Horses in General; Lone Star Park in Specific

Psst, Dallas, You Lookin' For Fillies? Slots? Both?

This must have been what Ed Sullivan felt like when he introduced a guy named Elvis Presley.

Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the one, the only ... Jim ... Schuuuuuuutze! ...

O.K., this is my first time over here on Sportatorium, and I'm feeling kind of insecure. I'm a City Hall wonk, extremely interested in curb and gutter improvement programs and stuff like that. I think this blog is full of all those jock-type guys whose way I tried to stay out of in the hallways in high school. (But I had some very witty, snide things to say about you after you were down at the other end of the hall, so WATCH OUT!)

So why am I here at all? Because maybe I need your help. There is some kind of huge deal bubbling up under the surface in Dallas politics, and I don't get it. Maybe you do. Maybe you can tell me.

State Representative Yvonne Davis is trying to help Dallas moneybags dentist and slot machine financier David Alameel get a license for a horse track he wants to build down near Lancaster in Southern Dallas County. She told Dallas Morning News reporter Jon Nielson that she is a part-owner in the proposed track and that her appearance before the Texas Racing Commission has nothing to do with her being a state rep.

But this guy, Joe Straus, a representative from San Antonio who is going to be the new Speaker of the House, told the News some months ago that Davis was a naughty-naughty for appearing before the commission and that he, as a state rep, would never do such a thing.

However, Paul Burka has been reporting on his blog for months that it's Straus who's deep in the racing industry pocket and that a lot of the money that made him Speaker came from the horse race bidness. In fact he and his father are stake-holders in some big racing operations.

Plus - and now this is where I need your help - there is another suggestion in all of this that it's not really about horses at all. It's about slot machines.

This came up a couple years ago when somebody wanted to put a track in downtown Dallas. They couldn't raise the money, because the investors said a track couldn't make money if it didn't have slot machines.

All right, this is where my extreme nerditude comes in. Why, if you went to the track to see the horsies, would you want to stay indoors and play slot machines? I don't get it. I have not actually visited a horse racing establishment in real life, but I have seen them in the movies. The crowd is all English people, right? And the women have huge hats? I've seen all that.

So you guys tell me. What is this really about? Do you guys want slot machines? Or horsies? What are we looking at here? Why is it coming up now? Would Dallas be a better town if English people could come here with their big hats and play the slots?

I think you can see that I'm confused and in need of guidance. Any advice or information you have about all of this will be much appreciated. Just stay down at your end of the hall and pass me a note, O.K.? - Jim Schutze

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt