Friday, July 01, 2005

Vendors, The City, and United Way's Scam.

Santa Fe street vendor on the Plaza.

One candidate for City Council, Cliff Mills, recently wrote to the supervisor of the City of Santa Fe's Plaza street vending characterizing the program as "mean spirit(ed)” and proposed the whole program be "abolished." In a letter to City Supervisor Sev Gurule, Mills said the sellers of all that crap on the plaza had "developed a proprietorial, exclusive and elitist" view on selling their stuff in "public space forever at taxpayer expense."

There is nothing unusual about the characterization of the program except Cliff Mills is himself a Plaza vendor.

In perfect bureaucratic style, Sevastian E. Gurule responded that he "appreciated" Mills concerns but instructed Mills to "refrain from using this (the City's) e-mail distribution" system for his complaint.

Gurule had in the past been forced to return gifts he received from the very vendors that he was suppose to be managing.

Another vendor Steve Medow conned the United Way into sub-letting their permit for the Annual 4th of July Pancake Breakfast on the plaza to a sham art group for a flea market right in the historic center of the town. Medow, who acts as an 'independent contractor' charges the flea market vendors hundreds of dollars to sell their shit on the Plaza on Independence Day.

Medow would keep most of the money and give the United way a small percentage. He also threw his fellow Plaza vendor out of the public park for the day.

To make matter worse, the stupid supposed charity, the United Way, puts the people supporting the patriotic breakfast in crammed little tables on the hot blacktop pavement with no cover and they put the junk dealers on the grass in the shade or on the shaded street right in front of local year-round businesses.

Up until now, the United Way has refused to give anyone, including the City, the details of their arrangement with Meadows. This year, under pressure, they claim Medow is charging $175.00 a day for 63 booths on the Plaza and say they are splitting it “fifty-fifty” with Medow. That means Medow will make over $5,500.00 for the day .

Frank Diluzio, former Santa Fe Fire Chief and former City Manager, is the 'vice president" of the United Way.

Frank DiLuzio above in an undated file photo. (Continued later today after I talk to Frank.)

And I did talk to Frank. Wow! Has this nice guy learned institutional bullshit non-denial denial. Fuck, I used to defend his open door policy when he was City Manager by saying 'that's why they fired him so quickly..because he was too real.'

Anyway the Pancake Breakfast is an illegal fraud run by a top-heavy organization that uses a rumored 60% of their funding for administration. And they are selling-out the Fourth of July. The United Way and their fucking flea market are stealing the plaza and the Indenpendence Day.

So, let me get the economic down. The United Way get $5,500.00 for the exclusive use of the main city park and historic Plaza for a Flea market. They kick back $1,500.00 to the city and spent more than half of the remainder on 'administration'. What's that make... $1,600 for charity?

Katherine Freeman is the President and CEO of United Way Santa Fe. In 2003 the United Way’s budget was 1.2 million dollars. Their largest donation came from the employees of Los Alamos Lab, $147,000.

I don’t know much about Freeman except that under her leadership the United Way has become very opaque (I guess that’s what you would call the opposite of transparent.)

Freeman made a secret political donation to my friend Frankie’s opponent for his school board seat. When the candidate was pressured by the news media to report his finances, the candidate Brian had to admit Freeman was one his largest secret contributors.

I contacted the United Way about my concerns about the pancake breakfast. No one there could or would answer my questions about; what percent of the United Way spend on administration; whether it was legal to sublet their permit for the Plaza; or why there was no an opportunity to appeal their use permit to have a flea market on the Plaza on the 4th of July.

The United Way does good work but they would get more help from downtown bussiness people if the United Way wasn't so secretive, greedy, and unconcerned about 'doing the right thing' economicly for the whole community. I have attended the Pancake Breakfast every year for the last 25 years ... but not this year.