Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Job Creator

Although I am not one of the "one percent" I am and have definitely been a "job creator"- including creating jobs for myself.
The vast majority of "job creators" only are able to create jobs when there is demand for a product or a service. This has nothing to do with taxation or extra money in the bank. It has to do with DEMAND
Also, it's my observation that those in the top tier of wealthiness in the USA are not even people who manage anything but their own fortune; and they manage to spend a portion of it on very expensive luxury goods and vactaions, in addition to investing in real property (as an investment, usually).
Here are some names of some "job creators" in Marfa who have created jobs for people here very recently
Daniel and Jessie Browning
Rocky Barnette
Maiya Keck
Adam and Krista Bork
Ty Mitchell
Bird Parrott
Rob Crowley & David Branch
Don Culbertson

and there are many others...
I promise NONE of these folks have added any jobs due to "extra cash freed up by lower taxes". In fact, I bet NONE of these folks makes enough to pay the AMT!

These are the real job creators in America

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

david beebe, yoseff and people on the porch

In Terlingua playing music on the porch 12/3/11- community greatness!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Not blogging recent CC meetings

Not much has been going on, other than business as usual (a good thing) and SWTMGC business. Check out ww.bigbendnow.com for comprehensive info on how we're dealing with the dissolution of this municipally owned Gas Corp.

Otherwise, I am more and more and more convinced that once the gas fracking business slows down (which could be years) our future energy source out here will be solar (as technology progresses) and I am 100% behind any efforts to bring it to our sun-rich area. Please email me at marfagringo (at) yahoo.com for any insights---- David

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Apologies for missing the live feed of the last city council meeting (last Thurs). Not much was covered and the meat of the issues dealt with crowd managemnet tactics and overview of agencies and procedures that will be used during the big weekend here Easter weekend for the Railroad Revival Tour.
Fires were covered- the Mayor presented a slideshow of pictures and we essentially reviewed the data provided by the various press outlets.

I am preparing as much food as possible in advance of this coming weekend- working on veggie lasagna, pork loin "Pork-U-Pine" and red beans today while I cover the regular cooking duties as well. We are open today as tonight YACHT, a popular band with some Marfa ties, will play at the club.
Next sat, Sun and Mon I am cooking breakfast for the masses here as well- should be hectic and interesting- big job. I bought a whole bunch of materials and some equipment to do it all in El Paso a few days agp- hopefully we'll sell enough breakfasts to cover the costs of the gear to do it again! I think we will- we were almost set up for this to begin with....

I attended a law enforcement meeting regarding preparations and policies for the upcoming weekend- a synopsis of which is posted under the RRT section at www.marflist.org . There will be a heavy law enforcement presence (if that doesn't surprise you!) and we'll probably need it--- I don't expect problems, but this place is going to be a zoo.

We've got a whole bunch of new Padres merchandise to sell this coming weekend, which is great news! Screen printed vintage shirts, etc and some women's clothes as well. David Garcia will be manning the door nearly all weekend and will sell merch outside in front. Should be a great way to get this stuff out of Marfa and into Austin and the like... Ellie Kenworth and Helena Stergiou are coming into town to help tend bar and generally help in general, at least in Ellie's case. Cleaning and some other stuff- I really need the help.

All is well- onto kitchen duty--

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Construction vs Demolition

I'm in Houston right now waiting in my cardiologist's office for my yearly checkup. I'm not expecting any news, thankfully, but over the last few days that I've been out of town, my name and my business have been attacked in the blogosphere.
First off, let's understand that I consider the blogosphere to be a "C" rate source of local and regional news; that being said, it's often the only thing we have in Far West Texas. One relatively popular blog that moonlights as a sometimes news source is Andrew Suber's West Texas Weekly. recently it's been 90% opinion, which is fine and sometimes more entertaining, but even more recently it's been a rant against me and now, the greater Marfa community.
It takes a long time to build a bridge or construct a building. A good demo crew can knock down and remove the same in a day. For whatever reason, Suber is burning his Marfa ties as hard as he can. With no provocation whatsoever, he has attacked me, Padre's and it's employees, Marfa in general, and now Marfa's non-profit arts groups.

