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The Community Web Log on Media and Government in Midland, Texas

   Thursday, August 29, 2002
This editorial about how the Museum v. Midland County disagreement has gotten out of hand is on the mark. It should have been handled much differently (and better) than it was and much acrimony would have been avoided. But this finger waving admonition would have been more genuine had it not come from the people who splashed every word of the disagreement on their front page for months. The MR-T may disagree with this suggestion to the parties involved, but if the County and the Museum folk want to reduce the bitterness of the conflict by 98% they can do so by making no further statements to the paper.

posted by Stevenson 9:47 PM

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Walsingham: Regarding Mr. Angelo's wanting to be thought of as Midland's Foremost Opinion Leader and hoping that those seeking guidance on any issue will come straight to him for his take.......I just don't see the Reporter-Telegram falling for that, do you? Just kidding. I am a kidder. Say, I'm new the use of the, uh, substitute word "friggin" a blog tradition? Lotsa folk are using it. Just wondering.

posted by Stevenson 6:49 PM

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So, Iggy, is this the byline photo that you want the Midland Reporter-Telegram to start running from now on each time they run a "Speaking Out" column by Mr. Angelo? Note to MR-T Lawyers: This may or may not constitute "fair use" and I know that this photo is probably technically owned and copyrighted by the Reporter-Telegram or Hearst Newspapers or something, so if you want me to remove it you don't have to spend $200 on a lawyer to write me a nasty note.....just send me an e-mail and put in the subject line: "We would rather you didn't use the photo."

Here is one of the things that bugs me about Mr. Angelo's perennial opposition to the school bonds. When it was the new airport issue ($34 million), he was all for it and was bursting with optimism for Midland and its bright future. He (initially, anyway) supported the building of the much higher capacity set of stadiums ($38 million) which indicates no small amount of optimism. Twice, when it was the E.D. sales tax ($3 million per year...for-friggin-ever) he was bursting with the same optimism for Midland's wonderful outlook. Yet, when it is a school bond issue, all of the optimism and cheer concerning Midland's future totally disappears and all we get is hand-wringing about how it is too expensive, not packaged correctly, this is declining, that is stagnant, all topped off by my personal favorite......"it is not the right time" as if the aging infrastructure spread across the district is going to take this cue from Ernie and stop rusting until he finally decides that it is time. Sure, it was the right time to build a new airport when boardings were declining to be prepared for the future. It was the right time to build modern higher-capacity stadiums with an eye to the future. And it was the right time (both times) to create a pool of funds to hand over to billion dollar corporations like Cingular to ensure Midland's future. OK. Great. We have done all of those things that Mr. Angelo wanted us to do to ensure Midland's future. But now it is a school bond issue........and now is just not the right time???

If the irony of it all isn't enough already....consider this: Ask any realtor what those looking to relocate ask about first when looking at a new city. Schools.......Schools, Schools, Schools.

posted by Site Admin 9:15 AM

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   Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Did you see the write up on the desperado they SWATted at the Chrysler Dealership?

“They wanted us to keep (behind) that first row," Park said. As for the aftermath, "there were a couple [of cars] with a flat tire and they put a bullet through the [pole of the] Dodge sign out front."

I can see it now: “Emergency Shoot-Out Sale! That’s right everyone can offer small discounts on hail damaged cars, but how many dealerships can bring you real firearm damaged cars at HUGE savings? Imagine driving out of here today in this lovely bullet-ridden Town and Country mini-van with blood-soaked leather and a leaky engine block. You’ll be fly tonight when you throw down with the homeys - tell ‘em you caught a little action with the DEA, we won’t tell! Only 19 shots were fired but more cars were hit than people so, our selection is outstanding. And remember if we make a trade we’ll pay-off your car no matter how much you owe because as I said earlier we made a trade and it’s given that once a trade is made we’ve decided that we are making enough off of the sale of this new car to take any piece of crap that you bring to us…hell we might even shoot some holes in it and have another sale!”

