Posts Tagged ‘Hein’

13th April
2009
written by JHiggins

Az Star ran a story on the business communities interpretation of the Hein firing. HERE- Don Diamond, Tucson’s large developer was quoted as was select Southern Arizona legislators.  As is usually the case, the online comments are often times better than the story themselves. Here are a few opposing sides of the debate about the role of business and the business leaders in our community.  Both raise interesting points and are worth a read:

58. Comment - April 12,2009 @ 12:41PM

State Sen. Jonathan Paton, a Tucson Republican, has a bill lined up to mandate non-partisan elections in Tucson, but he said it won’t get introduced until a budget is passed.

They don’t lead, they take, and can never get enough for themselves — Diamond and Click, the most visible examples, that clean-up their image with what are small contributions compared to their enormous worth.

Isn’t this constitutionally illegal by State statutes, besides being ‘not their call?’

The State can’t dictate voting rules to just one district. They have no business micro-managing COT. Ir’a more coercion, to try and force us to obey their demands. They are truly out of control with their power.

Since almost every government entity is in the red — last thing we need is the ‘need’ for a law suit, to prevent the neocons in the Arizona Legislature imposing their will on COT voters.

Not all that long ago, Republicans had a majority on the COTCity Council — and they got themselves voted out. Walkup is the last vestige of their stupidity and even worse management. Can you imagine if Hein had been around then? They would have ‘spent’ the projected $600 million projected funds, instead of just the $100 million Hein helped to blow in the last 4 years. All the neocons, and 2 bad democrat Council members are supporting Hein — what does that tell you?

Until Republicans aren’t run by the neocons — they ruin their own chances of winning anywhere, other than in their stronghold areas. I’ll vote either party — for the best, which is sadly often for who will do the least harm, and won’t blow off the taxpayers.

Ha, ha, Diamond, and buddies, your public-taxpayer-funded gravy train is over for now — and I hpoe forever.

“Business Leaders’ = oxymoron

And….

36. Comment - April 12,2009 @ 8:07AM

Ratings: -13 +12

How long will this community continue to demonize the business leaders and enterprise?
Are there bad apples? Yes. But how do you think we generate the money to do all your little pet projects? The majority of the money brought into our city government for; graffiti classes, after school rap lessons, artist warehouse districts, Rio Nuevo, presidio walls, department of neighborhood resources and on and on comes from the 2% sales tax collected on car dealers, retail stores, construction materials and license fees paid by over 25,000 businesses in Tucson alone.
The culture that has been created in our region is one of fear and ‘get in line to get along’. Business leaders know how to get projects done and work the system just like everyone else. We know that if we take a stand, use the court systems or the media to expose the insanity that we live in every day we stand the greatest lash back ever seen. Every once in a while an individual will rise up and challenge the status quo. Their future opportunities are in jeopardy.
I speak with business people every day that give example after example of unfair treatment, intentional stalls of projects, unbelievable and out of line requests from elected officials or bureaucrats because of some agenda (like low income housing trusts funds or open space to name a few). I know of major firms that WILL NEVER DO ANOTHER PROJECT in our region again. La Encantada ring a bell?
So all of you above that keep commenting on how selfish the business community is, how if Hein is supported by the business community he should be fired, how much money a Diamond make and how he’s the problem open the budget, visit a web site, look at what we are experiencing as a community right now. The business sector is hurting, due to national economic issues and guess what……government tax collections are down and services have to be cut. See the connection?
Phoenix looks at our situation down here as a back woods community that is a joke. They throw us a bone like Rio Nuevo and host Superbowls and create $650 million convention centers while we can’t get out of our own way.
When a savvy national business looks at coming to our region they look at the education system, crime rate, regulatory environment, political culture, skilled and educated work force and quality of life. Doing OK in only one of 6 of these categories just isn’t going to cut it.
We need better leadership, we need an active business community that can and will make a stand for what is right; we need TUSD to get its act together. Vail, Flowing Wells, Amphi and many other districts are doing a great job at educating our kids. You don’t hear about their dirty laundry every day in the paper.
We need elected officials that lead, that has been in private industry and understand what it takes to make a healthy business community. If you continue to load stake holder groups with neighborhood activists, NIMBY loud mouths, you won’t get progress or change. Elected officials, please please please – educate yourself, pick business leaders you trust as advisors, chose a direction and stick to your path. You will take arrows from every special interest out there. But the path you are on is driving us off a cliff.

