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Two police on duty, media, and the BoardChair makes a speech at the Guadalupe's March Boardmeeting

From the Guadalupe Cultural Art Center's March 23 Boardmeeting at the Guadalupe Theatre, in San Antonio, Texas.

The Guadalupe Board doesn't distribute board agendas or reports to the public, so there's no way for me to give you details, but I will uplink the video from the meeting this weekend on the vlog.

About fifty people in the audience, very orderly. In other words, nobody threw chingazos. Two policemen watching us.

There were seven boardmembers, two new ones - both business types. No artists. As usual, they sat around a table facing each other - not the audience. Falta de respeto, and it was pointed out at the meeting.

From Juan F. Aguilera, the Board Chairman, who actually turned to the audience halfway through the boardmeeting and made a short speech. Here are some excerpts:

"If you hear things out there that the board doesn’t care, wants to destroy, I’ve instructed them [not to talk to the public] and they’re honoring the request... I’ve been concerned that our funders are being notified.

I had a meeting with Councilwoman Patti Radle, very important, nice [meeting].

At the end of the day the people that are gonna be hurt are our employees and our community.

I’m very concerned with our employees...there’s not a conspiracy there’s a lot of information but the information is not supposed to be coming from this board, this group.

[These are]privacy matters and you would not want anyone to be talking. [I assume Aguilera was addressing the discrimination suit that's been brought against the Guadalupe by Dolores "Dee" Zapata Murff, and the firing of former Interim Executive Director, Mary Jessie Garza].

We’re hurting the Guadalupe ladies and gentlemen, this is what's gonna happen we’re just burning and slashing everything around us and we’re not gonna have anything left over.

And the Conjunto Festival is one of the best we’ve ever had we’re telling them [the employees] where are the sponsors we’re jumping on the staff to make sure we get that money.

We need you to help us out.

Mr. Ruiz next meeting we’re all gonna be facing the audience. I don’t know the history I think the meetings of the Guadalupe has always been like this...but not intentionally."

After this, people started to leave. But the Financial Report was just beginning. Again, I could barely hear Loretta Zevallos, the new Comptroller hired by R. Bret Ruiz. She seemed nervous, turning into herself as she spoke. I had to strain to hear her.

"Item no 2 is the cashflow. March 1.

Starting with $2,000 only. Waiting on the cashflow from the city. That’s the position. I expect to receive it next week." She asked for questions from the Board. None came.


I have lots of questions about this, and so should you. The Guadalupe receives city dollars, lots of them, and there's nothing "private" about their financial affairs, they should be an open book. The Guadalupe should have nothing to hide from the public. If the Guadalupe is near financial collapse - it is not our fault. It is the Board's responsibility to always ask hard questions about cash flow, financial projections, profit/loss, etc. etc. etc..

If the Guadalupe is in worse financial shape now than five years ago when Maria Elena Torralva-Alonso became Executive Director - then it is the Board's fault. It is the Guadalupe's Board of Directors who is responsible for the Guadalupe's extreme expenditures regarding the Veladora and the empty Visual Arts Building; it is the Guadalupe Board' who approved the hiring of R. Bret Ruiz, and didn't check his credentials - and who have allowed him to fire, terminate, or lose seven employees.

The Boardmeeting ended soon after. As they went into Executive Session - boardmember Gwendolyn Diaz called for a meeting - the boardmembers didn't look at me or respond to my request to be interviewed. Except for Gwendolyn Diaz, whose interview I will uplink.

To steal Aguilera's quote, let me conclude with this:
It is the Guadalupe Board who has almost destroyed the Guadalupe, Ladies and Gentlemen.


