Static: Wednesday, January 23, 2003
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
Follow the Moneyed

Static is no Walter Cronkite but, jeez, even a high school journalism student might have put these clues together.

It made no sense that benefactor Anne W. Marion’s FPA Foundation would forever smudge its reputation by buying the popular and historic 7th Street Theatre, whacking down the back wall before being halted by city officials, and then refusing to consider alternatives to demolition or to reveal its plans for the plot. Why would the foundation arrogantly snub residents and preservationists and later follow through with the demolition despite the efforts of a group of investors to buy and renovate the theater to show independent and art films?

Mystery solved, and doesn’t Static feel dumb.

Across the street from the razed theater is Marion’s new baby, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which issued a Jan. 16 press release with the headline, “Independent and Art Films Find a Home in Fort Worth.” The press release announced the Feb. 7 debut of The Magnolia at The Modern, which will show the type of movies that some people envisioned for 7th Street Theatre. Reason for 7th Street’s demise: Squash the competition by any means necessary — a rule long followed by the rich and powerful.

Find the Money

“Out in the Grapevine-Colleyville school district, if you stand still too long there’s liable to be a Pepsi sign slapped on you,” the president of this area’s largest teachers’ group said last week, not altogether in jest. In a state that’s stingier than Scrooge on education matters, cash-strapped public schools long ago turned to selling advertising space on just about everything.

But the state’s education funding crisis won’t be solved by more Pepsi or Nike logos on book covers, United Educators Association head Larry Shaw said. State legislators must come up with massive amounts of money to rescue districts like Fort Worth, with its looming $20 million budget deficit, he predicted, or public education as we know it will be toast in two years.

So, with a legislature facing a $10 billion shortfall, where’s the money to come from, Larry? Either a state income tax (“Won’t happen”) or the lege must lift the $1.50 property tax rate cap on districts so that the locals can raise their own revenues. And that will be a hard sell in Cowtown, he admitted, where — read understatement of the year here — “trust in the [fiscal responsibility of the] board and superintendent has become a serious issue.”


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