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Old 11-15-2013,   #61
Old Grumpy Man
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Re: Birding Center Blues

Well Archie if you have some different facts do share. If we monetize the cost of all these terminations, resignations and departures, we are surely upside down. What we don't know if they were all legal and if damages are forthcoming. I'm sure Mr. Polsky would be interested to know if a pattern of factual behavior is evident in city hall personnel actions in the Human Resource department.
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Old 11-15-2013,   #62
Archie
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Re: Birding Center Blues

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Well Archie if you have some different facts do share. If we monetize the cost of all these terminations, resignations and departures, we are surely upside down. What we don't know if they were all legal and if damages are forthcoming. I'm sure Mr. Polsky would be interested to know if a pattern of factual behavior is evident in city hall personnel actions in the Human Resource department.
To point blank say all of these positions were fired is wrong. Yes some of these positions were encourage to leave but for some of these positions the employee left of their own accord. There is no argument that when an employee leaves cost are incurred for replacement and sometimes litigation does follow if someone feels they were forced out. I think it is unreasonable to think that every time someone leaves something nefarious is going on. This small village loves a good conspiracy even if it is a complete fabrication of the imagination.

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Old 11-15-2013,   #63
Old Grumpy Man
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Re: Birding Center Blues

So we agree turnover cost us local tax tax dollars, where we disagree is a legitimate HR program should prevent theses tax dollar losses. Let the attorneys takeover and then Archie we will find out the true cost of these resignations, departures, terminations, encouraged separations and contract nonrenewals. Bottom line is that this appears to be a stupid way to run and manage a city.
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Old 11-15-2013,   #64
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Re: Birding Center Blues

Now Grumpy maybe I know a lot more than you about why people in professional positions left the island because I talked to them personally. The topic the the SPI Birding and Nature Center, which appears to be close to liquidation to me and I don't think we should cover their payments anymore. The reason is because the EDC spun it off as a shell corporation, a nonprofit with its own board of directors, secretary, and treasurer. Then the Center lost its affiliation with the World Birding Center. There were even rumors that it might have lost its IRS nonprofit status. Heck the Harlingen bird fest didn't even organize any trips to SPI this year, a big blow to our economy.

The EDC is on its own here and we'll see what they do. I say to cut the town's purse strings and see if the Birding Center can sustain itself now.

If there is good news, the town doesn't intend to mess with the Whaling Wall at the Convention Center during renovations, and that part of the natural migrating bird paradise should be good to go for the spring fall-outs. The birds don't care if the workers are making noises elsewhere on the other sides. Somehow, that comforts me. I suspect that's a cool million in direct and indirect revenue every spring during March, April, and early May and it's for free!

Yes, a cool million bucks!
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Old 11-15-2013,   #65
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Re: Birding Center Blues

The SPI Birding Center did NOT lose its affiliation with the World Birding Center nor, to my knowledge, has it lost it's 501(c)(3) status. However, it would appear that it has lost touch with the birding community, and its original purpose, as evidenced by their lack of cooperation with the RGV Birding Festival since the manager before Ms. Jackson left. As to personnel that have either left or been terminated by the city, that has nothing to do with the Birding Center since the employees at the Center are not city employees.
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Old 11-21-2013,   #66
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Re: Birding Center Blues

We had the pleasure of attending a screening party for Birds of the Lower Laguna Madre tonight. The author Richard Moore was in attendance. The event at the Birding Center attracted about 75 people at $20 a person. It was fun, friendly and a good kick off for the new manager Kristen. The extensive landscaping makeover was paid for by a GLO grant and has done a lot to contribute to the fine appearance of the facility. I am looking forward to a positive new beginning for our troubled project.
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Old 12-07-2013,   #67
LarryS
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Re: Birding Center Blues

Any idea what this is about?
http://www.myspi.org/egov/documents/...3646_20687.pdf

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Old 12-07-2013,   #68
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Re: Birding Center Blues

http://portisabelsouthpadre.com/2013...-up-for-grabs/

This is all I know - what was in yesterday's PI/SPI Press.

If Sea Turtle, Inc. took over the operation of the Birding Center, it would be a brilliant Community Relations move.

It creates questions about what would happen to the newly hired Birding Center Director and to the Birding Center Board of Directors and Richard Franke.

EDC should not have been involved in "running" this project. It should have been commissioned by EDC to a private developer. That is their role, not to operate businesses.

I also wonder if this move is in some way a reaction to the recent lawsuit.
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Old 12-07-2013,   #69
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Re: Birding Center Blues

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http://portisabelsouthpadre.com/2013...-up-for-grabs/

This is all I know - what was in yesterday's PI/SPI Press.

If Sea Turtle, Inc. took over the operation of the Birding Center, it would be a brilliant Community Relations move.

It creates questions about what would happen to the newly hired Birding Center Director and to the Birding Center Board of Directors and Richard Franke.

EDC should not have been involved in "running" this project. It should have been commissioned by EDC to a private developer. That is their role, not to operate businesses.