Check it out and if you like it, "Kachingle" him in his cup-

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Marfa City Council 3/8/11

All in attendance

Minutes approved unanimously from last meeting

No citizen comments

Jim Mustard's report- USO building Phase 1 construction complete. Tables and chairs from MAC building are being moved- a few of them.
MAC building renovation has begun- oine problem- see later in meeting

No Mayor's Report

OLD BUSINESS- Southwest Texas Municipal Gas Corp
Report from Rudy Garcia- appointed to dissolution and asset reallocation committee.
Rudy says not much has happened.
Rudy has inspected some materials for inventory in Marfa warehouse. Diana Asgiersson is in charge of records and inventory in Alpine. SWTMGC employees are refusing to assist- too busy with training. Diana would like to hire an individual to assist. Rudy says he will do Marfa's inventory. Going to make some progress regardless.
Dunlap says Gas corp owns property on the east end of El Paso St where they are storing some old equipment.
Mustard says that SWTMGC underwriter has provided details on insuring the assets and workers here for Marfa if we were to take it into the city's auspices. Approx $10,000 to underwrite per year.

1) Proposal to sell inoperable Ditch Witch at Golf Course. Been broken for 8 years or so. Offered $500 for parts. Unanimously to sell.

2) Discussion to sell the broken Nutrition Center van. Also to apply for a grant for a new van. This is procedural- TXDOT granted us the van originally and require that we receive three appraised values and then approval from them to sell. In order to be likely to receive a new grant we need to go through this. Unanimously in favor, although we will incur costs.

3) Notice of General Election- City of Marfa- we are all required to sign order. We sign it.

4)Reauthorization of Ordinance 82-11 concerning return of materials to Marfa Public Library. Libririans wish for permission to use the enforcement ordinance- reauthorization may not be required, but may help clarify whether it's still supported by city government. Unanimous

5) Damage at MAC building.
Construction workers found termite damage between the bathrooms between the two pool bathrooms. Repair will require extra dollars and we'll need to treat the building for termites. Seeking approval for this work. Alss request for putting plywood beneath the sheetrock in the bathrooms to inhibit holes being punched in the walls. Unanimous.

6) Monthly revenue and Expenditure report and Accounts Payable Report
Short question from Josie regarding damage done to house beneath water tower. Mustrad states that our insurance company is dealing with it and that the homeower is not happy. Likely some sort of action between his insurance company and ours.
Also, the East Heights water station received damage and we have not heard whether ou insurance company will cover it.
Sewage project is slated to start fairly soon (downtown. In the city budget- $172,469- to be reimbursed by grant. Josie acts why bills went out so late this month- Mustard says because of freeze we reviewed more bills before we sent them out.
Approved unanimously

Meeting adjourned

Thursday, February 24, 2011

City Council 2/24

All in attendance
Minutes from last meeting approved unanimously

City Admin report- USO building - men's bathroom- holes punched in the wall, but otherwise a success.

Old Business:

SWTMGC passed a resolution to dissolve the corp. Appointed 4 member board to assess and appraise the company.
Rudy Garcia, Diana Asgiersson, Randy and another company employee.

City of Marfa's counsel (see last meeting's notes) will wait until Gas co's assets are assessed by the gas co.

2) Request by Project Grad to use a building for graduation night
Robert Lujan- parent rep
18 seniors-
USO building? MAC building?
May 27th
MAC building construction is a big question- MAC preferable.
Play it by ear---name down on both buildings. Use kitchenfor snacks, etc
Waive fee and require deposit for cleaning, vandalism
Josie makes the motion to allow either building; waive fee, require deposit.

New Business:
Proposed legislation relating to Presidio County Water District (including Marfa and Presidio in not participating in teh "midland exemption")

Original district approved in 1999. Midland exemption made Marfa and Presidio exempt from regulation by a water district.

With regard to participation- 2 issues:
1) Funding- here water district is funded by Presidio County and production fees that produce over 25,000 gallons per minute. Includes Marfa City water supply- roughly $5500 per year to pay for Marfa's use.
2) Representation- board is appointed by commissioner's court- 3 rural members and 2 urban. Cities of Presidio and Marfa have insisted on direct representation.
Third issue was two years ago when this was proposed, time was very short.

