By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Majorly strange: Thanks to another delay by the city council, the question of whether to open up bidding for all the food and retail concessions at Love Field won't be decided until August 11. That's fine with Buzz. We get to poke around this subject for another month.
Who knows what we'll find?
Well, there's this: Turns out that Gilbert Aranza, owner of Star Concessions Ltd., Love's food and beverage concessionaire since 1996, is not really a member of a minority group. Well, he's Latino and all, but maybe not enough.
(The council is split over whether to seek bids. Mayor Tom Leppert wants open bids in the name of transparency. Minority council members want to extend contracts for the two current concessionaires to preserve minority businesses. Roughly speaking.)
That's why we were surprised to learn that Aranza has offered to bring in additional minority partners to try to keep his contract. See, his only other partner, Daron Pace, is black. Seems Aranza has most of his bases covered. Maybe he needs a one-legged Swedish MTF tranny partner.
Aranza says he was acting on a request from Assistant City Manager A.C. Gonzalez, who sent a memo to council members April 23 explaining that despite Aranza's status as a 100 percent Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, Aranza would "enhance opportunities at Love Field" by forming a new limited partnership that would include two of Aranza's other companies and a group of three women.
Aranza says Gonzalez told him to shoot for the same participation as Love's retail operator, the Hudson Group, which is 40 percent minority- and women-owned through state Representative Helen Giddings and U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, who are black (score!), women (double score!) and politically wired (hat trick!). (That last point doesn't count minority-wise, but it doesn't hurt.) But, heck, Aranza is the grandson of Mexican immigrants. Why isn't that minority enough?
"Because the mayor's taking the position that I'm establishment, and I don't deserve any extra points for being brown," Aranza claims.
Well, sure. It's widely known that when you get rich enough, the only color that matters is green.
Leppert denies that he had anything to do with all this "who's really from the block" talk.
"That is absolutely false," he wrote in an e-mail. "We didn't even discuss that."
At this point, Buzz would like to make some joke about the Harvard-educated Aranza changing his style of clothing—wear a bandana, maybe pointy boots.