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06/26/06  We were right -- It was a Bad Deal!!

It's not nice to say "I told you so", but we did in 1998, and we were right.  We warned the morons in Arlington they were buying a pig in a poke, and we were right, and will be proven right in the next few years.  As fun as it is to be right, it doesn't cancel the wrong and disruption to those homeowners in Arlington who were forced to sell their homes at residential prices to Jerry Jones for him to use their property for his commercial purposes.

BUSH ISSUES 'PRIVATE PROPERTY' EXECUTIVE ORDER: Protecting the Property Rights of the American People
For Immediate Release, Office of the Press Secretary, June 23, 2006

Executive Order: Protecting the Property Rights of the American People

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to strengthen the rights of the American people against the taking of their private property, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to protect the rights of Americans to their private property, including by limiting the taking of private property by the Federal Government to situations in which the taking is for public use, with just compensation, and for the purpose of benefiting the general public and not merely for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties to be given ownership or use of the property taken.

Sec. 2. Implementation. (a) The Attorney General shall:

(i) issue instructions to the heads of departments and agencies to implement the policy set forth in section 1 of this order; and

(ii) monitor takings by departments and agencies for compliance with the policy set forth in section 1 of this order.

(b) Heads of departments and agencies shall, to the extent permitted by law:

(i) comply with instructions issued under subsection (a)(i); and

(ii) provide to the Attorney General such information as the Attorney General determines necessary to carry out subsection (a)(ii).

Sec. 3. Specific Exclusions. Nothing in this order shall be construed to prohibit a taking of private property by the Federal Government, that otherwise complies with applicable law, for the purpose of:

(a) public ownership or exclusive use of the property by the public, such as for a public medical facility, roadway, park, forest, governmental office building, or military reservation;

(b) projects designated for public, common carrier, public transportation, or public utility use, including those for which a fee is assessed, that serve the general public and are subject to regulation by a governmental entity;

c) conveying the property to a nongovernmental entity, such as a telecommunications or transportation common carrier, that makes the property available for use by the general public as of right;

(d) preventing or mitigating a harmful use of land that constitutes a threat to public health, safety, or the environment;

(e) acquiring abandoned property;

(f) quieting title to real property;

(g) acquiring ownership or use by a public utility;

(h) facilitating the disposal or exchange of Federal property; or

(i) meeting military, law enforcement, public safety, public transportation, or public health emergencies.

Sec. 4. General Provisions. (a) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) authority granted by law to a department or agency or the head thereof; or

(ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(c) This order shall be implemented in a manner consistent with Executive Order 12630 of March 15, 1988.

(d) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity against the United States, its departments, agencies, entities, officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

June 23, 2006.
                                                                                   # # #

I'm not a lawyer, but I don't see anything in the President's Executive Order that says cities can take people's homes for sports facilities, even if technically owned by a city.  The section that makes me happiest is Section 1. 

   That appears to me to prohibit taking people's homes to give to sports team owners to build a sports facility that is totally controlled by one or two business owners.  In the case of Jerry Jones' planned "Glory Park" (ought to be called "Glory Hole"), that is going to be a shopping center next to his football stadium. 
06/27/06  John Meiners:
ate to burst your bubble, but I interpret this proclamation relating only to the Federal Government actions, not state and local entities which are the real threat.
   The Feds won't "eminently doom" your property for private development.  At least they'll say that.  That order can probably be rescinded if necessary or voided, amended, and excepted by motivated bureaucrats or future administrations.
   I don't know that the feds have a track record of condemning property for private use anyway.
   Local governments have so increased their gluttonous appetite for tax revenue that it guides everything that happens at city halls.  This proposal will not stop deals that potentially bring in money to feed the city's hungry mouths.
   Regarding your attitude on urban living, I agree somewhat.  However, while exercising recently at Bally's on McKinney Ave and looking out the window at the midrise apartment building behind Lombardi's I got a case of apartment envy.
   If I lived there I would have a very short walk to Albertsons, Bally's, The Magnolia movies, The MAC, Turtle Creek, the Katy Trail, The Walmart Grocery, Walgreens, Hook Line and Sinker, a Dart Station,  cleaners and several restaurants and bars.  Oh, and I guess that trolley wouldn't be so annoying anymore but useful.
   Cheap cab ride to Love Field, City Place movies, Greenville Ave and Deep Ellum.   My car would stay in the garage most of the time.  It would be a truly urban lifestyle that isn't a big city yuppie wannabee type of thing but a real functional, attractive and convenient environment.  I'm staying put, but I certainly see the great possibilities and benefits of living there.  See Washington Post article:  Bush Limits Eminent-Domain Seizures
Section 1 would certainly prohibit city councils and crooked politicians from taking people's homes to give to other individuals for redevelopment.  Does it come too late to help those poor people in Connecticut?    
06/27/06  JC:
ood one.  Around 1954, Berman v Parker was the Supreme ruling that extended the government's reach to move us closer to Commieville, no matter what their intent.  The state is or was suppose to have made illegal the locals' confiscation.  I don't know what has happened to this piece of legislation.
   People are constantly fooled by the lure of $$$ that the sports bring in.  That recent article says the stats show that football does not bring in the $$.  But, we don't need no stinking stats to back up commonsense.

