007 high of 66,700. Information services peaked in mid-2006 at 6,700 jobs and is now 2,600 less at 4,100 workers.

In finance, the mid-2007 top was 18,800. It was 17,400 in May, another 1,400 jobs in the red.

In professional and business services (call centers included), jobs hit 53,900 in November 2007. Today, the level is 47,800, a 6,100 loss. In health services and private education, Tucson had 56,200 in December 2007. Currently, this category has gained 3,500 to 59,700 workers.

In the leisure and hospitality sector, jobs peaked at 41,500 in early 2007. Today, its 36,600 people, a loss of 4,900 jobs. And in the miscellaneous category, jobs are off 2,600.

Then there’s government. To be clear, the state and feds define this category as all local municipalities, universities, local school districts, and other sectors like the post office thrown in.

In December 2007, local governments employed 81,100 people. As the recession took hold, jobs jumped to 82,600 in November 2008. During 2009, jobs bounced around but settled at 82,200 in May 2010. As of May 2011, the total was 80,100, a net decrease of only 1,000 jobs.

Add it up: the damage in the private sector is 39,600 jobs lost. That’s almost 40 business jobs cut per one job cut in government.

People move to where the jobs are, but that business concept conflicts with the leanings of many political officials. Their attitudes toward economic development haven’t really changed despite the despair caused by unprecedented unemployment.

This recession is different, driven by debt. The housing collapse crushed mobility. Unemployed workers can’t afford to sell their homes to move to better labor markets.

To survive the economic uncertainty, many companies have reorganized around technology, outsourcing and the disposable worker. Workers are added as needed, then let go until needed again. Plus, they are working harder and smarter for less money.

Many pre-recession jobs are lost forever, replaced by just-in-time disposable workers. At 40 to 1, the odds are stacked against the business community.

Contact Roger Yohem at ryohem@azbiz.com or (520) 295-4254. His Business Ink appears biweekly and weighs in on local political, social and business issues.

23rd July
written by Land Lawyer

Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 1:36 pm, Thu Jul 21, 2011.

Marana, Pinal County collaborate on developing transportation corridorBy Roger Yohem, Inside Tucson BusinessInside Tucson Business | 0 comments

“It begins now” for Marana. “Right here is where it is,” says Town Manager Gilbert Davidson.

For years, Marana’s business and government officials have dreamed about the town’s potential to become an economic powerhouse. Strategically set along 18 miles of Interstate 10 freeway, the town has access to an abundance of land, water, an airpark and visionary thinkers.

Citizens have overwhelmingly approved a comprehensive “economic roadmap” for the town. Mix in a budding partnership with Pinal County government and the town is on the brink of a colossal economic breakthrough.

“It begins now,” Davidson said. “The opportunities to start that conversation as to how we can partner with Pinal County, the private interests out there, and talk about becoming a regional shipping-distribution transportation corridor, an inland port. Right here is where it is.”

Dreams, plans and talk that have been circulating for years are slowly developing into tangible action. Marana and Pinal County officials now meet on a regular basis “to talk about how we can appropriately do this together and plan it in the right way,” said Davidson. “They definitely understand the need to plan on a local level. The bottom line is Pinal County has been a wonderful partner.”

Two key components to Marana’s vision of launching the freight hub are located in Pinal County. Pinal Air Park, a 2,080-acre, under-developed facility, is just north of the Pima County line. On I-10 north of Red Rock, Union Pacific Railroad has proposed building a 900-acre, $200 million switching yard.

“The whole Pinal County area represents a major transportation corridor. Take the synergy of those three things: the ability to have air freight and I-10 ground transportation and being so close to I-8. Add a rail switch-yard, you could have a powerhouse of industries that could transform this entire region. The number of jobs at full build-out would be astronomical,” he said.

If both the Pinal Air Park and rail yard are developed as hoped, planners envision an inland port shipping and distribution center that would create thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue for the state. It’s feasible that cargo that is unloaded in Long Beach, Calif. would be air-freighted to Pinal Air Park, then redistributed via freeway or rail across the nation. Plus, such a facility could capture business flowing along the Canamex Corridor between Canada and Mexico.

“Just imagine the economic job generators that exist along that corridor,” he said.

The collaboration between the two municipalities is based on mutual needs and respect. Clearly, Pinal County wants “economic strength and to be more than a bedroom community,” Gilbertson said. For Marana, it wants quality, planned development “that will attract corporate interests, different types of industry, not just retail.”

Gilbertson’s remarks were made at the July 15 meeting of the Metropolitan Pima Alliance.

Contact reporter Roger Yohem at ryohem@azbiz.com or (520) 295-4254.

23rd July
written by Land Lawyer

Is the Arizona Daily Star Following the Path of the Tucson Citizen?

Posted by John Schuster on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 1:00 PM

The Arizona Daily Star confirmed that 52 people were laid off from the publication Thursday. If its figure of roughly 400 employees cutting paychecks in some capacity at the Compound at Park and Irvington is accurate, yesterday’s gutting would account for about 12 percent of the work force.

Gone: an estimated 15 newsroom employees and workforce reductions in advertising, circulation, finance and IT. The Star didn’t make reference to the massive drawback, by accounts the largest in the paper’s history, until midnight Friday in the business section at azstarnet.com, and of course in the print edition. However, online they were able to provide an update on a house fire that displaced a family of four and a story on Alzheimer’s testing Thursday evening. Would they have ignored a 12 percent workforce cutback until the following day, making no mention on the Web site, for any other large business in town, or even in regards to other media layoffs that occurred at the likes of radio clusters Clear Channel or Citadel, not to mention the numerous layoff cycles and eventual shutdown of the print edition of the Tucson Citizen?

Company financial woes have a way of being a distant issue-that doesn’t affect me just yet—until the salvos are launched. Star employees were broadsided Thursday.

Said Star President and Publisher John Humenik in Thursday’s Star story:

Our leadership team is confident that these steps will enable us to focus our efforts and position us for a bright future.

Really? Let’s match that statement with that of Tucson Citizen publisher Jennifer Boice during an August 2008 layoff cycle.

While these steps we are taking are painful, I hope we can all emerge from this economic downturn stronger.

As the record shows, that was one of many layoff swaths at the Tucson Citizen, until the paper finally shut its doors in May of 2009.

This is what management says when it’s against the ropes. It talks, as Humenik did, about how tough a day it was, and I’m sure it was. As easy as it is to pigeonhole management as the evil ogre behind the fancy closed door, it’s probably not terribly fun to announce the dissolution of much of your workforce, and then watch as an asinine corporate HR decision degrades them further with the assistance of a security escort. Then management desperately tries to put a positive spin on the future as a result of the downsizing, hoping it can somehow appease the remaining employees and right the ship, or buy some time before abandoning it altogether, as long-time Tucson Citizen publisher Michael Chihak (some might argue wisely and with a view on reality—a view he might not have shared directly with others) did.

Now to state the obvious. What Humenik says is not what Humenik knows. Lee Enterprises, the publisher of the Arizona Daily Star, is in deep shit. The reality remains the company is staring at a billion dollar debt payment due in April, and has yet to reach a negotiation on the financial terms it would prefer. But Lee doesn’t have much bargaining power, and if any of the more than 150 investors Lee has met with don’t like the terms, their patience could be the company’s demise. If that happens, Lee goes belly up, because Lee needs to make a deal with someone. There were rumblings from sources quoted in a Bloomberg.com story said to be inside Lee negotiations a week or so ago suggesting bankruptcy was very much on the table.

According to company CEO Mary Junck, Lee has cut debt by more than 700 million dollars since 2005. It actually turned a profit of 46 million dollars in 2010, and says it has a cashflow of 110 million dollars, but those numbers don’t add up very well when a billion dollar bill comes due in eight months. On July 15, Lee reported it expects another third-quarter decline, down 4.2 percent from the same period a year before. Lee received a delisting warning from the New York Stock Exchange July 8 when its stock, which has gone into freefall the last three months, trickled below the one-dollar threshold.

There is no bright future in morning daily print journalism. We’ve known this for most of the last decade, but the public’s transition to online news has moved much faster than the industry’s ability to effectively monetize it. The option as it sees it: cut staff, and therefore almost certainly sacrifice the quality of the overall product, and hope nobody really notices.

That said, unlike the Tucson Citizen, which suffered from the additional technological time deficiency of being an outdated afternoon paper, the Star will be a major part of the media landscape for the foreseeable future. But whether that means it will do so under the Lee banner, or while being operated by another entity such as Gannett, which still has its grubbies on a profit-sharing model and probably loves the prospect of operating the state’s second largest newspaper in addition to its stranglehold in the Valley with the Arizona Republic, that remains to be seen.

But in this industry, and in this community, if this bright future has shown us one thing, Thursday’s 52 layoffs may not be the last.

