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home : opinions : opinions November 24, 2015

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 26, 2013
Article comment by: So What?

The politics in Blythe remind me of a broken Septic Tank. The foulness of it infects everything it touches. You can patch it up, paint it real pretty, but the STENCH of it never goes away. After years & years of caring about it I've reached the point (and age!) where it has become clear that nothing significant is ever going to change here. Some get what they "pay" for, some get what they vote for. The moral courage to deal with the corruption & ignorance is not just lacking, it's not even a serious consideration. The schools are filled with hateful kids, the "Health Care Facility" is a bomb waiting to blow, & competition in retail services is non-existent. Medical "professionals" ignore their Oath in favor of $$$ & personal Authority. Farmers sell their legacy & water for Millions while food prices soar. But at least there's that one thing that we can always look forward to. Like the 1950s & '60s are seen by Boomers as being Blythes "good old days", your kids & grandkids are going to live in a Blythe so pathetic that, to them, these will be the "good old days"! Have a nice day!

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Article comment by: sully gdm

I've lived in the area all my life and seen Blythe sink slowly beneathe the waves, just like Needles. Your biggest problem is that like Needles, Blythe is in Callifornia. A State that is heavily unionized, strangled by environmental activist, over regulated, rising taxes, Exodus of people and business etc. Since Blythe is good distance from your county seat, now would be a good time to secede from the state of california. Needles tried it but I think they wanted to move north to Nevada.

At the present, the Indian tribes in Parker have the grand-fatherd authorization to build a casino in the Blythe area. This would be something to explore. If it was built, the employes would be from Blythe, Ehrenburg, Quartzsite and the surronding area.

Good luck. I'm pulling for you.

Posted: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Article comment by: Phantom Nose

I heard the band that the CitynCouncil helped pay for was really good. I also heard that the decoration's for the party were really, really nice. I also heard that the food was excellent. Follow the money.

Posted: Sunday, April 21, 2013
Article comment by: John Galt

As a former resident, it is not so much the articles in the paper that would keep me from returning to the area to retire but the often hateful speech and vitriol that I see posted in comments to every article. It is okay to state your opinion, but really folks, how about a little professionalism. You can make your points without profane personal attacks. And yes, PVVT that includes you as professional journalists to maintain your standards as well.

Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Article comment by: Council dedication and private life

Mr. DeConinck may, indeed, be a "saint" in his private life. And so may others be. But the thing is, sometimes those "saints" can't distinguish between their responsibilities as a citizen and their duties as a councilman. As a councilman, one represents ALL citizens, not just their buddies. This is what has brought this city down. It is hard to say "no" to a friend, even though you may be convinced their idea is good, the question is - "Does this benefit a certain segment of Blythe, or will it benefit the entire town? Joey must learn that, as well as others in leadership positions. Then the Times can report his good leadership. Be honest, here. Being on the city council requires the leaders to wear different hats with different viewpoints. We can't just elect "good guys", "friendly guys", or "caring guys". They have to be able to see what the job really entails. It is difficult.

Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Article comment by: Follow the Money

@@the real destructive force....
The doctors are just tring to may theselves look good because the people in Blythe are wising up to the truth. If they truley want to help the hospital, why don't they give up all of the directorship money and ask for more realistic on call pay. Maybe this company will do their homework and check out how much doctors at other hospitals get. They send out fliers to the people tha give the immpression that the hospitial is supporting their bull s***!They can't even get the facts straight. Maybe some of their patients ought to change doctors! We only have two in town that will not partake in this mess.They are here to take care of their patients! When is the hospital board going to put a stop to this monkey business?

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Article comment by: to @@ the real destructive force

Like always you want to go and make false accusations with no proof whatsoever to back it up. Let's say for arguments sake that you are right about the billing problems (even though I know for a fact you are dead wrong). If the last adminstration knew there were problems with the billing to the tune of millions of dollars wouldn't they have said that in order to not let things seem so bad at the hospital? Remember we are talking about since March of 2012! Who's job is it to make sure the billing is done and done correctly? Last I checked the administration was in charge of the paperwork end of the hospital and not the doctors. Anyway you want to spin it, the blame still falls on the people at the top. It was there job and they got paid quite well to do it! Like I have said before it is okay to admit when you have made a mistake. The question is if you are willing to admit it and learn from it? From what I have seen you have not. Anyone that doubts anything you have read here should go to next weeks hospital board meeting, Wed. 5pm at the city hall, and hear the truth for yourself instead of the baloney and half truths you read in the PVVT.

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Article comment by: @ @ the real destructive force

@ @ the real destructive force

Hospital can't bill if the doctor don't complete the paper work. I suppose they will get it done just for the new board? As for 20%, why do we have to pay them to show up? What about the mass mailings? who's paying for that cost. I was thinking I would gather all four and make copies, send them to all the close hospitals so they can see how their peers behave in Blythe.

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Article comment by: @ @ the real destructive force

I would be a little more inclined to believe what you say if the PVVT would give full reporting on what all was happening with the boards you speak of. Things happen at these meetings all the time that get no reporting at all because it does not fit the PVVT agenda. Report the bad but also report the good and let the people of the community decide what they think of the direction our towns boards or councils are going in. Still waiting for the story on how the hospital did not do billing since March 2012 that totaled $5.2 million dollars or how the doctors took a twenty percent cut in on call pay and directorships. When will we ever here the positives and not just the negatives?