posted by Ignatius 5:59 PM

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Ernie Angelou? It does have a certain ring doesn't it? If what you say is correct then he had to be kicking himself for coming out big on the ED sales tax the time before last and kicking himself for not being the face-man for it the last time around. Maybe. Maybe not. What was telling to me though was that he was big for the stadium.......right up until the televised debate on the school bond last time around about a year later. When asked if he supported the stadium his reply was "I did at the time, but [knowing what we know now] I wouldn't support it now." Pretty tidy, huh. For the stadium when he needed to be and then against the stadium when he needed to be.

posted by Stevenson 7:18 AM

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   Tuesday, August 27, 2002
At the risk of turning this site into the “All Ernie, All the Time” network…Walser you’re right, Ernie thinks the bond will lose, but his record at picking winners is less than perfect. In 1978 he supported Odessan Jim Reese in his run for the Republican nomination for United States Congress. Mr. Reese’s opponent has gone on to become the leader of the free world. Mr. Reese has hastened off to a lesser destiny. Looking for a telethon host? Consult Mr. Angelo.

posted by Ignatius 10:42 PM

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Ernie Angelo is the Maya Angelou of the Permian Basin. Neither one has anything to offer to a serious debate. They are media figures. Maya was anointed a genius by the Clintons, but her poetry is truly unremarkable. Ernie managed to get his picture taken with Reagan so many times that the local media crowned him “Mr. Republican”, but other than piling-on the last school bond issue he hasn't really delivered the voters (witness the Dale Brown no-show in the last mayor's race.) By the way, has he ever explained what dragged him from the final two CFAC meetings (the important ones) so that he would be free to stand outside the tent and pee in?

posted by Ignatius 10:06 PM

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Reading over and over Mr. Angelo's Speaking Out column regarding the upcoming school bond election I was stunned by its lack of content regarding what he really thinks is the problem. OK, I get that he is against it and that he is disappointed about that. But what, if anything, in the article really outlined what it is that he wants? Thirty-five members of the CFAC spend months talking to absolutely everyone with an opinion, turning out a workable deal and at the eleventh hour one of them....Ernie....decides he can't support the product, says we should all vote against it, and doesn't even really tell us why (the repayment schedule seems low? It seems low? You come out against a bond issue that provides funds to make repairs on schools that are universally recognized as necessary and the best you can do is words like "seems"?). No specifics, really. Only that he is disappointed. This made no sense.

Or at least it didn't. Then a friend explained it to me. He said I am missing entirely the essence of Ernie if I think that he is against the bond because he thinks it should lose. Ernie is against the bond issue because he thinks it is going to lose. More important to Ernie than any idea or ideology is the image of "Ernie the Opinion Leader"...."The Oracle Ernie". Every time a political issue comes up he wants people to think silently or to each other "What does Ernie think about this?" or "What do you think Ernie is going to do?" He will preserve this at the expense of just about anything. Ernie has taken the time to check the wind, run the political traps...even while foregoing a number of opportunities to address the school board with his complaints long before they voted on any of the committee's recommendations....and has decided that the bond issue is going to fail. That is why he is against it and that is why he is telling us only now.

posted by Walsingham 6:40 PM

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   Friday, August 23, 2002
Mr. Williamson, if three straight 5A high school football state championships didn't stop the giggling it cannot be stopped. Those seeing the new stadium for the first time will be disappointed to learn that a brand-new big-time high school football stadium is indistinguishable from a brand-new podunk college stadium.

posted by Stevenson 4:58 PM

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Have I mentioned before that Lileks rules magnificently over the blog world? I think I have. Full link here.
"Note to some of my interlocutors: “Oil” is not quite the epithet you believe it to be. “Oil-based economy” is not exactly a stinging indictment. This would be more impressive if you wrote your missives from computers made entirely of hemp, instead of petrochemical products; it would be more convincing if I had forgotten the sight, in 1991, of buses pulling up in DC to disgorge protesters who shouted NO BLOOD FOR OIL. The more you sneer ooooiiiiilll, the more I wonder if you were sodomized by a gas-pump nozzle in your formative years. I understand that in your circles, oiiiillll says it all, but this doesn’t have much resonance outside the student cafeteria or the Kinko’s where you run off your fliers. If you doubt me - and you’ve every reason to do so, given my oil-soaked family - say “oil you” to a stranger, or sneer “get oiled!” in a locker room, or announce in a theater that “XXX” is “a load of steaming oil.” People won’t quite get it.

