Posts Tagged ‘Pay To Play’

11th October
2009
written by Downtown Dudette

Here’s another Player Report. The Player Reports are supporting stories detailing how a select few individuals or groups that know how to ‘play the game’ benefit above and beyond our standard business owners. The Players ultimately ruin the system for the rest of us. The Players thrive in our dysfunctional leaderless community. Read The Player opinion in the Inside Tucson Business.

MOCA gets sweet heart deal for old fire station. $1 rent for modern art museum.

With a little digging we found that the Tucson Fire Department headquarters has been replaced with a new $29m home of the Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art. I guess you could say our leaders have set their priorities. For those of you that haven’t been to the MOCA – below is a picture from their web site of what you’re in for.  Don’t bring the kids because it might be tough to explain.

Back in 07′ when discussions of moving police and fire headquarters were taking place the Star ran a story hitting that MOCA may be in line:

The prospect of police headquarters moving has never been publicly discussed. But the Museum of Contemporary Art, whose executive director Anne-Marie Russell, has close ties with City Councilwoman Nina Trasoff, is already making a pitch to move in.

It’s about priorities and I guess we know where our city leaders focus is.

Finally, a renderand construction photo of the new Fire Dept. headquarters being built at Cushing and Granada near the convention center. The current headquarters will subsequently be remodeled into a new space for Tucson MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art).


(render: WSM Architects; photo: Benjie Sanders)

About 150 construction workers are building Fire Central
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
03.12.2009

About 150 people are working today to build Fire Central, the Tucson Fire Department’s new headquarters Downtown. That number includes workers for Sundt Construction, the general contractor, and those working for 19 subcontractors, says Sundt spokesman Charlie Boyd. The contract value to Sundt is $29.7 million, he says. The 65,000-square-foot structure, going in on the south side of Cushing Street near Granada Avenue, is scheduled to be finished in September.

The real story is why does MOCA get a sweet heart deal like this? Who’s behind the modern art soon to be hanging in the City owned ex-fire-station? None other than the art crusader on the Councilwoman Nina Trasoff. From Nina’s campaign site:

MOCA has a new home:Once the Tucson Fire Department moves into its new home on Cushing Street later this year, the Museum of Contemporary Art will begin moving into the old Fire Central, bringing another arts organization into the area near the Arizona Theatre Company, the Tucson Children’s Museum, galleries, restaurants and more. I’m proud to have led the way in making this partnership a reality!

The executive director of MOCA, Anne-Marie Russel is also the chairwoman of The Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District. This group works with the city via Shelko to plan ALL of Rio Nuevo’s happenings.  The panel is appointed by Mayor and Council. Trasoff and Leal are on the sub-committee that oversees Rio Nuevo from the Cities side and works with the Mulitpurpose Facilities Dsitrict. From the Tucson Citizen.

The Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District is under the jurisdiction of a four-member board that includes chairwoman Anne-Marie Russell, executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Art; Jeff DiGregorio, owner of the Royal Elizabeth Bed & Breakfast; Roman Soltero, principal of Tully Elementary Magnet School; and Dan Eckstrom, a former Pima County supervisor

More on Jeff DoGregorio and the Royal Elizabeth’s $5m project later. I guess if you want to get something done with Rio Nuevo joining this board is a pretty good idea.

From the MOCA web site. We aren’t making a value judgement on the merit of the art work. We are making a judgement on the priorities of funding arts over police and fire. I wonder if the old Fire Department Headquarters could have been used a better purpose.

state

Big dicks #1
From Quickening
Jainie Scholnick

A great comment from the AZ Star. Not sure who wrote it but we’ll pass it along:

51. Comment by Joe B. (tucsoncool) — October 3,2009 @ 8:44AM
Ratings:   -1 +17
Maybe its time to start investigating the preferential treatment Jeff DiGregorio, Anne-Marie Russell and the other members of the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Board receive. One hand washes the other.
Just look at the ethically dubious quid pro quo that has gone on so far: Jeff and his partner Chuck own the Royal Elizabeth Bed and Breakfast on Scott Ave., (they wheel and deal even, in part, responsible for bringing Glen Lyons to Tucson) and suddenly almost magically Scott Ave. is the first and so far only street to get a comprehensive and complete redo. Not the major downtown streets like Congress, 6th Broadway or Toole. – within weeks of the completion of this major city investment of millions, guess what, the Royal Elizabeth is on the Market for 1.5 million. Glad these two are invested in heart of downtown for the long run.
“Jeff and Chuck” are nasty power grabbing bullies. In addition to the RNMB,their CV currently includes the Armory Park Neighborhood president, the Iron Horse Neighborhood president and the downtown neighborhood council – what next?
Now lets take a little look Anne Marie. Anne Marie is the executive director ofMOCA. (That’s the Museum of Cotemporary Art) haven’t heard of it? That might be because MOCA is the nomad of Museums moving about every 9 months and producing limited to no programming subsides by the city below market rent. – but lets be honest about it: MOCA is not even accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM). and the little recent programming that has gone on has been highly unethical ignoring national AAM standards for exhibiting borrowed objects. http://www.aam-us.org/museumresources/ethics/borrowb.cfm MOCA invites artists to exhibit work that is for sale, has no curatorial input, and then takes a cut of art sold.
But the city keeps giving MOCA preferential treatment over other non-profits. Why is there no city standard.
With this sort of give back to the committee of 4 !!!!! It is really no wonder Dan Eckstrom (
http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/extreme-eckstrom/Content?oid=1069473) is the newest appointee! Hello? This politico has been submerged in scandal and questionable ethics for decades running the City of South Tucson from a corner table at Riggo’s – if you need an update on how South Tucson is doing the Weekly ran a feature this week. (http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/falling-apart/Content?oid=1399765)

11th October
2009
written by Downtown Dudette

Here’s another Player Report. The Player Reports are supporting stories detailing how a select few individuals or groups that know how to ‘play the game’ benefit above and beyond our standard business owners. The Players ultimately ruin the system for the rest of us. The Players thrive in our dysfunctional leaderless community. Read The Player opinion in the Inside Tucson Business.

From today’s Star, Rob O’Dell is reporting that two developers with over $4 million in projects hinging on an upcoming vote by the Tucson City Council held a fundraiser to for Council incumbents, Nina Trasoff and Karin Uhlich.  We expect a recused from the upcoming vote on the developers vote AT THE VERY LEAST.

From Saturday’s Star:

Campbell’s agreement, which calls for the city to finance a public parking garage on his property, comes to the council for a final vote on Tuesday.

Stiteler’s and Martin’s development agreement comes up for final approval June 16, and the two previously met with the council last Tuesday, three days after the fundraiser.

The city and developers have been negotiating since December.

The Stiteler/Martin proposal calls for the city to give the developers $4 million worth of city properties in exchange for guarantees they will promptly complete the commercial development of properties they already own and spend $5 million on affordable housing and Downtown community groups.

Campbell needs the city to build a $3 million parking garage on East Congress Street, across from the former Greyhound site, where he plans 104 units for University of Arizona students and more than 46,000 square feet of shops, bars and a gym.

Trasoff, Uhlich and Martin all said the donations were aboveboard, adding that politicians need to raise money in order to compete in and win elections. The Democratic council members said they would never allow a political donation to influence their decisions.

How is this any different from – HERE? or HERE or HERE.

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