Market Capitalism for North Dallas, Soviet-style Planning in South

Categories: Schutze

Bet this guy could get sewers built, if he wanted.
We've been talking here off and on about land owners near the new UNT-Dallas campus in southern Dallas who want a sewer. They think City Hall is deliberately holding back on a system they were promised years ago. And, yeah, I always feel I need to stop and stipulate that this is indeed and for a fact a large area of the city where there is no sewer system.


But the situation is real, and it is coming into a little clearer focus for me, so I thought I might share some of that with you. No, the people who own land there are not nuts and paranoid; the city really is holding back on giving them a sewer system that was fully funded and supposed to be under construction two years ago.

See also: Landowners Fear Dallas' "Grow South" Plan Will Cut Them Out

City staff has its reasons. It has even stated those reasons in print, a copy of which you can read for yourself below. You may read it and think, "Nah, don't let those people have a sewer system. What do they need sewers for?" But here's the deal. The landowners are right about the City Council vote.

The council voted five years ago for the sewer system to be built. The council passed into law an implementation plan for the area around UNT-Dallas directing that design and construction of the sewer system and other important infrastructure needed to be under way by the end of 2012. It's 2014 now, and the staff hasn't moved one inch.

And that's no accident. The city staff has a whole philosophy, in fact, which we might call the philosophy of non-sewerology, expressed in the memo you will find below by interim First Assistant City Manager Ryan Evans. In it, Evans justifies not giving the area a sewer system, bolstering his position with a long quote from Vancouver, Canada, planner Larry Beasely, who's no small potato in the international field of urban planning.

Evans is basically saying that the city should hold back on building infrastructure and keep the land cheap until an uber-developer comes along. That way the uber-developer can scoop up the land at rock bottom prices and make money on the land itself before setting a brick -- a serious incentive, supposedly, for uber-developing. I don't get how that plan guards against what I would assume would happen -- uber-speculation. But I'm no Larry Beasely.

There has been mention in the past of creating some kind of quasi-public development authority in the area, which might or might not have power of eminent domain. That seems unlikely. But as we know from the saga of Dale Davenport and the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard car wash, City Hall don't need no stinkin' eminent domain if they want your land. They have their ways.

The idea here is that development of the UNT-Dallas area, when it comes, must be monolithic, the work of the single uber-developer working hand-in-glove with city planners to transform the entire area all at once. In the meantime, septic tanks.

The unavoidable subtext is a fear that if the sewer goes in now and the people who own the land now are able to do the development, they will fuck it up -- more or less what Evans says in his memo.

That's a way to look at it. Of course, people in this part of town, predominantly and historically African-American, do point out to me regularly that such a philosophy is the exact opposite of what City Hall believed when white North Dallas was being developed as more or less as a free-for-all land orgy driven entirely by speculators.

Hey. This is Dallas, remember. This is the only town I know of that consistently refers to grifters by the French word, entrepreneur. If they're white grifters. But you put it down south of Interstate 30, and now all of a sudden, man, we have to go super-Soviet central-planning to make sure no mistakes are made.

That may be the staff's philosophy. They have their reasons, and, as I said, Larry Beasely is a person to be taken seriously. But then again, this ain't Vancouver, is it? And the switch-up, from raw-boned let-'er-rip capitalism on the white side of town to centrally planned and enforced non-sewerology on the black side? That's kind of a hard dichotomy to ignore, is it not?

Then City Halls says it's all about "Grow South?" I completely get why major landowners in the path of that idea are asking, "Grow what, south?"

Ryan Evans UNT memo by Schutze

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South Side Dallas County needs to pull its head out of its ass.  Go vote and make this pigs run for their lives.  


"The unavoidable subtext is a fear that if the sewer goes in now and the people who own the land now are able to do the development, they will fuck it up -- more or less what Evans says in his memo."

I think the subtext is that the current owners would not develop the property at all because they aren't developers.  They are mostly land speculators who are sitting and waiting for prices to rise.  The land won't be developed until it is sold to developers, one way or another.

The city's position, right or wrong, actually makes some sense if you assume that the land will have to be sold to developers before it is developed.  If you run the sewers now, the land prices jump as the land speculators hoped, so the cost of developing goes up because developers have to pay more for the land.  That makes it less likely they will jump in and develop right away without additional incentives from the City.  

If, on the other hand, the city tells everyone that they will put in sewers if and when the landowners, whoever they may be, come with plans to develop, then the land speculators have to work something out with the developers to capture any of the enhanced value from the improvements.  Note that this doesn't mean the land speculators don't get anything because prices rise simply from the promise that sewage will be available when the city is presented with plans for development.  It just means that prices won't rise all the way up to where they would be if sewage were already in place.  This means that both the landowners and the developers have incentives to get moving.

