Wick Allison: It’s a Bad Deal. Vote Yes.

sweepthelegMy sometime employer, longtime hero, and the guy I’d most love to see riding a Segway in the office, Wick Allison, sweeps the leg of the People’s Hotel, and offers a merciless explanation of why, even though we may need a convention hotel, the way the city wants to structure this deal is bad mojo and bad business.

To be blunt, the city is often not very good with numbers. For this fiscal year, it is projecting a $100 million operating deficit. For the hotel site, it paid $42 million to buy land appraised at $7 million (I’m still trying to figure that one out). Its projections for the hotel are so rose-colored that the pro-hotel campaign has not used them. The reason it hasn’t used them is that they don’t make sense.

But that hasn’t stopped the pro-hotel campaign from coming up with numbers of its own. For example, it trumpets the fact that the hotel will create 800 permanent jobs. At a $500 million investment (excluding the $50 million reserve fund), that’s a cost of $625,000 to create each job. If there is a case for such startling extravagance, this is a strange economic time to make it.

The pro-hotel campaign also tells us the hotel will not be paid for by our tax dollars. That is only true if we believe the city’s sunny-day scenario. But after the economic thunderstorms of the last eight months, is there anyone who would forecast that all future days will be sunny? A $50 million reserve fund may sound reasonable, until one remembers that the American Airlines Center was budgeted at $230 million but ended up at $420 million. So when the $50 million reserve runs dry, either from cost overruns or operating losses, where will the bondholders look for their money? To the taxpayers.

Money shot at the end — the bottom line is the bottom line:

It is the wrong deal at the wrong economic time based on the wrong numbers. Pardon me if, like our neighbors in Fort Worth, I don’t salute. I hope you won’t, either. Thank heaven Harlan Crow did not salute, or the bulldozers would already be digging the hole. Vote “Yes” on Proposition 1 – for good governance, fiscal prudence, and a healthy future for Dallas.

Read the full column here.

FB Open Comment Thread, and a Happy 41 to Tim Rogers

Today’s comment thread is open for business. Post on anything you want, be it FrontBurner related or whatever.

Also, a special happy birthday to Tim Rogers, who turns 41 today.

Tim’s B-Day

Here’s a shot from when we went fishing, back before Tim’s first hip transplant.

n629175838_518857_4210UPDATE: Adriana Bate kindly wished Tim a happy 41st birthday on WRR 101.1. Very kind of her.

Daily Comments Thread

Sound off.

Tim pulled a little boner in declaring Brint Ryan had his Chazz Redd moment. I’m thinking this is going to be Ann Margolin’s shirtless with guns experience. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Separated at Birth: Eric Celeste and Lt. Dangle


(h/t wife)

Daily FB Comment Thread

Free range comments welcome on the day’s FrontBurner topics, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Quit walkin’ and get talkin’.

Thursday Roundup: Where Have You Gone, Sheriff Andy Taylor?

250px-hitler_1928At what point did police — especially the younger ones — lose sight of the fact that they’re supposed to be public servants, not public masters? This maddening incident involving a cop who had to be a dick to a people rushing to see their dying mother at the hospital seems all too typical of the attitude these days, especially among the younger ones brought up watching Cops. What ever happened to the Sheriff Andy Taylor style of law enforcement (common sense, respect for the public, peaceful resolution, humility, service) which you can still see among some of the older officers? (I know a few.) How did we get stuck with these underachieving, knuckle-dragging SA wannabes who think their state-issued costumes give them the right to humiliate free men and women when they don’t show the subservience proper to a slave? I don’t sound light-hearted and snarky? I don’t. I’m disgusted. The mother died at the hospital while this young thug was lecturing the driver. Disgraceful. (And apologies to one of my favorite online writers, William N. Grigg, for borrowing a few of his choicer phrases.)

Manhunt Under Way for Escaped Prisoner. One-armed man observed skulking near the scene. (And like that, the snark is back.)

I wonder if the real reason Santiago Calatrava was in town was to make sure none of his checks from the city of Dallas bounced. IJS.

Cue the chorus of racial breed profiling alarmists. They love these tragic events. (Looking at you, Celeste and Robberson.)

Apparently, Hank Hill is suspected of a double murder.

You know, I’m not religious, and I get the point of the people behind these billboards that are coming to North Texas, but…come on. They couldn’t come up with something wittier? Something to match the very clever “Let’s Meet At My House Sunday Before the Game – God” billboards the church ladies put out a few years back?

If some movie production company doesn’t take advantage of the coming demolition of the old Cowboys stadium, my suspicions about the double-digit IQ average among Hollywood producers will be verified. I may steal Zac Crain‘s idea and just go out there with a cam corder and get the standard “running away and blown into the air toward the camera” shot on demolition day.

My Big Fat Gay Thank You

I’m sitting here tonight humbled. As I noted earlier, my column in the April issue of D about how the Cedar Springs area is transforming along with the dynamics between straights and gays came under some fire today. Two prominent Dallas media personalities — Rawlins Gilliland and Jack E. Jett – came to my defense at the Dallas Voice blog and on Frontburner. These are two guys who on a lot of issues are worlds apart from me. And, not surprisingly, worlds apart from each other.

So I started thinking, yes, I am a supporter of gay marriage, or at least getting the state to treat all marriage contracts between consenting adults of any sort simply as contracts, and letting each church decide what, if any, blessing they each want to give. And I support gay adoption — some of the best parents I’ve met are gays. They’re not so likely to go leaving their kids in locked cars or abusing/neglecting them, given the hassle it takes for gays to adopt. The gays don’t just carelessly pop kids out like too many straights. (“I didn’t know I could get pregnant if we did it standing up.”) But I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever written about either subject at length, much less other gay rights issues.

I reckon my attitude on the subject has come through one way or the other. Enough to prompt those two guys to stand up for me, anyway.

So, from the heart of suburban, straight vanilla-land, thank you, gentlemen.

Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That?

I think some folks got the wrong impression from my recent column in D on the great new ilume development, and the evolution of the Cedar Springs gayborhood.

Trey in Print, Take Two

Here’s my story on the great ilume development, and how the Cedar Springs gayborhood is undergoing a metamorphosis.

Here’s my take on what W. living in Dallas means for you and me, Joe/Jane Q. Dallas. (Second story down.)

Both in the April issue of D.