By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
According to several city officials, the Cowboys' proposal likely will reduce the Smirnoff to a parking lot, which is no great loss as far as Buzz is concerned. Hell is cooler in the summer. According to Paul Dyer, director of the city's Park and Recreation Department, the city's lease with House of Blues, which operates the Smirnoff, runs out in 2009, around the same time Jones hopes to open his new stadium. Demolishing the Smirnoff "is something to consider," Dyer says.
Smirnoff officials directed calls to House of Blues execs, who didn't return phone calls. But should the Cowboys wind up at Fair Park, some of the concerts that go to the Smirnoff might move to the American Airlines Center; some might even go into the new Cowboys stadium, where the money would be kept by the team, according to the Cowboys' proposal to the county. But no Smirnoff means no money going to the South Dallas trust fund, which collects 15 cents for every ticket sold--some $40,000 annually. Councilman Leo Chaney, who represents the area, says the Smirnoff also provides some $110,000 in additional money to the area in grants and contributions. "So I need to replace $150,000 a year, and it is going to be replaced," insists Chaney, a proponent of the Cowboys' relocation to Fair Park. "The Cowboys are going to develop real strong community relations with those neighborhoods south of downtown. The question is not loss but how it's going to be replaced, assuming the Smirnoff lease is not renewed."
That sounded like a good ol' newspaper war to Buzz, which is something Halbreich might know about. He was once president of the Morning News and was with the company when it shuttered the Dallas Times Herald. Surely there were a few rabbit punches thrown in that fight, we suggested. No, Halbreich says. That battle was fought over who had the best paper, none of the dirty stuff, none of the screwing with the advertisers.
Buzz suspects some old Times Herald staffers might beg to differ. And, of course, the Morning News insists that its hands are equally clean in regard to AMJE's death. "I don't think that Jeremy's comments even justify a response," News Publisher Jim Moroney says.