Angela Hunt's been hearing it from supporters who've wondered in recent weeks why she shifted gears so suddenly on the convention center hotel. Once among the most vocal opponents of the city owning a hotel, she was among the council members who voted unanimously last week to fund the project with a bond issuance of up to $514 million. Hence, her blog item this morning explaining her reasons for now supporting the project.
She writes, in part:
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I did not, and do not, think that Dallas should wholly own a convention center hotel. After examining this issue very closely for more than a year, I still believe Dallas should have subsidized a privately-owned hotel, and that a private company should have borne the financial risk. As it stands, if the hotel fails, taxpayers would ultimately be responsible for the debt. I remain unconvinced that city consultant HVS's overly optimistic financial projections will prove true.
However, Dallas voters assessed this risk when they voted on May 9. They (narrowly) approved city-ownership of the hotel. In the end, it is their money and their decision. So when it came time to authorize the bonds, I felt my obligation was to approve the authorization IF there were sufficient protections in place for taxpayers (my responsibility to the 49% who voted against city-ownership of the hotel).