Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Downtown Misdirection? A KVII-Pronews7 Special Report


KVII - PRONEWS7’s Monday and Tuesday 10 p.m. newscasts looked at Amarillo’s downtown redevelopment efforts. I helped with this story as part of my consultancy with KVII. I have edited both segments together into an 8-minute video and posted it here and elsewhere. Some of the main points:

· The city of Amarillo has shut out one of the most historic buildings downtown in favor of using a master developer of questionable repute (Wallace Bajjali) to co-develop a new hotel;

· Almost all of the decision-making has been in executive session — behind closed doors — with little public information;

· Paul Harpole, the mayor of Amarillo, has (to be charitable) been dishonest about the projects’ progress and untruthful about Wallace Bajjali meeting deadlines and timelines;

· Joplin, Mo., recovering from a massive tornado, is using Wallace Bajjali as a master developer and has run into problems with the firm, including — as KVII documents — Wallace Bajjali’s inability to develop anything without a co-developer. This is evident in Amarillo with the development of the downtown convention center hotel; and,

· Like the Amarillo Globe-News, the Joplin Globe was in the tank for Wallace Bajjali and, as here, it took a local television news outlet to shine the light on what was and is really occurring.

By the way, I have seen emails that show the City Council and city leaders, which include the Amarillo Local Government Corp. and Downtown Amarillo, Inc., knew as long ago as early July 2013 that Wallace Bajjali would not meet its Oct. 31, 2013 deadline on the hotel development. But not one of the people associated with those groups came forward to be honest with the taxpayers who are footing the bill for this activity.

KVII - PRONEWS7 will continue to follow this story and I hope those of you reading this will do so as well, sharing this with as many as people as you can.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Videos Available

After much consideration, study and hard work, I have moved all The Amarillo Independent video content from my personal YouTube channel to The Amarillo Independent’s YouTube channel, TheAmarilloindy.

I have uploaded 487 videos, which are what I believe to be all the video The Amarillo Independent produced from April 2006 until the end of 2013. I will continue to look through files and upload more content if I discover I’ve left videos out at this point.

YouTube is searchable as is TheAmarilloindy channel. Your best search strategy will be to search by tags, such as “city commission,” “Wallace Bajjali” or some other topic. You can also search if you know the date, for example, of a City Commission/Council meeting or work session.

If you have any questions, you can contact me at

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Why health reform won’t work — a historical perspective - Part 3

Technology, aided by the information revolution and faster and cheaper computers, has exploded. Newer and more powerful imaging devices, moving cardiac cath labs out of the hospital, enhanced lab analyses and creating a completely new flow of information are making medical decisions easier and faster. For some physicians, they can be on call and never leave their homes. An orthopedic surgeon can have a huge LCD screen in his living room. The hospital and some of the clinics where he works can route digitized X-ray images to that screen and he can then decide the next step.

Why health reform won’t work — a historical perspective - Part 2

Ronald Reagan had won the 1980 election and his pro-big business push for supply-side economics, lower taxes and deregulation changed the course of America’s economy. Remember the famous line from the movie “Wall Street,” uttered by Michael Douglas’ character, “The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.”

Why health reform won’t work — a historical perspective Part 1

The economic model of the United States’ health care system — which really isn’t a system — is not the supply and demand free market model some would have you believe. And some of those who want you to believe that it is a free market knows full well it isn’t, but fooling the public serves certain purposes.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Change in Situation

As long as I’ve been a journalist, I’ve felt ethics and transparency were keys to how I comported myself and how I guided The Amarillo Independent. I tried to uphold high standards when the Indy was a print product and then when I converted it to a news website.

The Independent’s political and public policy positions, when in print and online, mostly reflected my own views, although sometimes molded and tempered by others working with me. Then, at the end of August, I converted the website to a blog — a personal blog for which I was solely responsible.

But I now must disclose a change in my situation. I have accepted a position consulting with KVII - ProNews 7. My part-time effort working with the ProNews 7 staff will focus on hard news and investigative reporting.

What needs to be clear here is that to the degree that I express either public policy positions on this blog, those remain mine and only mine. However, note that I will also promote ProNews 7 on my blog now.

Please let me know if you have any questions.