Convention Center expansion – a fraud by our feudal lords?
I wrote this piece for Rick Rydell’s FaceBook page.
Rick is the host of the Rick Rydell Show, a conservative talk show, heard weekdays on KXLY 920 AM from 10AM – 12PM. KXLY is live streamed at: http://tunein.com/radio/KXLY-920-s26511/
Yes I’m being somewhat tongue in cheek regarding my analogy that Spokane is run by feudal lords who rob the serfs to fund their own self-dealing special interest public/private projects. On the other hand Forbes magazine has deemed Spokane, Fraud: Scam Capital of America. .
By hyperbole I’m trying to raise the taxpayer awareness of the real danger of bankrupting our region’s governments when these projects do not achieve their touted economic benefits and go bust leaving the public holding the bag.
For example I cite: the RPS Bond Scandals and the death of Jo Ellen Savage, Stockton, CA’s public improvements and Wenatchee PFD’s Toyota Center.
Mr. X IMO is quite right that these projects need to be well scrutinized to ensure they are worthwhile expenditures of public funds. The S-R, this region’s paper of record, has a poor track record of doing this scrutiny as its owners can be argued are the leaders of our feudal lords or more appropriately the legacy wealth holders trying to maintain the status quo. There are several examples where the S-R editorial opinions have been nothing more than PR pieces for these projects (See the Camas Magazine reporting archives)
We should evaluate local projects objectively – rather than by appearance – using, if possible, their own goals to determine if they are successful or not.
Lawrence Krauter, the Executive Director of the SIA, who I shared Mr. X’s work, had this following clarification of using SIA passenger data as a direct measure of these region’s economy health. I will share more of Mr. Krauter’s clarification if he gives me permission to to so:
. . . the actual demand for air travel is being artificially impacted in a negative way by the market behavior of the airlines, who are flying fewer seats into our local market despite overwhelming evidence that we can fill up more airplanes. This is why passenger activity cannot be depended on any more as an indicator of economic growth (or contraction).
Mr. X respects and agrees with Mr. Krauter’s clarification and replied:
I agree with Mr Krauter and respect his methods, as I have said before, including in emails with him.
But – what are the objective metrics for evaluating project success? That is the main point of the blog post and applies to numerous local projects.
I agree there have been significant changes in the airline industry to use smaller numbers of larger seat aircraft in many cases, resulting in fewer aircraft operations.
But then what is the objective measure of project success for on going expansion projects?
It seems that our measure of success is we successfully pour concrete rather than look at increase usage or other measure of ROI.
I subscribe to this truism:
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty (Thomas Jefferson)
When the cons have run their sting leaving the marks holding the empty bag, law enforcement seldom if ever can recover the stolen money. We have no one to blame but ourselves when we fall prey to a hustle.
I would also add that organized crime can’t exist without co-opted and or corrupt law enforcement. Ask why it’s taken so long to restore police accountability in Spokane? Is there a benefit to the legacy wealth holders in maintaining inept law enforcement leadership that lack professional ethics who condone and or cover-up serious cases of police abuse and misconduct?
See CFJ’s Tim Connor’s new report:
Civilian Oversight of the Spokane Police Department, A Timeline
We are a Nation of laws and not men (John Adams). No one is above the law including the law enforcers.
[Note: Reformatted from original FB post e.g., bolding and paragraph indents]
Spokane Public Facilities District (PFD) Convention Center expansion project
A fraud by our feudal lords?
RTC – The Liberty Command Center
Mr. X of the Spokane Economic and Demographic Data blog went live with this special report today on the PFD and it’s current Convention Center expansion project:
Mr. X uses data/statistical resources to counter the spin that our feudal lords use to justify these projects back by taxpayers funds. The return on investment (ROI) for these public projects have been largely negative for most of the taxpayers. These projects seldom if ever produce the benefits touted by their proponents.
These ventures in many cases tend to be self-dealing where the insiders benefit at the expense of the taxpayers. For example check the officers of the PAC formed to cheer lead the expansion project as bringing much needed jobs to Spokane – Citizens for Jobs Now. IMO this PAC is an astro turf organization. Check who the officers are employed by:
From Mr. X’s new piece:
There are other large public projects that have been completed or are planned for Spokane which seem to lack objective measures of their success, including:
Spokane International Airport “improvements”: About one quarter of a billion $s worth of improvements have been made to the airports in the past decade. Next up are the addition of high speed taxiway exits fof the runways and eventually a third runway – to accommodate our “continued growth“! Yet the number of air travelers has fallen to mid-1990s levels and the number of aircraft operations has fallen steadily for a quarter of a century and is now less than half what it was in 1990. What are objective measures for these projects as it appears not to be, say, actual usage of the airport?
The heated pedestrian/bike bridge in the University district. What is an objective measure for this project?
The downtown electric trolley project. Define an objective measure for success.
The North-South freeway. The only objective measure seems to be that it is finished within a century.
Proposed (and voted down) light rail line between downtown Spokane and Liberty Lake.
Proposed light rail between the Spokane Airport and downtown Spokane.
What are the objective metrics by which these projects and their management will be judged and held accountable?
Who will hold them accountable?