With much self-serving faux indignation, the El Paso Times, the El Paso Inc., and KVIA offered commentary about the ouster of Leonard Goodman from the Downtown Management District. As I always write; follow the money and the motives suddenly become clear.
Therefore let’s breakdown the motives behind the hypocrisy by identifying who made and is making money from the Leonard Goodman led El Paso Tomorrow PAC.
El Paso Times and KVIA
You already know the El Paso Inc., the El Paso Times and KVIA derive their income from advertisers. Look closely at the advertisers of each media outlet and you should notice a pattern. Also, in the case of the El Paso Times you will remember that not only do they benefit from advertising revenues but also they benefited directly from the sale of their building to the city because the HOT tax was approved by the voters.
As for advertising revenues it is important to note that not only did each outlet benefit from the advertising monies generated from the advertising blitz for the 2012 Quality of Life bonds but I would also argue that as the ballpark continues to materialize each outlet is destined to make advertising money from the construction bidding notices, the “good-will” advertising and ultimately the ballpark’s advertising for the games.
It is not a secret that advertising dollars are significantly falling around the nation and that each advertising dollar is harder to get each day. In El Paso, the pool of advertisers is even smaller.
Therefore as much as all three media outlets would like to pretend otherwise the fact is that their moral outrage is nothing more than indignation that one of their benefactors was publicly humiliated.
The fact is that Leonard “Tripper” Goodman was the front man for the El Paso Tomorrow PAC. The Political Action Committee was formed to counter the “growing opposition to a new Downtown ballpark” that supporters thought would spill over into the $468 million 2012 Quality of Life bond issue. Leonard Goodman was the chairman of the PAC. The PAC was an offshoot of the El Paso Tomorrow Advisory Board. This group is heavily influenced by the memberships of the Paso Del Norte Group and the Downtown Management District.
Remember, follow the money. Therefore let’s take a look at the PAC.
According to their financial reports, the PAC raised $294,400. Let’s analyze this a little further.
There were a total of 77 contributors who made contributions to the PAC from July 16, 2012 to October 26, 2012. Of the 77 contributors, 39 were individuals and 38 were companies. Of the 39 individuals 30 of them are members of the Paso del Norte Group. Because 38 contributors were listed under company names it is very difficult to connect those to individuals but I feel that the majority of those are owned by PDNG members.
However, the interesting thing to look at is how the money was spent by the PAC as this where we can connect the dots.
As is no normal in El Paso, connecting the dots becomes difficult as those who publicly call for transparency and an end to cronyism seem to be the ones that create unnecessary layers of companies that make it difficult to track money flows. It seems purposefully but difficult to prove.
So, we’re left to attempt to dissect what little information is available.
I broke down how the PAC distributed the monies it took in.
It spent $204.91 on checks and $3,254.79 on contract labor for one individual. That was a total of $3,459.70 from the $294,400 it took in, or less than one percent.
So where did the rest of the money go?
The Forma Group received the rest.
I’m sure you remember them. They are the shadowy consultants for politicians like Steve Ortega who seem to be involved when lots of money is moved from one place to another. In fact I wrote a blog about how they have a difficult time keeping up with their obligations to the State of Texas.
It is difficult to track where the money went from there and I believe purposely so. However I can glean some information from their filings. Approximately 14% of the money went to “consulting”. What that means I have no idea but I’m sure it’s a nice hefty profit margin for them.
About 30% of the money went to production. This could include such things as design, printing and video production. Twenty-three percent went to “mailers” that I assume are the mailers delivered directly to the voters.
That left one line item labeled “media purchase” that I assume to be advertising purchases, and another labeled “media purchase and mailers” making it very difficult to take out an exact number for advertising dollars.
The first, “media purchase” was in the amount of $42,330 and the combined one was in the amount of $56,050. Without knowing how the latter one was divided between media and mailers I cannot give you an exact number for advertising dollars.
However we know that at least $60,000 to $80,000, if not more was spent on media buys with the two news prints and KVIA.
In Goodman’s case, it seems that it was money well spent especially since he only contributed $500 of his own money.
On Useful Idiot Darren Hunt
Of course no public perception manipulation is possible without a useful idiot to be the face of the propaganda. Enter Darren Hunt. Although Hunt is supposed to be reporting about the ballpark fiasco his journalistic ethics, if he ever had any, were checked at the door a long time ago. Darren Hunt, along with his wife and willing accomplice Patricia Martinez have been cheerleading the ballpark fiasco any place they can find an audience. The cynic in me and past evidence have taught me that I should not be surprised to see Darren Hunt quitting KVIA and landing a cushy job at some Foster-Hunt connected enterprise, if not the public announcer job at the incoming El Paso baseball team.
After all; useful idiots need to be shown a bone once in a while to keep them useful to the horde.
Darren Hunt, KVIA and the two newsprints have every right to criticize. However it is their hypocrisy they should be very ashamed of, assuming they had any moral compass at all. Of course $50,000 plus in advertising dollars buys a lot faux indignation.
I disagree with the Tomorrow PAC, Paso del Norte group, and underhanded way in which the ballpark was approved. But how does that make an underhanded move by Rep. Limon ok? It sure looks like she waited for Rep Lilly to leave the meeting to initiate a second vote on Mr. Goodman’s appointment. Dirty is dirty, underhanded is underhanded. If every Council board appointment comes down to whether the person was in favor of the ballpark or not, the process has descended into a witch hunt.
As far as the media outlets being dictated to by their advertisers — statistics on who gives how much to the media proves nothing. There are dozens of issues covered in the media every day that advertisers may or may not agree with. The El Paso Inc editor was not in favor of the the ballpark and stated that in a couple of editorials.
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