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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.