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Stan Aten
Michael Davis
Polly Hill
Kathleen Matsumura
Citizen C
Citizen D


08/19/04  Certainly not Party Labels!

As someone who recycles paper, coke cans, plastic and even cat food cans, I certainly qualify as an environmentalist.  Granted, I am an environmentalist with a small "e", but I'm a certified tree hugger and my leaves stay on my lawn all Winter and get moved to my back yard for compost in the Spring.  Just trying to establish my credentials despite my partisan connection to the Republican Party.

Environmentalists have done everything but form a human chain across our Sewer Trough to prevent Our Mayor's Trinity Project.  Everyone assumes most environmentalists are Democrats, but look who have been leading the charge to create an environmental disaster that most of us will live to see?  Laura Miller, Ed Oakley and Martin Frost.

As a Republican, I have been feeling so smug watching those three Democrats just shaft people who support them, but this week Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Republican Governor Rick Perry jumped right in there to divert taxpayer funds to a project that not only is a pending disaster but one that barely got 50% support from Dallas voters -- certainly no mandate.
Craig Johnston:
Not sure you would want to address this issue with your readers. 
   As someone who has served with Mission Arlington to help the poor in Arlington, I was disappointed when the city rejected a mass transportation proposal. 
   Now, with Mayor Cluck claiming huge economic benefit and thousands of new jobs, the city is pushing hard for voters to approve this new "Jones Tax". 
   My question is:  How are the people who will get the thousands of new promised jobs going to get to work without a mass transit system?

Still, more high profile Democrats have promoted the Trinity Project than Republicans. 

After all, it was good old Democrat Con Jerk who pulled off a second questionable election victory in less than 6 months.  That was back before Laura Miller got swapped for a Stepford Wife who takes instruction from her husband. 

The 1998 Laura Miller opposed the Trinity Project, but to the 2004 version of Laura Miller the Trinity Project is the reason for her existence.
    James Northrup:
Trinity Reality Check - 
   There is no funding for the Woodall Rogers String Thing to Singleton. 
   It's not in the Transportation Funding Bill, nor are  state or local funds available. Without it, the Trinity Tollway cannot proceed.
o, there is no urgency to fund the I-30 or I-35 bridges to accommodate a highway that's not there.
   Someone at the Budget Office has figured this out. The local press has not.  If they have, they darn sure are keeping quiet about it.

It's not exactly "d?a vu" all over again, but here we are watching Arlington taxpayers face the same assault by the sports mafia and the greedy politicians they have coerced to sell a false promise to voters.  They will get the same empty promises of economic development and lowered homeowner taxes and smooth streets and green parks and diminished crime -- all just because a new sports stadium is heading their way.

Guess all that empty landscape around the Ball Park is only visible to people who don't live in Arlington.   

Hey, they pulled it off in Dallas.  The sports mafia had promised Reunion would change the dynamics Downtown, but it didn't.  Reunion and its lack of development were sitting right there for us to point to as proof these play pens do not deliver, but just enough voters played "deaf, mute and blind" for the sports mafia to prevail.  That, and all the "walk around money" Con Jerk's Large White Shadow and Kathy Neely spread around.

Seeing the scale Grandpa Jones is trying to fleece Arlington taxpayers, Tommy Hicks, Ross, Jr. and Con Jerk may have done us a favor by stealing the 1998 arena election.  Not only are we too broke to compete with Arlington, the lopsided agreement then City MisManager John Ware wrote for his future employer (Tom Hicks) has a non-compete clause that actually protects us from the folly that is about to befall Arlington.

For a city facing a $17 million budget shortfall, their mayor and council are using a strange logic to justify spending $635 million to increase their tax base.  To a simple person like me, it looks like they don't have $635 million to spare over 30 years ($21 million a year).  Oh, yeah -- the stadium is going to be an economic boom for them.

Funny, Texas Stadium is right at 30 years old, and I don't see much development around it, unless you count the office/warehouse properties nearby.  

Grandpa Jones' stadium will technically be owned by the city, so there's no property tax revenue from it.  He gets to keep the revenue and charge an extra tax on tickets and parking. 

What's that phrase?   If you have to ask the price, you can't afford the ticket!

I'm telling you -- I'm beginning to have warm feelings of gratitude toward Con Jerk and his two billionaire buddies.  It's sort of like enduring a rape by one guy to avoid a gang rape. 

This stadium deal could get very interesting before it gets built.  Arlington will use its eminent domain rights (like Dallas did for Hicks and Perot) to steal some land from its rightful owners to give to Grandpa Jerry Jones.  Even if it's not happening to Dallas property owners this time, taking a citizen's property this way is still so very wrong.

