Archive for September, 2008

Do They Really Get It?

September 30, 2008

As you’ve read, the House of Representatives failed to pass the $700 Billion Bailout bill yesterday.

Because the bill failed, the market lost $1.2 Trillion in value yesterday. That’s not the money of “Wall Street Fat Cats.” That’s the money in your 401k, your pension fund, and your personal investments (if you’re blessed enough to have any).

Sure, House Speaker Pelosi’s speech was a little over the top. But to not vote for a bill because of a speech is absurd.

The current financial situation is not the end result of “low income people who bought houses they couldn’t afford.” Pelosi, like it or not, is right. Our country in this financial place because of the awful financial policies that have occurred over the last eight years.

We continued to ship away jobs to other countries, and provided tax-amnesty holidays that allowed companies to bring back the profits with little or no tax consequence. These were good-paying jobs (and even lower-paying jobs). Those jobs paid people a meaningful wage which allowed workers to afford these homes. When an “anything goes” oil policy caused workers to pay double the amount to be able to get to work, something had to give.

Sure, maybe some homeowners were reckless in buying homes that required them to stretch to afford them. When people used adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) they knew the low-interest payments were for a defined time period, but when the economy went south they had no way to refinance. Contrary to what you may have heard, banks were not willing to work with people that were trying to work out their troubled mortgages until a few months ago. Most banks were willing to leave people on the hook at high rates to make their quarterly profit projections. At some point, something has to give and people simply couldn’t afford their new house payments which may have doubled or tripled at that point (remember that house payments in the first few years are almost all interest and not principal). This is the story that is not being told by the media and self-serving congresspeople that voted against this bill.

As it stands now, some small business owners cannot get short-term financing to make payroll and buy supplies and inventory. These businesses now have to lay off workers. The student loan market is freezing up. That’s not a Wall Street problem, that’s an “Our Street” problem. When small banks don’t have funds to make basic loans, you’re going to feel it. The average American will began to feel the pinch as the 529 college funds that people scraped together for their kids evaporate. Check the balance of your pension fund this morning and get back to me.

Unless Congress gets its act together and passes some form of this bill, you will see the affects of such actions in an even more profound way than you already have. This bill now costs us $520 Billion more than it would have yesterday ($1.2 Trillion Market drop – $700 Billion Bill= $520 Billion). It’s simple math.

Stop the posturing and get this done. The country can’t afford many more days like yesterday.

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Debate Tonight!

September 26, 2008

The first Presidential Debate is tonight at 8PM. Barack will be there. Whether it will be a townhall meeting with Obama, or an actual debate is up to John McCain.

UPDATE: McCain will attend the debate.

Build the Hotel Campaign Kicks Off

September 24, 2008

The campaign to Build The Convention Center Hotel kicked off today at City Hall. The misinformation, including the whole false premise that this is taking money away from things like public safety and street repair.

Check out their new website: www.buildthehotel.com

Don’t settle for quotes when you can watch the speech for yourself. My apologies for the videos not being clearer. Youtube is using a larger window size and it makes things look blurry.

Remarks from Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway

Remarks from Mayor Tom Leppert

Things I’ve Learned at Boot Camp

September 22, 2008

Jay’s Boot Camp has been a great learning experience so far. There are a few things that I’ve learned along the way.

Remember to bring your mat – doing the Army’s PT test on concrete is not fun.

Don’t wear a Lucky (Jeans) T-Shirt. The trainer heckled me for most of that day by calling me “Lucky” everywhere I went.

My weekend eating habits are not helping, and I’m shocked. Peep this health-conscious menu:

*Before the start of week two: A 3-course Sunday brunch at Fearing’s.

*Last weekend: La Duni for dinner on Friday (with Cuatro Leches cake for dessert, of course), Chip’s on Saturday (my last meal there – soon to be RIP), and Sunday dinner consisting of my wife’s killer CFS. At least I skipped the homemade gravy!

