Category Archives: Gringa's Opinions on the Tejano Industry

Tejano bands at the Poteet Strawberry Festival (and the other event) this weekend April 9 -11, 2010

The REAL Strawberry Festival

Click on the image to go to the OFFICIAL site for the Poteet Strawberry Festival

Well it’s that time of year again…. time for the two Poteet dueling festivals…    Well actually ONE festival, the Poteet Strawberry Festival, a charity event ,which has been around for over 50 years and another event that calls itself the Poteet Music Festival, which is actually an event OUTSIDE the Festival grounds which capitalizes on the folks being in town for the actual festival.   As a Tejano Music fan, I have no problem with competing events, both have great lineups .  If you love Tejano Music, Poteet , TX is the place to be this weekend, if you are like me you will go to see the bands you want to see.   The problem I have is with the misleading advertising  which is so unnecessary.  

So if you are headed to Poteet this weekend , here are some things to keep in mind. 

Your admission fee (just $10.00 , free for under 12 and Military & Vets with proper ID) gets you in to the actual Strawberry Festival, includes the entertainment, plus you can purchase coupons to ride the rides and visit all the booths, and you will be contributing to a charitable cause. 

Admission to the other event is just for the event itself.  For example the Saturday night performance at the Saloon is $25.00 (under 12 free) , so if you want to get to Poteet early enough  to enjoy the festival, add another 10.00 admission fee on to that.  

LINEUP for the POTEET STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL:

Friday night: Vision 

vision

Vision

 

Saturday Night:  

Michael Salgado with a special appearance by Elida Reyna 

Michael Salgado

Michael Salgado

 

                                  Los Tex Maniacs 

Los Texmaniacs

Los Texmaniacs

 

Sunday Night: 

Elida y Avante 

Elida Reyna

Elida y Avante

 

Roberto Pulido 

Roberto Pulido

Roberto Pulido

 

Sisters Morales 

For more information go to the Poteet Strawberry Festival Official site 

Poster for the other event in the saloon:

Click to enlarge

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A very nice writeup on Sunny Sauceda on the Houston Chronicle Blog..”Sunny Sauceda talks Grammys, state of Tejano”

Click on the image below to read it:

I have to say that I agree 100% with Sunny’s opinion on the “State of Tejano”.

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PBS’s Latin Music USA/The Chicano Wave… great overview of La Onda but with one GLARING error…

Click on the image to view the video

Click on the image to view the video

If you saw the blog I posted of the video promo for this series, I mentioned that I wondered if La Onda would be portrayed accurately. I have to say that I was surprised that Tejano got as much coverage as it did (I figured it would just get a little bit of a mention like Durengense did) , and of course with so many genres being covered , you cannot mention everyone who played a major role in a genre’s history. The segment about Little Joe was fascinating as was Flaco’s segment, both were very insightful. Then they skip all the way to Selena in the late 1980s. As Selena is being introduced a statement is being made that “Tejano had become hugely popular in the Southwest” (with no mention as to how it got so popular). Don’t get me wrong , I loved Selena. She is an icon and deserves all the accolades she gets, and the recognition for her accomplishments which were plenty, and one cannot cover Tejano History without covering Selena. The problem that I have with the way Tejano History of the 1990s has been written is that articles with some inaccuracies that were written in the aftermath of her death are treated as historical documents ( and used as reference matieral), giving her credit for ushering in the “Glory Days of the 90s” and “opening the door” to Mexico for everyone else, credit that belongs to her dear friends La Mafia. credit that belongs to THE band who took her under their wings at the age of 12 and packaged her with themselves to open shows for them .     This travesty has been going on for almost 15 years, as inaccurate quotes from those articles continue to be requoted year after year, and PBS fell into the same trap.   Their research seems to be pretty accurate for everything else, but oh man, they show a 15 second blurb of La Mafia’s “Nadie” video , w/o even a caption showing their name (of course , to most Latin Music fans they need no introduction)  and as it is showing that blurb the narration states: “As Selena’s star rose the Tejano Music Scene exploded” as if  all the credit for that explosion belongs solely to her.  Then it makes it sound like she was responsible for the big labels coming in, (they were already there otherwise Jose Behar would not have been at that TTMA award show) , and states that “every band had a new bus, new outfits, light shows etc….  ( La Mafia had been the first Tejano band to put on rock style shows complete with pyrotetics way back in the 80s).  The narration continues to say that overnight that Tejano Music was becoming the “Next Big Thing” with “Selena at the helm”, there may be some truth ,  she may have been at the helm with La Mafia as she was running neck and neck with them on the Billboard Charts, BUT she had yet to surpass them in sales, that did not occur until after her tragic death.

I will go into more depth in a later blog about Selena and La Mafia.

