Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fort Worth is the Envy of the World

Today's blogging is totally Texas oriented, so don't read on if Texas bores you, do read on if you are among the many who are amused by stupid Texas stuff.

First off, we had another storm blow through north Texas last night. It was a bad one, and, unlike last week's storm this one generated at least one twister. That did no damage. But, oddly, unlike a week ago, last night's storm did not cause all the local TV stations to go to non-stop, all night, ruin prime time, arm waving, alarmist Weather Drama Queen Mode. I only had the TV on from 8 til 9. During that time the show I was watching had no interruptions. During a commercial I channel chased and I did see that annoying ABC Channel 8 Weather Guy in full arm waving mode. I don't know if they were interrupting regular programming.

So, unlike the storm of a week ago that pre-empted all programming, last night's storm was bad enough that I lost power about 10pm.

If I harbored delusions of grandeur I would think that my last week's making fun of the ridiculous local weather coverage wised someone up. Sadly I don't think it is possible to wise anyone up. It would be interesting to hear an explanation as to why a week ago they acted like the Nazis had just started a Blitzkrieg across the Oklahoma border and then a week later they treated a similar storm as if it was just doddery Aunt Fanny coming for an unexpected visit.

Speaking of harboring delusions that one can change things. I'd deluded myself into believing that my making fun of that embarrassing local paper I continue to buy, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, had caused them to cease with their embarrassing verbiage along the line of this that or the other thing in Fort Worth is causing cities, towns and people far and wide to be green with envy.

I swear that verbiage used to crop up at least once a month. I don't think I'd seen it in over a year. Til this morning. Oh, the aching pain to realize I had not caused them to fix this embarrassment.

The embarrassing verbiage resurfaced in an editorial about Fort Worth being the only big city in America without a plan to deal with its homeless population. That's a photo of a homeless person above. I took that in Fort Worth's Water Gardens. That's right next to Fort Worth's Convention Center where few conventions take place. Perhaps the homeless people are not seen as attractive by convention bookers.

So, here are a few sentences from this morning's stupid editorial:

"Fort Worthians love to think their community is unique among big U.S. cities. And it is. Local downtown revitalization is a case study for municipal leaders nationwide. The cooperative, progressive elected leadership found here is the envy of cities that are beset with political and racial divisiveness."

First off, why do Fort Worthians love to think their community is unique? Why would they think that? Have they not been to any other cities? How does the Star-Telegram know what Fort Worthians think? I know a few Fort Worthians and I've heard many of them verbalize being rather appalled by many things in Fort Worth. Of course, they are Fort Worthians who have actually been to other cities.

What other major city in America would allow a park in its downtown celebrating its heritage to be boarded up and closed off by cyclone fencing. Rather than fixing what is wrong with it?

Fort Worth's downtown revitalization is a case study for leaders nationwide? Huh? What city has sent anyone to Fort Worth to study Fort Worth's downtown? As I understand it in the early 1980's downtown Fort Worth was a ghost town. It was the only major American city without a single modern skyscraper. Then some local billionaires, the Bass Family, bought up some downtown land and turned it into parking lots. And called the parking lots Sundance Square. Some restaurants opened. And a movie theater. And a performance hall. There is still not a single department store in downtown Fort Worth. Unlike no other major city in America there is no Macy's, Nordstroms, not even a Dallas-based Neiman Marcus. There isn't even a Sears store.

And yet there is this bizarre slapping themselves on the back thing that the Star-Telegram does regarding Fort Worth's very very mediocre attributes. The best example of Fort Worth's reality is what happens on the day after Thanksgiving. The busiest shopping day of the year. Downtown Fort Worth is a ghost town on that day. Why? Because the city that is the envy of others has few places to shop.

Can the Star-Telegram please name the cities that envy Fort Worth? The only big city I've ever been to with a deader downtown than Fort Worth is Tulsa, Oklahoma. Ironically I was at a convention in their very nice convention center, that, apparently, unlike Fort Worth's, is frequently used. It even has a large hotel attached to it that, unlike Fort Worth, they did not have to provide tax incentives in order to get someone to build a hotel. And though downtown Tulsa was not very lively it looked real nice, with a wide pedestrian walkway connecting the convention center to the downtown core. I was there on a Sunday. A lot of towns are pretty dead on Sundays.

Maybe the Star-Telegram should send a reporter to some other cities that really are both vital and revitalizing. Geez, just drive east 30 miles and see all those construction cranes all over downtown Dallas. Visit the downtowns of Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Denver, San Diego, Chicago, Boise, Salt Lake City, Phoenix or even Oklahoma City and San Antonio and you'll see very vital, booming, growing downtowns with downtown residential buildings being added.

Nothing happens or is happening in Fort Worth that hasn't already happened elsewhere. For any city to envy Fort Worth Fort Worth would have to be trendy, would have to be doing something someone else isn't already doing. The Star-Telegram needs to knock off their phony transparent civic boosting. Fort Worth is a perfectly nice town. Quit pretending it's something it's not.

I've been annoyed about this paper's propaganda ever since they lied about a very lame downtown Fort Worth development, a meager little food court type thing that would have been lame in a small mall in a small town, but which the Star-Telegram claimed over and over and over again that it was the first public market in Texas, modeled after Seattle's Pike Place Market and markets in Europe. Of course, when it opened I wasted gas driving to see this thing, with high expectations due to the Star-Telegram's lies. It did not take long for the Sante Fe Rail Market to fail. Ironically, little Tacoma has a similar thing called Freighthouse Square, also by a transit train hub, opened about the same time. It's still open. Because it isn't lame. Because someone who knew what they were doing designed it. The Tacoma Tribune didn't tell its readers that Freighthouse Square was the first public market in Washington and that it was modeled after Pike Place Market. Because the Tribune knows its readers aren't morons. Even my old hometown of Mount Vernon, population less than 30,000, has a successful market type thing by it's downtown transportation hub.

Methinks, in a classic case of transference, it is Fort Worth that envies other places. What does a Fort Worthian think when they see something like Pike Place and remembers their Sante Fe Rail Market? Or when they see little Mount Vernon did it better than they did? Or when they see an actual place that does resemble Pike Place, that being the Dallas Farmers Market. Does this cause envy? Fort Worth is sort of like a homely girl who goes about saying everyone envies her because she's so pretty, when the sad reality is that the poor deluded girl is envious of just about everyone she sees because she's painfully aware she ain't the beauty she pretends to be. But a good makeover job would really help. Same is true with Fort Worth. Start with fixing Heritage Park. Then finally do something with Lancaster. You really think you're gonna get conventions with that mess by the Convention Center? Then, please, I beg you, clean up and landscape the freeway exits to the Stockyards. They are not worthy of a big city's exits to its most popular tourist attraction. Visit some other places and see what they do with their freeway exits. Go here and scroll down and you'll see my photos comparing the Stockyards exits to the freeway exits to little Mount Vernon in Washington. You'd think Mount Vernon was the big city and Fort Worth wasn't. Be warned if you are a Fort Worthian, the photos of Mount Vernon may make you green with envy.

1 comment:

Steve in Fort Worth said...

Why do you keep buying that paper? I don't know why you'd trust anything you read in it. I liked your photos comparing the Fort Worth freeway exits to the one in Washington.