You’ve work to do, is all I’m saying."

posted by Site Admin 2:56 PM

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Terry Williamson continues to genuflect before DotComToday GoneTomorrow Football/Soccer complex, reaching the zenith of absurdity with this:
"Still, it's an incredible stadium. It has placed Midland on a new level of respect. The giggles have now stopped across the state. "
It is clear that Mr. Williamson has suffered greatly at the hands of those who would measure a town's civic greatness by the amount of money it is willing to throw away on....let us remember what we are talking about here: A friggin' high school football stadium!! But for goodness sake, Mr. Williamson, even if good sense is somehow out of reach when writing these mash notes to your concrete mistress on the loop, at least exercise some dignity.

posted by Walsingham 12:33 PM

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This from an inbound e-mail from a faithful reader:
"If I have this correct, the CEO of Grande was one of the original heavies at ClearSource...he went away and Begat Grande Communications (located in the Austin area). After 3 rounds of funding, ClearSource wasn't cutting it so enter Grande who rebirthed Clearsource by acquisition. So in a span of less than 3 years Clearsource already has shown instability and merged into a new company. Why would Grande feel THEY can do better at competing against Cox Communications? Same lines, same people."
No problem, if they go away we name it after someone else just as meaningless to the taxpaying citizenry.

posted by Site Admin 8:50 AM

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Midland's only other blog known to me,, picks up on the naming of the stadium after one of those rock-solid, permanent, always going to be there for you icons of the new internet company.

posted by Site Admin 7:33 AM

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   Thursday, August 22, 2002
Check it out! A bargain at twice the price! George W. Bush's boyhood home for sale on eBay! Bidding starts at $250,000!

UPDATE: Here is the MR-T link....but we had it here first! Reading the article it looks like there are about ten "Bush homes" in the area. I'm sure the attendant neighbors are just thrilled with all of the great plans these various groups have for these houses.

posted by Stevenson 11:18 AM

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Lookey here! Another Midland-based blog! Check out Looks like it pre-dates Jessica's Well by about 30 days. I was hoping we were the first. I guess not.

posted by Site Admin 9:11 AM

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   Wednesday, August 21, 2002
Admin: You left out at least Nationsbank in your stadium naming post. Are there even more?

posted by Stevenson 10:23 PM

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Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead! So tell me the order of events here. Are they called the Renaissance Apartments because the manager is working to change a somewhat blighted reputation thereby ushering in a sort of "renaissance" for the complex itself? Or is it because the tenants secure their livestock with them in the living quarters, pour their sewage into the streets, and have no teeth?

posted by Walsingham 10:03 PM

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Interesting Gary Ott column today on James Meredith, the first black to attend the University of Mississippi and all of the uproar and controversy it caused......thirty nine years ago....within my lifetime for goodness sake. I got the same feeling reading that column that I get when I am watching the History Channel or reading on World War II and come across evidence of the Holocaust. Movies and photographs notwithstanding, it seems like it could not have been something even vaguely related to our times or our culture. But it happened less than twenty years before I was born on what was arguably the most advanced and sophisticated continent on the globe at the time. I don't think those concerned with events in Europe now can be easily dismissed as being over-sensitive.

posted by Stevenson 9:43 PM

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Dear Mom and Dad, I don't know what I am going to do with my life....but I know one thing for sure: It isn't going to be cheap! Thanks! I'll call! Don't forget to pay the Mastercard bill!

posted by Stevenson 9:32 PM

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I know, I know. I am hearing that I can very easily be accused of inconsistency on the stadium.....complaining that it won't payout and then knocking real income dollars coming in the form of naming rights. A point well taken. But I do want to plead my case a little further with the twin ideas of scope and effectiveness. By scope, I mean that $48,000 represents only 0.1% of the entire cost of a project that, c'mon, is never going to pay out in any non-chamber-think scenario, and 2) Effectiveness: Having named these parks after Midland American Bank and now Grande Communications have we really named them after anything at all? Picture this same deal being cut with First National Bank in 1983. From FNB Ballpark to Republicbank First National to NCNB to Bank of America....and I am leaving out at least one that I can't even remember. If Grande is like most other telcos of its ilk their goal is to be bought out by someone larger. Are we not headed the same way? What are the odds that both of these stadiums will have the same name 10 years from now sans mergers. With mergers it may be even fewer years.

