Wednesday, March 4, 2009
EDITORIAL: POLITICIANS FOR PROFIT (Part 1 of 2): THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF MARK & CAROL SCOTT
To a couple -- Mark Scott and his wife Carol Scott -- it is all about personal power, “personal service” (not “public service”): many veteran regional political observers (and rivals) are pointing out. “This couple has made a cottage industry from public tax payer dollars via their involvement with Corporate sponsors and bankers and construction giants and top power brokers that sit or have a hefty influence on the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development board (a group that has been compared to a “small Military-Industrial-type Complex,” a former Hispanic Board Member of the EDC told El Defenzor. “’The SCOTTS, in my opinion, have functioned as MESSENGERS for some top figures within this group. This has seriously affected the credibility status of the EDC.”
The cited source added: “The perception is that when a member of this couple runs for office (be it the city council or school board -- taxing entities) it is for all the wrong reasons. They have ulterior motives – their objective is to muster personal power and/or personally beneficial contracts by way of the public office they hold or via the network for gain they have established. They even use non-profit appointments such as in the United Way or the Del Mar Foundation and so on to network.”
A local businessman who has sat on many of the boards with the Scotts said: “I feel this couple is the culprit both for placing the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation and also Las Brisas Engery project in a bad light. I feel the issues such as the EDC and Las Brisas are becoming ‘clouded’ in that the regular guy is confusing and displacing his anger and antagonism with the Scotts and attributing it to the projects this couple are affiliated with at the time. Carol Scott, for instance right, now due to her ‘network for profit’ fiddle, is representing Las Brisas Energy (via her marketing company, KAILO – it was previously known as SCOTT PUBLIC RELATIONS). I feel it was a collisional mistake that Las Brisas made by putting this lady as the face and as the public relations/marketing voice for their already controversial project.”
To illustrate the above point: On Saturday, February 14, about 200 people protested that a permit be given to Las Brisas Energy Center by a state agency to operate in the area. The protesters had signs and posters after a march to City Hall in Corpus Christi. A sample of the protesters interviewed by this publication brought up a theme that needs to be examined. Almost 35 percent of the protesters interviewed answered that they were highly suspicious of an project that any of the SCOTTS are affiliated with in the region. Despite the fact that officials representing Las Brisas have indicated the proposed power plant which (if granted the permission) would operated on a parcel next to the Corpus Christi Ship Channel and be fueled by petroleum coke (an abundant residue from a local plant), would not seriously alter the air control score in the region – however, the disillusionment with the SCOTTS is also a prime variable the company is now additionally being faced with at the time. As one protester put it: “I don’t necessarily understand the full consequences of the project being pushed by Las Brisas, but one thing I am sure about, I have absolutely no confidence in Carol Scott (and the company she created known as KAILO).”
Not only have environmentalists positioned themselves against Las Brisas Energy but most interesting a few teachers groups that were affected by the political ploys and maneuvers of Carol Scott in her capacity as a Corpus Christi ISD School Board Member. Ms. Scott has been involved in a “belly to belly” verbal dual with an influential member of the American Federation of Teachers/and representative of a local civil rights group (that is, Susie Luna). The AFT used to be a voice in negotiating contracts for teachers; their power now has been diluted via a political ploy by Ms. Scott. As one teacher put it: “How could Las Brisas Energy and the EDC be so ignorant to put this lady – Carol Scott – as the face and voice of this project. Sure I am all for using cleaner technology such as gasification, but if a SCOTT had not involved in this permit endeavor I would not be protesting the plant here today.”
The reoccurring argument (among some of the insiders interviewed) is that this couple – the SCOTTS -- via their contentious ly charged networking track record are attempting to influence public funded entities like the EDC and trying to transform it into a political machine and/or investment club funding their roles in public life. The accusations are that the SCOTTS are operating under the radar, according to many, as political MESSENGERS or FOOTSOLIDERS OF FORTUNE for the highly charged vested interests of corporate interests. “At least, this is the appearance. My question is ‘Why should taxpayers fund the EDC and some of the highly charged personal wealth agendas if individuals with a dark chest are exploiting it?’ It is one thing to compete in the free enterprise system out there; it is another to use an entity funded by public dollars (e.g., the city and the school and the EDC) that has been hijacked via positional networking to make deals,” a city councilman who wished to remain anonymous said.
Mark Scott, her husband, is running yet again for the city coucil as an At-Large Candidate. Just a handful of years ago when Mark Scott was still a councilman he was being targeted by the Beach Access Coalition and being accused of conspiring with corporate giants against the “regular working class citizens and taxpayers.” This group used to refer to him (then-Councilman Mark Scott) as “the puppet of developer Paul Schexnailder.” The couple was perceived by some of the key members of the Coalition as “messengers of the developers sent to STEAL OUR BEACH.” And during that heightened confrontation, Carol Scott, his wife used KAILO Communication to further position herself and her business. She went as far to say that her company could connect interested prospects with “the movers and shakers” of the political system in the region (citing her website at the time) if you commissioned her services. Even one conservative talk radio stations had translucently taken notice and raised “red flags.”
Currently, Carol Scott sits on the School Board;, and serves as its president. School Board member John Longoria (who is one of her strongest line and supporter) is being accused of using the same “not to be trusted” model to position himself. He (Longoria) has sat on the city council (now now on the school board) and concurrently sits on the RTA Board – in short, he sits in two taxing entities and has been enrolled by the EDC and Las Brisas to promote the same projects. Even Longoria is catching the “friendly fire” in the great rift. This publication understands that a member of the community intends to file a formal complaint against Longoria for sitting on two taxing entities simulatiously. Hopefully, a legal decision will settle the matter once and for all.
City Councilperson Nelda Martinez is also being criticized for her “above and beyond” loyalties to the same suspects that legitimize themselves under the umbrella of “Economic Development” and the EDC. Most pressingly the fact that Councilperson Martinez positioned herself herself against the appointment of a well-respected Hispanic candidate – Angel Escobar – for City Manager. It was the swing vote of Mayor Garrett during a heated council meeting that saved him from not being appointed. An esteemed local businessman yelled out to Councilperson Martinez: “Why do you always oppose a professional Hispanic when he is being considered for office? ?Se Te Ah Olvidado El Olor De Los Frijoles? (Have you forgotten the aroma of Pinto Beans?” (a statement that you have forgotten your roots). …
“An awareness has been created due to necessity in many persons. Many in the community are more conscious of these individuals who are running for office or who have been appointed to a board that is participating in the deliberation of certain issues and have a conflict of interest. We cannot allow such Politicians For Profit to corner the market, to corner financing contracts, to corner insurance and construction contracts. We cannot allow them to use the public office they hold and/or their appointments and tax resources to make money (or gain) for themselves. How will Corpus Christi and the region ever grow? It won’t. It is being sucked dry. It is time that mainstream media take their blinders off and write the truth and not legitimize this networking for profit,” Pedro Avalos, a local commentator chimed in.