Wednesday, April 22, 2009
While the hotel vote - Prop. 1 - has been getting most of the press, Prop. 2 is equally important in many ways. Now, I don't mean for this to be a long post, but I did want to point a few of those ways out, and also why I think it was able to get enough signatures to be added to the ballot. Whether unions were behind its genesis or not, a lot of people signed this because the signature gatherers - I know, because I was approached by five, at least - presented it as an extension of the hotel issue. People all het up about the fact that the city decided to spend millions on a hotel that may or may not bring money to the city and may or may not lose money for the city were more than happy to sign something that would mean the city couldn't spend their tax money on such gestures again without taxpayer approval. At least, that's how it was presented to me. Every time. But Prop. 2 isn't just about the hotel. This hotel. The one everyone's got an opinion on. It's about slowing city business down to a halt every time they want to offer incentives to a developer to help revitalize downtown. Some incentives are good for bringing life to forgotten areas of Dallas. For instance - and this is just off the top of my head - wasn't the Urban Market born in part with city incentives and subsidies? Maybe this would have more relevance if it was a higher number, I don't know. But $1 million? That's the equivalent of not being able to write a check for more than $1o without your spouse's approval. In other words, and to be completely blunt, a colossal pain in the pants. To me, making sure my tax money is spent wisely is the job of the city councilperson. Don't like how your city councilperson voted on things? Vote a new one in, and encourage others to do so as well. Don't like how your mayor runs things? Vote in a new one, and encourage others to do so as well. That, my friends, is the provision already in place to combat the reasons behind Prop. 1 and Prop. 2. And sometimes, it works rather well. Much better than having the city ask my permission to write a check for more than $1 millon. One more thing, thought of on my way to work: If I were (and I'm not saying which side I fall on) in favor the hotel, and if I were (and I'm definitely not, don't have the hands for it) the mayor who brought it up and is championing it, the fact that there is enough hate for this hotel to essentially generate two referendums would give me pause. One, sure. Two? Maybe people really don't like this.