(10) comments Back to story

David Hardee

Curious how raises and new hirings were done just in advance of this publication.

Allen Flores

The Park Board’s new direction toward increasing the quality of tourism, including marketing toward eco-tourism and cultural arts tourism. That should help increase occupancy. City council should consider joining the park board’s efforts to take a new direction and attract better crowds. City council and Mayor Yarbrough should end the “drinking-party-events” that attract a low quality tourist that don’t stay in hotels. They drain city services on the backs of taxpayers. They should direct the city manager to adjust his version of tourism so it doesn’t undermine the new efforts for change.

Allen Flores

The park board should stop letting the city manager misuse $400,000 in Hotel Taxes to subsidize the city's general expenses to help the Mardi Gras promoter contract. He pays for "general city purposes" like police and public works by stretching his interpretation to cover everything in the city. It's money shuffling. Hotel Taxes are strictly prohibited from general purpose use of a city. That can't change just because it's Mardi Gras, Labor Day or any other celebration. Attorney General Abbot ruled against Maxwell's use in an opinion in 2011, but Abbott's opinion is ignored by council members. Security and Public Works cannot be interpreted as an "advertising or promotional marketing program," as specified by Texas Tax Code 351.01.

Brian Maxwell

Again, facts are everything Allen. I wasn’t City Manager in 2011 not did I have authority or purview to sign, extend or change any contract by charter.....and again I wasn’t City Manager. Actually I had been on the job only weeks as an assistant when Mardi Gras 2011 took place so not sure how you arrive at your statement.

Allen you offer so much valuable input into these things, I ask you to please refrain from factually incorrect statements and personal attacks as it really waters down your message.

Thanks,

Brian

Allen Flores

Against years of complaints from residents and 40 merchants on The Strand, you extended the non-family drinking-event just last year. You supported the drinking-party on The Strand in 2011 and recently extended the non-family Lone Star Rally contract. You don't enforce any ordinances on promoters, but you do against local businesses all year. Attorney General Abbott ruled against using Hotel Taxes in 2011 for general city purposes like police and public works by saying it's "entirely inconsistent with the express prohibition." Brian, you know that the Hotel Taxes are for marketing programs, promotional programs to acquire conventions and fill hotel rooms with conventions. They cannot be used for subsidizing promoters or general city purposes like police, sanitation and public works. You can't keep using them for police, public works, drainage, sanitation, etc. and be consistent with the law. The performance of the contract is illegal. It violates public policy, creates ongoing threats to public safety and denies taxpayers their rights. It’s untrue that fencing-in large numbers of intoxicated people to watch public lewdness and frequent fighting is for safety. It’s a money grab with secret profits using public streets. All Galveston needs is a few family parades. The Seawall does fine without a promoter contract, if Yaga’s wants to have paid raves, they should do it without public funding and away from local businesses.

City Manager

With council approval. That's the part you continue to miss.

Beyond that, your points are well made and taken and have been shared with council who makes these decisions.

Thanks

Brian

Allen Flores

I respectfully disagree. You insisted that council be cut-out of any decision to extend the contract. Here is what you demanded in the contract: "The City Manager may grant this two year option extension without further City Council approval." Brian, the performance of the contract is illegal and violates public policy on the backs of taxpayers with a loss of $250,000. You are fighting for continuing a contract that loses $250,000 of tax dollars for a drinking-party? The performance of any illegal contract that unlawfully restrains trade, is based on immoral activities and places the public in danger is void in my opinion. You have the power to decide the next steps regarding the contract without council. You can fight for the promoter or standup for the taxpayers and local businesses. City documents characterize the promoter's event with frequent fighting and large numbers of intoxicated subjects, so it's not safer with a promoter contract. Please consider a new direction of tourism without the non-family events that attract disorderly crowds. If you keep the events, I simply ask that you relocate them to an appropriate area away from downtown and the cruise ships. Mardi Gras is good for Galveston, but your version of Mardi Gras needs rethinking because it violates public policy. I've already issued ideas on how to stop the losses, keep Mardi Gras alive and improve the balance of tourism and residents quality of life.

City Manager

To you below comment......even though that is in the contract, I still took it back to council. You were there. Thanks for your input Allen.

Brian

Ron Shelby

Maybe it’s an issue with revenue forecasting: If you’ve “tripled revenues” over the past teight years, maybe it’s unwise to predict that that type of growth can continue forever. Could they have been too aggressive in revenue growth projections to balance against desired project and salary growth? Questions always worth asking.

Allen Flores

By putting the blame on council members, who rely on your endorsements and knowledge of Texas laws, nothing is solved. For ten years, over three dozen businesses have requested an immediate end to the illegal activities on The Strand during Mardi Gras. The performance of the contract is illegal in my opinion. If you agree, take that to council.

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