By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
How much is 20 million bucks? Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced last week he is putting together a $20 million private investment fund to spur economic activity in the city's beleaguered southern half.
So, how much is that? What does 20 million bucks buy for you these days?
I have no idea. It's not an amount that would play an important part in my personal life, had I a personal life. In fact, to have any sort of feel for $20 million, I have to resort to that lame substitute I engage in instead of a personal life — reporting.
I looked it up. If somebody gave you $20 million, what would it buy you? As usual, I found some bad news. I always go for that first. But then I found some good news. I think. I'll let you be the judge on that.
The bad: I'm very sorry, but if $20 million is all you have, you do not have enough for:
The home of real-estate tycoon Harlan Crow on Preston Road in Highland Park. According to the county appraisal district, that would cost you $24 million. And the appraisal district, I should warn, is usually way low on its estimates of values of high-dollar residential properties.
Now, right next door there's another very nice place, the home of John R. Muse, founder and chairman of HM Capital Partners LLC. You can't have that either. According to the appraisal district, you'd need $30 million for that one.
There are a couple more houses right in that stretch of road in Highland Park that you can't afford, valued at about $22 million each. But enough. Let's be upbeat. Let's talk about what you can afford.
As it happens, that particular figure — $20 million — has been in the news quite a bit recently. To give you an idea what $20 million is worth these days, here is a list of stories I found about things valued at that amount. Twenty million dollars is the:
Cost of restoring the stucco exterior, elevators and other elements of the Albuquerque Convention Center in New Mexico.
Amount Dallas Area Rapid Transit spent on a new headquarters for transit police, opened this year.
Size of the projected shortfall in next year's budget for Dallas County.
Cost of a new "event center" and restoration of the existing convention center in Enid, Oklahoma, a city of 50,000 approximately 100 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.
Amount oil heiress Lyda Hill, a granddaughter of H.L. Hunt, pledged this year to Hockaday, a private girl's school in Dallas.
Amount Aerosmith's Steven Tyler says he has blown on drugs. Tyler told People magazine recently, "I snorted my Porsche. I snorted my plane. I snorted my house."
Amount the Association of Belltel Retirees claims Verizon secretly paid former Chief Executive Officer Ivan Seidenberg in 2009 and 2010, above his $18 million annual publicly disclosed compensation.
Amount New York millionaire Ed Bazinet spent on online tchotchkes two weeks ago during what doctors later called a "manic episode," after which Bazinet was hospitalized.
Reported cost of Kim Kardashian's second wedding.
Half to two-thirds of recent annual gross national products of the Polynesian island kingdom of Tuvalu.
Cost of fireworks display at 2008 opening of Atlantis Hotel in Dubai.
Cost of about 300 median-priced houses in Detroit.
Annual salary from 2015 to 2019 of Colorado Rockies baseball player Troy Tulowitzki.
Amount of gift Paul and Donna ("Muffy") Christen bestowed this year on the South Dakota Community Foundation.
Common net worth of large drug rings ($20 million and up per ring) operating in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area of southeastern Virginia, according to federal and state authorities. The metropolitan area has a population of 1.7 million.
Amount pledged for youth scholarships this year by largest beer distributor in Fort Pierce, Florida.
Average cost of finding, tracking, apprehending or "taking out" a single terrorist in U.S. war on terror, according to former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair.
Cost of modernizing the seats and sound system in Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon, along with new glass atrium linking to Antoinette Hatfield Theater.
Cost of needed street repairs in Yakima, a city of 75,000 in central Washington.
Amount of recent property tax assessment in Islamorada, Florida, to pay for new village wastewater system. Islamorada is a community of 6,500 in the Florida Keys.
Average annual television revenue per school in the Big Ten conference.
Amount of federal grant money available for bicycle and pedestrian transportation projects in Indiana.
Amount Bulawayo City, second largest city in Zimbabwe, needs for a new "water reticulation" system. Bulawayo City is a city of 70,000 in central Zimbabwe. Water reticulation is pipes.
Amount the Michigan Film Office offered to Marvel Studios as incentive to film Iron Man 3 in Michigan. North Carolina offered the same. Marvel went to North Carolina.
Amount the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development loaned to Kazakhstan to "strengthen national statistical infrastructure." No idea what that means.
Bail set by Hong Kong authorities for Feng Shui master Tony Chan Chun-chuen, after he was charged with forging a will in his epic probate battle for the multibillion dollar fortune of the late businesswoman Nina Wang King Yu-sum.
Amount of Bank of Beirut's net profit in first quarter of 2011. No explanation for why it took a year to report.
From the article: "The home of real-estate tycoon Harlan Crow on Preston Road in Highland Park. According to the county appraisal district, that would cost you $24 million. And the appraisal district, I should warn, is usually way low on its estimates of values of high-dollar residential properties.Now, right next door there's another very nice place, the home of John R. Muse, founder and chairman of HM Capital Partners LLC. You can't have that either. According to the appraisal district, you'd need $30 million for that one.
There are a couple more houses right in that stretch of road in Highland Park that you can't afford, valued at about $22 million each. But enough. Let's be upbeat. Let's talk about what you can afford."
Oh my we can’t expect rich people to pay THEIR property taxes like the rest of us. NOOOOOO they have to have a break-it is like the late Leona Helmsly said once “only poor people pay taxes”. The DCAD has raised the value on my home every XXcking year over the limit while the McMansion next door sold last year for 1.7 Million and is on the tax records as 1.1 Million.
Yep it is up to those in modest homes to finance the shenanigans of our local governments (county, city and DISD).
The Mayor's plan for South Dallas is a joke. $20 Million? C'mon Mayor, that's pocket change for you guys at the Dallas Citizen's Council. With about 500,000 people living in South Dallas, give each of them $4 (couldn't even buy lunch at McDonald's or Pizza Hut) and call it a day.
Another Mayor's plan for South Dallas thrown onto the stack at City Hall.
Learn the proper way to dispute appraisals and you can keep them from raising your value so much. I've successfully fought three increases.
I have experience in this-do you? The DCAD has more smoke and mirrors than one can imagine. It is like Alice in Wonderland down there with the only aim at keeping appraisals high. I had one junior appraiser tell me when I asked for the DCAD comparables that they used to justify their value “what do you want me to do? Give you information to fight our valuation?” Well yes they are required by law to do so. I have heard others say that the only way to make head way is to hire some one (a professional) because they will not listen to you otherwise. Indeed several neighbors have temporarily put theirs homes on the market so they can tell DCAD that their home was not selling for the price that they had pegged it at.