Allison, I Know This World is Killing You
Before D Magazine publisher Wick Allison writes his monthly publisher's column, he might want to, oh, I don't know, read his own magazine. In the March issue, Allison goes through his weary routine of comforting the comfortable by lamenting that City Hall has an anti-business attitude:
"City Hall has thrown up barricades of zoning regulations, ordinances, and permits whose purpose is to make doing business in Dallas as onerous as possible. Ask any developer—and I mean any developer—and he will tell you that Dallas is the most difficult municipal government he's ever worked with."
But D Magazine's Paul Kix, who wrote the cover story on residential real estate in the Dallas area, doesn't seem to adhere to Allison's manifesto of a meddlesome City Hall that thwarts the persecuted developer class at every opportunity:
"Well, for one thing, we are bound by nothing in Dallas. Not an ocean nor a mountain range nor, for that matter, red tape."
Kix also quoted a economist for the National Association of Realtors, who would seem to have a rather authoritative view on how developers in Dallas fared when compared to their peers in other cities.
"'On the coasts, there's a lot of restraints related to sprawl.' But in Dallas, he says, there's none of that. If we want to build, we build."
Gosh, imagine if City Hall didn't make life so tough for builders.
A few pages after Allison's lament, in a story titled "The Sound of Money," reporter Trey Garrison provides a harrowing glimpse of the how the real estate market is faring thanks to the arbitrary whims of City Hall.
"Dallas is awash in capital from institutional investors and pension funds, each of them snapping up commercial real estate with a zeal, and at a notable expense, unseen in recent years."
In fact things are so bad that:
"People in real estate like what they're seeing."
Interesting, and what exactly do they see?
"Cranes frame the downtown, Uptown, and North Dallas skylines."
Yes, but surely, those obstructionists at City Hall will impede the will of the free market with their inscrutable rules and regulations whose purpose is--say it with me now--to make doing business in Dallas as onerous as possible.
"We're in the midst of an expansion that is getting louder every day."
OK, then. There's a larger issue here besides Allison's preference for the lazy anecdotes of his Park City friends over the work of his own reporters, and that's his na�ve belief in business as an inherently benevolent agent of progress. In Allison's world, where he seems to regard himself as the waterboy-in-chief for the local business community, City Hall exists to help rich people in North Dallas because what's good for them is good for Dallas as a whole . But we've learned over the past few months in particular that Allison's trickle-down view of local economics trickles down, all right, in the form of massive liabilities. If Wick's not going to read his own publication, maybe he should give ours a shot. —Matt Pulle
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.