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12/16/02  Aginners, They're coming after your money again!

We now have a Mayor who puts Dallas Taxpayers before the Billionaires, but can we fight off the ODB and the Robber Barons this time?  Or, will the ODB once again play Santa with our money?  

We cannot float a bond package large enough to do all the things we desperately need because Dallas Taxpayers are exhausted and tapped out.  

We need repairs to almost every street in this city, but some will have to wait because we don't have the money.  

We need restoration at almost every park in this city, but some will continue to deteriorate because we don't have the money.

We almost lost accreditation for our wonderful Zoo and should be spending $11 Million or more to make it a revenue generator for Dallas like the zoo in Fort Worth, but we don't have the money.

Our Police and Firefighters and civilian employees deserve salaries comparable to their colleagues in the suburbs, but we don't have the money.

These are sad, hard facts, but they seem to escape the comprehension of Our Downtown Betters (the ODB) who seem quite taken back that Mayor Laura Miller would actually say there is a bottom to the well.  

The ODB had no problem telling Police and Firefighters there was no money for their 17% raises.  The ODB shelled out over $100,000 for an opposition campaign.  A very successful opposition campaign that got over 70% of the voters to say "No" to Police and Firefighters! 

The ODB paid for a campaign that brought out the Grinch in Dallas voters, and they expected those voters to forget all the reasons they were told we could not afford to give a raise to our Police and Firefighters.  Not real smart thinking!  
Guess the ODB never heard the story about what happens when you let a genie out of the bottle, or when Pandora opened that famous box.

Dallas Taxpayers are in no mood for another tax.  That's hard for Deputy Mayor Pro Tem John Loza to understand because he doesn't pay property taxes.  It's also hard for Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill to comprehend because so little of the city's property tax revenue comes from his district, as compared to Councilman Mitch Rasansky's District 13.  At Councilman Rasansky's most recent townhall meeting, a former Bad Dealer said he wanted District 13 to keep more of the tax revenue it generates and stop exporting it out to other districts.  He got a loud applause from the standing room only crowd.  

District 13 not only carries this city financially, they vote like all get out.

There are a bunch of old cranky Seniors living on fixed incomes in District 13.  They vote!  They get their arthritic old bones to the polls, and they vote.  They don't need Joe Thug May coming to their door to collect their ballot -- they go vote.  They live in nice homes that many can no longer afford due to their exorbitant property taxes.  They remember a city that was better run with nice parks and smooth streets, and they paid less taxes in those days.  They do not want to pay more taxes when they know their money has been misapplied in the past.  They are really cranky lately.

Laura Miller became Mayor with the support of those District 13 Seniors, and she knows their mood as well as anyone.

Miller says time not right to raise taxes
As bond plan size splits council, mayor seeks restoration of trust
By COLLEEN McCAIN NELSON / The Dallas Morning News
A bond package that would smooth streets and beautify parks probably will be downsized in an effort to hold the line on taxes, Dallas Mayor Laura Miller said.
   The City Council plans to ask voters to approve a bond program in May, but the question of how large the package should be has divided members. During the last month, Ms. Miller had expressed optimism that voters would back a tax increase to improve infrastructure.
   But the mayor changed course this week, saying the timing is wrong to raise taxes.
  Recent media reports about questionable spending practices at City Hall have eroded residents' confidence, she said.
   "We've got to be able to go and say, 'You can trust us with your money,' " Ms. Miller said.
   And the fact that the bond election is scheduled for the same day as council elections could jeopardize the success of a larger package, she said. If the council backs a bond program that would increase taxes, the package could become an all-consuming campaign issue ? a battle between the pro-tax and no-tax candidates, Ms. Miller said.
   "That becomes the theme of the campaign," she said.
. . .By mid-January, the council must decide how large the bond package will be and which projects will be included. The council has not reached a consensus on the size of the bond program, but support for a package that increases taxes has eroded in recent days.
   Council member Lois Finkelman said she reached the conclusion that asking voters to approve a tax increase is not realistic. The council passed a 5 percent tax increase in September, and council members acknowledge that another increase could be needed to balance next year's budget.
. . ."I think we can make a case to the citizens that a bond proposal in the line of $500 million is absolutely essential to the city," Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill said. "We just need to educate and explain how critical this is."
   Council members John Loza and Veletta Forsythe Lill said they would continue to push for a larger bond program, noting that even the $515 million proposal was a no-frills package aimed at improving basic infrastructure.  .  .  .  But she said she thinks the council lacks the political will to back another tax increase, and the fact that council members are up for re-election probably is a factor. Advocating a tax increase while campaigning for political survival is a difficult dual role, Ms. Lill said.
. . . Council member Alan Walne, who is not running for re-election, said his opposition to a tax increase is about fiscal responsibility ? not playing politics. 
. . .  "I will not support it, and I will not work for it," Mr. Rasansky said.
    Ms. Miller said . . .  "To go out and sell a vision, you've got to do it together," she said. .  .  .