Tags: ,
19th March
2009
written by madge

The Star ran a story today about a series of emails that went back and forth between City Manager Mike Hein, Councilwoman Nina Trasoff, Mayor Walkup’s aid, Andrew Greenhill and former City Manager and current representative of the UofA Joel Valdez and two Rio Nuevo beaurocrats; Shelko and Barr.

The jist of the story is an attempt by all or most of the parties involved to spin the crazy spending going on with Rio Nuevo funding.  It’s bad, smells of incompetency at best and cover up on the City’s side at worst.

Walkup denied knowing anything about e-mails his chief of staff wrote, although he received some of the e-mails in the chain.

The mayor said the point is the city has not agreed to foot more of the bill for the science center, adding the e-mails were “preliminary” and “just conversation.”

“I don’t know anything about e-mails,” Walkup said. “E-mails do float back and forth. … An e-mail is an e-mail.”

Anyone want to explain to me why the Star didn’t address the fact that elected officials, representatives of the mayor and our city manger used personal emails to communicate on such a sensitive subject? 

If you answerd  they were concerned that through the Freedom Of Information Act that all public emails systems are open to the public you would be correct.  Hey guys, if your going to avoid the public don’t copy recipients that are using public email addresses.

Real bright folks. I sure hope someone has a tape recorder rolling somewhere.

Read em and weap or read em on the way out of office  – HERE.

26th February
2009
written by madge

When revenues aren’t coming in you have to cut expenses. Sound pretty basic right? Well according to a recent editorial in the Tucson Citizen  “City leaders should contemplate other creative alternatives as well to save money without eliminating jobs.”  In other words, instead of cutting expenses let’s look at raising income – click HERE for tax increases you should start planning for.

A look at lay offs around the state:

Oro Valley Cutting Jobs To Balance Budget – HERE

Paradise Valley Laying Off Workers – HERE
Phoenix Looking For 1000 Lay Offs – HERE
State of Arizona Lay Offs – HERE
Flagstaff -
Chandler - HERE
Tempe – HERE
Mesa – HERE
Bullhead – HERE
Phoenixis expected to lay off 1,200 people next month, Fischbach said. And Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Bullhead City and Flagstaff have already been through series of layoffs. 
An editorial from the Tucson Citizen. Of course from an editorial staff that will be looking for a job come March 21st.
February 25, 2009, 4:28 p.m.

Normally we would not applaud Tucson City Council members for delaying decisive action, but their hesitancy to lay off workers in this economy is commendable.

Yes, the financial forecast is grim and the city budget situation is dire.

Yes, difficult decisions must be made.

And yes, perhaps City Manager Mike Hein’s recommended 30 or so layoffs would result in more city “efficiency,” as he says.

But as we at the Tucson Citizen know all too well, losing a job in this economy is an especially terrible fate.

Every layoff sends ripple effects through the local economy – and those effects hit city government, too.

So the council members are wise to continue their work on other options, such as 12-day furloughs.

City leaders should contemplate other creative alternatives as well to save money without eliminating jobs.

Employees should be offered unpaid, voluntary sabbaticals, with their jobs reserved for them until they return.

Also, most workers undoubtedly would prefer to accept a sizable pay cut on a temporary basis rather than lose their jobs permanently.

Or, some portion of employee salaries could be deferred for a year while the economy recovers (let’s hope).

And if some employees’ jobs in the development arena no longer are needed, as Hein reports, then the city should try to devise a way to transfer those workers to other vacant positions.

In that way, when the construction industry picks up again – and it will – the city will not have to hire and train new employees to perform permitting and other development-related functions.

Councilwoman Karin Uhlich recently told the Citizen, “Obviously I’m concerned about the high-quality staff we have throughout the Planning Department and making sure we don’t lose the benefit of their guidance in any way.”

The federal stimulus bill also “could fill in some of these blanks,” Councilwoman Nina Trasoff recently noted. “It’d be fabulous if it does. The city has done a good job of poising itself with shovel-ready projects if it does.

“I hate to see anybody lose a job.”

So do we. Director Fred Gray’s ideas to reduce services in the Parks & Recreation Department would preserve full-time jobs but eliminate part-time ones.

He would cut the summer swimming season by three weeks, close three pools, reduce adult sports leagues by half and eliminate up to 40 leisure classes.

We urge the council to continue carefully calculating its strategies. If the federal infusion of funds can eliminate the need for layoffs, we hope the money will be used in that regard.

