06/23/06 The End
does not justify the Means!
As I sat at my desk waiting for the Mavericks to take
court on Tuesday night, it seemed like the appropriate time to respond to those
who ask me if it all wasn't worth it to have the American Airlines Center aka
Hicks/Perot Arena for the NBA playoffs.
There may be someone out there who reads DallasArena.com who doesn't know what
I'm talking about because it's been almost 10 years (January, 1998) since we
lost a questionable election by 1700 votes that imposed a 5% sales tax on daily
car rentals inside the city limits of Dallas and 2% on hotels inside the city of
Dallas. Every other city in the county can rent cars to conventioneers and
tourists cheaper than we can.
If a person(s) wants the glory of owning a team then build the
@#!%... arena with
their own money.
We warned Dallas voters that those two arena taxes were going to destroy our
convention business. We were right.
The West End restaurants and retailers supported the arena taxes because they
were so dependent on the crowds from the Mavericks and Stars games at Reunion.
We warned them the Hicks/Perot Arena would be too far from them to be convenient
for the sports crowd, and the Hicks/Perot Arena would eventually be their
biggest competitor. We were right.
Tuesday, June 6, 2006
The biggest retail building in
downtown's West End district is closing its doors after 20 years.
The West End Marketplace will shut
down at the end of the month while owners of the historic structure come up
with a redevelopment plan. Over the years, the building on Market Street has
lost several major tenants, including Planet Hollywood and a movie theater.
... The West End Marketplace opened in 1986 as
Dallas' first festival marketplace. The former Brown Cracker and Candy Co.
building ? constructed between 1902 and 1908 ? was converted into a
combination of shops, eateries and nightclubs with an interior atrium.
... Planet Hollywood opened in 1994 but shut down
in 2001. A 10-screen cinema on the top floors operated about seven years
before closing in 1993.
Even with the
resurgence downtown and construction of the nearby Victory project, the West
End Marketplace has continued to lag.
... And with the departure of high-profile restaurants including
Dick's Last Resort, Tony Roma's and Lombardi's, "on the face, it could look
bad right now," Mr. Schooley said. "But we are just having growing pains."
Did you ever think Dick's Last
Resort would be leaving the West End?
Before the Hicks/Perot Arena, the West End was a major sales tax revenue
resource for the city.
... There?s a
spark now in a part
of town where once
there was nothing
but pollution and
the promise of
better. To think,
just a few years ago
Hines corridor was
nothing more than
an area of concern
Dallas Plan, hatched
in 1992 by the likes
of former mayor
Steve Bartlett. It
was just 11 years
ago that the area,
formerly the home of
the Dallas Electric
plant (which was
built in 1890), was
It was also 11 years ago that a former columnist employed by
the paper version of
Unfair Park said a
new arena would
screw this city
fact last week she
the very same thing:
Why ain?t the W and
Victory Park (say
it: Ross Perot Jr.
and Tom Hicks)
paying property tax?
Well, short answer:
They would have gone
the tax increment
that paved the way
for them to
redevelop the area,
Which isn?t to say
Mayor Laura didn?t
and doesn?t have a
always be something
icky about giving
rich people millions
of bucks in breaks?...?Robert
As much as I love most of
Wilonsky's stuff on "Unfair Park: The Dallas Observer Blog", he could not be
more wrong when he says "They
would have gone elsewhere without the tax increment finance district that paved
the way for them to redevelop the area, that?s why."
There wasn't any place for them to go. Lewisville had held an election,
and the locals said they didn't want to build Don Carter a new basketball arena.
Irving wasn't seriously competing. Arlington would have been a bad
location for basketball or hockey -- just like it is for baseball because you
can't get there in a hurry on a week day or night. Football usually is a
weekend game, but it's still going to be a logistical nightmare getting to and
from a football stadium in Arlington.
And the idea that Frisco could finance a major sports arena? P-L-E-A-S-E.
