The Inland Port Is Still Screwed. Score One for the Perots.

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

SHZ_GetOffMyLawn_TitleImageV2.jpg
I guess if you took a pickax and a fire hose to it, you could have dug out a little bit of the truth from this morning's City Hall briefing on the inland port, but you needed to have your tall rubber boots on.

Before we wade into the bullshit, please allow me to tell you what's really going on. The inland port is a huge trucking and rail development trying to turn southern Dallas into a national and continental hub for goods from China. In spite of a federal criminal probe based on his actions with regard to the inland port, Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price is still jacking with it big time.

Two weeks ago I got a call from a very involved and informed person in a city in southern Dallas County telling me about Price's latest involvement -- an attempt to force through construction of a big water pipe to help a particular developer. The guy told me people down there are praying Price gets sent to the pen so they can get out from under his crap.

That's the background.

So this morning the city's economic development staff briefs a council committee on the latest haps. Right off the bat, on one of the first slides in their PowerPoint presentation, there's a huge red flag, which nobody even mentions. Let me give it to you first in bureaucratic pig Latin, the way they put it, and then I will try to translate it into Observerese.

The slide says: "A successful third phase of regional intermodal development (leveraging DFW Airport and Alliance) and is a key driver in making Dallas the nation's premier logistics and distribution center." Later on the slide show lists Hillwood, a company owned by the powerful Perot family, developers of Alliance, as a major partner in the inland port.

Actually that's not a red flag. It's a white one. It means Dallas is surrendering to the Perot family interests, who have always regarded the southern Dallas development as a dangerous competitor to their Alliance Logistics Center outside Fort Worth.

The original concept was that southern Dallas, at a crossroads of continent-spanning rail lines and freeways, had a natural edge over Alliance, which the Perots built in the middle of nowhere with their typical "build it and they will come" brashness.

The idea was not to line up behind the Perots and wait half a century for some of their extra peaches to fall into our basket. It was to beat them at their own game. Not now. Now, apparently, we have decided to lie down with the wolf.

inlandport.JPG
Price, who is closely allied with the Perots, has fought long and hard to slow down development of the inland port, even though it is the single biggest economic promise ever to visit his own territory and constituency. Several of his allies in that effort have been called before a federal grand jury. His own offices and home have been searched by the FBI. The feds also have subpoenaed the records of Hillwood.

No indictments have been issued by the grand jury, but it looks like the Perots win, whether the federal investigation produces charges or not. It's a huge loss for southern Dallas -- for the whole city. We got swifted. So what else is new?

Price's best weapon in sabotaging the inland port was a call for additional planning studies. What's wrong with planning? Nothing, the first time you do it. The inland port's original developer, Richard Allen, had carried out five years of planning, signed off on by all of the local units of government. He was ready to start leasing and selling five years ago, before the economy tanked.

Price insisted on a do-over. What that meant was that nobody could sell space at the inland port to companies until the planning studies were redone. The clients were all going to say, "Wait a minute, you've got a big government zoning study going on that's going to change all the rules. We don't want to sign on any dotted lines until that's all settled."

And that's what happened. The stupid study is still ongoing. Allen is in bankruptcy. The inland port is stalled.

Perots one, Dallas zip.

One guy at today's city council briefing, city council member Jerry Allen -- no relation to Richard -- sort of nosed around the topic very politely and obliquely. He pointed out that Price's "infrastructure study" is not slated to be completed before 2013.

Karl Zavitkovksy, Dallas' economic development director, told Allen: "That one got delayed because of a lot of politics involving the Allen Group and the county. It was something that probably was delayed for about a year."

Try three years. Three years to get the study going, two years to do it, that's five years gone for the inland port.

Allen said, "Politics, sometimes that creates uncertainty for the private investors coming in. Have we got past the uncertainty? Do you see a clearer road where investors would want to come in, unlike Alliance that's more of a straight-up business deal?"

"This was a harder thing to manage," Zavitkovsky said. "I think we've gotten past that. All of the cities, Lancaster, Wilmer Hutchins, the county, actually Ferris got on board with this. I think there's pretty much a unified feeling in the sense that this is going to benefit everybody."

"Would it be fair to say," Allen asked, "that you feel like the majority of the uncertainty is behind us?"

"I think so."

