Friday, June 15, 2012

Army gives the shaft to small veteran owned business

Garrison Commander
Colonel Timothy Faulkner
Fort Huachuca

What if a big corporation came to your town and sucked $ 15 million out of your local economy? What if that same corporation put 10 small locally owned businesses out of business?  What if veterans owned these “locally owned” businesses that got put out-of-business?  What if I told you that this big evil job-sucking corporation was foreign owned and what if I told you that this corporate monopoly could not exist without the sanction of the US government?

This story of Crony Capitalism comes from Sierra Vista, Arizona

In the interests of full disclosure, I own property from Sierra Vista, Arizona. 

Sierra Vista, Arizona is a military town and a small retirement community situated near the Mexican-American border in southeastern Arizona.  Home of the military intelligence school, thousands of soldiers attend Fort Huachuca from the all over America.

Now prior to 2011, the Army allotted these soldiers a housing allowance to live off post called commonly as TDY money as the acronym TDY stands for temporary duty.  The reason why the Army allotted these soldiers this housing allowance was because Army Lodging and the barracks had deteriorated so badly that previous administrations deemed the living conditions unlivable.  This opened up a $ 15 million dollar a year cottage industry in Sierra Vista.

So what changed?

IHG CEO, Richard Solomons never served in the U.S Army
in time of war.  He is not an American citizen.
Colonel Faulker allowed for no public comment before
shutting down $ 15 million local businesses in favor of a
foreign owned corporate monopoly.
In 2009, the Army awarded Intercontinental Hotel Group, a British company the rights to modernize and operate a monopoly on Army Lodging.  Other businesses by law could not compete.  The contraction and Implementation of this policy finally came in 2011. Garrison Commander, Colonel Timothy Faulkner, Military Intelligence Commanding, commissioned an assessment for the Implementation of the Privatization of Army Lodging Program at Fort Huachuca.   Colonel Steven Roemhildt of the Army Corps of Engineers signed off on it March 11, 2011.  John A. Ruble, Director of Public Works Fort Huachuca signed off on April 7th and Colonel Faulkner on April 8th.  In their report, they state that privatizing monopoly would have “no significant adverse effects on quality of human life.”    Colonel Faulkner allowed for 30 days of public review by making the documents known to Todd Braswell of the Sierra Vista Herald and at the public library.  I guess a town hall would have been too much work.

What is particularly offensive about this document Colonel Faulkner wrote is that it is 104 pages – 104 pages are about air quality, noise and water resources, but no survey on the economic impacts or what the people in the community or even the common soldier wanted.

$ 15 million dollars may not be a lot of money to federal government that deals in trillions.  But to the cleaning ladies, handy man, landlords and furniture shops, $ 15 million is a lot of money.  And for that money to go to the portfolios of foreign businesses like British Intercontintel Hotel Group and Australian owned Actus Lend Lease and shadowy Rest Easy LLC.  Since former Representative Gabrielle Giffords got shot in the head by one of her supporters in January of 2010, Sierra Vista had no representative in Congress to air their concerns to.

Rich Solomons, CEO
Intercontinental Hotel Group
(UK owned)
To some degree, the Army giveth, the Army can taketh away.  Praise be the Lord Army. 

But where are your priorities big Army?  Is this what democracy looks like?  No free market competition?  No public comment.   More attention given to air quality and the spotted owl than to jobs, the economy, or what the local community thinks?  Small businesses owned by veterans closed because of a government protected monopoly. 

Thomas Childers, Historian for the University of Pennsylvania observed that the path to totalitarian Germany had been cleared in World War I when Army contracts favored big business over small independent artisans.  Is that what we are becoming?

If you are offended as I am, I urge you to share this video with your Congressman, your friends and family on your facebook, twitter and social media. Spread the word let competition back into military communities.  If you want to give the soldier the best, give him a choice.  Thank you America.  I am James A. Bretney.

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