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5/16/8  What a difference a week makes.

  This time last week, I was absolutely sure the voters in Dallas would send this sorry School Board and incompetent Superintendent a message that we wanted them to clean up their act.  That we wanted accountability.  That we wanted our students to graduate from high school.

I was convinced that this bond election was going down because everyone I know was voting NO.  People with whom I frequently am on opposite sides were emphatically voting NO.  Unfortunately, more of them stayed home than went out to vote.  1500 votes? 

It certainly was not a resounding vote of confidence for this lousy School Board or Dr. Hinojosa, particularly when you factor in the $500K they had to spend on their campaign.  Resounding or not, they won the right to waste more of our money on construction projects that are going to benefit a bunch of connected people who own construction projects. 

Are you as tired as I am of being on the right side, the right side but the losing side? 
   
Stan Aten:
 
There is nothing like the Dallas Morning News for trying to evade telling a story.   I am out of town; so, I went online to read the election results for the DISD bond election.  The story's re the Narrow victory, but I still didn't know the margin of victory or defeat when I finished reading.  I had to go to the Elections Dept.'s site to get the voting results.  I bet the roughly 54%-46% is the narrowest margin in many years if ever for a DISD bond election. 
   There was no organized opposition this time, but there may be next time unless there are changes at the DISD Board and administration.  
   Also, construction of new schools is taking place despite declining enrollment.  With the rapid destruction of affordable housing in East Dallas, Oak Cliff, Oak Lawn and even Northeast Dallas, there could be a significant decline in enrollment as families are priced out of the city of Dallas.
   A concerned taxpayer.
 

I want to be excited and supportive about something that's going on at City Hall, but they make it so hard.  There were many reasons I opposed the arena sales tax in 1997.  It was just un-American to tax one industry to benefit a couple of billionaires.  Redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class up to the billionaires.  Another reason was it was clear as day our convention business would suffer if we tacked on additional sales taxes to daily car rentals and hotel/motel rentals.

Dallas has never been big on amenities for conventioneers.  Well, not counting the sex clubs.  We were competing with Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, et al.  The only thing we had going for us was a pretty nice facility in the convention center and cheap hotel/motel rates.  The "It's a Bad Deal Campaign!!" warned the West End Merchants Assn. the sales tax would kill our convention business and their business, too.  They were afraid of losing the Mavericks and Stars to the suburbs, so they supported the sales tax referendum.  Only problem with that scenario was the suburbs weren't going after either team.  Lewisville had a referendum, and they said "No, Thanks."  Well, they supported the sales tax for the arena, and the arena has taken all their business.       Rad Field:
City Owned Convention Hotel --What A SHOW!
  Such a magnificent "Dog And Pony" show orchestrated by Mayor Leppert and Councilman Natinsky in favor of the Dallas Convention Center City Owned Hotel.  Spontaneous!  The Council chamber was "stacked" with invited hotel and contractor interests to fully support the outcome of the star studded presentations and performances.  We wonder who took who to dinner?
   If I had realized the chambers were to be "stacked" for the project, I would have organized around 400 more business interests in Opposition to the item and filled the seats before the Hotel interests even found their parking spots. 
   With the opponents outnumbering the "in-favors", I suspect the vote would have been the same. 
  It is difficult to understand why a city-wide referendum on the issue was not conducted with such substantial funding requirements.  I have been to most town hall meetings over the past year and never heard the issue discussed concerning a City Owned Hotel.  I DID hear an Asst. City Manager say we would not have a tax rate increase this next year.  Really reassuring.  If the project does get into financial trouble like some are out in Pennsylvania, the citizen taxation burden could exceed the rate cap restrictions that are in place... THEN WHAT? 
 

How many of the West End restaurants that supported the sales tax in 1998 are still viable in 2008?

We told the voters the arena sales tax would kill our convention center business and all the related restaurant and entertainment revenue.  We were very dependent on that sales tax revenue.  It's gone, now.

I don't know if a convention center hotel will turn things around.  It certainly would have been helpful to have had the hotel 10 years ago. 

A convention center hotel was being considered back in the late 80's.  We got our bronze steers instead.  Thanks to the Crow family.  I have to admit I love those cows.  You never drive past the park that there aren't people out posing for pictures and just enjoying themselves.  It's a neat place to be.  Still, it's ironic that the Crow family is again fighting a convention center hotel.     Jim Drebelbis:
I got a question/observation:
  
When the big development project is going to be a money maker, say an arena, with expensive skyboxes and expensive tickets, the city of Dallas kicks in a buncha bucks and doesn't share in the profits.
   When the financial projection for a big development project, say a convention hotel, are skewed to the positive side by ignoring some reality things like, say the average room rates for comparable hotels in Dallas, comparable costs of operation, occupancies, and maybe rising energy costs, convention activity, you know, a whole bunch of annoying facts, the city of Dallas gets to kick in a buncha bucks AND share in the profits.
   Now, why do you suppose that is?
 

So, I'm not against a convention center hotel.  I'm not even against a public-private deal to get it done.  That said, I don't like the way the city council has done this.  What was the rush?  Why is it going to cost so much?  Why doesn't a hotel chain want to do this project?  Why not let Dallas voters have a say in such a huge financial commitment?

  It's not like there's a chance in hell the vote would go against the desires of Our Downtown Betters.  The ODB would spend whatever dollars were needed to get the results they desire.  Those with the gold rule.  Their gold gets them the leverage at City Hall to control our gold, what little we have left after paying taxes for stuff that benefits the ODB and their connected families.

I'm glad Councilman Mitch Rasansky has escaped from whatever spell someone put on him during the Trinity River Project campaign.  It's good to have him once again looking at numbers and watching out for taxpayers' interest.  Councilwomen Vonceil Hill and Angela Hunt were lonely voices in the wind as they tried to get their colleagues to slow it down and ask some questions.

I'm really sitting on the fence regarding this convention center argument.  I want to be for it, but the proponents are playing such hard ball -- makes you wonder.  Most speakers have financial interests in getting it done.  The one speaker who almost made me fall off the fence away from the mayor's hotel was State Senator Royce West.

If I hear one more person say we have to do something expensive and possibly stupid because the Cowboys went to Arlington ---

Speaking of Arlington, they are getting hosed AGAIN!  An entire neighborhood wiped out to make room for a football stadium with promises of development and retail and restaurants and new sales tax revenue.  The hysterical part is Arlington voters had already fallen for that spiel when they bought into the Ball Park.  They get to subsidize another billionaire.

There are always going to be more stupid people voting who buy the propaganda the ODB throw at them than there are people who pay attention. 

The hotel pushers really have nothing to lose by calling an election themselves to show they have the community's support to waste our money, or not waste our money.

If Dallas voters would vote to give our lousy School Board and incompetent Superintendent a Billion Dollars to waste, there's no chance a convention center hotel would fail at the polls.

  So, do we take old Clayton Williams' advice and just lay back and enjoy it?  Or, do we keep fighting and making a total nuisance of ourselves?

I say -- let's make those with the Gold suffer as much as possible.
 

sb
 

                                        

    





                            

 

  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8