City Hall Is Giving a South Dallas BBQ Joint $275,000. So What?

Categories: City Hall

TwoPodneres.JPG
The easy response to news that the city of Dallas is giving a $275,000 "forgiveable loan" to the owners of South Dallas' Two Podners Bar-B-Que and Seafood is to dismiss it as crony capitalism. One of them must have a friend on the City Council who decided they needed a little government cash to help them expand.

You'd be right, of course, just like you'd be right to say that Rudy's Chicken got a sweetheart deal from the city last year, as did the Thrash Memorial Funeral Home on Lancaster Boulevard.

But once you get past the heartburn that the local government's picking winners and losers, and if you accept that the city has a legitimate interest in spurring economic development south of Interstate 30, these types of handouts actually, kind of, in a way, make sense.

See also: South Dallas Car Wash Owners Targeted for City Hall Harassment Are White. Is That a Coincidence?

Consider the city's traditional approaches to growing southern Dallas. One is to build big, shiny, multimillion-dollar baubles for rich people (e.g. the Trinity Forest Golf Course) in the vaguely conceived hope that the wealth will seep through the surrounding area. Another is to award give sweetheart housing deals to developers (e.g. Bexar Street Village, Patriot's Crossing). Then there's the time-honored technique of zoning out or strong-arming existing businesses that a mayor or council member deems undesirable, a la Jim's Car Wash.

Contrast those examples with what's happening at Two Podners, where you have two well-established businessmen who have operated in the community for several decades. They want to expand, so they draw up plans for a $1.8 million retail development around their restaurant, line up potential tenants (they say they are close to deals with Subway, Del Taco and Krispy Kreme), and line up enough private financing to cover about 80 percent of the project.

See also: Maybe Yigal Lelah Did Spend $4.5 Million of Our Money on Dirt. Feel Better Now?

It's not a huge or glamorous project -- a drop in the bucket, if you will -- but it'll create a few dozen jobs and spruce up that corner of Robert Cullum and MLK boulevards. Every year, the city gives out millions of dollars in incentives to private businesses, most of which are disguised as TIF reimbursements or tax breaks that few mortals can comprehend. If the city's going to be in that business anyway, what's the harm in giving a bit of cash to Two Podners?

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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21 comments
gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

Sadly, partially due to devolution in terms of kicking the can down the road in terms of which government has to pay for what, The City of Dallas, and Dallas County, now have more economic pressure on their backs than for nearly as long as the IRS has existed.  While The City of Dallas does often act a bit too much like Krusty the Clown, the bitter cartoon character from "The Simpsons", the clown who goes out back to cop a square (a smoke) immediately after entertaining a children's birthday party, I in some ways sympathize with how Dallas does business and how refuses to do business. 

Right now, for example, half of downtown Dallas' office towers are practically empty, mainly because property taxes and other "situations and circumstances" related to urban--not urbane--sprawl have turned downtown into merely another Detroit in the making.  When the federal government kicks the can in terms of all sorts of grants and other packages intended to boost the health of large metropolitan areas, the State of Texas, in these case, has to catch the ball, irregardless of Scary Rick Perry's cartoonish and unconscious Charlie Brown imitation as a "sports warrior".  That means that the guv is in luv with braggadocio, too much so to actually enable the poor especially, mainly because he's one of those "throw the poor under the bus" types of pay-for-play crony capitalism, something the state's urban--not urbane--areas simply do not need.  At least Perry can propagandize that all the supposed jobs he, the Almighty Creator of Jobs, are to his credit and his credit alone--despite that the vast majority of Texas' so-called "job growth" is almost all minimum wage job growth, and of course the federal government's investment in paying soldiers based in the state and its seemingly endless appetite for more guns than blades of green grass. 

In other words, Texas is perhaps the Potemkin Village and the hot-assed Siberia of the nation.  Prison/industrial complex and for-profit "privatized" prisons putting the buck into justice?  Really? 

Just ice.  Plain and simple. 

What those insects we tend to dub "real estate developers" are now once again on the goose-step in this neighborhood, mainly because "luxury housing" is "an exciting situation" for the "Debbie Does Dallas" crowd of whores.  Wanna buy some real estate?  Wanna kick the metroplex's poor so far out of town and the opportunities thereof that it is they who have to pay high dollar merely to get to work.  No problem, goblins.  The poor have the yoke of the ever-convenient "personal responsibility" bloody rag to wipe off those beads of sweat--while the luxury set is riding high like Barbie Doll crack pipes on acid. 