My point is that perhaps we should have named these stadiums after something more meaningful to the people coughing up the $48,000,000 (plus interest) instead of after corporate sponsors ripe for name changes bringing only $48,000 per year.

posted by Site Admin 8:32 AM

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   Tuesday, August 20, 2002
Alright already. It has been a couple of months now.....plenty of time to get the bugs out. Big 2 needs to find someone who can write their web page so that it handles more than one or two monitor resolution settings. And lose the Flash driven navigation bar to the left.....or at least speed it up.

posted by Site Admin 9:22 PM

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"Midland American Ballpark" didn't bother me. Nearly every professional team in every sport now plays in a "brand named" park. But having our high school athletes playing not in a "Memorial" stadium or the like, instead playing in "
Grande Communications Stadium".......well, that does bother me for some reason. I know that this a new and different structure and all but there is something about war dead becoming second bananas to a telco that no one has ever heard of before today that bothers me also.

Forty-eight thousand dollars a year will just have to be enough to make the unseemliness of it go away.

posted by Site Admin 9:17 PM

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OK. I guess higher numbers are better than lower numbers when it comes to ball game attendance at Midland American Ballpark. But does anyone actually know what is meant by the term "Attendance" at these games? Is that the number of people actually through the turnstiles to see the game? Or is it the total number of tickets sold, including season tickets for seats that are unused for the night? That would be a big difference. What is the actual through-the-gate head count? Conversely, if before the closing night game last night, roadblocks had been set up preventing any patrons from reaching the stadium would the "Attendance" still have been 3,000? It seems like nit-picking here, but the whole deal was sold to us on it's ability to generate "new money" for the community. Can we count the sale of tickets for seats that go largely unused as any sort of return on this investment? I have only been to a couple of games this year but overhearing one park worker joking to another that "Its Blue T-Shirt night again" was enough to prompt the question.

posted by Walsingham 9:32 AM

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   Sunday, August 18, 2002
Does anyone remember the League of Women Voters’ debate at Midland College before the last bond election? The CFR said the reason they were most upset with the proposal was that there was no provision for a Southside elementary school. It was Kimball, I believe who met with thunderous applause after saying, “when this bond is defeated, the CFR promises to work with south-side residents to see that a school is built there.” It appeared at the time that this was obvious pandering for “no” votes – but who knew, maybe the CFR was genuinely concerned by the social inequities of elementary school locations. I envisioned Woodside & Louisa Valencia hatching great plans for the school over cocktails and shrimp remoulade in Kimball’s lovely penthouse apartment in downtown Midland. But two years (and doubtless countless meetings) since, their dreams have not been made public. Oddly, it appears that Woodside’s letter today calls packaging the south-side elementary with other items (giving it a chance of passing) “political correctness.” Since we all know that a separate item south-side elementary would have absolutely no chance of passing, one wonders if the CFR isn’t “outing” themselves on this issue. Woodside’s closing paragraph is among the funniest prose ever offered by the CFR, “CFR asks the Midland voters to reject all three propositions. Then a committee can be formed void of emotion and agendas and bring to MISD the NEEDED improvements to its facilities.” Oh yeah, and maybe then they’ll unveil the “better way” they’ve been holding out like a carrot on a stick for all of Midland’s disillusioned voters for 10 years.

posted by Ignatius 3:09 PM

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Stevenson: Nice to have you aboard! I am glad you were able to navigate the sign-up process.....something Robert Hallmark at KCRS was unwilling to do. I am glad it wasn't too onerous.

