Sharon Boyd, Editor/Publisher

Your alternative to
The Dallas Managed News  
Less for More

  Home       Search     


BadDealLogo.gif (6018 bytes)


Delene Bell

09/29/05  City Budget is a Bust for Us.

We are going to pay more taxes and higher fees, but we are going to get a lot less for our taxpayer buck.

You and I get our city and county property taxes raised, but the city council has money in the budget to put another $20 million in the Arts District.  We have the worst crime rate in the country, but next week the council will likely approve the Verified Response system of reaction to burglar alarms, a system that Los Angeles tried and has now abandoned.  We are going to get a bunch more economic development personnel and possibly a few more police officers, but we will not be getting more code enforcement officers or building inspectors.    
I09/30/05   Barbara Senter
read your article on the millions in arts improvements for Dallas.  I agree completely with your position on the millions in arts improvements for Dallas.
What really bothers me is the millions of dollars that Dallas already approved for a new animal shelter.  But where is it?
   Any arts improvements should be put in line BEHIND the animal shelter and all other city improvements, including addressing the homeless situation in Dallas.
City OKs more than $20 million for Arts District
07:48 AM CDT on Thursday, September 29, 2005

By DAVE LEVINTHAL and SCOTT CANTRELL / The Dallas Morning News
  Dallas paid to play Wednesday, injecting more than $20 million into a dramatic expansion of the city's Arts District that includes a new theater and opera house.
   The money represents just a fraction of the project's estimated $275 million cost. But it's crucial to the venues opening on schedule in 2009, said Dallas City Council members, who voted unanimously to approve the combination of bond and general city funds.
...  The city funds ? the council culled $17.78 million from 2003 bond funds, while $2.5 million comes from current city funds and are subject to annual appropriation ? are reasonable expenditures, given that other U.S. cities have bankrolled majority shares of arts developments, council members said.
   Private interests are expected to spend $257 million on the project, which calls for the development and construction of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, the Annette Strauss Artist Square outdoor performance facility, a large plaza and a 600-space underground parking garage. Funding for a planned municipal performance hall remains incomplete.
... "What this says to me is that they will support these arts buildings much as they have our existing buildings for many years," said Mark Hadley, managing director of the Dallas Theater Center.
... "There are few things happening in our city right now that's more exciting than what's happening in the Arts District," said council member Angela Hunt, whose District 14 includes the Arts District. "We're getting this at a very low cost for our city. The backers ? they're putting their money where their mouth is."

When you barely have enough money to pay your mortgage and feed your family, is it fiscally responsible to spend your grocery money on a couple of extravagant meals rather than use it sparingly so your family can eat until you are past your financial crisis?  Most of our council members would vote to have you dine elegantly a couple of times while your family goes hungry.

These arts facilities never generate the revenue or related tourism draw that we are promised by Our Downtown Betters (the ODB) and the city council when they promote big bond packages.  We spent millions improving the streets and grounds around the Dallas Museum of Arts (DMA), so the area would be suitable for Ray Nasher's sculpture exhibit.  We were supposed to get our investment back ten fold with tourists flocking to Dallas from all over to see the sculptures, but the attendance has been less than overwhelming.  Guess, the elitists who appreciate "fine art" don't like being inconvenienced to do it. 

It is interesting that our parks and our Zoo, things regular Dallas taxpayers use, are neglected, but City Hall finds the funds necessary to "support these arts buildings" per Mark Hadley, managing director of the Dallas Theatre Center.  I am fed up with the Alice in Wonderland thinking we have at City Hall.  Common sense is all but non-existent.

Only Mitch Ransansky appears to be willing to appear "barbaric" by challenging the excessive spending on the Arts District.  That's probably because he's richer than all the wannabe's on the council and does not need the pretense of effected intellectual elitism.

If we spent $5 million on our zoo, we would absolutely see a $25 million return immediately.  Ft. Worth and San Antonio are two Texas cities who invest in their zoos, and each has a huge tourist draw to show for their dollars.  It probably isn't necessary to mention the money San Diego reaps from its investment in their world reknown Zoo.  I guarantee you most of the elite in this city would not deign to visit the Dallas Zoo in Oak Cliff, unless it's for some society fundraiser where they can be seen by their peers.  I am just as certain that most regular people in Dallas have only been to the Meyerson a few times, if any, for a concert. 

The Meyerson, the Opera House, et al, are not intended for regular Dallas residents.  They are for the hoity-toity, mostly for Park Cities residents.  It makes me crazy that Dallas taxpayers have to provide entertainment centers for non-Dallas residents, while our parks, recreation centers, the Cotton Bowl, Fair Park and Zoo are in chronic states of neglect for lack of funding from City Hall.

Do you understand that in a budget requiring a property tax increase from you and me that the city manager and council found an extra $2.3 million to put into the Arts District?  Do you know what $2.3 million would do at the Dallas Zoo, where thousands of middle class and low income Dallas taxpayers go every year?

Rather than wait for no help from City Hall, the Zoo had to resort to the "kindness of strangers" to get need work done.

