Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Developer files bankruptcy

David Wallace, one partner in the now-defunct mater developer for the city of Amarillo, has filed for personal bankruptcy. This information comes via the Joplin Globe's Sarah Okeson in a story posted to that newspaper's website 30 minutes ago. The Turner Report, a Joplin-based blog also reported on the filing.

The bankruptcy filing comes not far behind a posting in the  that revealed that the only successful project Wallace completed was an $84,000 swimming pool in his back yard.

Readers of The Amarillo Independent will recall the extensive reporting on these developers when Les Simpson, the publisher of the Amarillo Globe-News, was president of the Downtown Amarillo Inc. board. He and DAI Executive Director Melissa Dailey came to the then City Commission in November 2010 pushing hard for a quick decision to embrace the now disgraced development firm.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Real journalism has its risks

I don’t believe anyone who signs up to be a reporter has a death wish or purposely puts himself in danger. But, all journalists know that sometimes the job entails risks, especially when the reporter and the news outlet are equally committed to exposing corruption. According to the Santa Fe NewMexican, those risks come home to roost at just such a newspaper Saturday at the weekly Rio Grande SUN in EspaƱola, N.M.

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Special Announcement from The Amarillo Independent

In November 2013, I posted a disclosure on this blog that I was consulting with KVII, now known as ABC 7 News or ABC7 Amarillo. My agreement with ABC 7 News recognized that I could help promote ABC 7 News and indulge in punditry here. That post also made clear the opinion blogging here was distinct and separate from ABC 7 News.

I have made my views clear, without interfering with my ABC 7 News role, that Amarillo’s City Council and City Hall leadership have failed miserably on several fronts. The city hired Wallace Bajjali Development Partners despite warnings the firm was dishonest. Four years later, the master developer has vaporized itself, and not one city councilor has acknowledged what a filthy mess they have made of downtown development.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Train service to Amarillo a fading dream

For the past couple of years, the possibility that Amtrak would re-route its iconic Southwest Chief through Amarillo has twinkled like blinking ditch lights. But if the essence of a report in Sunday’s out-of-own owned daily paper, is correct, New Mexico’s Legislature could derail passenger rail service to Amarillo for the foreseeable future. If doesn’t happen, some of the blame can be levied at the Amarillo City Council and city management for their lack of intelligent, incisive and proactive leadership.

In a nutshell, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway’s has severely curtailed maintenance on the section of its current route that takes the Chief over Raton Pass, which the Chief reaches from Newton, Kan., traveling through the corner of Eastern Colorado before turning south and going into New Mexico. The only regular trains over those tracks are the two daily Chief trips, although it’s possible a rare slow freight could use the route. But, track conditions along the route force the Chief to reduce speed and thus degrade its schedule, something Amtrak would rather avoid. To keep the present route at acceptable speed, BNSF has said it needs $200 million over the next 10 years for maintenance, up from $100 million some sources cited some years ago, with the costs shared among BNSF, Amtrak, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico.

Joplin takes Wallace-Bajjali-gate to heart, Amarillo doesn't

KOAM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Joplin, Mo., has been on top of the Wallace Bajjali story from the start of that city's attempts to recover from a devastating tornado that struck in 2011.

Unlike Amarillo, that city's manager in Joplin is taking the Wallace Bajjali debacle to heart. Here is a story from that KOAM's newscast that provides a stark contrast to the stonewalling from our city's council and manager.