Mustard has been attending the meetings. Country Judge Paul Hunt wants to add Marfa and Presidio- Dunlap began some talks.
One way approach it is to take a water district ad valorem tax to the voters.
Ad Valorem taxation means the board would need to be elected, resolving representation issues.

Proposed legilation/interlocal agreement would be good for 2 years- trial period of removal of Midland exemption.
2.1- general agreement
2.2 Urban representatives would come from Marfa and Presidio and would show up to meetings.
2.3 Water district agrees to waive the producation fees for Marfa and Presidio. During this time period cities and county wouold pursue an ad valorem tax to fund the district.

Theresa supports and wrote the agreement
Mustard opposes:

Mustard mentions that city council unanimously opposed the legislation.
City was also concerned about maintaining current production.
Water district misrepresented the cities' positions in presenting case to legislature last time- did not let cities know they were still presenting it.
District is currently underfunded. Thinks they are looking to cities for cash.
Mustard was sent by the city last time to negotiate some sort of relationship/compromise. Water district was very closed to the idea of talking.
Mustard sees not entering into the interlocal agreement as a way to maintain the power to shape the issue in the future. Also, if taxpayers opt not to pass the ad valorem tax then we will be paying more than our fair share.
Also, even is cities pay the fee, without a property tax add-on there still won't be enough money to pay for the district to operate properly- only $15,000 extra and they have virtually nothing now.
Marfa Well #3 has a problem- defective, broken but still functioning. Existing regulations would preclude us from re-drilling the well. Over 1400 feet away would be our next option.
2nd problem- our wells are way to close together and produce too much for the spacing. Any exceptions to the rules would have to be applied district-wide.
Mustard thinks we're jumping the gun on giving away our exemption.
Paul Hunt speaks--
Great points- presents both sides of arguement.
Mustard claims to have been rebuffed by district in beginning discussions. Teresa disagrees

Fannin makes motion to accept interlocal. I second in order to discuss further.
Dunlap pushes for agreement.

Beebe in favor, Fannin, Baeza and Simpson opposed. Brijalba left eary (ill)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Radio show tonight- every Tuesday www.marfapublicradio.org

11Pm to 2 AM- nearly 3 years running for my radio show- a mixture of soul music mnew and old, R&B, blues and Texas music. Live streaming at marfapublicradio.org
Email in requests at nighttrain(at)marfapublicradio.org or call them in at 432-729-4578. I also monitor Facebook on Facebook ID Gringo at Padre's- take requests there too...

I was thinking just a few weeks ago about how we,a s a nation, were freaked out by and vilified Moammar Qaddafi about 10-15 years ago but how, up until a few days ago, we rarely heard about him anymore.
Well, he is more insane than I ever thought he was- wow. Vows to go down in flames and take as many of his countrymen down with him as possible.
These last 2 weeks have been some of the most important in recent history- who knows what will come of it all- WOW

Focsuing on work this year- again- just volunteered to be on the board of a tri-county recycling non-profit corporation forming out of Alpine... More unpaid work. I was chosen because Padre's recycles more aggregate than any other business in Marfa- cardboard, aluminum and glass bottles- takes a lot of time and some resources- we are committed.

Tomorrow- working on cleaning out my Airstream- the one I used to live in- goin g to try to have it fixed up and moved out to Barry Tubb's property as my vacation "home" by this Friday!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Cooking on the grill outside

At work today- all day and night- new 2011 Monday method---
Cooking riceyes and baked potatoes, plus I made more veggie lasagna- it takes forever- too much cheese grating and veggie cutting!

There's a way to make it faster, I know. I used the Mandoline slicer for veggies last time and it was a bit faster, but messier and not even that much more efficient.

Tonight we have an acoustic folk duo that plays music they say harkens back to the 20's and 30's- true retro-- They're called Hungrytown- www.hungrytown.net. 8PM show, Free

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day dinner

I spent this year's Valentine's Day cooking dinner for up to 60 people at Padre's. Actually, I also spent most of Sunday the 13th prepping and cooking for the meal- it was fun!

We actually served about 40 people, leaving me with about 25 ribeyes extra, about 16 of which I went ahead and cooked since I had the pecan in the smoker and the temp was still up around 400 at the end of the night. So what's cool about that is we have steak andwiches now until they're gone- I had one for dinner a bit earlier and it was delicious!