I see what you mean about Mr. Woodside's letter. Every time I read it I think he must be channeling Dustin Hoffman from the movie "Rain Man"......."Too large of a proposal....yeah....4 out of 7 campuses sports.....yeah, yeah.....Quantus accidents....yeah....."

posted by Site Admin 2:14 PM

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Admin: How about this collection of words?:
"Poor Packaging Prop I 'ACADEMICS & EQUITY'
6 out of 7 campuses performing arts
4 out of 7 campuses sports"

Twenty words, no punctuation, no complete sentences. We have to assume Mr. Woodside knew what he meant by all of this, don't we? But the way he has presented it, how can he reasonably expect to be adding to the knowledge of anyone undecided on the issue with this kind of letter. (Admin: Thanks for the invite to join.....I press the "Publish" key now and hope it all works!)

posted by Stevenson 1:56 PM

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Two members of the Midland TCTA have sent in a letter making it clear that, the CFR's Powerpoint presentation notwithstanding,
"Midland TCTA did not at any time state we were in favor of any school closings or the possibilities of such. Midland TCTA did not respond to any questions regarding the possibility of studying school closings."
This means that the CFR did not merely mis-understand the TCTA's position before running with it.....they didn't even ask.

posted by Walsingham 12:23 PM

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Walser: Upon finishing reading Mr. Woodside's letter to the Editor this morning I was convinced that, given its meandering construction, lack of specifics, et al, that the letters editor had butchered it before going to press. But then you re-read it and you have to know that they didn't change a thing. Hard to choose, but my personal favorite "Official Concern of the CFR" is:
"No provision for none of the above."
Unless the proponents have pulled off one of the greatest and most in-your-face ballot rigging schemes of all time and managed to get the "Against" options left off of the ballot altogether Mr. Woodside's senses have completely left him.

posted by Site Admin 12:02 PM

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Not so fast Linda! The CFR is way too,, an organization to still have the same concerns after just two years. Mr. Woodside has a letter to the Editor today that contains the CFR's New! Improved! concerns. Mr. Woodside could not have produced a letter that is more revealing. So revealing, in fact, that it will require a separate post altogether.

In another letter Mr. John P. Hammitt writes:
"If Propositions 1 and 2 pass, there will be $19.3 million authorized for renovations to Midland High School. If Proposition 3 passes, $45.64 million will be authorized to build a new Midland High School. This will negate [emphasis mine] the improvements provided for in Propositions 1 and 2. However, there is no mention of the $19 million dollars that will be unaccounted for. This certainly looks dishonest to me."
First of all, his numbers are off but it is his logic that is killing here. Like Mr. Josh Marshall in a previous letter, Mr. Hammitt seems to be under the impression that MISD will make all of the improvements to Midland High School called for in Propositions 1 and 2 and then tear it all down to build the new Midland High School called for in Proposition 3.

posted by Walsingham 11:23 AM

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   Friday, August 16, 2002
Walser: You are on a roll. Your last reminds me of a New Yorker Cartoon. Guy at a cocktail party says to his friend, "I'd rather be a huge part of the problem than a tiny part of the solution." Remind you of anyone? I wanted to post the actual cartoon but the New Yorker wants $125.00 for a license. Here is the link, though.

posted by Ignatius 4:28 PM

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UPDATE: Here is one of the quotes that the MR-T is talking about in the CFR Powerpoint presentation:

"All three teachers associations agree studying the possibility of school closings is proper." - Jay Lyles, MRT (02/17/2002)
Sure, studying school closures is proper because it is proper to consider all of the possible alternatives. But did these three teachers organizations ever say after studying the issue that there should be school closings?


posted by Walsingham 3:57 PM

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Yet another item to add to the CFR Whopper Alert. One of the slides in their Powerpoint presentation has the following "quote" from Steve Buck, the head of the Midland Federation of Teachers: "......glad they are looking at this [the possibility of school closures] now". This is to give the impression that Steve Buck agrees with the CFR's contention that all of the temporary classrooms that you see at all these campuses are, in fact, imaginary and that we actually need to be closing schools.

