Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fort Worth's Make Believe Multi-Purpose Arena Election Has Me Perplexed

No, this is not another of my ongoing series of bloggings about bridges built in around four years in my continuing quest to understand why Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's Three Bridges Over Nothing are projected to take four years to build.

However, since the subject of those Three Bridges Over Nothing has been brought up I might as well mention that the cable stayed bridge you see here, known as the SR 509 Bridge, opened to traffic on January 22, 1997 and took less than four years to build. And, as you can see, this bridge is over water, that being the Theo Foss Waterway.

What this blogging is about is that multi-purpose arena that you see above, looking as if it is sitting on the deck of the SR 509 Bridge.

That multi-purpose arena is known as the Tacoma Dome.

In 1968 King County voters approved a $40 million municipal bond issue to build a new stadium. Construction began in 1972 and opened as the Kingdome in 1976.

Four years later.

Whilst a new stadium was being built in Seattle, civic minded sorts in Tacoma had long been campaigning for a multi-purpose arena to be built in Tacoma. This brought about a campaign with the slogan "A Dome of Our Own". In 1980 a $28 million bond proposal passed with 70% approval. And thus the Tacoma Dome came to be. And still exists, unlike the long gone Kingdome.

Meanwhile in the little town of Fort Worth civic minded sorts have put together a scheme to build Fort Worth a new multi-purpose arena. I blogged about this a couple days ago in a blogging titled Betsy Price Thinks A New Arena Is Definitely Fort Worth It after I found an election advertisement in my mailbox.

Now, while the voters of Tacoma were allowed to vote on whether or not to fund and build the Tacoma Dome, what is purported to be a Multi-Purpose Arena Election here in Fort Worth is not an election of the sort that takes places in towns where the voters actually get to vote on things, like public works projects.

In this upcoming arena "election" voters are voting on three propositions, with each of those propositions asking voters to approve a tax, as in a tax of $1 to $2 a day on livestock stalls, a tax of 10% on event tickets and a tax of $5 per vehicle tacked on to the parking fee.

Why would these "taxes" require a vote? And what does voting on these "taxes" have to do with electing to build an arena?

In the aforementioned "election" mailing under the heading ONLY USERS & VISITORS PAY FOR IT we learn "No property taxes will be used to build or maintain the proposed new arena. Instead, voters are being asked to approve three propositions for user fees (referred to as "taxes" in the ballot language) on parking, tickets and use of stalls/pens for livestock. Public funding will also come from other sources generated by tourism within 3 miles around the new arena."

So, why are the voters not being asked to approve of this "public funding" that comes from other sources within 3 miles of the new arena?

You reading this in parts of America where you have voted on something like a new arena, have you ever seen ballot measures this goofy before? It is sort of embarrassing, or so it seems to me.

The locals have a saying for this type goofiness, as in "It's the Fort Worth Way." As in an oligarchy runs this town, which some refer to as the Good Ol' Boy Network. Decisions to foist things on the public like the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, and this new arena, are made without voter input.

These three ballot propositions having voters vote on three taxes seems sort of insulting to the voters, to me, as if the Good Ol' Boy Network thinks the voters are collectively dumb and thus fooled into thinking they are making a voting choice about the building of a new arena, when that decision to build that new arena has already been made, with no public vote having taken place.

So, what happens if all three of these propositions gets a resounding NO? I suspect nothing will happen. The taxes will get tacked on anyway, somehow altered so as to seem above board and not contradicting the NO vote. Like maybe the "tax" on a livestock stall will be $3 to $4 after the voters said no to a livestock stall "tax" of $1 to $2.

What perplexes me most is why Fort Worth's voters put up with this type stuff?

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