[Update: If you can't make it through all 80-some-odd comments to get to the actual news, here it is: The council eventually voted to open up the bids at Love Field. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't pretty. But it's done.]
It's another Wednesday morning here at City Hall, and love is in the air -- special proclamation time, and the house is packed with folks in matching T-shirts (I've got 10 bucks for the first one that can get the mayor to put one on over his suit), PowerPoints at the ready.
Not so fast though, kids -- the mayor's nowhere to be seen, and while Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway reads a proclamation to Barry Annino and a handful of Deep Ellum kids and their sponsors, there's a whispering sort of square dance unfolding behind the council members' seats, Dave Neumann leaning in for a few words with Angela Hunt before they each trade partners and chat with another partner. As suggested by the long row of TV cameras in here, it's a big day in the council briefing room -- and not just because Caraway's reminding us all about the time he got his HIV test results on television.
In a few minutes, though, there'll be a little less love in here, and a lot more Love Field, when the council finally tackles the question of whether, or how, to put the airport's concessions contracts out to bid. Previously on Love and Chili's: Dallas Airport Concessions, you'll recall: Minority members want to extend Gilbert Aranza's contract, as the City Council's Transportation Committee voted to do earlier this year; the mayor pushing to open up the contract to bids; Angela Hunt in the middle, offering no sure answer as to which side she'll take, telling Sam messy things like, "At this point, I'm concerned not just how we bid this out, but with how we manage it once we bid it out because the bidding process informs the management structure."
Whether or not we get a vote from the council right after the meeting, it'll all give me plenty to consider this afternoon as I pass out in a mess of Cinnabon frosting at my gate at Love Field -- assuming this all wraps in time for my flight.
So stay tuned here -- one more TV camera just rolled in, the live audience is applauding right on cue, and as we creep on through the briefing agenda, the big show's up next. Jump for the thrilling conclusion, and, what the heck, watch it all unfold live as we go. Better yet: it's nearly bikini hour outside.
First off, though, there is much hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing over City Manager Mary Suhm's inclusion of a ballot measure to sell land from Elgin Robinson and Pinnacle Park, which seems to have blind-sided many of the members (which makes sense, since Suhm only proposed it ... in May). Hunt wonders why we're pushing to sell this land now, what with the real estate market being, you know, a little squishy.
Jerry Allen says his attitude is, "Let's be prepared ready to go, let's don't sit around for five years. ... So that we have the ability to do what's in the best interests of the park, take advantage of it when the cycle hits."
Sheffie Kadane is getting a little teary-eyed recalling his good ol' days on the Park Board, and says he doesn't want to sell it. The land "has a lot of potential," he says. "For the future."