Find a back issue

Making Dallas Even Better

The Convention Center That Ate Dallas

A couple of weeks ago, after reading that the taxpayer-funded Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau apparently wanted to lend us the letter “D” from their “DALLAS” logo to replace the City of Dallas’ existing letter “D” logo, I got to thinking once again about the outsized influence the DCVB wields over municipal affairs.

Late last year, after Philip Jones, the DCVB’s president, tossed out a plan to have taxpayers pay for a $300 million addition to the convention center, I took a look into the finances and found that it lost $37 million per year before debt service and $54 million after interest expense — amounts that were virtually identical to its losses prior to the opening of the half-billion-dollar city-owned Omni Convention Center Hotel in 2010 (one of the primary justifications for building the hotel was that it would drive more business to the convention center and stop its losses). Some of the most interesting observations, however, came from reader comments to my post. Former city council member and the executive director of the Dallas Arts District, Veletta Lill, made the following observations:

Read More

Family Visit to Dallas Results in Nightmarish Vision of Roving Gang of Pegasuses

Travel blogger Kari Haugeto writes today on the Huffington Post site about her recent family trip to Dallas. She’s complimentary of our city’s friendliness, skyline, decorative sidewalks, and walkability. (Yes, really: “Dallas is a walking city.”)

Granted, her trip was confined almost exclusively to downtown, aside from a jaunt out to the Texas Horse Park. Which also explains why she devotes a good amount of attention to our local fascination with the Pegasus, including the nightmarish photo illustration that her family composed (seen above).

You know, the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s campaign of setting up giant “B”s and “G”s for folks to pose for photos with is pretty well played out. I suggest they begin building giant, demon-eyed winged horses to stand beneath as the creatures glower down menacingly.

Read More

All Clichés Are Bigger in Texas Award Nominee: Kiwi Edition

Stuff, a news and entertainment website in New Zealand, offers its readers tips for visiting Texas:

All the stereotypes you associate with Texas are typically accurate: cowboy hats, cowboy boots, conservative, Republican, meat lovers – with one exception, Austin. In sharp contrast to the rest of the state, this city boasts one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States, many of whom are more “alternate” in their habits and include a stack of vegetarians.

Do they mean “alternative”? And how many vegetarians constitutes a stack?

Then there’s this:

Texans rarely walk anywhere. Neither do they all drive “pick-ups” or utes (Austin, in fact, has a lot of Smart cars). It’s rare to see someone taking a stroll, and they will insist you don’t either.

Yep, they nailed us.

 

Jordan Spieth Is Going To Bankrupt the Morning News

There was an interesting story on Poynter last week about how the Morning News covers golf. Faced with a shrinking travel budget, the paper didn’t send golf writer Bill Nichols to the Masters. Well, we know what happened there. Jordan Spieth happened. So the paper sucked it up and sent Nichols to cover the U.S. Open. The Poynter story posed an interesting question:

Will the Morning News staff the British Open at St. Andrews if Spieth wins the U.S. Open? The answer should be yes given the hype for him going into that tournament. However, the expense of sending a reporter for a week in Scotland could make the U.S. Open trip seem like small change.

I can confirm that the paper will send Nichols to the British Open. My source? Our own Nancy Nichols, who happens to be one of Bill’s sisters and who is right now teaching Bill how to get his passport expedited.

Ron Kirk Joins Company That Wants to Bring High Speed Rail to Dallas

Former Dallas Mayor and former U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk is now a senior advisor to Texas Central Railway, the private company that hopes to bring high speed rail to Texas. The news comes via a statement Kirk posted on the company’s website:

I have seen just about all of the high-speed rail systems throughout Europe and Asia, and the competitive part of me feels that if the rest of the world can do this, why can’t we right here in the United States? This along with the practical attraction to having an alternative transportation mode between two of the fastest growing economic zones in the country sparked my interest and compelled me to join the Texas Central Railway team.

Read More

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.

Read More

Do Southwest Airlines’ Nice-Guy Tactics Cost It Millions of Dollars in Profit?

Ryanair is famous for its extremely cheap fares accompanied by exorbitant fees, like charging $115 to print your boarding pass for you. The airline even once proposed charging passengers to use the onboard toilet. By contrast, Southwest has resisted the industry trend to charge bag fees. Ryanair’s profits last year were 40% higher than Southwest’s. Says travel-planning website Flightfox:

In the league that Ryanair plays in, Southwest is simply too nice. Southwest maintains wholesome traditional values that when added together, end up costing them millions.

Read More

Spirit Airlines Flight from DFW Explodes, Lands Safely

A Tuesday flight from Atlanta to DFW Airport from DFW, headed to Atlanta, had an “emergency situation” that this reporter describes as an engine exploding. The flight returned to the airport and landed safely, but before that passengers were texting loved ones (and filming without turning their phones sideways). Part of one message read, “…I love […]

Read More

Abbott, Holder Team Up, Ctd.

Over at KRLD-AM (1080), our pal David Johnson landed an interview with former American Airlines chairman Bob Crandall about today’s developments. (The interview can be heard in full this evening at 6:20 on David’s CEO Spotlight program.) The always-outspoken Crandall told Johnson he was surprised by news that the Justice Department would attempt to block […]

Read More

Abbott, Holder Team Up to Bash Airline Merger

Attorney General Greg Abbott, who’s running for governor, ought to be looking over his shoulder in North Texas, now that he’s made the bone-headed move of trying to help Eric Holder’s Justice Department deep-six the American Airlines/US Airways merger. Abbott, who must believe he’s bullet-proof among Republican primary voters, claims to be looking out for […]

Read More