Ha! Bullshit! I'm talking to those people in southern Dallas County all the time. They're begging for mercy. Price, who said this whole study thing was about rational planning, is showing up at their city halls before the study ever gets completed arm-twisting them to build stuff on behalf of individual developers.

Hey, commissioner? You want to challenge me on that? I'll be glad to bring some chapter and verse with me next time.

The message to would-be developers in the inland port is clear. The "infrastructure study" is a bullshit smokescreen. You want to come in here and do business? You're going to have to go kiss the ring of the commissioner, and if you wait too long you may have to get on his visitors list at the Big House. Try to be real careful how you handle yourself to be sure they'll let you leave.

And that's just the sort of miserable down-and-dirty details of it. Back away, take a bird's eye view of today's briefing, and you will see a picture on the ground that will make you cry. It's all about what could have been and is not.

My Voice Nation Help
36 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
one life
one life

John Wiley Price has BULLED every official in Dallas County including the FBI,now how powerful is that!!   

james
james

i believe that one of the reasons the economy is in the shitter is that virtually all the stores are full of cheap quality, use it a little while and throw it in the trash-imported junk. even a new buck knife in wallyworld is stamped 'made in china' on the blade. we don't need to git jobs shovelin' cheap imported shit, we need to stand up make our own choice quality stuff.

james
james

ain't meanin' to be disagreeable, here, but i've plumb had a bellyful of cheap defective chinese slave-labor made dysfunctional junk...from cigarette lighters to hardware to tools to car parts to knives......low quality stuff that doesn't work when it's new...an' i'm supposed to be upset that we ain't gonna git flooded with even more of the crap? ever here of BUY AMERICAN?

Appalled
Appalled

You talk about 'the water pipe'. Are you referring to that big ass water $880 million deal that D and FW are hooking up from Lake Palestine to Joe Pool and then over to Benbrook? Dallas plans to hook up Joe Pool to Bachmann treatment.Is that the one?

NealK
NealK

Meanwhile, "Occupy Dallas" is protesting banks or something.

Mavdog
Mavdog

Jim, you mention the "water pipe" extension and allude to a "particular developer" being aided by Price, but you don't bring out the details.

So tell us, you've got me intriqued.

John
John

Hey Jim,

So how have the Perots now calling themselves "partners" in the Inland Port. Did they buy up some of the land from Allen Group.  

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Alliance was never part  of In Land Port nor was DFW , all along Alliance was against the development of South In Land Port a  direct competitor.Price got Rep.Giddings to carry bill giving Dallas County right to establish water district.Price wanted to control water ,and do just what he's doing. Hijack companies for water this sounds like in old West days.When will this man stop ,and how can City put Alliance ,a private owned Airport, in Fort Worth in the mix?

BigTrouble
BigTrouble

Hey!  How about anyone who has a problem with this start an "occupation" protest against corrupt politicians and crony capitalism and unfair work and contracting practices?  Oh wait --  they're already doing that.  If I remember correctly, the DO and their fans have scorned these OD protests.  I guess you can't complain, then!

Appalled
Appalled

I feel bad for Mayor Mike. His hands are tied. He can't go up against the Perot family since they gifted the city with that big ass Science museum.That was worked out with Skeletor and Ms. Suhm.

BigTrouble
BigTrouble

"He can't go up against the Perot family since they gifted the city with that big ass Science museum."  Isn't that called 'bribery'?

Paul
Paul

No it is not bribery, the patron has bestowed a wonderful gift upon the city and its peasants and we should not do anything that will cause the patron to refrain from giving us gifts which demonstrate the patron's love and caring for us.

OK back to the dung piles peasants ....

InlandDisaster
InlandDisaster

You pretty much nailed it Jim. Price has kept southern Dallas County from getting the jobs they need.

David
David

During the mayor campaign, Rawlings kept bragging about the Inland Port and how important it was to bring 60,000 jobs of all kinds to South Dallas.

I guess he learned to shut his mouth when he got elected with Price's help, eh?

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

One interesting, ironic fact related to Alliance Airport-- the construction and operation of that facility, itself, may be in violation of the "joint support clause" contained in the 1968 bond agreement between Dallas and Fort Worth related to the construction of DFW Airport.  In that agreement, both cities pledged to jointly support D/FW and not to undertake any new projects that would compete with it (this is the same clause Ft. Worth repeatedly uses to hammer Dallas about over Love Field).