The ODB spent money to win the Pay Referendum.  Money was how 50.1% of Dallas voters got conned (if they actually voted) to support sales taxes to pay for a building so two billionaires could make more millions.  Even though the Robber Barons and the ODB spent almost $4 Million, it will never make sense to me how anyone could have possibly fallen for propaganda claiming a new sports arena would be good for Dallas.  

We were promised a new arena would stimulate all sorts of new development, but where is it?  Anyone remember the Palladium debate of a few months back?  Anyone see any development around the Hicks/Perot Arena that was not already in the works before those two Robber Barons got That Former Mayor to shill for them?  

We will have a bare-bones bond program to vote on in May when we re-elect the Mayor and elect a new city council.  (Hopefully, yours truly will be one of the new council members.)  It could just as easily (as not) happen the same voters who turned down the Police and Firefighters will vote against the entire bond package.  I hope not, but it could happen.

After all, voters who supported past bond programs don't see a lot of improvement in their neighborhood streets or the major traffic collector streets.  Voters can only hope their immediate street gets attention, but  have cause to expect their street will get pushed aside if some Robber Baron comes up with another scheme to pay off enough council members to divert another bucket of public money to them.

Don't think the ODB are not already plotting to do just that.  They want Dallas taxpayers to give that other madman from Arkansas hundreds of millions of our money to build a new stadium for his sorry team.  It's hard to say which is more embarrassing having Jerry Jones' team called "Dallas" or having that freak associated with our city.  He may be rich, but he is a wacked out (or whacked on) freak who has single handedly destroyed the Cowboys.

Watching the success of Robber Barons Ross Perot, Jr. and Tom Hicks, Grandpa Jones (remember the traffic ticket incident when Old Al went to his defense? Al & Grandpa Jones) must have started to imagine how he could shakedown Irving or Arlington for a new playpen for his losers.  Hey!  Jr. and Hicks only invested about $1.5 Million each to walk away with $123 million of our money, plus 3 subsequent tax abatements related to their larceny.  If you think Jr. and Hicks were shameless, just imagine what Grandpa Jones is going to throw at the voters.

The only fly in their ointment is we now have Mayor Laura Miller and not That Former Mayor who would have been right there with Grandpa Jones pushing for a new football stadium in a town with third-world streets and decaying infrastructure.

When I saw the column by Richard Alms regarding Miller's lack of enthusiasm for a new sports rip-off, it felt like someone had just turned back the clock 4 years.  Here are some excerpts:

