The City of Dallas Just Renamed its Convention Center After Kay Bailey Hutchison

KayBaileyHutchinsonCityCouncil.jpg
A couple of speakers showed up at the 1500 Marilla this morning to ask that the City Council to hold off on a fast-moving proposal to rename the Dallas Convention Center after recently retired U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Former councilwoman Sandra Crenshaw called for a public hearing before any action is taken, and council candidate Kermit Mitchell worried that attaching the name of a Republican might scare off some convention traffic. Another speaker cited a bill pending in the Texas legislature that would keep cities and the state from naming things for living politicians.

Council members themselves harbored no such reservations. They voted unanimously (four members were absent) to make the change, but not before heaping massive amounts of praise -- and a couple of bizarre extended metaphors -- on the former Senator.

Mayor Mike Rawlings kicked things off by lauding Hutchison's two decades in Washington, which he said "will positively affect our economy and quality of life in Dallas for many, many, many years.

"Let me be the first to say that much of Dallas' success ... is due in no small part to Senator Hutchison's leadership," he said.

Councilwoman Linda Koop reeled off the transportation projects Hutchison has helped guide and secure funding for, including DART, Amtrak's Texas Eagle Service and the repeal of the Wright Amendment.

Then, the floor was yielded to Councilwoman Vonciel Jones Hill, who inexplicably began to wax poetic about Joe Louis, aka the Brown Bomber, the World War II-era boxing champion.

"I suspect from his ringside seat in heaven, he was looking down on you in the United State Senate as the Texas Titan ... For 20 years the Texas Titan stepped into the ring for Dallas and the state of Texas ... and succeeded in knockout bouts of beneficial legislation," Hill said.

She went on to declare Hutchison as the heavyweight champion of Texas and said she is "pleased to hand you yet another championship belt in the naming of our convention center."

Dwaine Caraway was no less effusive. A group of students from Townview's law magnet were walking in as he began speaking, and he turned to address them. "You are here on a very historic day," he said, calling the renaming of the Dallas Convention Center "one of the greatest moves in history that you can write down in your legacy that you have been a part of."

The flood of praised continued. "I just want you to know that we love ya' and this is gonna be a great day for you," said Sheffie Kadane. Ann Margolin, Pauline Medrano, Delia Jasso, Jerry Allen all spoke at length. Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins was absent, but Hill said he called her from South Africa and whole-heartedly endorsed her Joe Louis metaphor.

Hutchison watched all this from the audience, politely smiling through it all. "Thank each of you for the very personal and individualized things that you said," Hutchison said once the vote took place. "I have to say, being described as a heavyweight champion wasn't really what I expected today."

Then, Rawlings called her down to pose for a picture with the entire City Council.

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41 comments
John1073
John1073

What I fail to understand is why in the 56 years the convention center in all its forms has been there, that it has existed without a namesake. And now in 2013 the city felt it necessary to name it after KBH of all people.

fracquestions
fracquestions

KBH was the most useless Senator Texas ever had, but  she will soon be eclipsed by the Tea Party nut job who replaced her.

MikeLikesIt
MikeLikesIt

What a collection of tools.  What did Jasso say?  Notice that Griggs and Hunt are not there.  Do these people not even pretend to be Democrats?  And what's Craig Holcomb doing sitting next to her with all she's done for the gays?  Disgust all the way around.  

She exempted the tollroad and Trinity project from the Clean Water Act and the Historic Preservation Act.  I guess that makes her a star with the "Citizens" that own the majority of the council.  

What an awful thing. 

lolotehe
lolotehe

Did Voncel have a stroke? Is she OK? She's just getting weirder.

GuessWho-I-Sue
GuessWho-I-Sue

Is that Barbara Buch Bush sitting next to her in the suit or Marcus Bachman?  I can never tell the two apart.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

I like the ring of Dallas Taxpayers' Convention Center.

James080
James080 topcommenter

Tennell Atkins is on junket to South Africa for "city business." He and Vonciel Hill made a previous junket to South Africa in 2008 for "city business."

WylieH
WylieH

You do have to give the South Dallas City Council members credit for one thing:  they are GREAT at reading scripts fed to them by the Dallas Citizens Council.

WylieH
WylieH

[Councilwoman Linda Koop reeled off the transportation projects Hutchinson has helped guide and secure funding for, including DART, Amtrak's Texas Eagle Service, and the repeal of the Wright Amendment.]

It's so bizarre that the City Council:

a)  credits KBH with the repeal of the Wright Amendment when, in fact, she OPPOSED the appeal of the Wright Amendment and did everything humanly possible behind the scenes to keep it from happening; and

b)  that the Council even cites repeal as an accomplishment at all, when the Council itself was hardly an enthusiastic backer of repeal.



