Saturday, May 9, 2009

Finally, An Answer

Today, in about three hours or so, this whole Vote No/RIP Dallas/Vote Yes/Enough is Enough stuff will be over. At this point, the polls close in about an hour and a half. Early voting places I talked to said the pace was brisk and steady. Today, most news accounts say polling places are reporting steady, but hardly brisk, voting. A drive around the city sees some polling places with nothing but Vote No signs, some with a mix of Vote No and Vote Yes, and some with mostly Vote Yes and one or two Vote No. The television ads have boiled Prop 1 down to a fight between a rich guy and the mayor. But right now, the answer to which camp will prevail is still very much up in the air. As the whole thing winds down to a close, I have just a few thoughts: If I was forced to choose between the a Yes on Prop 1 and Yes on Prop 2 outcome versus a No on Prop 1 and a No on Prop 2 outcome, I'd choose the latter. Although it didn't get as much attention, Prop 2 is by far the most dangerous thing on the ballot. Cities have overcome failed ventures before and lived to tell about it. If the hotel comes to pass, and then later doesn't live up to the illustrious predictions for its potential, yes, taxpayer money will be involved. Bonds will build the hotel, but bonds must be repaid eventually, and if the hotel isn't making a profit when those bonds mature, the money has to come from somewhere. That may be my very long ago Econ 1 talking, though. But Dallas could survive that. And the hotel will probably benefit from its proximity to the convention center, but the convention center will need to benefit from its proximity to after hours entertainment and destinations. Right now, that is lacking in the downtown area. We may have conventions for 2012, 2013 or even 2015, but once word gets back about attendee dissatisfaction with the venues available after the conventions close each night may very well hamstring us from bringing more business later on. But Prop 2? Prop 2 grinds city business to a halt. While I appreciate the sentiment - and as I said before, I think the fact that essentially there is enough vitriol regarding this hotel that there are pretty much two referendums against it should be a wake-up call - I think the threshold for accountability - $1 million - is far too low. So I'm starting this open thread to give everyone a place to react to today's outcome. Have at it.