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A PUBLIC MESSAGE FROM THE HOUSTON LIVESTOCK SHOW AND RODEO (Tejanos please know the TRUTH about the false allegations against this charity organization)

People, make no mistake, regardless of the slant that is being put on this thing by Senator Gallegos that it is supposedly about broader issues involving  people of color (and even dragging U S Representative Sheila Jackson Lee into it, (a Representative I used to respect but she should have had her staff investigate Gallegos’s allegations instead of buying into his lies just because he is a fellow Democrat and fellow minority), along with the likes of some so called community activists like Quanell X, of the NEW BLACK PANTHERS ; while there may be some diversity issues with the HLSR, this whole thing is nothing but a WITCH HUNT to advance the agenda of Ruben Cubillos of Vive Tejano Inc. It started last year, with the Go Tejano Day Boycott/Protest Fiasco, which got very ugly , with Vive Tejano Inc resorting to STRONG ARM tactics against their OWN who did not agree that a protest was the way to handle things (This is not hearsay folks, thousands heard the whistle blowers TESTIFY on internet radio and on the Tejano Journal last year) . The other things, scholarship quotas, staff quotas etc were added on , and now Gallegos has even introduced legislation basicly to require affirmitive acction in PRIVATE charity organizations. Unbelievable. The email that the HSLR is responding to by Ben Mendez (Cubillos’s partner in Vive Tejano Inc) is proof positive what the agenda really is. They didn’t get their way last year and they want to bring the HLSR to it’s knees jeopardizing what the organization is all about, providing scholarships for children of all races and why they singled out Clint Black’s show to stage this protest/boycott is so unfair, it makes it look as if the protest is against HIM.

Below is the response of the HLSR and beneath their response you will find the SLANDEROUS email put out by Ruben Cubillos’s partner.
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In a widely circulated e-mail, Ben Mendez, political activist and spokesperson for the National Hispanic Professional Organization, has presented a list of inaccurate statements and facts accusing the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s volunteer leadership and salaried management of deception and non-compliance with state and federal requirements for non-profit organizations.
More importantly, Mendez accuses the Show’s volunteer leaders and management of personally enriching themselves from money intended for scholarships: “An Organization that claims to be all about scholarships is really a money-making machine for those in leadership positions.” His document is full of misleading statements and outright lies. Please see Ben Mendez’s full e-mail below.

 
NOW THE FACTS:
The Show was going to move to the Port City Stockyards after the Democratic Convention Hall burned in 1936. Houston urged Show officials not to do that and the city built the Sam Houston Coliseum to house a variety of activities, including the Show.

The Show management was in private offices (sometimes sharing offices with the Houston Chamber of Commerce) until it moved to the Astrodome complex in 1966.

In 1966, the Show, at the request of Harris County, abandoned its plans to build its own coliseum (where the Northwest Mall is now located) to build a convention/livestock exposition building to support the Astrodome. The Show built the Astrohall, the Astroarena (Reliant Arena) and its year-round offices (at its own expense) and donated them to Harris County.

The Show paid for the build-out of its offices in Reliant Center. The Show’s direct contributions and bond coverage funding for Reliant Stadium and Reliant Center is $87.1 million. The Show pays $1.5 million in annual rent for its use of Reliant Stadium.

The Show’s board is reflective of the volunteer makeup of the Show (more than 21,000 volunteers) and it includes at least nine Hispanics (the Show does not track ethnicity of its membership). The Show has one Hispanic and one African-American among its 18 volunteer vice presidents (the second highest volunteer position in the Show).

According to a survey of Hispanic surnames conducted by Show volunteers Rey Gonzales, Joe Vara, Santa Gonzales and Amanda Salinas, during 2008 at least 1,324 Hispanic volunteers served on 89 of the Show’s 93 committees and they held leadership positions on 48 percent of the committees, to include being chairman of four committees.

African-Americans and Hispanics are setting a fast pace through the Show’s volunteer ranks based on dedication, commitment, continued service and merit.

The Show is a color-blind, equal opportunity employer that prides itself on being ethnically neutral. There are 25 (not seven) minority employees (Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American and mixed-race) among the 100 full-time Show employees. Their jobs include specialists, technicians, computer programmers, accounting and customer service, and management employees. The Show does not employ groundskeepers – that is the responsibility of Harris County. In addition, 76 percent of the Show’s full time staff is female. Forty percent of senior management, and 57 percent of all Show management, are women.

The Show does not hide its six-figure employee salaries as Mendez reports. In fact, anyone can access numerous public Web sites, including guidestar.com, to see the Show’s latest 990 tax return where they can view the salaries of the top eight Show employees.

