Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Fort Worth City Council RadioShack Prostitution Debacle

You are standing on the Trinity Trail, next to the Trinity River, looking west under Fort Worth's Main Street Bridge at RadioShack's defunct corporate headquarters.

Eight years ago Fort Worth's City Council approved a RadioShack incentive package worth up to $96 million over a 30 year period. This generosity was supposed to help RadioShack afford its new headquarters and to keep the company in Fort Worth.

Yesterday, Fort Worth's City Council approved an additional $10.7 million in tax rebates, to keep RadioShack in town.

RadioShack had been threatening to relocate and claimed it was exploring offers from other towns.

Yeah, right. That is believable.

What other town would want RadioShack, if it required prostituting itself to acquire the failing company as a hometown business?

In an unusual development, 3 of the 9 City Council members, Kathleen Hicks, Jungus Jordan and W.B. "Zim" Zimmerman, voted against the Ruling Oligarchy and against the RadioShack tax rebate.

What with all RadioShack has cost Fort Worth, I do not understand why Fort Worth does not ardently encourage the company to hightail it out of town. Because of RadioShack we lost those big, free parking lots that made going to downtown Fort Worth so nice and easy. And we lost the world's shortest subway, also free to use, to take you from those parking lots to the heart of downtown Fort Worth.

And what did Fort Worth get in return? Short version. Yet one more massive, embarrassing boondoggle. And in the end, even with the help from Fort Worth, Radio Shack could not afford its new headquarters. The building is now, primarily, a campus for Tarrant County College.

And this boondoggle is now being rewarded with $10.7 million in tax rebates.

Hasn't RadioShack done enough damage to Fort Worth?

Why the desperation to keep this extremely poorly performing company in town?

The only other urban area I have lived in is the Seattle metropolitan area. The Seattle area is home to many large corporations. I do not recollect Fort Worth style prostitution being practiced in the Seattle metropolitan area to service various corporations.

The Microsoft campus in Redmond makes the RadioShack headquarters look tiny. I don't recollect Microsoft blackmailing Redmond for any concessions. Maybe this occurred but did not cross my radar screen.

Costco is headquartered in Kirkland. I don't recollect Costco having any RadioShack style hissy fits to get tax breaks.

Amazon is located in Seattle. In a fairly large building. I don't recollect Amazon threatening to leave if Seattle did not do its bidding.

Boeing moved its corporate headquarters from Seattle to Chicago. I don't recollect this move being the result of Seattle saying no to some Boeing demand. The planes remain being built, for the most part, in the Seattle area.

So, I really think Fort Worth needs to grow up and quit prostituting itself anytime a business deigns to consider Fort Worth its home. The Cabela's con debacle comes to mind. Would it not be refreshing if the Fort Worth Star-Telegram investigated how other towns reacted to Cabela's concession demands? It might be eye opening for the locals.

Bottom line, I think the Fort Worth City Council needs to reconsider this latest extension of one of its worst boondoggles. Retract the rebate and advise RadioShack to be careful not to let the door slam it on its butt on its way out of town.

RadioShack has done enough damage to Fort Worth.

1 comment:

Steve A said...

Boeing has and continues to move things out of the Pacific Northwest as a direct result of its treatment by the locals. The latest symptom is Boeing locating its first-ever production line outside of the Seattle area - to South Carolina. I recall, after they built the 777 addition to the Everett plant, several Boeing managers swearing that after THAT experience, that they'd never add more facilities in the Northwest again. And they haven't.

That being said, I fully agree that the Radio Shack affair is not something Fort Worth ought to brag about and, what's more, the shameful act will not keep Radio Shack if they later decide it is in their corporate interest to move.