The Dallas Managed News  most reluctantly reported on an academic study that confirms what you instinctively know.  I say "reluctantly" because they stuck a very important story in their Saturday edition, which advertisers know is a dead day as far as newspaper readers.  In the DMN's case, almost every day is a dead day for readers.  Their circulation continues to drop like a rock.  Still, this is an important story.

Study: Pro games depress tax revenue
NFL, NBA cited, but hockey, baseball said to boost economic activity slightly
Saturday, June 24, 2006 By JEFF MOSIER / The Dallas Morning News
ARLINGTON ? Football may be king in these parts, but that doesn't mean much at the cash registers.
   A new statewide study co-written by a University of Texas at Arlington economist found that sales tax revenue drops by more than $560,000 every time a city hosts a regular-season NFL game.
   NBA games lower sales tax revenue by $16,000 per game, the study found, while NHL and Major League Baseball games tend to boost average sales tax revenue by small amounts.
   "When it comes to NFL games, that number seems awfully large and negative, but I'm convinced it's there," said UTA's Craig Depken.
   Large traffic jams that accompany Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans games also lead to what Dr. Depken calls the "hunker-down" and "skedaddle" factors. Fans might spend money in Irving during a Cowboys game, but more residents are likely to avoid gridlock by staying home or driving to a neighboring city to shop or dine.
... The study found that college football games aren't big moneymakers for larger cities but that they can boost the economy of small towns like Prairie View or Kingsville.
   The study crunched sales tax data from 126 Texas cities from January 1990 to April and analyzed the effects of professional and college sporting events.
   Critics of the study say it is too focused on sales tax revenue and doesn't take into account many benefits of professional sporting events.
   Linda DiMario, president and CEO of the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau, ...  The teams promote civic pride, attract millions of dollars in free publicity and help support adjacent businesses, Ms. DiMario said. Local sports teams generate hundreds ? in some cases thousands ? of jobs, she said. Arlington is home to the Texas Rangers and is building a stadium for the Cowboys.
... Previous research has shown that the average three-game Rangers homestand pumps about $2 million into Arlington's economy, she said. That's about half of what Dr. Depken's study estimated.
   Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck said he doesn't believe the research ? especially the data on the negative sales tax effects of football games.
... Dr. Cluck said he trusts a city-commissioned study estimating that the new Cowboys stadium, which will open in 2009, will generate $1 million to $1.5 million in new sales tax revenue annually.
   Maura Gast, executive director of the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that nothing in the study surprises her. Cowboys games attract few out-of-towners staying in Irving hotels, and traffic around Texas Stadium probably depresses the city's economy on game day.
...  Football has increased Irving's name recognition, Ms. Gast said, but all people know is that the Cowboys play there and it's near Dallas. That doesn't necessarily translate into a big boost in tourism.
   Daniel Oney, economic development research manager for Dallas, said the study appears to be reasonable. He said that he would have projected a higher sales tax impact by the Mavericks but that the figures are still in the ballpark.
"The net impact is never as big as it's being claimed by the boosters," he said.
... The planned Glorypark shopping center, which will be wedged between the Cowboys and Rangers stadiums, could brighten the economic outlook on Cowboys game days if fans stick around after the game to eat, drink, shop or watch a movie, Dr. Depken said.
... The study, which also was researched by Dennis Coates of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will be presented this week at the Western Economic Association International conference in San Diego.

Here is link to the study, which is just lethal to the pro-arena crowd's propaganda. 

Mega-Events:  Is the Texas-Baylor games to Waco what the Super Bowl is to Houston?
Dennis Coates, Dept. of Economics, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
... Baade, Bauman and Matheson (2006) examines sales taxes in Florida, focusing on the effects to sports strikes and lockouts. ... Neither the work stoppage nor the opening of new facilities or arrival of new teams is found to have a statistically significant effect on the host city's share of state taxable sales....

I will never forget those grinning idiots in Arlington standing there on election night when they got enough votes to give them authority to steal people's homes to give to Jerry Jones for his shopping center and football stadium.  They all looked like throwbacks to the 60's.  Don't they really look stupid now?  Arlington's Mayor doesn't believe the research results, but he trusts a city-commissioned study.  Doesn't that just say it all?  He doesn't trust the results of an independent research study, but he trusts the results of a study paid for and commissioned by the City of Arlington. 

That's the problem with polls and commissioned studies.  The results are frequently pre-determined to please the person/entity paying for the poll or study.  Mayor Cluck-Cluck-Cluck wanted a study to justify his part in stealing peoples' homes, poor people's homes.  One little lady died before they could move her out of the home where she raised her children.

In Dallas, we are getting hype from the Victory development around the Hicks/Perot Arena.  It's been frontpage news all week, print, radio and television that the "W" is finally opening.  However, there is still much concern that Victory will be the final nail in Downtown's coffin.