3rd November
2008
written by madge

From Steve Emerine of Inside Tucson Business – Read it HERE.

The supervisors have partially avoided the problem by giving County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry almost total power to run day-to-day county operations. And when asked, he often announces board members’ policies, even when they haven’t yet set them.

When James Keene was city manager, he had many of those same powers. His successor, Mike Hein, has tried to let bureaucrats he inherited handle routine matters but to refer major policy decisions to Walkup and the council.

Huckelberry won high marks from his county bosses, the daily newspapers, environmentalists and neighborhood activists for his Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan to limit growth in unincorporated areas and buy thousands of acres of land from other government agencies, ranchers or developers.

But his costly anti-sprawl crusade has led to greater sprawl as developers and builders moved to Pinal, Cochise and Santa Cruz counties to build homes that were more affordable for Tucson workers than they would have been if they had been built in this county.

Huckelberry’s efforts to reposition the county from the area’s sewage handler to a major player in regional water policy have met resistance from most of the area’s real water providers while risking lawsuits from the county’s one-time ally, Marana.

Results inside Tucson have also been unimpressive.

30th October
2008
written by Arizona Kid

City of Phoenix proposing bus fair increase – Read the Republic article HERE. It will be fun to watch and see if our neighbors up north can pull this off.

If you remember a few months back,  Tucson city government almost crumbled over a proposed .25 cent bus fare increase.  Here is a timeline of events from the Star:

1. Hein submitted a budget to M&C showing a large loss at Sun Tran.

Then – read more about the story by clicking.

2. Uhlich accused Hein of lowering the subsidy for Sun Tran, causing a shortfall that forced the council to consider a hike in bus fares. Uhlich demanded to the AZ Star editorial board that Hein:  “own his mistakes” — apologize and explain why the $36 million general fund subsidy of Sun Tran and Van Tran was reduced in the next two years’ budgets.

3. Hein fired off an e-mail earlier Thursday in which he slammed council aides for meddling in council affairs and took offense at the council’s implication he had purposely cut the transit-fund subsidy to hurt the poor.

4.Uhlich said she has not been getting timely or accurate information from the manager’s office, adding that she doesn’t know if “deceit, incompetence or just being overwhelmed” were the reasons behind it. (I loved that statement)  

5.Council member pile on: Leal jumped in with Romero criticizing Hein for moving the Greyhound station. Scott complained about Hein’s treatment of the police union. Romero objected to Rio Nuevo’s handling of west side projects and general accountability.
  

 

6.Hein, who returns from vacation in two weeks, laid much of the blame on council aides who do their own research and “do not have the strongest public-finance background or technical experience.” That’s coupled with aides’ historical distrust of the city staff, which he said is “hyper-reactive, but sometimes lacks the political acumen and a pulse on the community.”

7.
Leal fires off an email demanding Hein’s head – while Hein is on personal vacation. The email apparently got sent PRIOR to the vacation but it got lost in Internet land. The Geek Squad looked into it and couldn’t confirm it was sent, lost or written early.
  

 


8.
Everyone backs away from Leal and goes out of their way to praise Hein.  

9. Tempers cool,  Uhlich calls for a budget auditor which Tucson voters voted against 20+ years ago but hey, another layer of government can’t hurt…or can it?

This story goes right up there with Leal locking himself in Pima County jail over night. This is better than Barney Fife and an episode of The Andy Griffen Show. Great You Tube HERE.

Back to the actual issue at hand – Tucson heads into a $55m budget short fall and can’t seem to increase a bus fare that hasn’t increased in over 8 years.  In the eight years Sun Tran increased routes, service times and ridership is way up.
As a result, Glock said, the share of Sun Tran’s operating cost covered by fare revenues has dropped from 23 percent in 2000 to about 19 percent today.
Without the fare increases, or an increased taxpayer subsidy, transportation officials calculate Sun Tran would rack up a $1.1 million shortfall next year, and a $3 million shortage the following year.
She said she doesn’t want to burden passengers with higher fares, especially when other costs are rising steadily. But she also doesn’t want to see service cuts, which transportation officials say will be needed without the fare increase.
“My goal is to keep the fares as low as we can while still being fiscally responsible with our bus services. I would not keep fares low if we had to scale back bus service,” Uhlich said.

Read the Star article HERE.

The fares in other major markets:
Phoenix $1.25,
Albuquerque $1,
Colorado Springs $1.25,
El Paso $1,
Las Vegas $1.25.
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