The Houston Chronicle has reported the Show’s top management salaries on several occasions in recent years. In a March, 18, 2008, article (written by Alexis Grant) the Chronicle stated that, “Only one of the Show’s 91 full-time employees, Wagner, makes more than $300,000. Two other employees, Chief Operating Officer Leroy Shafer and Chief Technology Officer Andrew Sloan, make more than $200,000.”

The same Chronicle article referenced Dan Parsons, the Better Business Bureau president, who said that those salaries are comparable to others in Houston’s nonprofit sector. An independent compensation consultant reporting directly to the Executive Committee determined that salaries were very much in line with comparable positions in similar organizations.

The Show has never taken in $120 million in a year (as Mendez claims). In 2008, the Show’s operating revenues were $85,185,000. Program expenses (the Show’s real exempt purpose is to put on a livestock show and fair, using some of the net proceeds for education and building) were $53,875,466. This accounted for 63 percent of the gross revenue. $15,603,897 went to Texas youth through auctions and educational support (18 percent of gross revenue). Combined, 82 percent of all gross revenue covered expenses that met the Show’s exempt purpose. The Show spent $5,757,965 on administrative expenses (7 percent) and $4,117,247 on fundraising (5 percent). The Show had a net income from operations of $5,841,277 (7 percent). Net profit is used to build reserves to be used for three purposes:

Provide organization funding in the event there is a catastrophic event and the Show can’t be held (this possibility was very realistic after the damage caused by Hurricane Ike);

Provide the ability for the Show to make capital contributions to Reliant Park facility projects (as it has done on every project so far);

To quasi-endow the educational programs so that the Show can continue to have an impact on youth and education even if it someday is not as financially successful as it has been recently (that possibility was a real possibility in the mid-1980s with the “oil bust”).

Mendez references the Show’s $50 million in awarded contracts. The Show does not award anywhere near that dollar amount of “contracts.” It is the assumption of the Show management that he is referring to the non youth and education expenses of the Show from the audited financials. If so, those expenses included more than:

$10.5 million in city, county, and facility-related fees and expenses (expenses that cannot be bid by the Show);

$5 million in non-cash expenses (i.e. depreciation);

$14,500,000 in non-vendor-related expenses such as cash awards to exhibitors and contestants; salaries and salary-related expenses for the 695 full-time staff, part-time staff and security; U.S. Postal Service fees; etc.;

$7,600,000 to stadium entertainers which are negotiated and agreed to by the entertainers’ agents;

$1,400,000 in advertising (a considerable amount going to Spanish-language media) that in most cases is paid at the going market rates unless the vendor offers a discount; and

nearly $2,000,000 in alcoholic beverages (which as a retailer, state law requires us to purchase from distributors).

For the 2008 fiscal year, the Show paid over 8,000 vendors. Vendors are selected by Show staff and thousands of committee members. The Show gets multiple bids for products and services based on the type of purchase, and takes bids from qualified entities. Some are bid project by project, some by year, and some multi-year, depending on the type of product or service provided. The bidding requirements start at $1,000, based on the size/type of the project. If the lowest bid is not selected, a strong reason has to be demonstrated as to why it was not (i.e. turnaround time, quality of sample products provided).

As the Show literally has thousands of people handling its purchases, it is believable when Show officials hear that some vendors find it hard to determine how to submit bids or learn about upcoming projects. The Show is committed to improving that process. After this Show is complete, officials will review the process to see what improvements can be made (vendor seminars, Web site submission of information, etc.). This would be open to all vendors that are interested in doing business with the Show. The Show knows of no one who has been unable to approach the Show about doing business.

The Show’s entertainment budget for 2009 is $8,300,000. The actual expended budget will be between $7,310,000 and $8,260,000 – depending on performance payout options. Not one entertainer will be paid between $750,000 and $1,000,000 (Mendez reported that all non-Hispanic entertainers get paid that much). If all entertainers got paid equally at the Show (they do not), each entertainer this year would be paid around $377,000. The Show never reveals a specific entertainer salary, but it would be ludicrous to compare Little Joe’s salary from 18 and 20 years ago with today’s entertainer salaries.

The Show negotiates all of its entertainer contracts based on market value (understanding that it pays a premium over market because of the one-off nature and the size of the venue).

The Show’s entertainers are evaluated, selected and contacted by the Show’s entertainment department – under the direct supervision of the managing director of entertainment. The evaluation is based on numerous surveys, computer models, record sales, comparable concert sales, and consultation with radio station program directors and others in the industry. In the case of entertainers for Go Tejano Day and Black Heritage Day, entertainment department staff consults with the leadership of each committee regarding talent. The Show has repeatedly told Mendez this and he continues to report that they have not been consulted. Like any business, the Show’s goal and fiduciary duty is to maximize attendance at the most economical level to the Show, not to the entertainer.

The managing director of entertainment reports directly to the COO and often briefs the president and CEO, and chairman of the board. The Executive Committee is not involved in this process and does not know the entertainer lineup before it is announced.

