Artists for Animals
05/20/04 Who knows what's going on?
Let's see if we understand what
just happened in Austin. We had a special
legislative session to resolve our school funding problems, but all the media
and the politicos are
talking about was that Grandpa Jones didn't get his amendment to the Brimer
Bill to allow for car rental taxation related to a sports facility on park land,
as in Fair Park.
We didn't get the school funding issue resolved, and we didn't get the Jones
tax issue resolved. Apparently, not taking care of Grandpa Jerry Jones is a
bigger failing than failing Texas school children from how both
The Dallas Managed News
and the Fort Worth Star Telegram
covered the failed session.
The special session of the legislature was
held to work out financing for the Texas Education System.
Why, on earth, are a handful of
state senators and representatives wasting
valuable time and our money trying to get a
stadium bill through that would tax the public and provide revenue
streams to private business?
Did those legislators forget why they
went to Austin? It is a good thing the stadium
tax bill was tabled by the governor.
Let's hope it never surfaces again.
End of session
leaves stadium funding bill up in air;
Dallas County officials say delay
won't slow talks with Cowboys
03:36 AM CDT Tuesd, 3/18/04
When the Texas Legislature adjourned
its special session Monday without a new plan for public school finance, it
left undecided another proposal: a bill to allow tax funding for a Dallas
Cowboys stadium in Fair Park.
Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, filed the
bill last month, but Gov. Rick Perry never added it to the Legislature's
agenda. Mr. West said Monday that he would file the bill again if Mr. Perry
calls another special session.
... State law currently forbids local
governments from using hotel and rental-car taxes to build sports venues on
land that is part of a public park system. Mr. West's bill would undo that
... "We wouldn't have an election unless there was
enabling legislation," Commissioner Jim Jackson said.
Typical of Sen. Royce West to
put a rich White Guy's interest before DISD students, the majority of whom are
minorities. Royce West is the man responsible for that SW mechanic
losing his job of 17 years with Southwest Airlines. Royce West refused to
join the dinner Belo tried to put together to find a solution to an ambiguous
drunken statement that cost Mr. Bogg's his job. Royce West may not have time
to meet with a working class White Guy, but he's got plenty of time to carry
water for Grandpa Jerry Jones, a Billionaire White Guy (per Forbes Magazine).
|It's equally telling that Belo & the Startlegram think the biggest failing of the special
session -- not that they failed to resolve the school funding issue -- but that
they failed to accommodate Grandpa Jones.
Citizen D uses the phrase
"public-private joint ventures."
Please allow me to offer your
readers the definition for ALL public-private partnerships:
private PREYS and the public PAYS.
It's hard to get fired up and it's hard not to get fired up about the Jones tax
issue when everything is up in the air. We don't even know where the
stadium is going to be located, but we know the election is coming and we know
the Jones gang is working on it and controls all the timing. So, we can't
just sit back and wait and hope it goes away.
All of this Fair Park stuff may not be binding anyway. Grandpa Jones is
Machiavellian enough to be playing a huge hoax on all of us. He's tying up
two State Senators (Royce West and John Carona) with his business rather than
the business of funding the education of our children. That really smart
friend I often quote says the election language (whenever we have the election)
will be worded vaguely so as not to bind Jones to Fair Park. He will get
his hotel/motel and car rental tax and still build his business facility in
Irving where he's buying up all that land.
End of special session stalls stadium financing bill
Star-Telegram Dallas Bureau
- A bill that would pave
the way for a Dallas Cowboys stadium to be built in Fair Park using tax
dollars is stalled after lawmakers ended their special session Monday
without considering the legislation.
Although the bill's sponsor promised
to refile the legislation if another special session is called, a spokesman
for Gov. Rick Perry said he has not agreed to allow any items on the agenda
beyond school finance.
... The legislation would enable the Cowboys to
build a $650 million stadium in Fair Park using hotel and car-rental taxes.
Such use is now prohibited by state law because the grounds are operated by
the Dallas Parks Department.
Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, said that
he plans to refile the legislation but that he has received no assurance
that it will be placed on the agenda.