Here's what we served and the ridiculously excellent pricing we offered (I was glad to undercut the white tablecloth restaurants in town!)

Entree: your choice of either a grilled 16 oz bone-in ribeye steak or a healthy portion of three cheese vegetarian lasagna

Sides: Baked potato how you like it, loaded or not; small side romaine salad with choice of Bleu Cheese dressing or ranch; small side of rice smothered in mushroom/onion brown gravy

Wine: one glass of either ValVerde Chardonnay or Mouton Cadet Bordeaux

All this for $25 for a single or $40 per couple!
By the way, the vegetarian lasagna took me as long as anything to make, and it's excellent. there's still some left here on sale- it's really good. I cooked it Sunday in the "plate warmer" - my grnadmother's old 1954 Chambers copper-clad oven. the thermostat is wonky, so to use it it's best if it's monitored. Anyway, I didn't burn it. Yum!

Anyway, it was a great way to spend a Valentine's Day alone, and I wore an apron with a big red heart on it that says "Cultivate Love" and "David". Hilarious. I think it may have been given to me as a suggestion (just kidding- ha ha!)

Anyway, tonight is The Night Train Express radio show, my soul/R&B show on KRTS FM 93.5, Marfa Public Radio- live streaming at www.marfapublicradio.org
It's coming up on three years since I started this weekly Tuesday radio show (11PM to 2AM) and the station is about to bump power up from 50,000 watts to 100,000 watts. We'll be audible well past Crane and down into Sanderson, past Sierra Blanca and partly towards Ozona- also well into Mexico. Think "Heard It on the X" but NPR. Even funnier than me in a red heart apron.

Alpine tomorrow, possibly Ojinaga, MEX Thursday...

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Marfa City Council Live blog 2/8

City Council meeting 2/8- 6 PM
All members present minus Corrina Brijalba, who is undergoing cancer treatments.

City admin Jim Mustard and Mayor Dan Dunlap present


Citizen Comments:None

Approve minutes of prior meetings: approved unannimous

Mayor's Report: Weather issues had a major impact. 10-15 water meters replaced. ERCOT has asked that people conserve energy tomorrow- high of 39.

City admin's report:
Broken pipe at USO building nehind wall. Already repaired. Building renovation of phase 1 complete next week. 1st tenant- Queens of Hearts Coronation Feb 19. Tables and chairs from MAC will be relocated to USO building during renovation of the MAC building. USDA have apparently approved. Master Builders of Midland should begin construction shortly. Construction plan dn timeline will be formulated.
Library has applied for a $12,000 grant to repair the roof of the Gervaisi building.

County has 3 city related items on their agenda tonight- Sheriff's inter-local agreement; parking spaces at library; possibly changing time of their meeting so as not to be at the same time as ours.

SWTMGC- (gas company)
City of Alpine has voted to dissolve the corporation.
Mustard: Consider that the board of directors of SWTMG may dissolve corp- not us. We can request that this be done, along with itemization of assets, etc. Citizens have relayed to Mustard that we should keep the Gas Corp publically owned. Mustard has requested a proposal from a group to analyze infrastructure, risks, scope of operations. etc. Coler and Colantonio- engineering assessment for SWTMGC. $13,500 would be the cost.
SWTMGC never responded to Mustard's letter from July about the breach of inter-local agreement (on behalf of City of Marfa). Gas Board did vote and acknowledge they were in breach of agreement. Did provide an audit for the FY ending Sept 2009. No further audits. Mustard believes that Marfa should receive credit or compensation for all the major infrastructure improvements in Alpine this past year with the rebuilding of Holland Ave/HWY 90 in Alpine and the replacement of the gas infrastructure.
Fanninf believes tha Alpine's motion may seal the dissolution of the gas corp. Now we have to decide what to do with our assets. Safety issues, responsibilities, aging infrastructure, - do we take it on? If selling to WTG, we need to not be too quick to sell.
Mustard: 2 elements to running a Gas Corp- 1) physical plant staffing- may have that covered with current local staffers. 2) Dealing with TXRRC regulations- lots of work, will need professional help. Could be a steep learning curve. Will have to have outside help.
Teresa Todd: Lots of due diligence required when wrapping up non-profits. Must have an up to date, audit, for one. Pay off all debts, claimants, collect all A/R's, etc. a shell corporation would have to exist for minimum of 3 years.