That doesn't mean that it is fair or just.  But it might be rational and actually in the City's best interest to reserve the carrot for actual development rather than in the hope that development will naturally follow without any further incentives from the City.

It also might be worth noting that the City spurred most of the development already there by donating the land for the UNT-Dallas campus.  The land speculators already have gotten a windfall.        

TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

I recently read a National Geographic article about the way that Sochi was "developed" by the Russian gov't for the impending Olympics. This is eerily familiar to that scenario. 


Another plastic tempest in a plastic teapot on a plastic stove in a plastic kitchen in a plastic house with a plastic yard on a plastic street in a plastic neighborhood in a plastic voting district in a plastic city called "Plastic Dallas", the Ken Doll of North Texas, a plastic region in a plastic state that has plastic prairies and plastic mountains and plastic woods and plastic plateaus and plastic canyons and plastic hill country and a plastic metroplex and a plastic countryside and a plastic idiot in charge, the ever-so-plastic Scary Rick Perry. 

Dallas is a city so damned steely we might as well simply name it Impala, bust-out 13 bucks for a plastic Earl Sheib and then call it "mom" with a plastic bumper sticker on a plastic bumper. 

It's a doll revolution, plastic Dallas.  Tear off your own head. 

North or South, East or West, Left or Right, this side or that side, the Union and the Confederacy, the war machine and the peace movement:  All of us in Texas "git" is nothing but freaked-out ideology presented in plastic newspapers by plastic columnists of the fifth variety, friendly as a plastic Glad Bag for plastic America, a sort of plastic Merkin, a kind of low-rolling and ever-so-plastic below-the-belt reality. 

Red River, baby. 

Two red rivers: One near Canada, one that keeps Injuns from swimming to Oklahomy and "gittin' aways". 

In other words, I am so sick and damned tired of all the Commie-this, Commie-that BS, the Socialist-this, Socialist-that BS, when right behind us, conservatism is transforming in a plastic way like Plastic Ronald McDonald Reagan in need of a little plastic-gloved pat on his plastic little butt. 

Clearly, either Jim Schutze is unconscious or comatose, mainly because the "edumakation" level in terms of political science versus ideology is so much less than an utterly dim bulb I cannot help but laugh: 


Liberalism: The expansion of government's traditional duties necessitated by a big, plastic change called The Industrial Revolution.  Remember that?  It caused "difficulties".  People got hurt.  People built barricades.  Then some smart people figured, "If'n we's a-don' doo-doo sumtin' 'bout them-thar "Red Cap Communard fellers", them-thar proles are gunna take this whole danged place over!" 

Modern Liberalism was born, borne, oddly enough by Otto Von Bismarck (yes, that one!) perhaps one of the most clever conservatives ever.  What was he conserving? 

Democracy. Republic.  Git it? 

Socialism--the decision to break-down the inevitable divide between owners and employees, the owners economically and thus politically "more free" because they have choices the employees do not.  Socialism indeed does work on small scale initiatives, but in the big picture, Socialism is a BIG FAT FAILURE. 

Communism--the total governmental takeover of the "means of production", meaning the manufacture of solid material goods and perhaps, if expanded a little, even services.  The United States has over 10,000 Communist dictatorships.  They're called "businesses".  The hierarchical model is the model of totalitarianism and yes it is difficult to get those grabby owners to let go of all that power they want.  Result?  Big failure. 

Fascism--the back door, a reactionary, revanchist (look it up!) expression deeply similar to conservatism, only much more radical.  When fascism takes-over the means of production, it operates as a "shadow government" with the "face" of a democratic-republic as exemplified by the Nazis, totally in the shadows while presenting freedom for white people while hiding the non-whites under the carpet. It's color address: Gray, as in Confederate Gray.  Je-sus H. Christ.  

Honest to God.  Do I need to paint you guys a freaking picture?  This is simple stuff.  If anything, the economic forces now "managing" our democratic republic are about one kiss away from outright fascism: fascism, as per Neil Postman (read, people, read!), with a smiley face.  It's colors?  Yellow. 

Look at the flag of the People's Republic of China: Yellow stars on a red field: In other words, fascism comes first (nothing as in nihilism) and then the Red comes along to hoover it all up into state control to keep the greed-heads in line. 

The Sixties: a Facebook heart.  The Seventies: A Facebook smiley face.  The Eighties?  Back to cultural revolution: Black versus white, another term for Spot as in See Spot Run.  The polka dot. 

The Nineties?  Revolutionary red all right. 

The 2000s?  Yellow.  Coldplay: The hit song. 

Tea Party: Yellow, 2009.  Occupy: Red, 2011.  Go figure, geniuses. 