ChrisYu
ChrisYu

meeting in a clutch? book it at the Hutch!

martune
martune

Excellent! We already miss her in the Senate, classy and classic.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Who knew Joe Louis was a fan of Renaissance art?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Where's Wylie? Im sure he has some thoughts.  She played you for 20 years, and now you get to look at her name on the Convention Center for a lifetime.  World Class I tell ya

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Wow, Ms. Hill is quite the allegorist.  In her quote is "Titian" correct or is it a typo.  If it was truly indeed "Titian", I have never heard anyone compared to 16th century Italian Renaissance painter.  If so, I would truly like to see some of Ms. Hutchinson's work.


The other story is what is Atkins doing in South Africa?  Is this personal or City business?


To sum up, many of our "highly qualified" city council members have once again opened their mouths and have conclusively removed any lingering doubts that they are indeed a bunch of idiots.  It is a true shame that we are so blessed in this area and have denied the benefits of these esteemed ladies and gentleman to the surrounding villages.

James080
James080 topcommenter

Update - Atkins is in South Africa as the city of Dallas representative for a DFW Airport delegation.


"It is my privilege to be here as a follow-up to my visit in 2008 and to re-engage with business and government leaders in South Africa," said Atkins.  "This mission serves to further networks with influential leaders as we also work to establish new relationships in the Johannesburg region, which will help support the strong business connections and growing South African population in the North Texas region." --Atkins

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

@WylieH That's close. Actually, Allyn Media and Jim S's favorite news source, Carol Reed, feed scripts to those council members. Those two groups occasionally work for the DCC.

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

@WylieH Maybe it is me but didn't Dallas kind of get the shaft in the repeal of the Wright Amendment?  The permanent reduction of gates at Love does not exactly foster airfare competition.

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

@martune Classy and classic? This isn't a fashion show. It would have been nice if she would assumed some meaningful leadership roles during her time in the Senate. Remind us: which committees (not sub-committees) did she chair?

WylieH
WylieH

@ScottsMerkin See my thoughts above.  One thing's for sure:  she and Ray had an extremely profitable partnership, using a somewhat innovative structure to legally market political influence and favors to those with deep pockets.

South Dallas politicians could learn a thing or two from her--- with a little forethought and careful structuring, a politician can make a fortune trading off of his or her influence while in office without breaking any laws.

WylieH
WylieH

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul Wouldn't be surprised if Atkins' trip was funded by the World Affairs Council of DFW, with backing from a corporate sponsor seeking a favor (or as a reward).

I believe Caraway benefitted from a similar arrangement awhile back when he was acting as mayor.  It appeared that the World Affairs Council (with financial backing from American Airlines) gave Caraway an all expense paid luxury vacation anywhere in the world, and he chose to go to Africa to attend a presidential inauguration.  Around the same time, Caraway started issuing pronouncements demanding that AirTran (which had recently been acquired by Southwest Airlines) cease all service to DFW Airport immediately.  This probably marked the first and only time a local elected official anywhere in the U.S. argued forcefully AGAINST air service to his own city and FOR widespread cancellation of existing reservations, which would have caused huge expense and inconvenience to his own constituents.

WylieH
WylieH

@WhiteWhale Yes, Dallas DID get the shaft, in a variety of ways.   The whole "repeal" was actually pulled off in a fairly cynical manner.

American Airlines and the DFW Airport Board never really cared about the Wright Amendment, in and of itself--- the real goal has always been to limit competition, which allows AA to continue to extort high airfares from local passengers, thereby allowing them to subsidize cheaper fares in other parts of the country.

The "new" Wright Amendment merely swaps one means of limiting competition (geographic barriers) for another (gate limitations).

With respect to the old Legend Airlines terminal that was torn down:

1)  Pinnacle Airlines (at the time, the regional jet affiliate of Northwest Airlines) was actually in the preliminary stages of establishing a mini-hub using that terminal as its base.  The economic impact on Dallas would have been huge.

2)  The City of Dallas attempted to escape liability for rendering the privately owned Legend Airlines terminal unusable-- in fact, they attempted to get the owner to keep on paying ground rent on the facility, even though the City has rendered it useless.  The City got absolutely slammed over this in Federal Court and now faces huge potential liabilities associated with compensating the terminal's former owner (oddly, this major story hasn't been covered by any of the local press to my knowledge).

