False "Facts" by the Anti-Hotel Crowd

I just listened to the radio debate on KHVN radio by the anti-hotel crowd that claims to be representing the community. There were too many lies to refute, so I’ll just focus on the most obvious.

FALSE: The hotel will cost $550 million.
FACT: The hotel’s guaranteed maximum price was set at $356 million in December (link).

FALSE: The new Fort Worth Hotel was completed without city support.
FACT: Omni Fort Worth was given $89 million for tax abatements, and was also given other financial support to make the deal happen.

FALSE: The hotel in Fort Worth is comparable to the proposed hotel in Dallas.
FACTS: Omni Fort Worth has 614 rooms. Dallas’ will have 1,000. The Omni FW has 68,000 square feet of meeting space. Dallas’ will have 100,000 square feet. That means the opportunity to host bigger conventions that bring in more dollars for the city.

FALSE: Claiming that the Build the Hotel group didn’t show up to a public forum.
FACT: The anti-hotel group knew in advance that the pro-hotel group wouldn’t participate in debates until February, so they staged a “debate” in Oak Cliff replete with name tags in an attempt to embarrass city officials that they knew were not attending.

FALSE: Hotels only have low-paying jobs.
FACT: Hotels have multiple opportunities for employment. There are management, supervisory, food management, booking agents, concierge, and other jobs which do not pay minimum wage. In this economy, in which people are taking out billboards and wearing sandwich boards in an effort to find work, is any job a bad job?

FALSE: Deputy Mayor Dwaine Caraway has not been on the radio discussing the hotel.
FACT: It was noted multiple times on the same KHVN show by its host that Caraway has been on the show several times discussing the hotel and taking pro & con calls from callers. He’s also been on other shows discussing the same issue. What was said, as is widely known, is the the debates would not start until February.

If anyone thinks we aren’t out talking to citizens about the hotel in southern Dallas, you’re kidding yourselves. I haven’t lost any campaign in which I participated in years; we just don’t need a big check and a big show to help out.

It was also said that Houston’s successful hotel costs less than Dallas’ hotel. Of course it does; it was completed in 2003 and the Houston hotel terms were settled in 2001.

NOT MENTIONED:

  • Hotels closer in proximity to our proposed hotel are in support of it, which include the operators of the Hyatt Regency, Adolphus, and Sheraton.
  • The phony argument that building the hotel results in streets not being safe or potholes being filled. You can’t fund getting more police officers or getting city services in the same fashion that you can assist in building the hotel.
  • With the referendum’s proposed language, the city will not be able to assist in the construction of any other hotel. That means that the city will not be able to help with any hotel in the Lancaster-Kiest Corridor, the Trinity River Corridor, the Inland Port (Dallas Logistics Hub), and other areas. These are needs that have been indicated and supported by the residents in various neighborhoods in southern Dallas.
  • Tourism dollars give added benefit to the city because visitors don’t require year-round city services.
  • In fact, just yesterday on the FrontBurner blog , it was announced that the Dallas Safari Club Convention and Hunting Expo at Dallas Market Hall is moving to the Dallas Convention Center to accommodate its steady growth. This Expo attracts more than 22,000 attendees. The Safari Club’s host hotel is also switching from the Anatole to the Hyatt Regency. What this means is that this will be another convention that we will lose soon if we don’t have enough hotel and meeting space.
  • Each year, Dallas misses out on about $800 million in direct spending — and an additional $2.6 billion in economic impact by not having a convention center hotel.
  • Multiple conventions have announced that they will come to Dallas now that we are moving forward with our convention center hotel. They include the American Heart Association whom have stated they will bring 33,000 cardiologists and a projected $86 million economic impact to Dallas in 2013 and 2017. If they are bringing 33,000 attendees, surely other hotels will benefit.
  • The only hotel that may lost footing is the Anatole, since it is not in the core
  • The sordid history behind Pioneer Plaza, and how that caused us to miss an early opportunity to build a convention center hotel.
  • That the true funder of the hotel referendum refuses to publicly debate the issue. It has already been said that the Mayor, who has been in southern Dallas on a weekly basis long before this issue arose, is willing to debate Harlan Crow.

Check out more facts about the hotel.

Some people on the radio were also complaining about contracts going to “specific groups.” I guess they had no problem with it when they were the ones getting the contracts for the last 20 years. There have been multiple briefings on expanding the current M/WBE terms at City Council. What they are asking for is already happening, and new people are getting opportunities that were not previously. It has already been stated that the hotel project will exceed any M/WBE goals that are set by City Council.

It’s a new day, and a new way. We can either think and act like a small-town, or like the world-class city Dallas strives to become.

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