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Making Dallas Even Better

Why’s Dallas City Hall Sneaking Through a $450 Million Blank Check For TXU?

Wednesday, June 17, (the date of the next City Council meeting) is a special day. Why? Because it is the last meeting of the current council, and six of the 14 members are lame ducks, term-limited out. The Regular Agenda for the June 17 meeting, posted on June 5, was 1,071 pages long, and contained 101 items. But, as discussed previously, it is really the Addendum to the Agenda which contains most of the “fun” stuff.

Friday night I checked the Dallas City Hall website at 5:44 p.m., searching in vain for the Addendum (5 p.m. is the deadline for posting it). Oh, well, I had things to do and gave up. Finally, on Saturday afternoon (how many City Hall reporters work Saturdays?), I went searching again, and the 629-page document had finally posted, revealing 41 additional items. According to the time stamp, it had been received by the City Secretary at 4:26 p.m. Friday (June 12).

So,I started my treasure hunt. Most of the stuff was pretty typical, (e.g. $305,000 for veterinary services for police & fire dogs and horses), but then, WHOA… what the heck is this?

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If You’re in Town For the College National Championship, Boy Does Dallas Have a Deal For You!

In January 2009, I lived in a two bedroom apartment right outside Washington DC. If you remember January 2009, and particularly Washington DC in January 2009, you will remember it as basically a modern-day gold rush. It was the first time—if memory serves—that Craigslist was used for anything other than “M4BBW; will bring wine coolers.”

It all went something like this:

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How Government Subsidies Are Hiding the Omni Convention Center Hotel’s Losses

A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at the financials of the Dallas Convention Center, prompted by Philip Jones’ announcement that he planned to borrow a quarter billion dollars in public money to expand the facility. To summarize, I discovered:

  • The city of Dallas is currently subsidizing the facility to the tune of roughly $53 million per annum; and
  • Three years and $500 million later, the construction of the adjacent convention center hotel hasn’t had any discernable impact on the convention center’s bottom line.

Today, I’m taking a look at the financial performance of the convention center hotel itself.

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Why Do We Need to Spend a Quarter-Billion Dollars on the Dallas Convention Center?

Late last week, Philip Jones, president of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, tossed out his plan to seek up to $300 million to expand and fix up the convention center; you can read about it here ($200 – $250 million version), or here (up to $300 million version). Better yet, watch an over-the-top enthusiastic narration of the plan by recent WFAA hire Monica Hernandez here (up to $250 million version). This, on the heels of an announcement earlier in the week that the city of Dallas was spending $27 million on a high-end restaurant complex and parking garage adjacent to the convention center complex.

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Billionaire Bites Back: Judge All But Tosses Dallas Art Collector’s Lawsuit

The tawdry tale of a multimillion dollar work of art, a widowed patroness, a powerful Mexican billionaire, and the little, red faced museum stuck in the middle of all of it took yet another turn in its four-year-long court battle. Dallas mega-collector Marguerite Hoffman’s lawyers convinced a jury late last year that debt baron David Martinez broke a confidential agreement when he sold at public auction a painting by Marc Rothko, which was sold to him by Hoffman in a hush-hush deal. Now, a judge ruled Friday that Martinez did not violate any agreement.

To recap:

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Tesla Maybe, Who Knows, Possibly Sort Of Considering Southern Dallas Factory

The idea is certainly eye-catching and extremely heavily qualified: Tesla might be looking at land in southern Dallas for a new $5 billion battery factory. Would that be huge? Indeed, it would. Tons of jobs, and likely a ton of ancillary development would come along with it, too, because workers need places to eat and live and so on. Good times. Yes, sir. But, OK, hold on, where did this information come from?

Michael Morris, director of transportation for the Regional Transportation Council, said an unidentified site in southern Dallas “may be placed under consideration” for the factory and that additional transportation improvements are needed in the area.

Call me “justifiably skeptical.”

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Last Night, Sir Richard Branson Joined The Love Field Debate, Drank Tequila, and Talked to Us

On Monday night, Sir Richard Branson dropped into town to address the latest front on the airline war, Virgin America vs. EveryoneElseThatWantsThoseGatesAtLoveField. The airline hosted a party at The Rustic in Uptown Three of us—me, Cristina Daglas, and Glenn Hunter—attended. Each of our individual thoughts follow. One common thread between all of our thoughts: tequila. There was a lot of tequila.

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Former Dallas City Councilman Dave Neumann Did Not Get a Parking Ticket Today, and Likely Never Will

In May 2011, Scott Griggs unseated Dave Neumann for the District 3 slot on the Dallas City Council. Today, Dave Neumann left a downtown event, hopped into a car on Lamar Street, pulled a quick U-turn, and headed off.

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