I also wonder if this move is in some way a reaction to the recent lawsuit.

the idea that the bird center would be a big tourist attraction was a major mistake in thought. The success will be as more as a pvt event center with the bird thing being the wallpaper to set it apart from the typical banquet room at a hotel.
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Old 12-07-2013,   #70
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Re: Birding Center Blues

$1.00 per year rent? Wow that's a good deal. Gotta love island politics.
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Old 12-08-2013,   #71
lillian
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Re: Birding Center Blues

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the idea that the bird center would be a big tourist attraction was a major mistake in thought. The success will be as more as a pvt event center with the bird thing being the wallpaper to set it apart from the typical banquet room at a hotel.
In all fairness, however, since it was opened, there has not been one dime spent on marketing. If people don't know about it, how are they going to visit?

That should be the first priority for whoever takes it over. Advertising, advertising, advertising.
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Old 12-08-2013,   #72
Jim Knight
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Re: Birding Center Blues

I am wondering about the debt service, who will be picking up that bill?
Please tell me why the EDC had to go to the City in order to give the Center 70+k to pay bills?
What will happen to any bookings currently on the schedule, if any?
The Center seems to have been operated (in the past) in a "Members Only" situation, I remember the one fundraiser I purchased tickets to, only to find out it was "by invitation only" and recently read about another event but never saw any advertising for it either. Can one expect to raise funds by only inviting "the few" as opposed to opening such events to the public in general?
We initially purchased annual memberships but after the episode I mention above, we allowed them to expire.
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Old 12-08-2013,   #73
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Re: Birding Center Blues

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In all fairness, however, since it was opened, there has not been one dime spent on marketing. If people don't know about it, how are they going to visit?

That should be the first priority for whoever takes it over. Advertising, advertising, advertising.
If I actually thought they had a product to sell, I would agree with you. I think the whole idea was ill conceived with little in the way of research or understanding as to the needs and wants of the birding community. Bird people tend to march to the beat of their own drummer. The do come to the valley and spend money but its not on tourist attractions. They are a bit like the valley locals when they go to the beach. the bulk of them hit beach access 5 and make a left. Bird people go out in the field and are more naturalists and science types and not like the typical tourist. They don't pay to watch birds ,, they pay to be down here, have nice camara gear and vehicles that will get off the beaten path and have clothes that are good for being outside in nature. I do think they need to advertise but I think they need to target a different market. They need to move more toward an event center when the bird thing becomes the backdrop. There is a a trend toward having weddings and social in non traditional settings. I went to a wedding that was held in an art museum. It was very cool. No one there was what you call an fine art person , but it was a great backdrop for the wedding. had nice outdoor grounds and something to do other than just sit at a table waiting for the rubber chicken dinner to show up. jazz trio instead of the typical DJ or wedding band. The bird center would fill that type of need and would generate income. Jamming square pegs into round holes through spending money on advertising is a fools mission. Its like our fall concerts series ,,, it didn't draw because there was no one to draw. The valley was watching the kids play football and all of the people from Austin, Houston and dallas see the bands we had down here when they tour through their city. The only people who had not seen those Austin bands were us locals and we byob , and our chairs and it was just a locals block party. we could have done that without a concert promotor and spending all the money.
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Old 12-08-2013,   #74
Coyote Sam
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Re: Birding Center Blues

I haven't heard anything besides what's on the agenda and in the PI Press, so I guess we'll find out more after the Council meeting. Interesting chain of events!

As to the facility itself, it has loads of potential - why else would Sea Turtle be interested in managing it? Their construction plan already makes extensive use of boardwalks.

Should be an interesting meeting if something happens ... anyone care to volunteer some more details? Any backup on this?
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Old 12-08-2013,   #75
lillian
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Re: Birding Center Blues

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Originally Posted by wally View Post
If I actually thought they had a product to sell, I would agree with you. I think the whole idea was ill conceived with little in the way of research or understanding as to the needs and wants of the birding community. Bird people tend to march to the beat of their own drummer. The do come to the valley and spend money but its not on tourist attractions. They are a bit like the valley locals when they go to the beach. the bulk of them hit beach access 5 and make a left. Bird people go out in the field and are more naturalists and science types and not like the typical tourist. They don't pay to watch birds ,, they pay to be down here, have nice camara gear and vehicles that will get off the beaten path and have clothes that are good for being outside in nature. I do think they need to advertise but I think they need to target a different market. They need to move more toward an event center when the bird thing becomes the backdrop. There is a a trend toward having weddings and social in non traditional settings. I went to a wedding that was held in an art museum. It was very cool. No one there was what you call an fine art person , but it was a great backdrop for the wedding. had nice outdoor grounds and something to do other than just sit at a table waiting for the rubber chicken dinner to show up. jazz trio instead of the typical DJ or wedding band. The bird center would fill that type of need and would generate income. Jamming square pegs into round holes through spending money on advertising is a fools mission. Its like our fall concerts series ,,, it didn't draw because there was no one to draw. The valley was watching the kids play football and all of the people from Austin, Houston and dallas see the bands we had down here when they tour through their city. The only people who had not seen those Austin bands were us locals and we byob , and our chairs and it was just a locals block party. we could have done that without a concert promotor and spending all the money.
This facility, as with many like it, was built more for tourists than for hard core birders. I am not a marine scientist, but I love going to Aquariums.

I am not a Zoologist, but I love zoos. The average person likes birds, especially the big water birds we have around here and the colorful birds that migrate through this area.

It should be advertised for tourists and especially for the educational value for kids, just as aquariums, zoos and other nature and wildlife centers and preserves are today.
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