In its continuing quest to erase the uniqueness that is El Paso, the Borderplex Alliance went out and hired an outside consultant to tell El Paso how to market itself for economic development. The report, released on June 2, 2015, has already stirred up controversy, according to Vic Kolenc at the El Paso Times. What if I told you that the consultant had previously been accused of plagiarism? Would you believe it? Of course not, because in the back of your mind you would have the thought that, surely El Paso officials performed their due diligence before embarking on an economic development plan based on the professional opinion of the consultant.
Lost in the political rhetoric, of whether all stakeholders were included or whether Veronica Escobar’s opinion was taken into account, is whether the company hired to make the recommendations is competent to do so.
AngelouEconomics, an Austin based firm, was hired by the Borderplex Alliance in late June, or early July 2014 to produce a regional economic strategy for El Paso and the surrounding areas. Borderplex has declined to state how much it paid for the study, only to state to the El Paso Inc., that it is “a substantial investment.” [Gray, Robert; “Borderplex Alliance wants regional plan”; El Paso Inc.; July 20, 2014]
The El Paso controversy over the contents of the latest report, not withstanding, there are indications that AngelouEconomics’ report does not bring anything new to the table, but rather it seems to recycle old failed concepts and long-discarded ideas because of their obvious inappropriateness for El Paso. This is because passages on their other reports have been incorporating into new reports. In other words, whatever amount Borderlex Alliance paid to AngelouEconomics seems to be nothing more than a fee to recycle old ideas for an El Paso future.
In 2011, Angelous Angelou, CEO of AngelouEconomics, apologized for copying “their own work” on a report to the City of Lexington. Not only did the CEO, Angelous Angelou admitted “we copied our own work and used it,” but his company also refunded Lexington $75,000. [Reutter, Mark; Baltimore Brew; December 10, 2013] The original contract was for $150,000.
Ben Self, of ProgressLex, a Lexington Kentucky nonprofit, exposed the “cut-and-paste” debacle on March 3, 2011. AngelouEconomics had plagiarized its other reports while producing one for Commerce Lexington and the City of Lexington. Each organization paid AngelouEconomics $75,000 for the economic report.
Ben Self, documented the following passages in the Lexington report that were “poached” passages from the other reports to other cities:
“Create strong sector support platforms and focus sector-specific efforts on strategic areas of opportunity.”
“Capitalize on the workforces to create a ‘best in class’ workforce.”
“Encourage entrepreneurship from a young age through regional K-12 programs.”
“Launch a young professional marketing strategy” with “a guerilla marketing campaign that includes message board strategies and pop-culture PR, word of mouth and U-Tube strategies.”
How anyone can take a “consultant” seriously when he writes “U-Tube strategies” is beyond me. But I digress.
Look at the passages that Angelou has already been accused of, and admitted to plagiarizing, and compare them to the El Paso report. They may not be cut-and-paste but the El Paso report is nothing more than recycled materials that brings nothing new to the table.
Already there is controversy about how the consultant gathered the information to substantiate their findings. Add to that equation, the questions of the consultant’s integrity and it is clear that their report was nothing more than a paycheck to some crony to tell El Paso how it needs to “invest” in its future by building more playgrounds for the Horde.
Even worse is that as you read the various reports produced by Angelous Angelou you begin to notice a common theme. The theme embraced by Joyce Wilson, as pushed forth by Richard Florida and the urban renewal scam he continues to peddle across the nation.
You know the one where, you the taxpayer pays to build a stadium everyone understands is not economically feasible. You know, the one where everyone in the industry understands that a stand-alone children’s hospital will not work, except, of course, the government entities floating bonds you have to pay.
Typically, El Paso pays someone in another city to recycle the tired old ideas that only enriches a few while raising the cost to the taxpayers.