08/28/06 That's the
question! But, what about another budget buster, too?
At last week's council meeting, several of
the council members focused on the cost of operating Reunion Arena
vs. the cost of demolishing it. The matter came up with a renewal
contract for telephone service, which includes over 100 lines in the
facility. Several council members thought that was shocking, and
it led to their obvious conclusion that we need to demolish Reunion.
Equating telephone lines to a
need for demolition of Reunion may be a stretch for you, but not for our city council.
little office has 12 telephone lines, and our floor space is microscopic when
compared to Reunion. In a facility the size of Reunion, it's surprising
they only need 100 lines.
If the ownership were to change at Reunion, would the
restrictions about booking events still apply?
If the restrictions were to end with an
ownership change, here are a few options to consider:
#1 Consider selling
Reunion to a profit making company
that will compete with AAC. If sold
to private interests, Reunion could
be added to the tax rolls. Asking price should
be at least the $18 million still owed in debt.
#2 Sell it to DISD. It is
still a govt. body, but
with deeper pockets. DISD could
use Reunion for athletic activities,
basketball, other sporting events.
City would save the $1 million in
operating losses and gain additional sales
tax from any food or beverage sales.
#3 Give it to DISD. Cut our
losses and generate some sales tax and parking revenue. I don't
know if DISD would use Reunion every day,
but they have enough big sporting events and
graduation events that it is worth a shot.
#4 The "Red Light" district
is a valid option. It would remove adult businesses from
residential areas and bring them closer to
their supposed convention based customers.
||You knew it was
coming. Just before the arena sales tax election in 1998, when the
pro-arena sales tax crowd's own poll showed people did not want Reunion
demolished, Con Jerk/Ron Kirk lied to everyone and promised it would not
be demolished, but would operate as a second venue facility.
Of course, Con Jerk and former
City MisManager John Ware promptly turned over Reunion to the American Airlines
Center folks (Hicks/Perot, Jr. flunkies) to run, more accurately run it into the
ground. Kirk and Ware gave the AAC gang first right to any booking before
Reunion. The AAC gang never tried to market Reunion. After they had
killed off any future interest in Reunion by under-marketing it, the AAC gang
unceremoniously dumped it back on the city council, as the deal Kirk and Ware
cut for them allows.
Unfortunately for Reunion and Dallas taxpayers, the AAC gang still gets first
right to any bookings secured for Reunion, even now that it's controlled by the
city. So, whenever Reunion management finds an event for Reunion, the AAC
gang just takes that event to their arena, without any marketing effort on their
part at all. We don't share in any event revenues from the AAC, because
the AAC gang pay the City $3.5+/- a year "rent". We would have revenue
from Reunion, if the AAC gang would allow it to be utilized.
||Aren't there any good
civic-minded lawyers in town willing to challenge the AAC-Reunion bad
deal? If there ever was a conflict of interest, it would most
certainly be Ron Kirk/Con Jerk and former City MisManager John Ware
negotiating that contract with Ross Perot, Jr. and Tom Hicks. Ware
took a job with Hicks a few months after the election. Kirk's wife
was holding $750,000 worth of stock options in a Hicks company for a
short term as a token Black woman on one of Hicks companies.
Hicks & Mrs. Kirk
for the specific story and what Tom Hicks said about his appointing Matrice Kirk
to one of his corporate boards. That's from 1999, but -- a good story
always bears repeating. Here's what the Houston Chronicle reported in
19, 2002, 9:32PM
lucrative board job issue in Kirk's Senate bid
By CLAY ROBISON Copyright
2002 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau
-- A lucrative corporate board appointment for Ron Kirk's wife, which
raised questions while Kirk was mayor of Dallas, is being resurrected as
an issue in Kirk's race for the U.S. Senate.
Matrice Ellis Kirk served only 13 months on the board of
Chancellor Broadcasting Co. and resigned in February 1997, after Tom
Hicks, the Dallas businessman who appointed her to the board, became
involved in negotiations with her husband and other city officials for a
new sports arena.
But Matrice Kirk kept her stock options and cashed in more than
$275,000 worth through a successor company last year, according to
income tax information released by her husband's senatorial campaign
last week. . . .
The Kirks have denied any impropriety in Matrice Kirk's part-time
service on the board of Chancellor, which later became part of Clear
Channel Communications Inc. And Justin Lonon, a spokesman for the
Kirk campaign, said on Monday that she was well-qualified for the
appointment. . . .
Hicks in 1999 told the Dallas Morning News
that he gave Matrice Kirk the board seat because of her gender and race
-- the Kirks are black -- and because her family was having
"trouble adjusting without her income."
The Dallas Managed News'
Brooks Egerton actually reported in July 11, 1999 (less than 5 months after the
arena sales tax election) was:
race, gender in board offer
July 11, 1999 b
... Mr. Hicks said in a recent
interview, "If she wasn't a female and she wasn't African-American, I would
not have offered her the board seat....