Seriously though, this has been a great experience so far. You can learn a lot about yourself when you have to do dozens of sprints and mile-plus runs combined with other intense exercise. Pushing yourself brings you clarity in other phases of your life, and you can’t put a price tag on that.

Selective Prosecution

September 22, 2008

I saw an post on a local blog, that questioned why the city would consider spending $30-70,000 on a study to determine whether or not the city should renovate the Convention Center Arena (CCA).

Spending the money is a good idea. With the future convention center hotel, the development in the Cedars and the coming JPI development the arena would be a great complement to the area and to the city. It would be a different animal than the Superpages.com Center at Fair Park since it’s enclosed. Plus, it wouldn’t be a “junior Nokia” as stated in the blog post since the CCA has 9,800 seats and Nokia holds 6,350. In addition, the CCA has 96 meeting rooms.

Who knows, maybe these haters can help the operators of Nokia start a referendum to stop the city from spending a few million on the arena (I kid). Nokia will be a a major disadvantage if this renovation gets done. There is no development anywhere in Grand Prairie that can compete with downtown Dallas. The Nokia theater benefited from the right of first refusal deal that AAC had in place which killed Reunion Arena. As pointed out in the DMN piece, the Convention Center Arena has no such handcuffs.

Do certain blogs have an agenda? Maybe, maybe not. But you can best believe that if Mayor Leppert, Dwaine Caraway, or Ron Natinsky suggest anything in this city the same blog crew will be there to try to shoot it down. It’s been happening ever since TrinityVote. I think that dissenting points of view can be healthy for a city, but surely everything that the aforementioned officials do isn’t a bad idea.

Put some naming rights on the arena and the the renovation pays for itself or close to it. Done, next. Surely in a city like Dallas you could find a corporate sponsor (Comerica, JPI, Southwest) to pay a few million to help foot the bill. Then we can put our focus back onto other issues.

Old School Throwback

September 20, 2008

I had to bring it back with a cartoon from my childhood. Surely you remember this one from School House Rock about how a law gets made.

Jim Schutze is a Liar

September 18, 2008

When I got home today from a long day at City Plan Commission, I read this allegation by Jim Schutze at the Dallas Observer:

“At today’s meeting, African-American plan commission member Michael Davis made an angry, crazy, rambling attack on the Latino citizens who had spoken in favor of the Cesar Chavez name change. How times have changed. In its offensiveness and petulance, Davis’s speech was at least the equal to any of the old white-guy bigot speeches I used to hear at City Hall decades ago.”

Seriously? Who the heck is he kidding?

Anybody that thinks that what I said today was racist in any way was not listening. After the vote, people catcalled our committee this morning and called us racists this morning and I let it go. But when similar attacks surfaced at our main commission I felt the need to address it.

I said that people of any race shouldn’t be allowed to attack and judge each other without cause.

What I did say was that you can’t judge a person and call them racist based on an outcome of a vote, and I was offended by those allegations. I also said that I am one of the first people at our commission that addresses any citizen that makes offensive or racial statements at our meetings. Maybe I rambled a bit, but in no way was anything that I said racist or anything close to it.

The people that were on the Cesar Chavez side, that called me personally, know what I am about. They knew how I would vote in advance. I probably have more friends in that group than I had on the other side. But it’s not about a “how many friends do I have” contest.

The bigger issue, as I have written before, is that some irresponsible writers in this town want to fan the flames and absolutely hate the fact that different groups that were once at odds are working together.

Maybe Schutze is still mad because I exposed him some time ago. He wants payback in his pathetic mind. For some people, they will try to ruin or play games with people’s lives for a little ink and attention.

Keep in mind, the Dallas Observer is the same newspaper that gave me their Best Political Blogger Award in 2006.

Anybody that knows me knows that I am not racist in any way.

My family help built this city, as did others of many races. Again, I’m not trying to prove anything, but just making a point.

Jim Schutze is a flat-out liar and a hatemonger. If he was even at our meeting, he was hiding somewhere. Controversy still sells huh?

