Thursday, September 30, 2010

ZAP! #25 from the CCR

Are You a Rational Thinker or a Lemming?

The staff of the CCR and some DMN bloggers have been fading heat and flack from the Kool-Aid-drinking lemmings of the Rah-Rah Squad and Lubbock Mafia regarding our position on the voodoo financing of the city’s proposed $250 million Entertainment Center. That’s okay. We are all big boys in this discussion. (And while not germane to the argument, the staff of the CCR would match their prior community service commitment credentials with any critic.)

To the issue at hand. The purpose of the Entertainment Center lawsuit is not political as some would have you believe. The issue is the financing of a $250 million project that cannot pass muster without one believing in the tooth fairy. Supporters of the Entertainment Center rely on attacking critics of the project instead of defending the funding sham being perpetrated on Irving tax payers. Labeling the opposition as anti-Irving or anti-progress, proponents can only spin colossal feel-good adjectives on how nice this facility would be for the community. Thus, they avoid mentioning the financial scheme proposed to fund the project.

While many could disagree with the CCR’s prior writings regarding the project, the fact remains that many unanswered questions still drift in the breeze. Simply stated, the CCR readership doesn’t want a lot of spin or legal mumbo-jumbo. They desire clear and concise statements as to what is actually going on. And with that in mind, here are a few questions we would like to see answered or resolved.

Why doesn’t the city really want to release the feasibility study conducted that details the financing of this project?

Should it take this long for the city’s hired consultants to “polish” a few words and release the report?

Why hasn’t the city’s bond underwriter approved the voodoo financing proposal as developed by the city?

Are they somewhat leery of the methods utilized by the city to fund this beast?

Would some of the verbally crafted responses given in court by city staffers -- in support of the project -- tip the O’Reilly spin zone meter?

Will tax payers be in jeopardy by having to fund a portion of the ICVB budget, since their bond repayment projections for the convention center included hotels that have failed to materialize?

Isn’t the ICVB pledge of hotel/motel tax revenues for the Entertainment Center as a fall back position already committed to their own bond repayments? Would Bernie Madoff like to have a piece of this financing action?

Why isn’t there a line of folks who want to fund Billy Bob’s $50 million portion of this deal? Better yet, why is his stake in the project so lean if this is such a money making deal?

Does anyone really believe that the twelve concert boxes in the Entertainment Center -- that have been designated as “hotel rooms” -- really pass the smell test for classifying this entire building as a hotel? Will “guest” ($2,000 - $5,000/night) need to call Bubba in maintenance for room service and ice? Will Juan, the groundskeeper, be in charge of valet parking? Should one assume that Candy, who might be standing on the corner of Las Colinas Blvd., is acting as the concierge or room hooker booker? 

If the Entertainment Center qualifies as a hotel, then could it be assumed that the city doesn’t need to go through the financing trauma of building another real hotel on the site.

Considering the national economic conditions, increases in tax rates from every taxing authority in Irving and the sheer folly of the financing model the city has developed, is this really the time to put an $250 million economic-elephant’s nose under the tax payer’s tent?

To recap. The lawsuit for funding the Entertainment Center is not about politics. It will make little difference who is mayor or on the council down the road if this project goes forward and the proposed bond financing is approved. The die would be cast and the city would be dangling from the hook. Maybe that should be rephrased... taxpayers would be on the hook for a failed voodoo financed project that will only benefit those who have a pecuniary interest in the project.

And quite frankly, many are tired of having their pecuniary interest in the city handed over to greedy developers.