Letters: Wednesday, October 6, 2004
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
Alice in Arlington

Alice in Arlington

To the editor: Thanks for the excellent article by Dan McGraw regarding the proposed Cowboys stadium in Arlington (“Double Reverse,” Sept. 15, 2004). At work today, I was talking to a real estate attorney with considerable expertise in commercial development transactions. He was comparing the current return on the investment made by the City of Dallas at American Airlines Center (roughly a very modest 3 percent on a $125 million investment) to the estimated return on the proposed investment by Arlington in the new stadium. On a straight $325 million (not even including the total debt service, an extra $323 million in interest over 30 years), Arlington’s return, based on the actual dollars they will receive under the deal, is six-tenths of one percent!

The master agreement with the Cowboys is not even final; five agreements must be negotiated after the election — talk about the potential for bait-and-switch. It’s modeled on the deal done for Ameriquest Field and the Rangers back in 1991. Even the rent for the football stadium, $2 million per year, is the same as in the Rangers stadium lease from 1991. And in contrast to the arena lease in Dallas, neither of these numbers has been or will be adjusted for inflation, nor can they be increased to reflect the team’s increased profitability as the Dallas lease allows. How a city can be so unthinking in these dealings gives me, a taxpaying citizen of Arlington, great pause. It is evident that city officials are simply desperate for a suitor, any suitor, to take the old maid’s hand. It is also an admission that they are bankrupt for ideas to help Arlington get out of the “structural deficit” situation it is in. I don’t know how taking more than 200 acres of potentially prime real estate along I-30 off of the tax rolls for 30 years will grow the tax base, either. There is an Alice in Wonderland quality to this logic.

George Santayana once said that those who do not remember their history are doomed to repeat it. As an opponent actively working to oppose the stadium, I remember the empty promises and the reality on the ground at Ameriquest Field. I hope the rest of my fellow citizens remember, too. Or else it will be the same story all over again.

Larry Scalf

Arlington

Editor’s note: In a letter that ran in this space last week, Robert Rivera, co-chair of the Vote Yes! pro-stadium group, wrote that ERA spokesman Jeff Cohen had called writer Dan McGraw back on Aug. 10 but never received a return call. McGraw responds that he did not begin trying to reach Cohen until late August, then left several messages for him, both on Cohen’s voice mail and passed along via the P.R. firm representing Jerry Jones on the issue. Cohen finally returned the call on the evening of Friday, Sept. 10, a few days before the story ran, leaving a message that he was out of town and would be difficult to reach over the weekend, and providing only an office phone number. Cohen asked McGraw to send him questions by e-mail, which McGraw did. Cohen never answered the e-mail or phoned McGraw again.



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