One problem: Reports have Mr. Buck speaking at the School Board meeting the other night and making it absolutely clear that he doesn't think that any schools should be closed and that he supports the propositions. Go ahead and take that slide out of the presentation while you are at it, guys.

posted by Walsingham 3:51 PM

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This is fun:
"DART: The Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, which in its school bond opposition Powerpoint presentation has taken out of context quotes that have appeared in the Reporter-Telegram and misrepresented those quoted in this newspaper. On Wednesday, the Reporter-Telegram formally asked that CFR pull that part of its presentation. We'll be watching."
This is totally unreasonable on the MR-T's part. I have seen the CFR's Powerpoint presentation and if they have to remove everything that is flat out wrong or misleading it will leave them with two full slides and parts of a third......and they are cherry-picking their data on those. No tax lover I, I can still see the CFR for what it is: just a vehicle to get Mr. Woodside and Mr. Kimball the air-time that they so obviously crave.

posted by Walsingham 1:29 PM

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They just keep getting better, don't they? Today's online poll question is:
"Have you, or someone you know, sighted Elvis in the last 25 years?"

posted by Site Admin 1:11 PM

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Didn't he know that neigh means nay?.

posted by Site Admin 10:13 AM

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Reminds me of then-Governor Bush’s response to a reporter’s question, “What message are we sending to potential Canadian tourists by executing a Canadian national tonight.” Bush said, “When you come visit Texas, don’t murder any grandmas.”

posted by Ignatius 9:49 AM

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Ladies and Gentlemen......I give you Vicente Fox.....the only Mexican national planning to cross the border into Texas today that actually changed his mind.

posted by Walsingham 9:19 AM

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   Thursday, August 15, 2002

Maybe this girl isn't really aware of her circumstance here. Maybe she just can't take a bad picture. But have you ever seen a better looking mug shot in all your life?

posted by Site Admin 9:39 AM

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   Wednesday, August 14, 2002
An source that wishes to remain anonymous (putting on my press hat here) overheard some of the powers that be wanting to know if the high dollar turf at the new football complex could be covered over with dirt periodically so we could host, say, rodeos. Can monster trucks be far behind?

posted by Walsingham 1:55 PM

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Oh yeah, Texas Wins National Championship.

Congrats to Stewart Doreen for his promotion to Sports Editor at the MR-T. There is every possibility now that stories relating to other Big 12 schools won't be moved off of the front page by almost any story concerning Texas Tech.

UPDATE: OK. Sometimes things done tongue-in-cheek don't convey (especially on the internet) so let me leave no doubt as to the congratulations due Terry Williamson for a long and distinguished career at the MR-T for all of his coverage of not just national and regional sports but of his coverage of class upon class upon class of our local athletes also.

posted by Walsingham 1:36 PM

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Oye Veh, That’s A Big Matza Ball!
This correction in the MRT needs further explanation. Seems that sometime over the weekend one of the headline writers was having a little good natured Aryan Nation fun when he wrote a fake headline for an article on a new Jewish synagogue in town. A reliable source reports that it read “Jewboy Hoedown.” (Note to all Nazis who stumbled across this page doing a google search: you’re wasting precious hate-time here, move along.) Evidently downloaded the fake headline and posted it on the site. My question is, who actually read the “Religion” section of the MRT?

posted by Ignatius 1:27 PM

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This should be interesting to watch. The Jobs Corps is invariably and wildly vilified by Midland Republicans (and Republicans in general) as a waste of taxpayer money; a program so Clinton-like in it's thinking as to be laughable. But watch these same people fight like crazy to get one of the centers located here. Same old story.....if it is located somewhere else it is considered pork. Located here it is an investment.

posted by Walsingham 1:24 PM

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   Friday, August 09, 2002

The Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility (CFR) have come out against the School Bond Issue on the grounds that.....well.....on the grounds that they are against the School Bond Issue as far as I can tell from the article. You will see a couple of quotes from Woody Woodside about better alternatives than a bond issue. Actually, that isn't true. You won't see an alternative plan from him for that would require specifics....not the CFR's forte'. Truly, do you see anything in this quote that is really helpful?
"I think there are ways that we can improve schools that are better than passing a giant bond issue," he said. "I think we need to get the M&O budget under control before we talk about a bond. The district needs to be able to staff and maintain the schools before trying to build them. If they do not they will have to call for another bond election to fix them a few the schools again in a few years."
Cryptic. Vague. And useless. What does he think the M&O budget ought to be and what does he think needs to be cut to get it there? If you think he is going to actually delve into these nasty details in any meaningful way you are wrong. His job here specifically (and the CFR's job in general) is merely to "raise concerns", not offer solutions. He cares nothing for real answers, rather he seeks what the political pros call "traction on the issue". And his liberal use of the word "we" when talking about the M&O budget falls oddly upon the ears considering these guys never surface with their helpful suggestions until the ballot is already printed.

