The Dallas Morning News says in an editorial today that voters should support a half-billion-dollar taxpayer-owned hotel downtown near the convention center and reject a ballot proposal next May that would stop the city from building it. The News says people shouldn't worry about whether we're headed into a economic depression and should just go ahead and vote for the hotel no matter what.
"Despite an uncertain economy, Dallas is making the best decision in moving forward with plans to finance a $525 million, city-owned convention center hotel," the editorial assures.
I say they're absolutely within their rights over there to pimp this hotel in any way they can think of. I would feel better as a taxpayer, however, if they would include a little disclaimer about their own agenda in this matter. I just looked again at the map on the Dallas Central Appraisal District Web site: Belo-owned properties are two blocks deep on two adjacent borders of the lot where the city would build a hotel.
After the jump, I am offering some proposed wording that's probably not quite right, but they could massage it over there and get it into a form they could live with.
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I just wish when they wrote about this stuff they would include something to this effect:
In the interest of fairness and full disclosure and to avoid any appearance of wildly hypocritical self-dealing or deliberate deceptiveness, we must inform you of our own self-interest in this matter. In particular, the proposed hotel development and its effect on surrounding land values will have an immediate and important positive effect on major real estate assets owned by this company at a time of extreme financial duress in our core industry, the boring monopoly daily newspaper business.
Various entities related to the ownership of the Dallas Morning News - Belo Corp., A.H. Belo, Blah Blah Belo -- own property adjacent to and virtually ringing the property where this hotel would be built. Putting a new hotel on the proposed site would have a huge positive effect on our own ability to sell or borrow against the large amount of property we own in the surrounding blocks.
We wouldn't want to hide, obfuscate or talk around this fact in any way, because we wouldn't want you to confuse our important and lofty role in local matters with the behavior of some guy on the back bench of the bus trying to get you to bet on which walnut shell he's got the pea under.
Maybe everybody already knows that stuff about Belo and its property, but even if they do it's still sort of a respect thing. By not making any effort at declaring its own enormous self-interest, The News's editorial page comes across like the guy who brings flowers but slips his wedding band into his pocket before he rings the doorbell. It's not charming. --Jim Schutze