Static: Wednesday, February 9, 2005
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Deer, Fish, Pigs at Trough

Some folks just can’t get enough of a good thing. Cabela’s, the giant outdoors retailer ($1.4 billion in revenues last year) that’s building another megastore in the midst of all that “blight” around Alliance Airport, has been given an extra $2 million in tax breaks. That raises the public’s investment in the project to $32 million for infrastructure as well as the store’s so-called “public recreational areas” — a ploy the Fort Worth City Council and Cabela’s has used from the get-go to justify this smarmy tax-giveaway.
City hall sources tell Static that blame for these added bucks is being laid at the feet of those damned taxpayers from the East Side who had the audacity to sue the city (unsuccessfully) over the legality of Cabela’s tax breaks. Seems the lawsuit’s short life caused so much worry that Cabela’s delayed the project for a few weeks. Now the poor company is being forced to pay more for all those nice public amenities in and around the store: A 40-foot mountain “replica,” a trout pond, a 65,000-gallon “walk-through freshwater aquarium stocked with native Texas fish,” and an array of “trophy animals” (read: stuffed Bambis) posing in “re-creations of their native habitats.” Of course, the fake mountain and dead deer will be accessible to taxpayers only during those hours when Cabela’s will have (further) access to their pocketbooks.
Looks like a member of the group who brought the lawsuit against the city just got handed another hot-button tax issue to use in his campaign. Eastside businessman Louis McBee filed this week to run against incumbent Becky Haskin for the District 4 seat she’s held for more than a decade. “There are plenty of reasons to unseat Becky,” he told Static. “But this sweetheart deal for Cabela’s is a big one. It smells to high heaven.”

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