Now here is something interesting:

"CFR member Mark Kimball said the CFR does not oppose every bond, and has remained neutral in several earlier votes regarding taxes. 'The CFR did not oppose the stadium, the airport or the Economic Development tax that passed," he said.' "
Does it bother anyone else that this was left unexplored? Why didn't they oppose those proposals? Perhaps the answer is that there are different kinds of taxes funding the last of those two projects. The stadium complex and the economic development corporation are funded through add-ons to the state sales tax. The school bond issue would be funded through property taxes.

And Mr. Kimball owns office buildings. don't think.......naaaaaaaahhhhh.

posted by Walsingham 8:47 AM

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Walser: I haven't seen anything new on the Midland Development Corporation's "process" of deciding who to contract out the economic development activities to. When the obvious outcome is arrived at would we be incorrect in saying that it was always a "Wynn-Wynn" situation?

posted by Site Admin 1:11 AM

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   Thursday, August 08, 2002

This picture has nothing to do with Midland, the local media, or local government. It just had to be posted, alright? Everyone together now:


posted by Site Admin 8:31 PM

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   Wednesday, August 07, 2002
Mr. Walsingham: Slow down, my head hurts. The stadium is finished. The media let it slide by with out giving any ink or air time to the opposition. A year later when the school bond election was in the works the "aginners" were whipped into a frenzy by the star status they were awarded by the same editors and reporters who ignored them on the stadium issue. I've said it before: I think the new stadium ameliorates the reporters' "small market" inadequacies. Hey, I'm in this great stadium, covering football, not the Cowboys, sure but every bit as important to the local rubes. Talk about some notoriety for misplaced priorities, if the bond fails this time, we may rate our own "Friday Night Lights." Quick somebody hand me a tape recorder, I'm off to live with the Lee Rebels for a year.

posted by Ignatius 10:00 PM

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Walser: Counting any MISD function derived income as a return on investment towards the sports complex would be like Kate Capshaw paying for 1,000,000 people to attend a Stephen Spielberg movie and then Spielberg counting that $70,000,000 as a return on his investment toward that movie. It is the taxpayers on both ends of the transaction.

posted by Site Admin 5:31 PM

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Walsingham: Focus for a minute on this beauty:

The revenue projections include $155,000 via football-soccer field events; $248,000 via the baseball field predominantly leased by the RockHounds baseball club; $167,000 via Common Use; and $15,000 in investment income.

Think about the football-soccer events, which we are later told will generate between $500 and $1500 per event. At the higher of these figures it would take 103+ events to reach the "projection" of $155,000 in a year. If a significant number of events do not bring in the top price, you will need, say 200, events to reach projection. Gentlemen, that's a lot of events in 365 days. Most of the events will involve MISD and so the "income" will be from the taxpayers for the school district; exactly like the "income" to the stadium from the sales tax revenue. This looks like a financial statement Enron would have been proud of. They won't tell us how much money they project to derive from sources not related to the taxpayers of Midland; it would be too revealing a number to trust the public with.

posted by Pliny 4:40 PM

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Ya know, after further review I like these quotes about the sports complex even better:
"Ken Marks, who is a director on the Development Corporation board, projected a payoff by about 2015 based on figures, which he said he had gleaned from City Manager Rick Menchana. But Gifford termed Marks' projection "optimistic." Gifford figured a pay-off date closer to 2035."


"Approximately $500,000 of the sales-tax revenue annually goes into a reserve fund, which by 2010 could be used toward "possible early retirement" of the bonds," Gifford said. "We can pay off some of them (bonds) with this excess cash that we are generating."

The first quote is stunning in that it reveals that those at the highest level of the 4a board can't agree within 20 years on an estimated payoff date. Note very carefully that we are talking about the payoff date here....not payout date. The payout date is that date known only to the high priests of economic development who know precisely what "multiplier effect" needs to be applied to a project to mask the fact that it is a black hole sucking in tax dollars. The "payoff" date is merely when we expect to pay off the known debt. And they can't agree within 20 years?

