Now They Think They Can Move the Alamo Cenotaph Memorial

"It is safe to assume that this fight will be loud and ugly. It is also highly likely that when it is over, George P. Bush’s once-promising political career in the state will be finished,” Range predicted.

Now They Think They Can Move the Alamo Cenotaph Memorial

We Say: Remember the song heard at Spurs games: “Y’all ready for this?”

Here’s yet another stupid idea spawned in the summer of statue removal. Outside consultants, highly paid by the State of Texas, wanting to downplay the idea of a battle and instead promote “unity, not division,” plan to relocate the Cenotaph–down the street from and out of sight of the Alamo.

No…we’re not ready for this.

Investigative reporter Kenric Ward uncovers not only this stupid idea but a back-room deal that’s  “a slush fund that’s designed to make a lot of rich people richer.”


Republished from TexasMonitor.org, by Kenric Ward, October 6, 2017, “Bush Political Director offers Alamo board position, for a price.” Image credit: permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2. Contributor: Don Krebs.


Bush Political Director offers Alamo board position, for a price

By Kenric Ward


SAN ANTONIO — As plans ramp up for a controversial “Reimagined“ Alamo, the fund-raising machinery is controlled by 10 boardroom insiders who are expected to bring cash to the table.

Ray Myers, a retired high school principal with a lifelong love for the Alamo, figured he could bring a “grassroots” sensibility to the Texas General Land Office’s $400 million vision for the San Antonio shrine.

“I personally spoke to [GLO Commissioner George P. Bush] in April. I expressed my concerns about the ‘Reimagine’ plan and specifically asked why there weren’t any grassroots Texans on his planning committee,” Myers related. “He responded that there should be additional Texans on the committee and promised to get back to me the following day.”

What followed, Myers said, was an April 28 phone call from Ash Wright, Bush’s political director, who offered the Forney resident a board position for $250,000.

“This conversation is over,” Myers told Wright.

Neither Bush, who appoints board members, nor Wright responded to The Texas Monitor’s requests for comment.

Alamo CEO Douglass McDonald said, “I’m not aware of anybody making upfront contributions,” but added, “There’s been a financial expectation” of appointees to the Alamo Foundation board.

“There’s a clear expectation that when the master plan is finalized, there will be a need to raise a large amount of money from the private sector. Some board members can do it individually. Some know people who know people who can make those gifts.”

“You have to give or to get,” McDonald said.

Three nonprofit boards — the Foundation, the Endowment, and Alamo Complex Management Inc., which dispenses state funds — are headed by the same 10 directors.

Mission Creep 

What began as a focused effort to repair crumbling sections of the Alamo has morphed into a much larger venture, with much greater financial needs. Outside consultants hired by the boards envision a makeover that deemphasizes the 1836 siege by Mexican troops to, instead, promote “unity, not division.”

“We have to make sure that the Alamo is as powerful in the 21st century as it was in 1836,” Bush told the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce last year.

As one San Antonio official put it: “We’ll use the battle of 1836 to draw people in, and then we’ll tell them the real story.”

Bush touted the Alamo Foundation in a 2015 press release headlined, “Texas Titans to Turn Nonprofit Into Fundraising Powerhouse.” Two years later, after expenses, only $50,000 sits in the Foundation account, according to McDonald. In the meantime, the state reportedly spent $6.1 million on consultants.

“We’d like to raise $500,000 for the year. We just started a GoFundMe Account to raise $50,000 for [Alamo] cannons,” McDonald noted.

In the meantime, the public side of the public-private partnership is doing the heavy lifting.

During the 2015 and 2017 sessions, the Texas legislature appropriated a combined $106 million for Alamo-related projects — some of it from the state’s Rainy Day Fund. Accountability for the funding is weak, as lawmakers attached no return-and-report requirements for the outlays.

The biggest chunk of state money — $14.4 million — purchased three buildings across the street from the Alamo. Taxpayers in San Antonio paid over $21 million more in a bond issue.

McDonald said private fund-raising will begin in earnest when a master plan is finally approved.

Bushwhacked

The Alamo project has been riddled by a hailstorm of public objections. Controversial proposals to uproot trees and enclose the historic site with a glass wall have been revised.

Plans to relocate the historic Cenotaph memorial two blocks away and to close down Alamo Plaza’s free-speech zone are still in play but remain highly contentious.

Elected land commissioner in 2014, Bush quickly made a compelling case for his office taking control of the Alamo from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. It was generally agreed that more resources were required than the DRT could muster.

Bush, with his handpicked board, vowed to “restore dignity” to the iconic site.