Dallas hasn't joined chase for Cowboys;
And City Hall doesn't seem interested in bringing them back
12/14/2002   By Richard Alm / The Dallas Morning News
    Nobody at City Hall has given the slightest hint that Dallas wants to get into the Dallas Cowboys' stadium sweepstakes. Yet the idea that the football team belongs in its namesake town just won't go way.
   Ross Perot Jr., a prime mover behind the $420 million American Airlines Center, says he's simply amazed that Dallas isn't aggressively going after the Cowboys as a way to revitalize the city. Hughes & Luce lawyer Darrell Jordan, a former candidate for mayor, has urged the city to get busy on luring the Cowboys, preferably to a Fair Park site.
   "There's too many things at stake for Dallas not to get serious about trying to find a way to make his happen," Jordan said.
   But all manner of financial and political roadblocks stand in the way of a Cowboys return to Dallas. Mayor Laura Miller, who opposed the city's subsidy for the American Airlines Center as a City Council member, argues that a cash-strapped city with unmet infrastructure needs shouldn't be chasing a football team.
   "How could anyone justify not doing needed park and firehouse projects and go out and do some multimillion-dollar deal for a sports facility?" the mayor said. "That's just not a priority."
. . .Now Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants to build a stadium to accommodate as many as 100,000 fans with seating and large end-zone concourses. 
. . .What miffs Jordan and others is that Official Dallas isn't even brainstorming about the possibilities for grabbing the Cowboys.
. . .Perot, a real estate developer, contends that a Cowboys stadium could provide a jolt for Dallas' inner core. "These facilities make money for cities," said Perot, who has no business stake in the stadium. "It's the last big sports facility that will be built for decades in North Texas. We can't afford not to do it."
. . .Jones hasn't said a word about financing, but most analysts figure it will take several hundred million dollars.
. . .Terry Clower, associate director of the University of North Texas' Center for Economic Development and Research, says a city the size of Dallas could generate the money to lure the Cowboys.
   "You decide what you can afford," said Clower, who is providing economic analysis to the Cowboys. "There are many ways to do this. It's just a matter of whether you want it or not."
. . .The project needs a champion ? in the case of the $190 million Ballpark in Arlington, it was Richard Greene, then-mayor of Arlington. For the American Airlines Center, it was former mayor Ron Kirk.
    No one in City Hall is championing a bid for the Cowboys. For now, the voices favoring the project are all in the private sector, and Dallas will remain on the sidelines unless that changes.
? ? ?
Staff writer Richard Alm reports on sports business for The Dallas Morning News.

That's right, Ross, Jr. is "amazed that Dallas isn't aggressively going after the Cowboys"!  

I am amazed that pirate would have the audacity to interject himself into this mess.  Jr.'s arrogance is off the charts.  He and Hicks absolutely  raped Dallas taxpayers and pillaged our public coffers to the point where the city is cash strapped.  Now, Jr. would have us try to find millions more for the likes of Grandpa Jones?

One reason for our current financial chaos is the devastating impact the arena sales tax has had on our convention center business.  Before the sales tax, the only thing we had to offer conventioneers in the past was a pretty good facility, a convenient airport and fairly inexpensive housing and transportation (car rentals) -- oh, yes, lots of sex clubs.

We may love our city, but it is no tourist destination site -- unless you count those ghouls who flock to see where President Kennedy was assassinated or the perverts who frequent the sex clubs.  With our "tourist" sales tax on car rentals and hotel rooms, we are up there with the big boys who have lots more stuff to do once you get to their towns -- places where you can take your spouse.

Alm quotes a guy who is being paid by Grandpa Jones to come up with the numbers who says "a city the size of Dallas could generate the money to lure the Cowboys".  This Clower guy is a crony of Dan Weiser who never say a big ticket deal he didn't like.  Clower says "You decide what you can afford."  Does that mean you prioritize a football stadium over infrastructure and streets and parks repair?  

A city the size of Dallas should be able to generate the money needed to fix our streets and maintain our public buildings and lands, but we are too busy chasing stupid ideas like Summer Olympics in Dallas and throwing away good money on sports facilities.

It is very disappointing to read someone as smart as Darrell Jordan is involved in a chase for Grandpa Jones' band of hoodlums.  Darrell has a passion for the Cotton Bowl.  Most Dallas residents have been to events in the Cotton Bowl -- from college football games to Dallas Cowboy games to fireworks shows.   I share his enthusiasm for doming the existing facility to make it more useable.  I love that historic old stadium.  I do not support demolishing the Cotton Bowl to build a new facility a few yards away.  

Grandpa Jones is not interested in moving his team to a landlocked site like Fair Park.  It would not fit with his grandiose development scheme.  Jones might be interested if Darrell Jordan is proposing to give him Fair Park.  I don't think that is what Darrell is proposing.  

Last week when several council members were assuring the Big 8 folks how much we love giving away millions of taxpayer dollars (Poss, Hill, Walne, Fantroy -- all the great minds), not one of them mentioned offering a deal for Grandpa Jones at Fair Park or anywhere else.  Things would have been a lot different if Old Al Lipscomb were down there, rather than Beat that Indictment James Fantroy.  

Someone should tell Robber Baron Jr. and anyone else pushing this Grandpa Jones nightmare to cool their jets until after the May bond election.  This is the kind of stuff that would put the nail in the coffin on a much needed bond package.

It must be something seasonal. 
It's Christmas, so the ODB are feeling generous with our money.







  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