Help Settle a Bet: Which Recent Dallas City Hall Screw Up Was Worse?

Categories: City Hall

Thumbnail image for HorseParkAerial.JPG
The Horse Park/goat killing ground/boondoggle.
Editor's note: Recently, our Eric Nicholson reported on the goat skulls and carcasses that await visitors of the new Texas Horse Park, one of Dallas City Hall's bizarre attempts to develop southern Dallas. Together with Eric's previous scoop about the park being entrusted to an accused horse abuser, the story had some in the newsroom talking as if this horse-park fiasco was the city's worst screw up in recent years.

That didn't sit well with Chief Screw-Up Correspondent Jim Schutze, and he told Eric so. We've obtained a copy of that exchange.

Jim's original motion to compel Eric to admit Jim rakes more muck:
Eric, it's hats off to you, absolutely, for your fine work on the Horse Park story as an example of egregious moronic mismanagement at City Hall, but I feel compelled to say that I don't really think it even comes close to the White Water Kayak Park story. I'm sure all of your scattered goat skulls and bad-smelling voodoo sacrifice pits -- very colorful, I admit -- are off-putting, especially for the handicapped children who will be brought to the area. But my White Water feature has the very newsworthy capacity for potentially drowning entire families, not that we want that to happen. As City Hall stories go, just measuring stupid for stupid, my White Water beats your Horse Park any day.   

Eric's response brief:
You're right: the kayak park is astoundingly dumb, and it does indeed have the potential to kill entire families. But WHERE ARE THE BODIES, JIM? Your whitewater feature might kill at any moment. But at the horse park, you are already surrounded by death. Do you think all those goats enjoyed being bled and butchered? Do you think those Native Americans who drank from that ancient spring at the bottom of the hill enjoyed being run off their land by white folks? I'm not making any predictions here, but throw in those handicapped kids and it sounds like you've got a script for Pet Semetary III.

Jim to Eric:
Eric, the last thing I wanted was for this to turn into some kind of competition between the two of us, and I think some of your tone here is most unfortunate in that regard. First off, I wasn't talking about goat feelings. I was talking strictly about the value of these stories as illustrations of City Hall's staggering dumbitude. In your case, City Hall said they were going to do a horse park, and now it's a horse park. Sure, it's a horrible scary horse park, and maybe people need a clothespin on their noses, but they can go down there and ride around on their horsies, right? In my story, they were supposed to recreate a beautiful Rocky Mountain white water stream and instead they created a thing that's a cross between a shredder and a giant toilet. It's so dangerous that it has killed the entire pass-time of canoeing in that whole part of the river. For that reason, I think my White Water feature story is a much more powerful illustration of how dumb City Hall is than your pathetic little horse park story. 

Eric to Jim:
My apologies, Jim. I was under the impression that we were measuring idiocy in terms of potential death toll. Since we're not, let's do dollars instead. City Hall's paying like, $15 million for the horse park, i.e. four times the cost of the kayak death trap. The bill would have been higher but Dallas rich people wouldn't chip in for the $100 million version, and you of all people should know how astronomically dumb a project has to be for Dallas rich people to not fund it. So, lots of money, and do you know who the city's giving a bunch of it to? A guy accused of starving horses! That'd be like hiring the Deliverance hillbillies to do city-sponsored canoe trips. Finally, your giant toilet retains some value as the most fitting metaphor possible for the Trinity River. A multimillion dollar equestrian center in Pleasant Grove? Why? Just why?




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23 comments
kduble
kduble

The bike rental program in Fair Park -- with renters subject to arrest for not wearing helmets -- deserves honorable mention.

benwellsstreet
benwellsstreet

Yea, there sure are a lot of families kayaking down the trinity river...

Meanwhile, what's the death toll for that dam on the trinity in ft worth?

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

Can I stop voting now?

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

Dammit, you know they're going to take this as a challenge at City Hall to do something even more moronic, don't you?

BobKB
BobKB

Getting rid of I-345 has both of them beat 

dc005
dc005

I've asked before,  does something happen to the common sense of Council Members at their swearing in?  Or are they truly representative of the people of Dallas,  and we haven't yet realized it.

Or,  ala TRUMAN,  is this a new reality show where we're not in on the gag.

CheeryBitch
CheeryBitch

There should be a third choice: Dallas City Hall.

lebowski300
lebowski300

This. This is why I keep coming back.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

I would go with the whole "take $17,000,000 to get sued for not letting someone drill on almost-parkland."

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Everything they do is tied for dumbest. The shitty that works, eh wot.

MaxNoDifference
MaxNoDifference

Can we vote for both?  Maybe Southern Dallas style with mail-in ballots.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

I think you should hire a couple of Deep Ellum chiselers to sneak down to the concrete chunks some night and spike the contest.  Hack one of those million dollar stone monuments to City brilliance into a 10 foot tall Asian penis worship symbol.

When it floods it would cut like a knife, horrifying the Bible thumpers and confounding the Dallas Morning News on coverage.

NewsDog
NewsDog

A tie maybe?

But what about all the time and money the City has spent going 0 - 84 against Robert Groden on the non-existant ordinance?

A Trifecta.

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

Since both projects mentioned are tied to Vonciel Hill, I want to add the shit storm that is occurring down at City Hall about the expansion of Dallas Executive Airport(Red Bird) that is scheduled to begin this Summer. Funny thing is that both Hill and Atkins refused to inform their constituents as required by the TXDOT and FAA. Since they wouldn't talk, we called in the Feds and the State on them. Earlier this week we managed to have a sit down with Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson's Regional Director about the bullshit being spread around on this project, and we're still waiting for City Aviation director Mark Duebner(remember him?) to answer our questions(he hasn't)

I forgot to mention that the City chipped in $3 million in February via Consent Agenda(no questions) and the State is chipping in $32 million.


I would say, yes, you left out an evolving scandal that is connected to Hill and being directed by Atkins. 

Hey Jim, did you go on Atkins bus tour of Southern Dallas this week?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

If by "voodoo sacrifice pit", Jim is referencing "ritualistic goat slaughter" as was described in the original article, he is confusing Muslim Halal practices with Haitian religion.

That counts as a screw-up?

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

It should be a three way vote ...you left out the 30 million + dollar  fair park summer fun place that had one run .

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@holmantx

Trolling JackJett?

WylieH
WylieH

@raymondmcrawford  In fairness to most of the members of City Council, it appears that Duebner portrayed this as a runway repaving project, rather than the expansion it really is, that will accommodate aircraft as large as Boeing 727s, MD-80s, DC-9s, Airbus 320s, etc., etc.

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

@WylieH I'm sure that he did that as instructed by Atkins and who knows, maybe even Gonzalez, or earlier before she left, Suhm. The consent agenda item got there either by way of AC Gozalez or Mike Rawlings. It was one of three items I believe, so to assume that it was buried in between a bunch of items is not the way it was presented. I did contact a City Council member who does not live in Oak Cliff and this person told me that they don't even remember the item, the vote, or anything about it. Color me shocked.

I would assume that since it was a consent agenda item that was not pulled for discussion, that Duebner did not have a power point presentation  in order to sell it to the council.

While Duebner manages these types of projects once they get "out of the gate", it's the council members who sponsor the project, city managers who either approve or oversee the project, and the mayor who must do the due diligence in keeping the process of presenting the item in a transparent manner.


Much like the gas drilling episode, they haven't changed their ways.

James080
James080

@WylieH  

Are you implying that the Council passed something after having given the issue only a superficial look and relying totally on the word of some city staff bureaucrat? In Dallas? Naw, could never happened.

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