Dunlap: SWTMGC has selected an auditor for 2010's books.

Beebe voices my opinion that taking this into the city's fold only achieves getting Alpine out of the deal- not lower prices, not different service. I wish the current corp agreement could be re-structured to function properly.

Rudy Garcia: Alpine is looking at taking their gas in-house as a profit line item. Also says Marfa needs to decide whether cheap gas is the motivator or not. Also clarifies that SWTMGC is a dead deal since Alpine's interests are not our own. Recommends to dissolve corporation no matter what.
Randy Guzman: Makes an offer that Marfa's employees are qualified and eady to work.
Beebe makes motion to ask the SWTMGC gas board to pursue dissolution of the company, provide a list of assets, an independent appraisal of inventory, list of liabilities, and an up to date audit. Beebe & Fannin for, Baeza and Simpson against. Dunlap breaks tie with a yea. Measure passes.
2nd item- Beebe makes motion to hire Coler and Colantonio for no more than $13,500 to conduct an enginnering assessment. Fannin seconds. Beebe Fannin and Simpson vote yea, Baeza opposed. Passes.


Permit for 7/15 Coffield Park Pulmonary Fibrosis Fundraiser. Ban on alcohol waived. Unanimous approval

Bird Parrot light bars: don't work. He renovated one and has made it available to the city. "Trash them at Bird's wrecker service" Unanimous.

Renewal of deposit agreement with MNB. Simpson makes motion. Fannin seconds. Unanimous.

Review of minor curfew Ordinance 10-05. Requirerd by ordinance to look at it every 6 months. Sheriff in favor. Unanimous.

2009-2010 city audit. Auditors here to present. SWTMGC audit not available so it reflects on us. "Except for" clause in analysis of city's finances. Also, library must be added into city's budget and statements (already happening). Audit accepted unanimously.

Presidio County Law Enforcement Contract- contradct has been amended to include enforcement of no drinking in city parks, minors ordinance, use of the old Police Dept space, noise ordinance, ban on cell phone usage in school zones. Sheriff will pay electric bill for polcie dept space and pay a share of gas and water to city. City is obligated to form a joint committee to oversee the actions of the Sheriff Dept. Dollar amount has gone up slightly to reflect our budget, which added a few bucks this year. Went from $87,570.42 to $91,178.16. We also allow them to use our city law enforcement (brand new) truck. Baeza askes for a written document reflecting all tickets and citations issued in 2010. County allowed Dominguez to hire more officers- 2 deputies dedictaed to Marfa as of this FY. Approved unanimously

Nutrition Center Van- Van is dead- all kinds of problems. Rogers Ford determined the part to fix the Propane fuel system is no longer available and the system is flawed as it is. Big Bend Community Action may have a used "end of usable life" van for us for cheap. Without a van at all we can apply for a new TXDOT van grant. Mustard wants approval to sell old van and apply for agrant for a new van. Unanimously approved.

2008 Tax Note funds. Funds must be expended before May 1 2011.
$28,628.00 in tax note account. Of course, city departments have a long wish list. Provided a list of expeditures to date.
Pipe laser level for rebuilding sewers- $2900
1/2 ton or 3/4 ton truck for PW
New (used) RT36 ditch witch- we have no fuctioning trench channeler. used- $15,000 Silva would rather have the Ditch Witch than a new truck.
Leaking valves and valves that won't shut off- have plenty in the water system. Silva has a supply list. ($9000)
CT adapters for sewage- ($900)
Simpson makes motion- all but trucks- unanimous

Ordinance 11-01- Election for May 14, 2011 jointly held with MISD for mayor and two councilpersons (Simpson and Fannin up for re-election)
Early voting May 2-May 10 at city hall. Election Sat May 14th. Unanimous

JAN revenue/expenditure report. Accounts payable report.
Simpson makes motion to accept both. Unanimous.

Tabling request by Project Graduation to use a city building on graduation night (no rep available).

