Patriot Mobile’s pizza whining no ‘gift’ to Grapevine police

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Patriot Mobile Action PAC leader Leigh Wambsganss, left, and Patriot Mobile executive Glenn Story, center, were podcast guests of former Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon at CPAC in Dallas.

Patriot Mobile Action PAC leader Leigh Wambsganss, left, and Patriot Mobile executive Glenn Story, center, were podcast guests of former Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon at CPAC in Dallas.

Via @cjtackett on Twitter from Real America’s Voice

If you really support your local police, the way to show that is not by bashing them for a week on national media.

And if you want to throw a pizza party for police families, the way to do that is with a quiet gift to a local association or benevolent fund.

Not by getting big photos promoting your private business on the city government website. And definitely not by raging on social media for a week to get even more attention.

That’s how the politically driven cellphone reseller Patriot Mobile handled its Jan. 12 donation of a $1,500 fancy pizza party to Grapevine police, followed by a week of virulent attacks after police decided to regift the activists’ “gift.”

Look, people give police pizzas every day.

They deliver them to stations. They send them to patrol posts.

They do it out of the goodness of their hearts.

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A Donald Trump cutout stands at Patriot Mobile display at the Republican Party of Texas convention at George R. Brown Convention Center on Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Houston. Elizabeth Conley AP

Not to mooch advertising.

If the police don’t eat the pizzas, the donors just say thanks and move on.

They don’t take their delicate hurt snowflake feelings to national political talk shows, or rail for a week about how it’s all the fault of — in executive Glenn Story’s words — “folks who are way left and wanted to defund the police.”

Patriot Mobile can still quietly donate a pizza party anytime to the local police association.

Instead, the company has chosen to run what amounts to a national advertising campaign berating Grapevine officials as ingrates for regifting the pizza.

Basically, Patriot Mobile has proven that Grapevine made exactly the right decision. The company’s gift was all about politics and marketing, not charity.

Story told local radio entertainer Dana Loesch: “It’s a little unsettling to know a government office is run like that.”

It’s a little unsettling to know that if somebody doesn’t want his pizza, he’s going to unleash a national backlash.

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An ad on the Patriot Mobile cellphone reseller’s website Dec. 16, 2022 offered the promo code “Christians.” patriotmobile.com

Look, I agree the city of Grapevine poorly handled the regifting part of this. Police could have passed the pizza party along to a charity without a long social media speech distancing from Patriot Mobile, a city business but one with a strong local political bent.

But lost in all the hubbub is the simple truth of the Texas Constitution: It’s illegal for cities, schools and public agencies to give away free advertising.

The Constitution specifically bans government agencies from granting any “thing of value.” That includes social media advertising generating attention and traffic.

Simply put, the government can’t give stuff away.

Look at other cities’ or schools’ websites or social media accounts. You don’t see ads for businesses.

If it were that easy to get free advertising, every business in town would make “donations.”

Patriot Mobile’s “gift” was self-serving. Grapevine handled this hot pizza mess as best it could.

Now we see who really supports the police.

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Columnist Bud Kennedy is a Fort Worth guy who covered high school football at 16 and has moved on to two Super Bowls, seven political conventions and 18 Texas Legislature sessions. First on the scene of a 1988 DFW Airport crash, he interviewed passengers running from the burning plane. He made his first appearance in the paper before he was born: He was sold for $600 in the adoption classifieds.

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