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Jeffrey Douglas McCreanor
                             

01/09/03  Is it 2003 or 1993?

We've got Mary Poss running for office, again.  Old Al Lipscomb is running around pretending to be a civil rights leader, again.  Chris Luna is in trouble again.  Diane Ragsdale's in the news again.  Seems like the 90's all over again.  

I did not support Mary Poss when she ran against Glenn Box.  Truth be told, I did support MPT Poss when she ran for council 4 years later.  I tried to talk Glenn into endorsing Mary.  He refused, and said she was not qualified to be on the council.  Eight years later -- can't quarrel with his assessment.

I went to a meeting where MPT Poss was speaking.  Her r?um?includes Chair of the Council's Audit Committee, but she was clueless about the missing water and/or collected payment fees.  She's going to look into that!

A couple of years ago, the North Dallas Improvement League (a community) group had been working with the owners of the old Town North Shopping Center which had fallen into decline and was having a negative impact on the entire area just South of LBJ.  They had been in negotiations with Yahoo to move into the refurbished and updated complex, which changes were those required by Yahoo.  You can imagine the community's dismay when That Former Mayor and then Mayor Pro Tem Mayor Poss directed their puppets on the council to approve a tax abatement for Yahoo (Marc Cuban, et al) TO STAY in Deep Ellum.  This was not to entice a new company to Dallas, but a bribe to get Yahoo TO STAY in Deep Ellum and create over a hundred new jobs.  Did Yahoo do what they promised for their bribe?  No!  They did stay put in Deep Ellum, but they did not create those new jobs.

Yahoo so much enjoyed the experience of ripping off Dallas taxpayers (who have to make up the difference Yahoo is not paying) that they went back to the council crooks a year later for another million in tax abatements with the promise of creating 600 new jobs (even though they did not create the first promised 100 new jobs).  Councilman Loza enjoyed giving billionaires another million of our money so much, he encouraged them to come back the next year for another handout.  Yahoo got their tax abatement and started laying off people, but they stayed put in Deep Ellum.

I asked MPT Poss if she voted to give the $3 Million + Yahoo Tax Abatements (2) to get them to stay in Deep Ellum rather than move up to Town North at Forest and Webb Chapel.  She said "You Bet", "to get them to stay in Dallas".  The few Dallas citizens at the Farmers Branch meeting were shocked.  Even some Farmers Branch folks were shocked.  A Mayoral candidate should know that a vital area like Forest and Webb Chapel is inside the city limits.  

It was an evening for shock.  When I got home and turned on the news, Ch. 5's Jay Gray was interviewing another stellar citizen member of the Convention & Visitors Bureau Board, Howard Pearlman.  When asked about taxpayer money being spent to entertain convention planners at sex clubs (topless bars), Mr. Pearlman said there was nothing wrong with it.  Other cities do it.  A keeping up with the competition thing.  

As Roxan Staff says:  "That explains why all those grandiose sex clubs are popping up on Stemmons.  Someone has been giving them a signal.  Now, the Stemmons Business Corridor people know who to be mad at."

The mindset of the people on the Visitors Bureau Board must be pretty depraved, when they think it is normal to take a potential customer of the city's convention center to a sex club -- on taxpayer money.

Speaking of which (taxpayer money, that is), I attended Councilman Mitch Rasansky's bond package townhall meeting tonight.  Do you know with almost every park we have in a state of neglect or disrepair, the bond package has $3.5 million for acquiring more park land?  I say we spend that $3.5 million on upgrading as many parks as we can from our existing inventory.  If we can't take care of our existing parks and related buildings, why would we want to spend $3.5 million more to acquire more land to be neglected? Stan Aten:
Have you  been to any of the townhall meetings to discuss the upcoming bond election?   I went to the one Monday evening.  A couple of interesting points for your readers.

#1 The bonds for the Trinity River project will not be sold (per city staff until 2008) that is the date when the voter's authorization for the bonds will expire.   The total for those unsold bonds is over $200 million. 

#2 The city is assuming that the average interest rate for the 20 year bonds will be 4.86%.  The only problem is that current interest rates for 20 year AAA bonds is 4.95% and most likely will increase over the next 4 years  (assuming the economy recovers).   

 What does that mean for the citizens of Dallas?   The proposed $360 million in bond package will have to be trimmed or taxes raised to pay for this package.  

Or in computer terms, GIGO (garbage in garbage out).


But, I haven't finished with the Visitors Bureau brouhaha.  Former Councilman Chris Luna just cannot stay out of trouble.  He's one of the smartest men in the city, but he just has this tic that makes him do something so stupid and brazen he has to be publicly humiliated.  It's not like he doesn't care at all what people think of him.  He's very personable, very funny, very witty, very smart -- but there's this penchant for pushing the envelope.

I have not always been a fan of Chris Luna, quite the opposite, but he grows on you.  I don't like seeing him in this position, and it is certainly his fault he is in his current predicament.  I hate it that he has some arrangement with the topless club industry.  But, the guy is really fascinating.  He seemingly has no conscious and is absolutely shameless.  I'm not talking about whether he's a good guy or a bad guy.  He's definitely a bad guy, but he's a loveable bad guy.  

That's not to say he can't be mean and vindictive because Anna Casey (John Loza's campaign manager) can attest to that.  Luna's not as personally mean and obnoxious as Old Al Lipscomb, but he's still a tough foe if you cross him.  

One of the reasons people use to make excuses for Old Al's outbursts but hated Diane Ragsdale (who had fewer hissy fits) was Old Al's charming ways.  Old Al is not acting very charming of late.  I've been trying to figure out what he was up to, and thought it was just to get his old "keepers" to put him back on a "keep quiet" allowance.  Now, I think he has political aspirations so he can have a salary and insurance.  Maybe he wants Commissioner John Wiley Price's job?  The pay is better than the council and the hours are shorter.

On the other hand, Chris Luna is being such a gentleman through all this -- while he makes everyone else appear to be picking on him.  Mayor Miller is handling it well and not rising to his bait, but he's really masterful.  Don't watch Chris through angry eyes because you will miss the guy's incredible skill.  Watch him as some exotic creature who is just too different to be judged by your rules of conduct.  There is just no one else in town like him.

I know Mayor Miller thought Chris could handle the job and behave himself with such an important position.  She should have known better, but she can't help it.  She always thinks bad guys are redeemable.  It brings to mind the song about the snake and the lady who befriend him.  When the snake bit the woman -- she said "But I befriended you" to which the snake said "You knew I was a snake when you took me."  

Some other ex-council members are making the news lately, too.  Thursday night, Ch. 11's Sarah Dodd had a knockout report that Diane Ragsdale is in trouble with the city over the way she has been operating a shopping center with a city-backed loan, that she is not repaying.  Plus, she's not paying property taxes.

When asked why her development company (a 501(c)3 tax exempt "charity") isn't paying the mortgage, she said her critics and questioners lack knowledge of the Southern half of the city.  Does that mean they should not be expected to pay taxes or make their loan payments in the Southern half of the city?  

MPT Mary Poss running for mayor, Old Al Lipscomb running for something, Chris Luna running circles around everyone and Diane Ragsdale running a shopping center.  

Lots of pondering -- so little time.

 

                                        

    





                            

 

  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