... Even if Perry puts the stadium bill on
the agenda, it's unclear whether lawmakers could act quickly enough to allow
for an election Nov. 2 that would ask voters to approve the financing plan.
... Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher
said a November vote is still possible if the bill is placed on the agenda
soon. But a bigger problem in meeting that time frame may be the slow pace
of negotiations with the team, she said.
... County Commissioner John Wiley Price said the
fact that the legislation was not considered during the past session
diminishes the possibility of building the stadium in Fair Park and having a
"It's curtain call for Fair Park
unless we get some special legislation," he said.
Fair Park has been an
opportunity for other rich, connected Dallas families to make money on the
taxpayer's dime. Citizen D reminds us:
How can we leave Starplex out of this discussion?
The AAC, Reunion Arena and STARPLEX!
Remember Starplex -- The then-mayor's husband's
company's dip into the City's honey pot!
Ted and Annette Strauss.
(It makes you wonder why Danny Faulkner ever went to jail.)
Add Starplex to the list of
City-backed public-private joint ventures that promised us revenues and
development and brought us NOTHING!
Nothing may be
a bit harsh -- let's see:
Displaced Black neighborhoods and poor people in the
Fair Park Area. Most of them are dead or moved away, so the
historical memory of this urban neighborhood genocide is too faint to
the same thing is about to happen
again. Starplex is DARK (not booked) most of the year. How
that bring us money and development to the
I doubt it even pays for itself as
far as maintenance and upkeep.
CityPlace Towers -- OOPS! Only one
because the private sector could not do a proper
pro-forma to know the office market was 400% overbuilt at the time!
Twenty years later, we see a fraction of what was promised then, and only
at a fraction of the scale envisioned.
Fancy lofts subsidized with CDBG money for low to moderate income
people who earn $50,000 annually
ast City Council redefined
the median Dallas
income figure by
Highland Park, Addison, Duncanville,
etc. median incomes in a regional
average rather than a
Dallas City Limits
Council had the option to limit it to the city limits and thus focus on
the most needy (the people the funds were intended to serve). Dallas
City Limits median income back then was under $30,000 for a family of 4.
We can expect the same unfulfilled
promises from a Jones stadium tax as we have experienced with Reunion,
Starplex, the AAC, etc., etc., etc.
|Citizen D has
a long memory. The Starplex fiasco has several chapters. There
was the original question of conflict of interest with the husband of a
sitting Mayor using her influence to do the deal in the first place.
As Citizen D recalls, families were forced out through eminent domain from
neighborhoods where they had lived for a couple of generations. Then
there was the controversy of selling the naming rights to Smirnoff for a
facility in the Fair Park area where the community had been fighting for
years to diminish the impact of all the liquor stores in the area.
Councilman Leo Chaney earned his "Shakedown" nickname when he dropped his
threats of street demonstrations against the "Smirnoff" name on Starplex
after the liquor company put millions on the table for Chaney to distribute
to his team in South Dallas. Commissioner John Wiley Price called the
Smirnoff bribe "blood money".
|Not only did
Starplex never deliver on the promises of related development and economic
stimuli for the Fair Park area, it is very likely to become a parking lot
for the Jones stadium if that happens at Fair Park.
The Dallas Observer
asks the right questions:
Could the proposed Cowboys stadium spell the end for Smirnoff
BY PATRICK WILLIAMS AND ROBERT
Among the miles of sentences The Dallas
Morning News has constructed about the proposed Dallas Cowboys stadium
at Fair Park, here's one that caught Buzz's attention: "The footprint for
the project, which would be north of the midway, would affect some areas of
the park, including the sheep and cattle barns, the coliseum and Smirnoff
Music Centre. " Which means...what? The story didn't say what would
become of the Amphitheater Formerly Known as Starplex, which got Buzz to
thinking: If the Cowboys persuade county commissioners, the Dallas City
Council and county taxpayers to cough up $425 million for Jerry
Jones' $650 million project, is it last call for the Smirnoff?