Many of these land thefts are done under the guise of economic development.  In Hurst, most of a stable single-family neighborhood was wiped out to expand a shopping center -- A SHOPPING CENTER!  People who had lived in their homes 30 years, raised their families there -- had to vacate and start over so a shopping center could expand. 

The legal basis for these land thefts has been a Michigan case that has just been ruled unconstitutional by the Michigan Supreme Court.

Michigan Upholds Property Rights In Broad Ruling
By DEAN STARKMAN  Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL August 2, 2004; Page A6

   In a decision with wide implications for property rights nationally, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the state and local governments may not take property from one private owner and give it to another purely for the purpose of economic development.
   The 7-0 decision handed down Friday night overturns a landmark 1981 case in which the same court allowed the city of Detroit to take 1,000 homes and 600 businesses to make way for a General Motors Corp. plant. The earlier case, called Poletown after the neighborhood that was condemned, was widely cited by state courts around the country in cases that vastly expanded local governments' power to take private property for public purposes.

"We overrule Poletown in order to vindicate our constitution, protect the people's property rights and preserve the legitimacy of the judicial branch as the expositor, not creator, of fundamental law," the court wrote.
   Dana Berliner, a lawyer for Institute for Justice, a Washington-based property-rights law firm that filed a brief in the case, said she expects the decision to have broad impact, since other state courts have long relied on Poletown to uphold condemnations. Now they can no longer do so and may revisit the question altogether, as the Michigan high court did, she said.
    Wayne County ...  warned in a friend-of-the-court brief that a reversal of Poletown would "impose new constitutional restraints on takings that could destroy the public's ability to take property where necessary to achieve community-development goals."
   Mark Zausmer, a lawyer for Wayne County, said the ruling will restrict cities' powers to spur their local economies, making some projects "impossible because an individual owner can simply decide that he doesn't want to sell."...
On Friday, the court resoundingly sided with property owners. In its 85-page ruling, the court said it rejected the principle that "a private entity's pursuit of profit was a 'public use' for constitutional takings purposes simply because one entity's profit maximization contributed to the health of the general economy."

Boys and Girls, this is a huge deal.  Even if Arlington technically owns the land and the stadium, this mess could be tied up in court for a long time by an impacted property owner who may not want his land stolen and given to Grandpa Jones.  Same thing could happen if the vote fails and Dallas gets targeted by that Arkansas gang again.

Mark Davis of WBAP says he hates public money financing these stadiums, but "everyone is doing it" so "it's stupid to oppose it."

What happened to fighting for a just cause even when things are stacked against you?

All my smart friends say Arlington voters will support the stadium tax in November.  They may be right, but Arlington is not as big as Dallas and vote fraud is a little harder to conceal in a city of that size.  Arlington voters have been turning down bond packages year after year since they supported the Ball Park.

Arlington's share for stadium: $648 million
- Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Posted on Wed, Aug. 18, 2004

   Once interest costs are factored in, Arlington's tab for a new Cowboys stadium will nearly equal the total price of the $650 million retractable-roof structure.
... The taxes are:
A 0.5 percent sales tax.
A 2 percent hotel-occupancy tax.
A 5 percent car-rental tax.
A 10 percent ticket tax.
A $3 parking tax.
...  Anne Van Praagh, an analyst at Moody's Investors Service. ... "What we've seen in stadiums across the country, particularly in areas where there's a concentration of wealth and a willingness to pay for expensive tickets, the average prices do go up, and the average attendee isn't always representative of the average family in the United States,"
... The Houston Sports Authority, which recently built three new stadiums, assumed 3 percent growth every year for 30 years in its various tax revenues. Because that assumption was too optimistic, the authority recently had to sell more bonds to help service its debt.
... For the city's half of the construction cost, its three taxes are expected to generate an average of about $19.5 million a year. Arlington also expects to get just over $2 million annually from the Cowboys through rent, and up to $500,000 a year from any naming-rights deal.
... The largest portion of the city's annual contribution to the stadium -- $19.6 million, or 89 percent -- would come from the sales tax. ...

TV reporters are stating the stadium will cost Arlington families each an additional $200-$250 annually for 30 years.  Pretty steep for some family that will never be able to afford to attend a game in Jonestown.

Who knows what's going to happen?  Some people are locked into a serf mentality and believe their masters know more than they and do as they are told by those in control.

It is clear that the party label of those in control doesn't matter.  For most elected officials, it's not about ideology, it's about power and control.  Grandpa Jones may well win this one because --







  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