22nd July
written by Downtown Dudette

$30 million ‘Accounting Restatement”

$30 million of ‘Capital Assets’ that Rio Nuevo paid for and were included on Rio Nuevo’s balance sheet.  ‘It was determined’ by City of Tucson would be removed from Rio Nuevo’s balance sheet.  This resulted in swinging Rio Nuevo to a negative net worth position: (.ppt presentation from COT Finance Director, Pg 13, 3/24/2010)

“Infrastructure Assets Contributed to City of Tucson”

Mission Site/Origins Park                                              $12.1 million

Mercado/Avenue del Convento                                               $ 1.3

Cushing Street Bridge                                                    $ 0.7

“Donated to Other Agencies”

UofA Science Center                                                      $5.7 million

“Will not result in a Capital Project”

Mission Site/Origins Park                                              $5.7 million

Citizens Auto Exchange                                                 $2.2

Rialto Theater                                                                    $0.3

Civic Plaza                                                                            $0.7

Civic Plaza Parking Garage Plan                                  $0.7

Congress Streetscape                                                    $0.3

Miscellaneous                                                                   $0.2

Fox Theatre: $16 million*

$11.5 million paid by Rio Nuevo

$4.3 million outstanding balance on Revenue Bonds Series 2005 (Fox Theater)

$7.5 million loan to Fox Theatre carried on balance sheet as a ‘Long Term Asset”

Rio Nuevo will have paid almost $16 million and is owed $7.5 million from the Fox.  Yet Fox Theater is on the balance sheet for approx $700k and Rio Nuevo has no operational control.  For example, a new Executive Director for the Fox was recently selected yet no consultation with Rio Nuevo.

Depot Plaza Parking Garage: $14 million*

$13.7 million paid by Rio Nuevo.  City staff has informed Rio Nuevo that the Development Agreement indicates that Rio Nuevo will pay for it.  Upon completion, the garage will be ‘donated’ to City of Tucson.

*Rio Nuevo Flow of Funds through 2/28/2010.  Prepared by COT Finance Dept.

22nd July
written by Downtown Dudette

Larry Lewis

From LinkedIN
Southern Arizona Branch Manager at Guardsmark LLC (See more below)

Tucson, Arizona Area
  • Sourthern Arizona Branch Manager at Guardsmark LLC
  • Real Estate Investment Advisor at Town West Reatly, Inc
  • President and General Manager at Florida Builder Appliances
  • California State University-Sacramento
  • Encina HS
95 connections


Larry Lewis’s Summary

Business Runner Experience
• President and General Mgr. – Florida Builder Appliances (wholly owned subsidiary of Sears)
Grew a non-profitable $32M builder appliances business into a $70M profitable enterprise in 5 years
• Retail Store Mgr – Sears Irving Park – Chicago, IL
Transitioned a struggling $32M intercity store to a $50M success story that was recognized as the #1 “Chairman’s Cup Award” winning “A” store in the nation within four years.
• District General Mgr. – Sears Commercial Sales – Seattle, WA (WA, OR, AK, MO and HI)
Doubled the volume to $25 million and tripled the market share of Kenmore appliances and Craftsman tools in the commercial and building industry in less than 4 years – Achieved “National District of the Year” recognition.

Sales, Marketing and Merchandising Experience
• Director of Retail Sales Synergy – Home Services – Sears Corporate Office – Hoffman Estates, IL
Developed and implemented a company wide lead development program for all home service and installed home improvement products including installed home improvements; product service; repair parts; extended service agreements and retail product installation services. This was a $1 billion division of the company.
• General Merchandise and Marketing Mgr. – Sears Commercial Sales Div – Sears Tower – Chicago, IL
Directed the selection of products and all marketing efforts for the $500M commercial sales division of Sears.
• National Director of Corporate Accounts – Sears Commercial Sales – Sears Tower – Chicago, IL
Managed Sales and logistics for large national customers of appliances for the commercial sales division.

Larry Lewis’s Experience

Sourthern Arizona Branch Manager

Guardsmark LLC

Retail industry

October 2010Present (10 months)

Manage all business activities in Southern Arizona for Guardsmark LLC Security Services.
* Risk Assessment
* Background Check
* Uniformed Security Officers

Real Estate Investment Advisor

Town West Reatly, Inc

(More about Town West’s management team HERE)

Real Estate industry

June 2006Present (5 years 2 months)

Worked with several commercial real estate companies in Tucson dealing with site acquisition for local and national companies.

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