Juana Gallo said…
Aguilera, like Ruiz, seems to be very good at hiding behind the GCAC employees. The aggrieved employees have been very public about the problem that they have had w/ Ruiz. No, let's be honest Aguilera, "se les dormio el gallo". You have sat on questions too damn long. You have been asleep at the wheel...every one has. This business of the board mouthing the words "I can't say anything" has been old for too long. The public is better informed about the dealings of the 'Lupe than the board!
A big red flag that the board missed was the business of adding more signers to the accounts than the fact that they opened w/ a cash flow of $2,000! With that type of cash flow they don't even need a full time accountant! The GCAC currently has 3 employees on payroll to handle marketing, pr and anything else that goes with it but all they have is bad press.
What's up w/ that?
And, what other "positive" simperings does Ruiz have to offer about Conjunto? the board really missed a chance to question Ruiz and the Development Director about the solidified (not dreams, honey) sponsorships for the event. And what other details? the performing groups for starters.
And, just how much regular business is being conducted under the guise of "executive session"? I smell a real big dead rat.
How about TeatroFest? everyone but the board knows that Ruiz went behind the Theater Director's back and killed projects. Someone on the board should call Ruiz and ask him what he is doing and what has he done to support this collaboration, or what a concept, they could have asked last night! It is continuing as a collaboration because Ruiz tried to stop the project. But he can't because the community will save it.
Our young people, Los Ninos Heroes of the GCAC, have tired themselves from asking questions. The board snubs them every month. We tell our youth to get involved and then we meet them w/ this disdain. I'll bet they don't treat their own children this way. And what about all of the parents who came to the Board meeting in January and complained about the tuition increases? Ruiz only continues to whine that the tuition was never increased. Please ladies and gentleman, stand back as lightening will soon strike this man!
And that cowardly act of setting up the Accountant to promote those stupid policies? Ruiz never once spoke up to explain them or defend her. Board members, that is how he operates.An undergraduate business major could have written clearer policies, but the intent was so clear that no even the board would touch them!
Unfortunately for the community, the board has chosen to defend their poor choice for a director (excuse me for not using the Banana Republic term of President)and forgotten that they are paying him at least twice what other non-profit exec. directors are making with much better results. Worried about who can replace him? look at the adjunct faculty at the OLLU leadership program, St. Mary's MBA program, etc. There are plenty of prepared people in town who are available to get this show back on the road.
It is time for the City to tell the board to step down, find an interim and stop this idiotic play! let the community run the Center again.
LaRed said…
I have attended several meetings as well. My questions are as follows: Why doesn't the Board ASK Ruiz what are his REAL plans? How much money has he brought into the organization? What are his fundraising plans? Why did his Development Director Cynthia Langston run away when board member Dr.Gwnedolyn Diaz asked for a development report??? Is it because Ms Langston has not had a chance to work on grants because she is busy running around town with Ruiz at luncheons and receptions? I know I have called to speak to her several times and she is NEVER in her office especially on Fridays and Mondays. Ruiz alluded as much saying "Cynthia has had alot of other things she is working on" well excuse me but isn't the Development Director supposed to write grants especially if the organization does not have a grant writer? Shouldn't that be a PRIORITY? Isn't Ruiz capable of meeting with funders on his own without someone holding his hand?
Why is Ruiz allowed to use the women on his staff to present policies? (anyone that knows Loretta Zevallos knows she cannot write in English very well,which means he wrote the policy and is using her to present to the Board.)
This is how he uses and then discards women staff members starting with the Public Relations Director, then Carmen the Volunteer Coordinator, which he used to call his "private, personal assistant", he got tired of her, or stopped trusting her, discarded, then moved on to Loretta Zevallos, and Cynthia Langston. Why does the Board allow him to just sit there and not answer their questions?
As far as Conjunto, does anyone really know who the sponsors are? Who the bands are? Why did he hire a PR firm to promote Conjunto when he has a PR Director on staff who gained international media attention for last years event and worked with the CVB to help promote Conjunto. Why did he hire an event planner to organize Conjunto when he has a staff with nothing else to do since there is very little programming going on and is capable of organizing the event? And what exactly does R. Bret Ruiz do all day behind his two locked doors?

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