The end. 

(meanwhile, The Jefferson Airplane is still flying around, and you know what?  THE JEFFERSON AIRPLANE LOVES YOU!)


Dallas ought to court a walmart distribution facility in S Dallas, they're looking to improve their rep these days.


Gah!  I hate it when the connected try to roger the unconnected.

And what is it with all these Grand Development Projects?  I *like* a hodge-podge of development.

mavdog topcommenter

Not sure if Evans is stating a need for an "uber-developer" that will take on the total project, or advocating the City not look at one off rezoning cases and grant those applications.

Also, in all due respect, Dallas is not like Vancouver. They have physical constraints on their growth, we do not. DFW could sprawl for what, 200 miles, without hitting any barriers.

What I believe is critical is an overall plan for the area in the type of uses and densities, and to grant only Planned Development rezoning cases that are use and site plan specific. That will all but stop the speculators.


We all know this is about white developers that are friendly with the Dallas Citizens Council eyeing that land. It's the most obvious thing ever. A University (still no idea why it's in that location) means housing and disposable income .

A developer will buy it all cheap, the sewers will then get built, and then you'll have apartments and a Potbelly. My guess is when the City Council approved the sewers they thought funding was in place and it fell through.

everlastingphelps topcommenter

City Hall wants to "keep" the people of South Dallas, just like they were kept on plantations.  This time, instead of taking their labor and giving them a pittance, they are taking their votes and giving them a pittance.

Montemalone topcommenter

I think there's some irony in the fact that the rich white folk that want to get the land cheap are the same one's who think their shit don't stink, considering this is about sewers.

holmantx topcommenter

"Did you see me do it?" - Bart Simpson.

Cheating them fair and square appears to be a City hallmark now.  You can't get a straight answer out of them.  All they want to know is what you have on them.

From a gas well to a car wash to a Public Hotel to a sewer line . . . who the hell knows WHAT they are up to?


All South Dallas Property Owners (Black Folk) need to understand that "Grow" in "Grow South" does not include them! 

The "Grow" is to "Grow the Rich" (Northern Sector White Folks), even richer.  


@TheCredibleHulk Nothing but ice hockey in the a.m. dude. 

The sun rose years ago, and Pootie Tang is only now beginning to get the massage of his life.  What's he need?  A flaming peace sign? 


I almost forgot: Democracy in the United States is called "representative democracy" because straightforward-everybody-gets-together-to-directly-vote is inefficient, and thus all of us place our trust in our representatives. 

Republic--A two-tier system, the patrician classes (the rich) on top, the plebeian classes (the employees) on the bottom.  Clearly the GOP is a moving target for Communist takeover.  Yippies to Yuppies.  Maybe Bob "Green Light" Green was "onto something". 

Dallas was too busy being "true believers" in Ronald Wilson Reagan, mainly because being anti-Communist is simple the other side of the pro-Communism dialectic.  Idiot-heads. 

Cultural revolution--the Plasmatics, the Ramones, Black Flag, the punks, etc.  Those people caused a lot of upset for ever-so-prudish Americans, and yes, everyone on the inside knew that it was a put-on, a sort of way to ignite ideological stasis and remove us from the dynamism of being pragmatic and Liberal. 

Progressivism--Using the scientific method and reason or empirical objectivity to make rational decisions regarding political solutions to cultural problems.  The Pullman Strike in the 1870s--birth of Progressivism. 

There it is in a nutshell, hopefully from a pecan tree, mainly because Macadamia nuts are "clearly a Commie plot to Highland Parkers and Parkees", always in swing, moving left to right, rocking the boat for the Old Confederacy, and nothing but a lackey for the Reds in the Romper Room of pathetically infantilized Dallas, Texas, the huge doughnut with a schizoid hole in the middle that blinks red-green-red-green. 

No, I am not a Wookie. 


Um, D/FW is not Dallas. D/FW can go on forever but short of annexation Dallas does have pretty defined borders.


Here is your "weather vane", a color coding psych test co-opted as color coding by The Weathermen (and Weatherwomen) in the early 1970s. 

Take it from me, Great Big Weather Underground dude.  Watching the wall for 34 years, brought to you by, well, my parents. 

Can I have my Purina Cat Chow now?  China: Green.  Russian Confederacy: Red.  Have a nice day, right arm, farm out, right on, far out. 

mavdog topcommenter


the point is there are no constraints to development in the market. Vancouver is wrapped by suburbs, too.....


WU "weather child", recruited in 1867 by Jim Morrison.  Owlsley acid: One clear-view for certain.  Nope.  No stone left uncovered. 


Pink and baby blue: Faded Glory, a whitewashing of the flag used by Confederates nationwide for over 150 years. 

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