According to several city officials,
the Cowboys' proposal likely will reduce the Smirnoff to a parking lot,
which is no great loss as far as Buzz is concerned. ...
According to Paul Dyer, director of the city's Park and
Recreation Department, the city's lease with House of Blues, which operates
the Smirnoff, runs out in 2009, around the same time Jones hopes to open his
new stadium. Demolishing the Smirnoff "is something to consider," Dyer says.
... some of the concerts that go to
the Smirnoff might move to the American Airlines Center; some might even go
into the new Cowboys stadium, where the money would be kept by the team,
... But no Smirnoff means no money going to
the South Dallas trust fund, which collects 15 cents for every ticket
sold--some $40,000 annually. Councilman Leo Chaney, who represents
the area, says the Smirnoff also provides some $110,000 in additional money
to the area in grants and contributions. "So I need to replace $150,000 a
year, and it is going to be replaced," insists Chaney, a proponent of
the Cowboys' relocation to Fair Park. "The Cowboys are going to develop real
strong community relations with those neighborhoods south of downtown. The
question is not loss but how it's
going to be replaced, assuming the Smirnoff lease is not renewed."
Well, there will be lots of new developments and new comments on the Jones
stadium tax in the next few months, but it is unlikely we will be voting on
it before February, if then. I think we should vote on it next May
with the council elections. Make the candidates tell us where they
stand on the Jones tax. Of course, they could all pull a John "Send Me
Some Money" Loza on us -- run as anti-stadium sales tax and then see much
they can grovel before Grandpa Jones once they are elected.
|There will be
lots of opportunities for us to drive over the potholes Our Meddling
Mayor has put on the back burner so she can work on her big ticket projects.
Things will go on just like they always have with City Hall spending
millions and billions of our money on wacky ideas they will later spend
millions and billions of our money undoing.
City looking to lure downtown's tunnel businesses
11:12 PM CDT on Wednesday, May 19, 2004
... And in a year when top City Council officials
are lobbying to close the tunnel network and considering granting $2.5
million in rent and building improvement subsidies to retailers who open
shop aboveground, Dallas' underground fraternity is holding out.
... Geraldine Hale Florist has been in Grady and
Nancy Smith's family for nearly 75 years. And for 17 of those years, it has
been in the Dallas underground. ... "Sure, it
would be nice to have the outside visibility," he said. "But who wants to be
out there with boarded-up storefronts and street people walking around?"
Ms. Miller and Mayor Pro Tem John
Loza, for two.
... The city's tunnel system is an idea born of
1970s urban planning that reasoned that business-filled, climate-controlled
corridors linking Dallas' skyscrapers are preferable to pedestrians ambling
along sweltering city streets in a downtown devoid of business life.
... "Ideally, I'd like to see the tunnels phased
out completely," said Mr. Loza, noting that some tunnels are privately
owned. "We've got to have a more aggressive approach to downtown retail, and
the tunnels are certainly detrimental to street-level retail."
Ms. Miller agreed: "In a perfect
world, the tunnels would be gone."
... Alan Levy, general manager of the
year-old City Tavern, said that moving underground businesses up to street
level would only improve the plight of downtown's pioneers.
... "The underground does nothing to
help the traffic to places that are new and are trying to get a foothold
|It's just taxpayer money.
Who cares if we waste it and then have to spend money undoing the mistake?
It's not like we don't have water mains breaking all over town because we
started deferring infrastructure maintenance under Mayor Annette Strauss'
watch to build "revenue generators" with taxpayer funds. So, we build
an economic generator like Starplex or like Reunion or like the Hicks/Perot
Arena rather than tend to our basic needs.
|We then get
ready to tear them down before they are paid for, and certainly before they
have ever delivered on the promise of economic development and new tax
revenue. And the tradition continues today.
|We will never
know how much money was spent on those Downtown tunnels and skybridges, but
the new "urban planning" says they are not an asset but a drain on Downtown.
Anyone working Downtown in the 70's could have told the experts what was
coming. With each block of tunnel and/or skybridge, more street level
retail closed their doors and headed North to Valley View or NorthPark.