With respect to the new Love Field Terminal, this was actually a creative idea on the part of American Airlines, NOT Southwest.  The whole idea here was to force Southwest to pay a huge amount of money to build a new terminal. In so doing, this raised the cost of doing business at Love Field, something that now gets passed through to passengers in the form of higher fares and facility charges.  This helped to eliminate the cost advantage of flying in and out of Love Field.

I could elaborate even further on all sorts of weird things about this deal.  Suffice it to say a close examination of the deal reveals most of the North Texas political leadership behaving in a self-serving, highly deceptive manner.



James080
James080 topcommenter

@WylieH @ScottsMerkin  

Exactly. Ray Hutchinson's law firm underwrote the vast majority of local public bonds which were issued to finance all sorts of public works projects. Kay Bailey's job was to secured the federal funding component for the projects. 

I would guess Ray Hutchinson's firm underwrote the bonds that financed the Dallas Convention Center.

WylieH
WylieH

@mavdog JetBlue previously stated they wanted to fly into Love Field (and, as I mentioned, Pinnacle Airlines had been dying to provide service).  In addition, there actually were more neighbors that supported repeal than opposed it.  For example, the neighborhood immediately to the west of Love Field (between Denton Dr. and Harry Hines, was strongly in favor of repeal.  Also, it's not just Love Field--- under the new Wright Amendment, airlines wanting to serve north Texas aren't allowed to fly ANYWHERE except DFW (no other airports are allowed to provide commercial service)-- this required a special antitrust exemption, which KBH spearheaded.

There are a lot of reasons why hub airports are not well-suited for many airline operations.  In the rest of the U.S, airlines are free to choose which airports they want to serve, based on consumer demand and respecting free markets.  Here in North Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison took it upon herself to make the decision for area residents and commercial airlines.


mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@WylieH

uh, they would have to use DFW in any case. The City of Dallas agreed to limit the flights/number of gates at Love in the 2001 Master Plan, which was put together with the involvement of the adjoing neighborhood residents. The neighborhoods do not want more airline traffic from Love. More flights=more noise=more pollution=more traffic.

There isn't an airline who would prefer to go to Love over DFW, there is no advantage. If you are an airline would you want to compete with Southwest? if you were an airline would you rather be situated on Mockingbird rather than along multiple freeways that give  you quicker access to the majority of the DFW pop?

To suggest that airlines would rather be at Love vs DFW is absurd.

WylieH
WylieH

@mavdog As a result of the Wright Amendment modification, all other airlines that want to serve North Texas ARE FORCED to use DFW Airport and DFW Airport alone.  They have no choice.

WylieH
WylieH

@ScottsMerkin @WylieH @WhiteWhale True, but DFW continues to have some of the highest airfares in the country.  Fares would be much lower if it Kay Bailey Hutchison hadn't rammed through the antitrust exemption for DFW Airport as a part of the Wright Amendment modification. 

CornyDoggy
CornyDoggy

@mavdog 

By limiting the # of gates at Love Field, they limit the # of dallas-area passengers using Love Field.  Meaning the extra dallas-based demand (that Love can't handle) will have to use DFW.


They used a law to cap supply on a competing airport.  Sounds like limiting competition to me.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@WylieH

Odd, you speak of AA and DFW Airport on a mission to "limit competition" to AA, yet DFW airport has experienced multiple new carriers offering flights to many of those same routes AA flies. Want to get on Virgin America? yep. Jetblue? yep. Spirit? yep. Emirates? yep. odd, if these folks at AA and DFW were out to "limit competition" one would expect these new airlines/routes would not be operating out of DFW. oh well.

The gate limits mean as much to the surrounding neighborhoods as the cap on flights do.

Southwest expects they will increase their number of flights out of Love by 20-25% with the end of the Wright restrictions. Southwest committed to keeping their HQ in Dallas, adding about 1500 employees with their new building on Denton Drive. Was Southwest "force[d]" to build a new terminal? not according to them, they wanted a new terminal for years, recall the facility the new gates replace is almost 50 years old.

The end of Wright was a goal of Southwest, they started the assault in 2004 and it is Southwest that won. Painting the repeal as a victory by AA and an aid in protecting their fortress hub at DFW is just inaccurate.

mcdallas
mcdallas

@WylieH @WhiteWhale No, Dallas didn't get the shaft.  We had the shaft.  We handed the shaft off to someone else.  They then used it on us.

WylieH
WylieH

@James080 @WylieH @ScottsMerkin Pretty close, he was actually bond counsel, not the underwriter.  Essentially, the way it appears to have worked on these big public or quasi-public projects was that, if you wanted Kay Bailey Hutchison's support, it was understood that you had to slot her husband, Ray, in for a  highly lucrative role as bond counsel (to the extent bonds were being issued) or general legal advisor, otherwise. 

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