Mendez says, “Basic information has been requested year after year and every time we are given excuses. What is there to hide?” The Show knows of no request from Mendez or Sen. Gallegos prior to Feb. 10 of this year (a Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act information request from Sen. Gallegos). The information was delivered Feb. 20, while preparations were in full-swing for the 2009 Show.

During the past year, Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia requested the ethnic makeup of the Show’s scholarship recipients. The Show could not respond because it had never tracked the ethnicity of its students. Because of ongoing misinformation on this issue, the Show instructed its education department in early February to pull all winning scholarship applications for the past three years and to note ethnicity of each student from the attached high school transcript. Commissioner Garcia was given that information last week. The Show believes the ethnicity of the scholarship recipients in the Houston metro area reflects the ethnicity of the area’s population..

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a responsible 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that complies with all requirements of the IRS and the Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act. This should be evidenced by several requests from Houston media over the years. The Show does not reveal the individual salaries of its entertainers as that is proprietary and trade-secret information. Each salary is negotiated and it would be extremely damaging for other artists, agents and managers to know each salary.

If you are a member, volunteer, or supporter of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, take pride in the fact that you know the facts about the Show and pass this information on to all of your friends and associates..

ACTUAL BEN MENDEZ E-MAIL
From: Ben Mendez [mailto:benmendez@thehoustoncalendar.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 12:14 AM
To:
Subject: Rodeo Protest Scheduled for March 13

The Hispanic and African American communities are protesting the lack of
diversity within the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. A press conference
is scheduled for Friday, February 27, at 10:30 a.m. at the Harris County
Administration Building located at 1001 Preston. Everyone is welcome to
support the cause.

A protest at Reliant Stadium is scheduled for Friday, March 13, at 5:00
pm. The performer for that evening will be Clint Black.

The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo was established in 1931 and has used
government facilities since 1938. Millions of tax dollars have been
used to create venues and provide year-round office space for the rodeo.
For this reason, leaders from both communities feel the rodeo should be
inclusive of all communities.

At the press conference, the following issues will be addressed:

1. Board Members

There are 320 board members at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, of
which 233 are voting board members and only 7 are minorities. The
process of becoming a board member is dependent on being a big donor,
serving on the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Committee for decades, or
being recommended by the executive board members. There are many
minorities that have volunteered for the rodeo for decades, yet they
have never been recommended to serve as board members.

2. Board Executives

There are 42 executives on the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo board,
which includes 17 vice-presidents. Of the 42, there is only one
minority. By the way, the rodeo will consistently show him in the
press to show they are diverse. Why don’t they show the other 41
executives on television?

3. Full-Time Employees

There are 90+ full-time employees at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
There are only 7 minorities, which are groundskeepers and other low
level employees. The rodeo executives have consistently hid the
salaries of employees for their own benefit. They do not wish to show
anyone their hefty 6-figure salaries. The rodeo is a non-profit
organization using government property. There should be no reason to
hide these facts.

4. Scholarships

The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo will bring in approximately $120
million in 2009 and yet it only has committed to award $11 million in
scholarships, which amounts to 9% of the total funds collected. An
organization that claims to be all about scholarships is really a
money-making machine for those in leadership positions.

5. Concerts

The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo has 20 concerts per year. One day is
dedicated to Hispanics and one day is dedicated to African-Americans.
Are we to celebrate this?

6. Contracts

This year approximately $50 million will be awarded in contracts by the
Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. Has anyone seen a Request for Proposals
distributed to the community? I didn’t think so. There is no process
in place to ensure minority contractors and vendors have a fair
opportunity to bid on any of the contracts associated with the rodeo.
It is the good ole boy network at its best.

7. Pay Parity

The average attendance for the concerts at the Houston Livestock Show &
Rodeo is 55,000 a concert. Go Tejano Day (now called Hispanic Heritage
Day) averages almost 70,000. Go Tejano Day has consistently broken
attendance records throughout the years and yet the artist performing on
that day have consistently been paid much less than their counterparts.
The average pay for a performer for each performance is between $750,000
and $1,000,000. Little Joe, a Tejano music legend, was paid $40,000 for
a concert.

8. Open Records

The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo has consistently avoided being
transparent to the citizens of Harris County. Basic information has
been requested year after year and every time we are given excuses.
What is there to hide?

9. Selection of Artists

The selection of entertainers is done by Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo
executives with no input from the Go Tejano Committee or the Black
Heritage Committee. I guess this executive committee knows it all.

I hope this information gives you insight as to the real issues
regarding the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. If you are interested in
joining us for the press conference or the protest, please contact me at
benmendez@thehoustoncalendar.com.

Thank you for understanding our concerns.

Ben Mendez
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