Following meeting Mustard distributed a job description for the TOURISM DIRECTOR for the new Marfa city Convention and Visitors bureau. Drop by City Hall for more information.

Meeting adjourned.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Monday kitchen duty...

I am boycotting Chick-Fil-A too, but mainly because their food is crap. Their beingf anti-gay is pointless and foolish, but I know plenty of gay cowboys who drink Coors Light, and the Coors family is about as bad as it gets...

Today's specials: BBQ pork and brisket sandwich served with beans, pickles and onions. Really good- almost sold it all. Also, grilled Poblano burger- Padre burger with mayo, lettuce, onion, grated white cheddar cheese and grilled poblano. Mmm Mmm good. Salads too, today- a rare item at Padre's- got Food Shark's leftovers from them since they're out of town for a month.

Tigie Lancaster's order- 2 minuetes ago- "Patty Melt- medium rare, dammit! Cut into quarters" Can't make this place up...

Friday, February 04, 2011

Back on the horse, this time for real

OK, I'm back onto this blog- hopefully I'll be able to live blog the city council meetings if I can pick up a signal around city hall (fingers crossed Pizza Foundation's signal reaches my seat at the table).
Anyway, after a fair amount of time to process an extremely disappointing and, moreover, altogether LAME breakup of the relationship I was in with my former girlfriend, it's time to put the pen back to paper and write about things that matter. One thought about long-term relationships gone bad- love makes people stupid- this time it was me. I would be angry about some things, but the bottom line is I know that the girl has created a place for herself where she just wouldn't know any better. So I resolve not to be angry, and to forgive. No forgetting, of course, otherwise I might repeat my mistakes! That hurts, but I will live. And live I will.

It's been below freezing here in Marfa for well over 60 hours until the last 2 hours. Padre's has been closed since Monday at midnight and it's now Friday at 4. I've been trying to unfreeze the pipes here today and it's finally about 35 outside. Water still freezes in the wind out of the direct sunlight, so it may be a lost cause. We'll open tomorrow even if I have to bring in gallon jugs of fresh water from Alpine and 5 gallon buckets for toilet flushing from the one working spigot outside. The cool thing is we have not only a Scrabble tournament at 2 PM here at Padre's, but also a rock band from Australia called bug Girl at night. Super Bowl on Sunday- I was to be tending bar, but gave it up so another employee since I thought I would be in Houston. The weather and the fact I have been slightly sick (after being really sick last week) kept me from traveling back home for my Dad's 70th b-day, which was yesterday.

Otherwise, this Tuesday we have Grupo Fantasma here at Padre's- hopefully will be well-attended, as those guys play to big houses elsewhere. This is Marfa in feb, though, so it's a crapshoot...
Tuesday night we have council and on the agenda is a council vote to potentially disband the inter-local agreeement between Alpine and Marfa, who jointly own the public utility that is Southwest Texas Municipal Gas Corp. Too many problems and issues to go into here in one writing with that company and the nature of its ownership and operations, but I would venture to guess that some actgion will be taken, as Alpine has already resolved to dissolve.

Lastly, business here has been slow enough this year that I am morphing back into club manager/cook/bartender from last year's stint as merely manager. I definitely won't be traveling as much this year and, thus far, I have found renewed energy to kick things up a notch here myself, as I realized, once again, that I am pretty much the only person capable of making things overall better at this business. That's always true of the owner, unless you have a really, really unique manager (like Keith Coit at Satellite Lounge- who taught me how to do the same). My old boss Butch Gregory always said never to build a business around one person's identity, but I look at the independent club business (and restaurant business as well) and all the great ones center around the person truly in charge. Continental Club= Steve Wertheimer; Antone's= Clifford and Susan Antone; Black Cat Lounge= Paul Sessums; Local Charm= Rory Miggins; Continental Club Houston= Pete Gordon; Stubb's= Charles Attal; Mucky Duck= Rusty and Theresa; Ninfa's on Navigation= the Laurenzo family; too many others to list...
That's this year's game plan- focus on what I have and how to make it better, more of what it is and less of what it isn't.
That and I'm focusing as well on The City of Marfa and Presidio County. Life can be better here for all; I'm going to do my best to try to make that happen.

Happy New Year, folks!