The White Rock Lake Boathouse is Just the Latest Attack on Inner-City Dallas

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The lesson of the Highland Park Party Barge is the lesson of Winfrey Point is the lesson of 30 years of history in East Dallas. At key rubber-meets-the-road moments, City Hall becomes the single worst enemy that inner city neighborhoods can confront.

Forgive the Parkies, for they know not how goofy they are. Of course they want a botanical garden modeled on Disney World, and of course they want a boathouse the size of that cruise ship the ship-abandoning Italian guy tipped over onto an island.
For them, life is a reality TV show -- Donald Trump meets Jersey Shore. It's wrong to despise people for acting out their nature.

One of the staunch defenders of White Rock Lake told me last week he was really glad the Park Department tried to peddle green space near the lake for a parking structure and then played footsy with the Parkies on the Love Boat deal. He said it takes this kind of stuff to make new generations of inner city dwellers aware of the problem.

If you're new to it, the old soldiers who have fought the good fight all these years for neighborhood renaissance could tell you some Homeric tales. If it had been left up to City Hall, Central Expressway would be double-decked, The M Streets would be a slum, all of East Dallas would look like Harry Hines' hind end, North Oak Cliff would be the auto salvage capital of North Texas and Uptown would be What Town.

And maybe we even have to forgive City Hall for acting out its nature. Then again, maybe I'm suffering from advanced dementia for even suggesting such forgiveness. But, shit. It is what it is.

We have a professional city manager system that ultimately is always going to put its own preservation first. They're going to keep themselves afloat by always listening to that ancient hoary secret society, the Dallas Citizens Council, in rubber-on-the-road moments. And the Citizens Council, a private bastion of the Old Guard, is always going to look at inner city neighborhoods and tell City Hall to do the same thing:
Sell it.

Sell the green space around the lake. Sell the damn lake, if somebody's willing to buy. Sell anything you can, because it's all crap anyway.

This recent crisis over White Rock Lake is a Paul Revere "British are coming" moment, not just for East Dallas but for all of inner city Dallas. What we're up against is the monetization movement. Good story on it in yesterday's New York Times business section.

There's nothing wrong with turning some functions over to private companies that can provide better service more cheaply, but eventually the ideological monetizers would privatize every single public possession until public space no longer exists and every city is a bubble realm of exclusion and separation.

In the immediate case, there has got to be a way to protect White Rock before Paul Dyer and the Dallas Park Department sell the whole thing to Harold Simmons. Somewhere in all of that alphabet soup gobbledygook of entities, zones and districts -- Planned Development, Public Improvement, Tax Increment Finance, Enterprise - there has got be a glass slipper to fit White Rock's delicate foot.

White Rock Lake needs its own coherent legitimate stable governance to protect it from City Hall. I'm not smart enough to say what kind exactly, but the lake has a whole lot of friends who do know this stuff like the backs of their hands, and they need to step up.
Otherwise ... well, some of those old battle-scarred, crutch-wielding, East Dallas activists can tell you what happens when neighborhoods fail to defend themselves. It's death by a thousand pecks, with City Hall the main pecker.


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Bmarvel
Bmarvel

That's the dirty secret of American business and the great hypocrisy of the Right -- business does not want government to keep its hands off the free market. Business in fact depends on government interference in a thousand ways -- to rig the marketplace, to provide direct and indirect subsidies (something learned from the railroads and never forgotten), and to quash competition. Poor Ayn never "got" American history. Small wonder; the only history she was familiar with was that of her homeland, Soviet Russia. Her ignorance of railroad finance and operation would fill a book larger than Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead combined, but that can be forgiven. The torture she inflicted on readers can never be made good. When someone asks, who did more damage, Ayn Rand the philosopher or Ayn Rand the writer, the answer is easy: The writer, hands down.    

Rowing mom
Rowing mom

I agree with you about playing with others, but some better rowing facilities would be great if shared.  The existing rowing boathouse (WRB) has been shared by several different rowing groups -- SMU collegiate rowers, Jesuit Prep's boys high school rowing program, White Rock Boathouse Juniors (high school) crew as well as WRB seniors/masters programs for adult rowers, and -- until now-- the high school-aged crew now known as Dallas United and formerly known as Highland Park Crew. Jesuit, WRB Juniors and Dallas United/HPC all compete against each other in regattas, but have cooperated in sharing the facilities to promote the spot of rowing.   Other Dallas-based high school rowing programs train at Bachman Lake (Dallas Rowing Club, Hockaday, St.Marks) --again all these teams compete against each other in regattas.  Several of the programs also compete for members on some level. As a parent of a WRB Junior rower, I was thrilled to see some of our WRB kids beat some of the boats from DU/HPC and Jesuit (and crews from other cities and states) at the recent regional competitions but also pleased to see some of the other Dallas based crews win events. I'd be thrilled to see larger/better rowing facilities for all of our high school rowing athletes. For example, a weight room is something the existing WRB facility does not have, and there are space limitations. Go take a look at the fabulous boathouses and race facilities in Oklahoma City and marvel that any of the kids from Dallas can compete against the kids who train up there. What bothers me most is that a single program (DU/HPC) seems to be seeking a competitive advantage solely for its own crew by building a facility on Dallas park property that would not be shared with any of the teams it competes against.

FF
FF

It's not Caddo Lake but it's what we have and it's a place of which Dallasites are very fond , going back 100 years. And yes DISD did suffer when Park Cities was excluded from desegregation (by their own judge) and provided a white refuge smack dab in the middle of town.

FF
FF

Would someone please provide a logical explanation why the current boathouse is not good enough for the Highland Park team (which should be grateful we let them use our lake)?

FF
FF

If I am not mistaken it would have continued down Lakewood Blvd with a bridge going over White Rock Lake to Garland Road.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Right, because nothing that transpired before the dawn of the Internet era has found it's way into digitalization??

lorlee
lorlee

it was before the internet and was stopped so the internet has no recollection.    Lee Simpson and Craig Holcomb were the councilpeople who stopped it.  Call one of them up. 

Timetomoveon
Timetomoveon

Not to toot my own horn like Jimmy here... but my comments are some of the most liked comments on here. So try again.

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