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home : opinions : opinions August 19, 2014

4/11/2013 5:00:00 PM
TIMES EDITORIAL: DeConinck's decisions are good for his management pals, not so good for Blythe residents

The battle at the past two city council meetings over how the city should spend its $20,000 promotional fund was as comical as it was disappointing.

Theoretically, the council set up the fund to promote the city and get people to visit Blythe and spend money in town, therefore increasing the city's tax base and general fund. Councilman Joey DeConinck, who's best friends with City Manager Dave Lane and Police Chief Steve Smith, and acts as though he was elected to represent their interests instead of the people who voted for him, vehemently spoke out against paying for bands for the Blythe River Blues Festival, which is a fundraiser for the Blythe Area Chamber of Commerce and the Joe Wine Recreation Center.

DeConinck argued forcefully that he did not endorse putting the $20,000 from the city's budget into a promotional fund and that any extra money the city might have should go toward the city's deficit.

At first glance it would seem that DeConinck has a good point. Unfortunately, in DeConinck's almost eight years on the Blythe City Council, he has wasted so much money on senseless projects that it would take 20 years of paying bands for future blues festivals to keep up with him.

Let's start with the $50,000 sign downtown that works sometimes but oftentimes doesn't work. The $50,000 just went to the cost of the sign, not the countless repairs made to it over the past couple of years. How did this sign benefit the residents and businesses of Blythe? No one on the freeway can see it. The only one it seems to benefit is Lane, who seems to always be tooting his own horn on it.

Next let's look at the nearly $800,000 being spent on a study to determine the feasibility of moving the Riviera Drive, I-10 off-ramp to build a $5 million Welcome Center that no one has the money to build. In DeConinck's financial world, it doesn't matter that the city has no money to build a Welcome Center, or to even move the off-ramp if that came to be.

DeConinck believes that with an $800,000 study on the shelves of City Hall, the city will be ready to build it in the future when the money magically appears.

It will be "shovel-ready" and sitting on the shelf, waiting for construction to start when money becomes available, according to DeConinck.

But we can only wonder if the Environmental Impact Report will still be valid when and if, and that's a big if, the city ever lands $5 million to pay for it. With every government agency in America having to cut back, who has $5 million to give to Blythe for an unneeded rest stop?

DeConinck's vision of people stopping and taking a picture of themselves at the Welcome to California sign does not benefit the residents and businesses in Blythe. It's a couple of miles from the closest gas station, hotel and restaurants and anyone who has traveled Hobsonway from the Riviera Drive off-ramp to Intake is in for a jolting and bumpy ride seeing the route is more potholes than road.

It's the same with DeFrain Boulevard, a well-traveled artery to Palo Verde College and the Mesa, where many snowbirds winter and golf. The Welcome Center study money originally was to pay for expanding and repaving DeFrain, part of the vision of a previous council and management that saw benefits in providing a safe passageway to an expanding community. DeFrain might be even worse than Hobsonway and we wouldn't advise anyone use it unless they want to risk damage to their vehicle.

But back to the promotional fund that DeConinck is so negative on, it's interesting that just minutes after voting against paying the bands, he voted to spend more than $6,000 of the promotional fund's money for his buddy Smith's police department to pay for a graffiti-tracking program, where police can now take a picture of local graffiti using a GPS camera and track graffiti vandals across the state. This after the department received an extra $200,000 in this year's budget.

He also voted to use the money for the fireworks show and the CWA's Farmer's Ball, after his wife spoke up in favor of it during the council meeting.

So it seems that DeConinck does not have a moral problem spending the $20,000 promotional fund - he just has a problem spending it on projects or personalities he disagrees with.

And seeing as he represents the city manager and police chief when he votes, that means the voters who elected him will always get the short shrift.

Let's hope that in November, DeConinck decides not to run and we can begin to start picking up the pieces of the disaster he has created in his eight years on the city council.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013
Article comment by: Court Jester

This paper is no better then the rest of the lamestream media. Of all the atrocities that happen on any given day, you will be hearing or reading what they want you to. Leave the pieces when you go.

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013
Article comment by: haa haa

Haha this is the dumbest article sounds like its ONE sided and SOMEONE has a personal problem with Mr. Joey but trying to PUSH your opinion on other people is dumb. Your newspaper is garbage you would think this is the daily inquire cause all you do is try to talk smack about people!

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013
Article comment by: Shades of Hospital Board

The Hospital Board disease is spreading to a member of city council! Oh my! The trouble with some people who want to "serve" Blythe, is killing us! If "serving" the people of Blythe means to serve firefighter friends and your wife's organization, that just isn't the way we voters look at it. This is a blatantly clear intention of one council member. And he is actually proud of his magnanimous efforts! Everybody respects what our firemen do in their service to this town, and the CWA ladies make money and help kids with college expenses. But since when is a city council involved in scholarship funds? More importantly, since when is a city council in the business of providing funds for an elaborate "party" for these ladies? They have already advertised this fancy ball how can they advertise for a ball that they have not even, apparently, budgeted for? Oh, yes! Let's use our "friend" on the council to push this misuse of funds through the council. He has "friends" in the City Manager, the Police Chief, and we can't lose. Construct a phony "we promote Blythe by sending kids to college" sounds a bit stupid like the council's proposal to use a phony ruse like "it's for the fat kids" to convince people it's their reason for a grand-scale "Welcome Center". LOL. We are watching you, councilman, and your "connections" with hospital folks who take advantage of their positions to con people into voting for you because you do them a favor! Shame, shame.

Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Article comment by: The Shadow knows

Very well said! Would it be appropriate to re run this article in Oct./Nov.? We need to have people on that board that want to watch the spending and that it be in the best interest of we Blythe people.

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