In terms of picking and choosing what oranges, what apples, deserve funding, read: ideology and of course "right and wrong".  Will it be the Yankees of the Mets this year?  Intent upon force-feeding us all with non-stop uber-conservative ideology, the local media often does not play fair in hollering "all the crime is in South Dallas and Pleasant Grove" when, of course, all the rock stars of Highland and University Parks have the best powdered cocaine in the city. 

All the police have to do is cruise the rooftops of fancy condominiums from downtown Dallas all the way north, and indeed, the picking and choosing would be good, good, good to capture and indenture the uber-rich (not the truly rich in spirit) into, say, Tennessee Colony, 25-life. 

Right now, in case DO hasn't bothered to notice, the conservative movement, especially in terms of one-man mooches like Theodore Cruz, the Jean of Arc of El Canada, and of course, the one-side-of-the-story tell-alls like Glenn Beck, riding high with millions and a hot blonde wifey-wife, is playing the "mirror game" in terms of throwing the righteous accusations from the left back into the faces of the left with no compunction or connection to reality whatsoever. 

Dallas: The yard dog of luxury.  And they think we Liberals are "restive"?  Wait until the international backlash of ghettoed East and South Asian exploitees gets cranking.  Dallas itself, by the way, at least official Dallas, has been in backlash/whiplash mode for 33 or 34 years straight, and when the proverbial "razor boy" or "barbarian" finally decides to go straight for the jugular and carotid, well, well, well, Dallas, please do not go cry on the mountain, because, nope, the mountain is definitely not on Dallas's "business and sports" unconscious stand-up comedy routine. 

Can you say, "the fire this time", Dallas Observer?  I have seen the future, and it is murder. 

Sincerely, "little old me": watching the wall for 50 years.  I have an almost eidetic memory, kids, and no, I do not forget the deals made and arrangements planned in regard to my life, my hope, my faith and my dreams.  Have a good drown when the rain falls and Dallas goes into "go drown yourself" mode.  Detroit is only the canary in the oncoming train of a coal mine. 

zqpm
zqpm

As the DMN said, treating South Dallas as a charity is not going to create change. Many decades of abuse of Southern Dallas by City Hall has insured that......................no way out of the trap now............

JohnJay24
JohnJay24

Is the author of this article on crack?

dc005
dc005

Reminiscent of the Fair Park Development Fund of a few decades ago.  It was gonna 'revitalize' the area,  a dozen or more folks did quite well,  never paid any of it back. 


And anybody who thinks there wasn't a heavy push from somebody on the Council ...

WylieH
WylieH

[Every year, the city gives out millions of dollars in incentives to private businesses, most of which are disguised as TIF reimbursements or tax breaks that few mortals can comprehend.]

Richard Aregood, the Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, passes along this quote from a corrupt Philadelphia politician:  "Never do anything crooked or evil that the average person can understand."

pak152
pak152

wonder if these guys will sue the city

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

If it was that great of an economic opportunity, they would have no problem finding the financing.  That is usually a clue that the project is not economically viable.


On the other hand, these guys may be going, "Why put our 20% at risk when we can get the money from the City for free?"

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

A forgivable loan isn't the same as giving them the money.  It's only giving them the money if they lose money on the deal.  If things like this are going to happen, I'd rather they happen on the local level like this than from the state lege or the feds.

Guest
Guest

BEST CATFISH EVER!!!!!!!!!

Anon
Anon

Not necessarily. Banks are still not lending much money. Not without as much of a guarantee as they can achieve. There are good, viable projects that will succeed, but cannot attract all the needed financing. It is appropriate for local governments to offer some variety of "gap" financing. It is up to local elected officials (and their voters) to make sure that gap financing is put together in legal, appropriate, and effective ways. Economic development is not easy. Dallas does seem to toss around millions upon millions of dollars in ED funds.

I have to wonder if anyone has ever done a high quality study to analyze how effective those funds have been?

ruddski
ruddski

You can't blame them for looking for the best financing options any more than taking advantage of all available tax deductions.

dingo
dingo

@everlastingphelps  

Good deal if it brings new customers into the area. Bad deal if it only drys up business for the unentitled competitors.

russell.allison1
russell.allison1

@Guest But hows the barbeque?  If my city is helping out a bar-b-q shack then I am honor bound to go try a plate of ribs....they any good?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@Anon  

Sounds to me as if these guys had problems coming up with their 20% of the project; or, they realized that there was another source so that they had 100% financing to that they get a free ride.

Anon
Anon

That's appropriate from property/business owners wanting to expand. Part of the equation is making sure city staff filters out the non-viable projects (an ice cream parlor promoted by Carolyn Davis comes to mind), that council does not engage in crony capitalism, and the voters have the responsibility to hold council fully accountable.

Unfortunately, oftentimes the accountability factor does not come into play...

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