Think about it. If your
life was like mine during the Mavericks' playoffs, you were rushing home every
other night to WATCH the game on your HOME TV. You weren't going to a
movie or anything, and you weren't shopping.
But, we've talked about all this so many times. I want to talk about Mark
Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks.
I worked my way through college as the secretary for the Basketball Coach at
North Texas State University (now University of North Texas). I loved
college basketball -- I loved basketball. I never loved professional
basketball, even when Dallas finally got a team. I can't say that anymore.
I love everything about the Mavericks. I love it that Cuban is
an outrageous jerk who can't be muzzled. I love Avery Johnson like you
love an old friend, and I've never met the man. I love Jason Terry.
I love Dirk N -- but I wish he would cut his hair. I love Howard and Stack
and Harris, et al. I don't mean I like them -- I just love them.
Mark Cuban, Coach Johnson and their team have made me love basketball again.
I was as sad about not having one more night of championship basketball, as I
was about the Mavericks not winning the championship. I'm in complete
I heard a replay of the conversation between Cuban and sports jock Randy
Galloway, after Galloway called the Mavericks "gutless". Cuban
called him out -- he said Galloway could criticize the team for some bad plays,
but not for being "gutless". Galloway must have been watching some other
games the past week if he saw a gutless team in the playoffs.
I saw a bunch of young men who were fearless. I saw a bunch of young men
who clearly respected each other and took pride in each other's successful shots
and successful defensive moves. Not a gutless member in the bunch.
I saw a young coach who in one year pulled together a team that was in the NBA
playoffs, a team that defeated the San Antonio Spurs to win the Western
Championship. I can close my eyes and see that piercing stare from Avery
Johnson. Nothing gutless about Avery Johnson.
Who was Galloway calling "gutless"? Certainly not the referees.
They were very gutsy in their outrageous calls.
I still will never set foot in American Airlines Center, but that's about a
whole other issue -- not because I don't love the Mavericks. My husband
has season tickets to the Stars, and I won't go to those games with him either.
We would not have experienced the Western Championship games or this NBA playoff
series if Mark Cuban had not bought the Mavericks from Ross Perot, Jr. For
Perot, it was not about basketball, it was a real estate deal. Perot
wanted to do another big real estate development using other people's money
(yours and mine), and the Mavericks were just a vehicle to get his real estate
As I told the Wall Street Journal
years ago, Ross Perot,
Jr. is the ultimate welfare baby. From his Daddy, he learned how to
leverage weak politicians to get the most bang for someone else's buck and not share a
penny with the public who subsidize his various business adventures.
Not that Cuban is above taking tax abatements, but at least he truly loves the
game of basketball, and he has the good sense to give Avery Johnson what he
needed and needs.
I don't know about you, but I have had more fun watching the Mavericks the past
couple of weeks than anything I can remember in a long time. I am grateful to Mark Cuban
and Avery Johnson and their team for every one of those games, even the losing
Cuban may have caused the team some of the bias we saw from the referees, but he
spoke the truth. He made a valid suggestion that only the best refs be
used in the playoff games. It is inappropriate for the owner of the
Western Division champions to speak publicly with profanity. He owes it to
his team not to do that.
Your mother probably told you that "two wrongs do not make a right". Well,
a right (like an exciting winning season that took us to the NBA playoffs) does
not right a wrong (like the scam that was pulled to get the arena sales tax).
We have a great basketball team that will be back next year and will finish what
they started this season. We have a coach and team we can
respect and who deserve our affection.
The new arena is a great facility, but it's a place of business that should have
been paid for by the owners of the teams who play there. Dallas taxpayers
had already built the teams one place of business.
Nothing is ever going to make what John Ware and Ron Kirk did to Dallas
taxpayers right. It helps that Ross Perot, Jr. is no longer the owner of
the Mavericks, but he will always be a robber baron who spent a couple of
million (campaign contributions) to buy an election that resulted in a bad deal
for Dallas taxpayers and a ten-fold return to Perot, Jr. on his campaign