The second quote is absolutely Orwellian in the use of the phrase "....with the excess cash that we are generating" when in reality it is describing taxpayer funding. That is what is such a kick in the a** when it comes to these revenue "projections" boasts $155,000 of income from football-soccer events as if the vast majority of this "income" wasn't coming from MISD (read taxpayers here) paying to play there. Can we really declare any amount of return on investment on dollars that come from our own coffers?

posted by Walsingham 3:31 PM

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Let's see now.....according to

this article the new sports complex has projected a FY 2003 budget of $3.5 million. Get this: the non-sales tax generated portion of the income side of the budget amounts to a whopping $585,000 dollars or 16% of yearly expenses (assuming a balanced budget). Keep in mind that the taxpayer subsidy of $2,915,000 is considered income. The taxpayers can also take great comfort in the fact that the non-sales tax generated revenue for our debut season represents about 1.2 percent of the total project cost of $48 million. That is some kinda return there. Of course, you DO have to strap the old Chamber of Commerce multiplier effect on it....which in this case needs to be a muliplier of about a million.

Also, this is an interesting quote to see this late in the life of the project:
"Of the complex's "rate structure, what to charge teams," Wood said the directors are "still in the feeling-out process. So, we don't really know what is the right amount to charge. Right now, we do have a basic fee structure in place" per event, and it is "based on size of the (competing) schools. Of other charges, "We need to find out what Odessa, Abilene and those (other) cities are charging to use their (sports) facilities before we implement any type of rate structure," Wood said."

Normally, you would think that this kind of information would have been gathered beforehand to try to see if the project as a whole was justifiable economically. But when you see the FY 2003 budget and look at the estimated income from actual use of the facility by Midlanders and others it becomes obvious right away that economic feasability was never a concern. We needed "a stadium that we could be proud of". Or at least one better than Odessa has.

Just take a long, hard look at that statement..."We needed a stadium we could be proud of"......a statement seen in print and heard on the air from the proponents from the very beginning. Is this how Midland wishes to be written down? The vicious irony of all of this will truly be complete if the upcoming school bond doesn't pass.

posted by Walsingham 10:37 AM

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   Tuesday, August 06, 2002
The missing teens mentioned below have turned up in Corpus Christi. Read the article. These two girls seem like real peaches. Still nothing in the Midland paper, however.

posted by Walsingham 11:28 PM

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Well......those old "I'm with Stupid" t-shirts may get some more use after all.

posted by Walsingham 11:23 PM

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   Monday, August 05, 2002
In Dear Abby this morning (MR-T, 8/5/02, Page 5B), "Miserable In Orange County" writes that her marriage has come apart because her husband has recently confided in her that "all his life he thinks he should have been a woman." Technically, has another woman come between them?

posted by Site Admin 5:07 PM

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Why would the MR-T be more interested than the San Angelo paper in two Midland girls who have gone missing? There will be something in tomorrow's paper for sure, though. I phoned in an anonymous tip that they were last seen with Cedric Benson.

posted by Walsingham 2:03 PM

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Iggy: An "On Air" marriage proposal that went unanswered? So what happens in a case like that......does the audience squirm silently or do they take a more proactive approach and begin to yell "Aaaaaaiiiiiiirrrrbbbbbaaaaaaaaaalllll"? After all, he is a sports guy.

posted by Walsingham 1:59 PM

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Check the San Angelo paper. Two Midland girls missing. A little restraint shown by the MRT? Wait 'til Big 2 & Newswest 9 hear about these runaways. They'll have live shots from all over, along with the obligatory, "what you can do to keep your kids safe" story.

Did anyone see the 10:00 on Channel 7 Friday? The sports guy proposed to Kesa Thomason complete with drop to knee and ring presentation at the end of their hosting the Miss West Texas pageant. Ms. Thomason was understandably speechless...but she never gave an answer. Minutes went by. No answer. Fade to black. God it was embarrassing.

posted by Ignatius 9:48 AM

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