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Article comment by: Crazy Town

@missing the whole point. You are LYING, the council was for Wal-Mart and did everything they could to make it happen, as well as many other "leaders" in this community. Wal-Mart pulled out due to the economy taking a tumble. If those (deleted) had not filed their lawsuits and tied it up in court,making the process YEARS longer than it should have been, I would be shopping there right now. Not only that but having a Wal-Mart would encourage competition and force the local business to improve the way they do business, the council knew this. It's always a win-win when there is competition, it's the American way. That is old school now, if people can lie and cheat to create the "appearance of success" then that is good enough for them I guess. Many, many local business's have monopolies here, they don't want to lose that. Unless the mayor (robert crain) was lying to me and I don't believe that for a second. BTW, they lost their lawsuit but it was already too late. I wouldn't buy a lug nut from Standage and shop as little as I can at Albertsons. And the lady that worked at Albertsons that filed her own lawsuit? (deleted) Karma will get you when you least expect it. It will never be the friendly store that is was years ago again. They had competition then, they had to care, not anymore. This is all as I remember it, I could have it twisted, I've slept since then. I was very excited to get a WM, not because I support their business practices but because it would give us choices, that we didn't have, and never will if some have their way. The pure ignorance that plagues this town is mind-blowing.

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement. Personal attacks are not tolerated, and are a direct violation of these Terms of Use.

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Article comment by: @the real destructive force

You are absolutely correct in your judgment of PVVT! Brilliant! And I am so glad you wrote. If it weren't for the blasted Times, we could keep the people in the dark about the cesspool at the hospital, the good old boy system of city government and all the skullduggery that some of our people would rather keep under wraps. The paper should print only the good things, like a group having a high society party for themselves, like all the wonderful happy things going on at the hospital, like the police force and their connection to the sludge. That will encourage people to come to Blythe. Then, when they get here, they can be pleasantly surprised that the Pollyanna life they had been led to believe existed here is just a horrible cover-up for the destructive forces working under cover that are eating away at any chance of Blythe growing and providing services to a town that deserves better. Shame on you, Mr. Editor! You should know better than to dig up all this doo-doo. Don't you know that doo-doo is fertilizer? Geez, and fertilizer is used to make things grow! Don't you get it? Thank you, The Real Destructive Force for calling attention to where the real blame lies! We'll have to build a monument to you for your wisdom. Perhaps there is enough doo doo to make a really elegant one.

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Article comment by: Chamber needs to step up and clean up their act!

The bottom line with all of this to me, is the Chamber is a waste of funds. You have a Chamber that had a drawer full of uncashed checks and does not account for dollars in and out! They have been offered help setting up a budget and they have refused. The Times will never tell you this! If you take $6500.00 of public funds can you please tell us why Sam Patel and Mike Evans are out giving away hand fulls of tickets for free. Where does the money go?

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Article comment by: the real destructive force

I guess if you were an outsider to our community and read our "newspaper" you would think that our town is this god forsaken horriby corrupt place full of a bunch of no good idiots that do not have the sense to come in out of the rain. Way to go PVVT you are the number 1 promoter of everything that you see is wrong in this town. I guess there are so few good things here that you can not find stories to report that show how great our community is. This town is one of the most generous giving communities that you will come across. You have managed to do one heck of a job at dividing this community and sell those newspapers. Answer this for me people, if you were from out of town would you want to bring your family here and start or work for a business here? Blythe's reputation as the armpit of California just continues to grow and we need some deodorant to rid us of the stench culminating from over on broadway! I almost forgot why would you not want to come here, we have a blues festival.

Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Article comment by: Missing the whole point

Nobody should be "blaming" the farmers, Standage, or anybody else for losing Wall Mart or the casino. Standage was not on the city council, the Indian were not on the council. BUT -- there apparently WAS a councilman or more who listened to Standage, and/or other "concerned" citizens, and bowed to their wishes. That is related to the current issue at hand. DeConinck had "friends" who wanted something and he felt the need to respond to their ideas, so he could win their votes. Plain and simple. We do need councilmen who listen to the people, but not just their buddies. THAT is what happens to bring us down. If you are a council member and your friends bend your ear for their own personal gain, then they are not your friends. A lesson to be learned. We need a council with hard-working, conscientious, honest men or women with integrity and the ability to do what is really right for Blythe.

Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Article comment by: @ @@ lol lol

The farmers do not want the town to grow? I am sure that they do not want to see their land values go up and be worth more money. That has been the saying in this town forever. The same line was used when many of them fought the prison being built and they said then that it was not going to be the savior of the community and would bring many unwanted problems to our town. Many felt that the council should focus on promoting the resources we had and continue to build around that. The town leaders disagreed and shortly thereafter you saw many of the large produce companies leave town, feed yards close down, and many fine people leave our community. We went from having three grocery stores to one, lost several clothing stores, and saw many other businesses close their doors. If you do not believe that these things I mentioned had such an effect on this town then you should go look around Yuma. That is where most those companies moved to and developed the necessary infrastructure. Just keep blaming the farmers for others screw ups. Don't worry I am sure they will continue to be the ones that keep our fragile little town held together and will not ask for any recognition or even a thank you for their efforts.

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