As some of the comments show on Schutze’s hateful post indicate, he’s wrong. Here are a few:

**

“Jim, you obviously were not at the Subdivision Plan Review meeting earlier this morning where they recommended denial of changing the name of Ross Avenue to Cesar Chavez Boulevard.”

The lack of orderliness and professional conduct on the side for the name change was interesting to say the least. … I believe that was what Commissioner Davis was so upset about. “

and…

(they are quoting me here) “I have been coming down here for a long time. I have been thrown out of here more than once, but never did I stand up with my one vote here and try to judge the character or how they feel based on one vote.”

Pretty easy to understand from here.. It’s rather obvious he is referring to yourself and others characterizing anyone who disagrees with you on this issue as racists.

And I would say if anyone comes off as racist it’s Schutze and the other people trying to turn this into a racial issue.

One more…

“Wait a minute… is this the same Michael Davis who has his own blog and has generally spoken with tolerance and reason in the past about other race-related issues in Dallas?”

**

I’m still the same. I haven’t changed one bit.

He can’t demonize me. But I wanted to respond to his charge once and only once.

This is why things like Blogger.com, twitter, wordpress and other publishing tools are so great. We are not held hostage by newspapers and writers with an obvious grudge; we can respond. Thanks for the love that I have received on that post, and in general from my readers who read from time to time. You know my true spirit, and one liar can’t change that.

Obama Directly Addresses America in Two-Minute Ad: Plan for Change

September 17, 2008

This may be the first time that a major candidate has released a two-minute ad that addresses major issues.

But as Barack says in the ad, “this is no ordinary time and it shouldn’t be an ordinary election. “

Check it out:

More HOA’s Gone Wild

September 17, 2008

Last time, it was Frisco. Now, it’s Coppell. In that fine city, an HOA was trying to fine a guy for having an Obama sign in his front yard. Only they didn’t know about a law that says that “residents in homeowners associations are allowed to display in their yards one political sign per candidate or ballot measure within 90 days of a related election.” So the neighbor is off the hook.

Nice work by the homeowner and by the folks that pointed out that law.

Most HOAs in Dallas focus on crime reduction and neighborly work centered around community improvement. It must be nice to be in a city with too much time on your hands.

A Referendum on the Hotel?

September 16, 2008

I just saw this article from Rudy Bush that Harlan Crow is starting a petition drive to have a referendum against funding the Convention Center Hotel. As most of you know, Crow’s company is the owner of the Hilton Anatole which may lose some business when this hotel gets built.

I predict that it will be unlikely that this group gets the signatures, and if so there’s no way it passes. A few observations:

1) There is no real large-scale emotional attachment against funding the hotel. The TrinityVote was much more emotional and dealt with varying opinions of environmental issues, tollways, and other hot-button issues.

2) A lot of the blog comments I’ve read have mentioned the self-interest side of having the owner of a major hotel rally against a new hotel. However, the owners of almost every major hotel save the Anatole are for the Convention Center Hotel.

3) Right now, the city is not a major player in the convention business. Many residents want that to change, since most people realize that there is a ton of revenue that the city is not capturing.

4) Who’s going to campaign for this issue in the south? For that matter, who’s going to lead the effort to get signatures?

5) The focus right now is on the Presidential elections.

The anti-hotel people will have 60 days to get the signatures, and that’s why it’s being announced now so it can take advantage of record turnout in November.

This should be interesting.

UPDATE: There are a few other hotels involved. None appear to have roots in downtown Dallasa. The Warwick Melrose (Oak Lawn), Prism Hotels (Far North Dallas, owns the Holiday Inn on Harry Hines), and Aimbridge (owners of the Hilton Garden Inn). Aimbridge is run by an ex-Wyndham guy who appears to own or manage the future aloft Hotels in Las Colinas, Plano and Frisco. I can’t confirm if he’s behind the aloft on Young Street in Downtown Dallas. Aimbridge also owns the Hilton Garden Inn on Stemmons and a few others.

Their web presence is run by a guy that worked with Mike Huckabee’s PAC, if that means anything to you.