At the time of DFW Airport's construction, the airport was actually supposed to contain a large cargo superhub as well.  However, the City of Ft. Worth, Perot, and American Airlines teamed up to strip that plum out and build Alliance.  The City of Dallas never consented, but never did anything about it.

For more details, see Ann Zimmerman's article in the Dallas Observer, written back in 1997:  http://www.dallasobserver.com/...

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

You are right it did violate 1968 bond agreement it was up to City of Dallas to file suite they did nothing.DFW still has sub hub and handles large amounts of cargo however we do have capacity for more.

FedsPlease
FedsPlease

You know what, forget diplomacy, forget politeness, professionalism.......etc. Fuck you City Hall, Fuck you JWP, Fuck you Wealthy Oligarchs that think you can take advantage of all the people that make up the ninth largest City in the Country, while breaking laws. Once again, I hope all these FUCKERS go to prison, and soon. FBI, damn, please, get moving on this shit!!!!!!! 

BigTrouble
BigTrouble

Sounds like a good protest sign to me!

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

Yeah, but if you marched with it the BPA would want to have you fired from your job.

SouDal
SouDal

I think you are missing the Council of Government's role in this.  The COG leadership panders to Price and he uses them as a tool to accomplish his malfeasance. 

Paul
Paul

Good to see that a federal investigation can't slow down "Our Man Downtown".

I think that all it will really take is for someone to stand up and go "No" to JWP.  Of course that will not happen as the race card will get played.

Just so I understand, JWP is going into other cities in South Dallas County and telling them what to do in regards to development.  What is so wrong with this picture, that no one can see it.

One other thing, our economic developers need to get fired as soon as possible when the best that they can come up with is a development on the north side of Ft. Worth.  Buh-Bye

PS: Alliance is off of FM 529, the area's main north south 2 lane undivided highway.

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

"I think that all it will really take is for someone to stand up and go "No" to JWP.  Of course that will not happen as the race card will get played."

That's what Richard Allen did. And because the Perots wrote the check to JWP that Richard Allen wouldn't Allen is now in bankruptcy.

Paul
Paul

You are correct sir, and the situation is all the worse for that. The race card did get played when JWP downplayed the jobs as being the equivalent to slavery.

Maybe we all need to stand up and say no.

I can hardly wait for the indictments to be handed down.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Jim, let me throw a few more things into this pot. I find it interesting that there are two HUGE HIlwood communities in southern Dallas that are in Glenn Heights and Red Oak on I35.I find that interesting and wonder how much more land Ross owns between I35 and I45 where the port is located....hmmmmm???

Also, Ross Jr. is also driving the bus over at Ft. Worth over the injection wells controversy. He wants injection wells on his property by Alliance so that the trucks hauling contaminated water don't have to drive to Cleburne to inject it there and cause the earthquakes. You know, it's all about air quality with Ross Jr. (Cough) Any how, there is a big public meeting tomorrow night in FW to hear if FW residents want injection wells inside the city or not. Of course they don't. But guess where Alliance sits? Yeah baby...Now THAT is a meeting you need to attend tomorrow night.Here is your link:http://www.star-telegram.com/2...

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Occupy Price's office. That I would support completely.

BigTrouble
BigTrouble

Errrr... isn't City Hall pretty much his "office"?  I guess it's already being "occupied" and you need to scoot on out there!

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

5 people camping behind City Hall, whoopdy-doo. JWP likely gets money handshakes from more white people per day than that.

Nailemup
Nailemup

You don't get to whine if you don't try to do something yourself.

Paul
Paul

No you can't come in this is pri-- ... this is pub--- .... this is my office.

Heywood U. Buzzoff
Heywood U. Buzzoff

White people -- all going to Hell.  Jobs going to .. NOT South Dallas!

Daily Reader
Daily Reader

"Dear Lord Baby Jesus" guy, where are you?  Please say a prayer that JWP gets what is surely coming to him...and that it is 3 times as harsh as anyone expected.  I just don't understand how he can lawfully get away with some of the things he does and why do those around him let him get away with it.  Are they all scared of him?  I know money talks and the Perot's have money but I doubt that any jobs will be created for the people who live in those areas. 

Sybils_Beaver
Sybils_Beaver

those that continue to back and support the crook are as crooked as him.  they know when the head is lopped off the monster the whole thing falls apart but the crack he sells is to good to pass up, even though they all know he will bring them down with him

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...