The handover wasn’t so dignified. The Daughters sued Bush’s Land Office, alleging that his agency illegally seized artifacts and locked members out of the DRT library. The GLO settled out of court, relinquished claims to the DRT archives, and agreed to pay the Daughters’ $200,000 in legal fees.

Later, Alamo Complex Management Inc., under Bush’s oversight, saw its chief operating officer resign after he used an official credit card for charges at Hooters, a pizza joint, and other establishments. There were also gifts for Spurs player, Pau Gasol, and Princess Astrid of Belgium, who visited the Alamo in December.

McDonald told the San Antonio Express-News at the time that ACM had “about three credit cards” for Alamo business expenses.

Bush’s own party leaders challenged his stewardship last month. The State Republican Executive Committee passed a resolution — by a vote of 57-1 — demanding “transparency in finances and operations of the Alamo, including the open records requests for information from nonprofit corporations engaged in the restoration and operation of the Alamo.”

The SREC further warned that “Texas’ authority regarding the Alamo shall not be infringed upon by any organization or authority, including but not limited to local governments, the federal government, the United Nations, or UNESCO.”

San Antonio city officials are all in. The council voted unanimously to support the Alamo master plan which, among other things, aims “to delineate the historic footprint of the mission and to expose archaeological remains of the mission walls and stone footings.”

In a show of bipartisanship, then-Mayor Ivy Taylor, a Democrat, said the plan “will preserve and protect the Alamo and help future generations understand the complex history of this cherished place.”

Follow the Money

Even so, the master plan remains in flux and under fire from historical groups across the state.

Richard Range, a Texas historian in Garland, shares Myers’ interest in knowing where the Alamo money is going.

Noting that Bush heads both the state General Land Office and the private Alamo Endowment, Range asserted, “He is in effect signing contracts with himself, which is illegal or unethical.”

Conflicts of interest loom as Bush and San Antonio insiders on the board become downtown landlords and spin up development deals, including the creation of a nearby “entertainment district.”

“What we’re seeing is a slush fund that’s designed to make a lot of rich people richer,” Range told The Texas Monitor.

Myers, who leads the Kaufman County Tea Party, believes the $250,000 board buy-in purportedly proffered by Wright was intended to “keep ordinary Texans off their committee and out of their business.”October 6, 2017

“Actually, it’s the public’s business,” he said.

A public protest against the “Reimagine” plan is scheduled at the Alamo at noon, Saturday, Oct. 14.

“It is safe to assume that this fight will be loud and ugly. It is also highly likely that when it is over, George P. Bush’s once-promising political career in the state will be finished,” Range predicted.


Republished from TexasMonitor.org. CLICK HERE to read the original.


 

 

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Kenric Ward
Kenric Ward is a veteran journalist whose work has appeared at Fox News, Houston Chronicle, Washington Times, Washington Examiner, TownHall, Roll Call, and Human Events. An editor and reporter at three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, Ward was Virginia bureau chief for Watchdog.org before relocating to Texas. He earned a bachelor's degree (Phi Beta Kappa) in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

5 Responses to "Now They Think They Can Move the Alamo Cenotaph Memorial"

  1. Margaret McDonald  October 14, 2017 at 9:33 am

    George Bush needs to go, no more Bushes of any kind. Leave the Alamo alone. Stop trying to rewrite history.

  2. Jesse Del Castillo  October 13, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Will idiocy in this nation never cease? Talk about revisionist history. Why don’t we just call it what it is…changing the FACTS of the past into the LIES of the present. And for what? For money? For fame? For whatever these thieving zealots are striving for to enhance their own careers and/or bank accounts? Where are the decent, grass roots citizens to stand up to this oppression? How does this continue to happen to the majority? Whether idiots in the minority, including this new sorry excuse for a mayor, Mr Nieren/Hindenberg(who is in position to cause similar destruction) have big money, have taken too much control, how in the world are we to allow them to change history and fabricate despicable lies for their own gain? When will the lunacy stop? When will we citizens take our state and our coontry back from the current filth that’s in authority?

  3. Patsy Schirmer  October 11, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    George P. Bush needs to go! The ALAMO should NOT be changed. It is a very special piece of history and it does not need to be explained. It speaks for itself.

  4. Rick  October 11, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Brought to you by the same political family that ensured Obama’s election. It was a shame when the State wrested control of the property from the Daughters of the Texas Revolution (I think that’s their name). They were the ones who saved the Alamo and presented it to the State, I believe. Our current Politically Correct Mayor, City Council, and County Judge will no doubt gleefully join lower than dirt Bush in moving the Cenotaph. Here is a link to Rick Range’s site:
    https://www.savethealamo.us/

  5. Linda  October 11, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Sad so sad. It is beautiful around there. Please leave it alone.

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