The view from Victory
Will this high-end hotspot leave downtown down and out?
Sunday, June 25, 2006 by DAVID DILLON / The Dallas Morning News
... For developer Ross Perot Jr., Victory is the beginning of a new city within a city, urbanism luxe, that will revitalize downtown and help shore up its wobbly tax base.
   "In today's world, people want something special," he says. "Just to go to the usual stores has no great appeal. That told us what Victory ought to be ? something new to Dallas."
   Yet others wonder whether this eventual $3 billion concentration of hotels, condominiums and chic shops and restaurants will permanently skew the redevelopment of downtown, siphoning off its best resources and leaving the rest to fend for itself.
"I was skeptical at first," says University of North Texas economist Bernard Weinstein, "but there is obviously a lot going on. My question is how many destinations can downtown support? Will Main Street be a destination? The West End and the Arts District? A lot of bets are being placed, but it's still a thin market."
... Victory is designed to be an island of privilege, focused on high-end shopping and entertainment, and inhabited mainly by professionals with expensive tastes and salaries to match. It's not a mix that most urbanists like, but it's not necessarily a bad thing, according to John Fregonese, author of Dallas' new comprehensive plan.
...  If Victory flourishes, the energy will likely spread across Stemmons to the Design District, already abuzz with plans for residential development. Here's where the affordable housing that Victory and Uptown lack may begin to appear.
   But Victory's success will also increase pressure on fragile parts of downtown such as the West End, which has been slumbering for a decade and with the loss of the West End Marketplace and several key restaurants is on life support. ...

I have long since stopped considering myself as a "Downtown" person.  There was a time, when Downtown was as much a part of my life as my residential neighborhood.  I still want it to succeed in its rejuvenation, but I am no longer optimistic.  I love it that the Mercantile is being restored and converted to residential.  Downtown looks very different than it did just a few years ago.

I don't know whether it's my advanced age or assimilation into the suburban feel of Northwest Dallas, but I can't imagine living in those rabbit warrens that are all over Downtown.  I see lots of mew residential structures Downtown, but I don't see more people on the streets -- other than the street bums.  Don't the Downtown residents ever just want to go outside?  Living in that kind of density may be fun for awhile, but it would have to get old eventually.

I lived in Oak Lawn most of my adult life.  As my neighborhood became over-developed, I increasingly yearned for some privacy.  I wanted to live in a detached home where I didn't hear water running from my neighbor's commode.  I wanted to live in a detached home that wasn't so vulnerable to a neighbor's dried up Christmas tree catching fire or other carelessness. 

Apartment fires force 109 out of their homes; Officials doubt 3 blazes in eastern, northeastern Dallas are linked
Sunday, June 25, 2006
by JAKE BATSELL / The Dallas Morning News
  Gina Fries thought she'd already had her brush with bad luck at Eastfield Village.
   Ms. Fries, 47, survived a fire more than a decade ago at the Far East Dallas apartment complex and moved to Mesquite. Three weeks ago, she moved back to Eastfield Village, figuring catastrophe couldn't strike twice.
... Ms. Fries was among 109 people who awoke Sunday to an uncertain future after three apartment fires in eastern and northeastern Dallas forced them from their homes. The fires occurred within hours of one another Saturday, but investigators do not believe they are related.
... The first blaze started at 6:45 a.m. at Eastfield Village in the 8400 block of La Prada Drive, displacing about 25 people and causing an estimated $235,000 in damages.
   Hours later, a fire forced 40 people from their homes and racked up $260,000 in damages at Ivanhoe Apartments in the 8900 block of Park Lane.
   Then came the late-afternoon blaze at Northgate Village in the 12300 block of Plano Road. That fire displaced 44 people and caused $120,000 in damages.
... Ms. Fries, the two-time fire evacuee, spent Saturday night in a vacant apartment in the same Eastfield Village complex. Unsure when she would be able to return to her apartment, her belongings Sunday were limited to a change of clothes, a sleeping bag and her two Siamese cats.
   One of those cats, Misty, was minutes from death Saturday but was located and saved by firefighters using thermal imaging. Ms. Fries, who is unemployed, said she hopes to take Misty in for veterinary care but does not know how she'll pay for it. ...

I rest my case about the dangers of concentrated multi-family.

It worries me to see the concentration of rental units Downtown, because we have the recent history of Vickery Meadow.  If you had told anyone in the late 70's, early 80's that part of town would be a ghetto in 2000, your warnings would have fallen on deaf ears and/or been ridiculed loudly.  But, that's another issue.

Ross Perot, Jr. bought the Mavericks as a real estate deal, so he could use the city's eminent domain rights to accumulate land for his project, as well as get outrageous tax abatements.  He didn't know anything about basketball, and cared even less about it.  He and Tom Hicks spent over $4 million with Con Jerk/Ron Kirk as their front man to get Dallas voters to approve a pig in a poke.

Will someone tell me how much money in increased sales tax revenue and new property tax revenue we have seen in the General Budget from our generous financing of the Perot/Hicks arena and related development?  It's going to be close to Zilch.






  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