Zoo crew to be busy Wednesday;
12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, September 25, 2005

Volunteers will replace visitors Wednesday at the Dallas Zoo.
   The zoo will be closed that day to accommodate about 800 volunteers from Home Depot and Albertson's who will take part in renovation and maintenance projects. They'll restripe the guest parking lot, replace fencing around animal enclosures and clean and landscape zoo grounds.
The zoo will reopen at 9 a.m. Thursday.
   Hands On North Texas, a program of the Volunteer Center of North Texas, organized the project.
   "The Dallas Zoo is open every day of the year except Christmas," said Rich Buickerood, zoo director. "The decision to close the zoo reflects the significant scope of the project."

This is no slam at Rich Buickerood because he and his crew do amazing things with little or no help from the City Manager or the City Council.  Do you know what's in the current budget relating to the Zoo?  Our Smoke & Mirrors City Manager is raising the zoo ticket prices to "match movie tickets".   If you think the extra money will go directly to the zoo, you are thinking wrong.  Most of the increase goes into the general budget -- probably to pay for the damn Arts District stuff.

The Park Cities crowd get what they want from Dallas taxpayers, but our city Zoo has to subsidize the Arts District. 

Again, do not even begin to say the Arts District generates revenue for Dallas.  That is as big a lie as the whole Trinity Boondoggle.  We spend over $3 million a year to maintain the Meyerson -- and that's AFTER all revenue.  Each one of these new Arts District white elephants will be a bigger future drain on Dallas taxpayers.  NOT ONE OF THEM WILL BE SELF-SUPPORTING.

We certainly don't rely on volunteers to fix up or maintain the Meyerson. 

I'm going to say it right here and now.  I hate everything about the Arts District.  Moving the DMA away from Fair Park, building a symphony hall away from Fair Park and relocating the other museums was and is detrimental to Fair Park.  The only thing really unique about Dallas is Fair Park.  There's nothing else in the country like it.  It could be a major convention draw if it were set up as a year round entertainment, amusement park. 

Our Downtown Betters don't care about Fair Park or the Cotton Bowl or the Zoo because they don't approve of the people living around them.  They want tourists to see the "beautiful people" of Uptown and Turtle Creek.  What the tourists see Downtown are street bums who terrorize local businesses, local citizens and tourists alike.  I want to tell you something.  I feel a whole lot safer at the Zoo or at Fair Park than I ever do any place there are street bums hanging around. 

The city council will be campaigning for funds for a street bum mansion.  I had planned to not oppose it, but they have changed my mind.  I'm not supporting any bond campaign for the foreseeable future.

  This council can find $2.3 million out of the general budget to spend on the Arts District, but they raise ticket prices at our already under-funded Zoo to put into the general budget,
  This city council found $2.3 million out of the general budget to spend on the Arts District, but they are raising our fees for trash collection.
  This city council found $2.3 million out of the general budget to spend on the Arts District, but there's only enough money to hire 50 new police officers -- which Mary Suhm will find a way to prevent so she can use the money elsewhere -- like she has for 15 years.

Now that our fears about Angela Hunt (thank you Candy Marcum for selling us out) have been confirmed, we can expect more pronouncements like:

"There are few things happening in our city right now that's more exciting than what's happening in the Arts District," said council member Angela Hunt, whose District 14 includes the Arts District. "We're getting this at a very low cost for our city. The backers ? they're putting their money where their mouth is."

There are many things happening in Dallas much more exciting than the Arts District -- things that matter to the real people of Dallas -- not just the elitists and the arts-fartsy control freaks like Hunt ( refers to her as "Not so Angelic" or "NSA Hunt").  She is not half as smart as she thinks she is.  Last week she tried to re-write the City Charter and name a creep like Neil Emmons as Chair of the Plan Commission.  Sorry folks -- the verdict is in on Angela Hunt.  She's worse than Princess Velveeta.  She's a sneaky liar who hangs out with the likes of Mad Max Aaronson and Neil Emmons.  You just don't get any lower on the human scale than those two lying losers. 

Sorry, if I'm being too subtle for some of you.

We did not need the Blackwood proposal because it would not have stood up in court, but we do need a stronger Mayor in Dallas.

  Had we done a national search for a new City Manager, we might not be repeating history with our annual smoke and mirrors budget. 
  Had we done a national search for a new City Manager, we might have someone running things who would see our Zoo as a tourist attraction to be promoted and financially supported rather than neglected and drained off. 
  Had we done a national search for a new City Manager, we might have someone running things who truly believes that Dallas citizens deserve to not be the number one crime capital of the country.

I'm supporting the stronger mayor proposition but opposing everything else the city has on the ballot for November.  We have to send a message that City Hall needs to be more concerned about Dallas residents and taxpayers than they are about the street bums and the elitists in the Park Cities and surrounding suburbs who use our facilities while we have to pay for them.

All of you aging hippies who think you aren't cool if you don't support the Arts District when you can seldom afford a ticket to an event there (if any are available), you need to put those funny cigs away and start demanding that City Hall get their noses back down to the real world where we live.






  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