Guess if you're rich enough,
you can be a bigot and a misogynist, and everyone still thinks you're a swell
Then, there's the issue of the The
Dallas Managed News sitting on the
information throughout the arena sales tax campaign and election. Can you
imagine the election results if that story had got out then, rather than 5
But, I digress. Where were we? Oh, yes, demolishing Reunion, which
Ron Kirk/Con Jerk promised would not happen.
It's a great building, and still good
looking. Last week, I went to San Antonio for a couple of days on
Amtrak and got to see Reunion from the Union Station area. It
doesn't look dated. It's interesting. It should not be
It ought to be used in
conjunction with the Convention Center for overflow. Oh, that's right --
we don't use the Convention Center very much either. So, I guess there's
not much overflow from that. Why don't we just demolish the Convention
Center and redevelop that entire area?
Since the council is so concerned about the $1.5+/- million we spend annually on
Reunion Arena, why don't we demolish the Meyerson, too? The Meyerson
costs us twice as much annually (over all revenue) as we spend on Reunion.
It's been costing us over $3 million annually since it was opened in the 80's --
again, that's after applying all revenue. At least Reunion used to make
some money for us.
There are a lot of things we can do with Reunion besides demolishing it.
save it for a casino when the Legislature finally bites the bullet and
lets us sinners enjoy ourselves in a local gambling hall, rather than
out of state. Besides, some of my friends are getting older and
shouldn't be driving to Oklahoma or Louisiana. It would be a real
convention draw. That's my first choice.
reporter buddy suggests we turn Reunion into our "contained" red light
district. We could move all the topless bars, massage parlors,
bath houses, etc. inside Reunion. Talk about a convention draw!
That's my last choice.
I use the Meyerson about as
frequently as I would use Reunion. I was at a concert at the Meyerson
around Christmas of 2004 when my friend, Mark Shekter, directed one song in the
Turtle Creek Chorale's Christmas Concert. I was there last year for the
council's swearing-in breakfast. I can't think of when I've been there
Granted, that makes me a classless barbarian who does not appreciate the fine
arts or the need for Joe Taxpayer to subsidize the entertainment of the elite
and artsy fartsy crowd. Actually, I do enjoy music, most kinds of music.
I just don't like crowds and concerts. High brow or low brow!
Unless someone knows something about some abatement, Cinemark offers me a great
theatre to see stuff I want to see, even an IMAX which they built without
government funding. All I have to do is buy a ticket. No one's taxes
are used to subsidize my entertainment.
If there is a market for symphonic music and opera and live theatre, private
enterprise would build those facilities. Why should Joe Taxpayer have to
subsidize someone else's good time? It would not bother me so much if
those "cultural" halls were ever profitable, but they are usually major money
losers. It's my money the Meyerson is losing so some Park Cities swell can
The Bass Family built a concert facility for Ft. Worth and gave it to their
city. Dallas fat cats do things differently. Unlike Dallas
facilities, the Bass Hall doesn't just cater to the elite, they have a variety
of events that appeal to different people. Dallas elite (actually the Park
Cities elite) do not really want our unwashed masses to use their entertainment
facilities. In fact, they very much do not want the peons soiling their
So, again I ask you? If we are going to demolish Reunion because it's
costing us $1.5+/- million a year, why not get rid of the Meyerson, too?
We need to start looking at some part of the budget to find the $4-10 million
annually it will cost us to maintain the fake lakes in the Trinity Trough -- if
that bondoogle ever gets built.
||If you actually voted
for the arena sales tax, and somebody did because they had 1,600 more
votes than the Bad Dealers, would you have voted for it if Ron Kirk/Con
Jerk had not assured you that Reunion Arena would not be demolished?
Reunion is not even paid for.
They rolled the $18 million debt into some scam involving the Convention Center,
but that did not make the $18 million debt go away.
||We should have a
protest march on City Hall to save Reunion Arena! It's the
American way! Lately, it's everyone's way!
We could have fifty people show up, and the media would say there were
thousands of us.
Council members would be
shaking in their offices because elections are in May. Since most of the
council are considering a mayoral race, they would have to make an appearance at
our protest and promise to support our cause.
It could unify the city! We could have all the ethnic groups, everyone of
every sexual persuasion, illegal and legal immigrants, actual citizens, blondes
Our battle cry could be -- "Unity for Reunion"! Or, "Bimbos against
Demo"? Or, "Save Reunion for Sinners"? If you have something better,
please let me know.
This is important. It will cost a heck of a lot more than $1.5+/- million
to tear down Reunion. That's what Ray Hunt wanted us to do in the first
place -- tear Reunion down at Joe Taxpayer's expense and then give the land to
him. That's exactly what this council intends to do. We must
act, before it's too late.
coming at us from the back door of the out house, and the whole thing