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Shall we dance?

August 25, 2010

As the economy continues to shrink and expenses grow for everyone from you to your city services, the need for a constant revenue flow expands. So it is not surprising that not too long ago when the Barnett Shale was identified, that anyone who was remotely located within it’s boundaries wanted to reap the profits. When the Barnett Shale orchestra started to play the “money” song, the gas industry invited Tarrant county and it’s many communities to participate in a dance. As the old saying goes, “dance with the one that brung ya” and so they did.

The city of Dallas had been hearing the “music” from the western skies and wondered if they might want to join in. Join they did. The gas industry orchestra was invited to come and play a couple of tunes, and before you can say, “one mo’ time”, head choreographer/city manager Mary Suhm jumped into the arms of dancing partners, XTO and Trinity East Energy. When the city council was invited to join in the “jig”, all but two danced the days away. Former councilman Mitch Rasansky, and current “I ain’t dancin” councilmember Angela Hunt said “no thanks, I’ll sit this one out”. In fact, Ms. Hunt was not a happy member of the dance party. So she blogged away, but no one listened. Check it out.

Later that same year, Bloomberg did a rather interesting story about T.Boone Pickens and his pursuit of water rights across this part of the country. Now some may ask, why would any city want to “pay” for water that has to be transported across 300-400 miles of terrain? Well, if you ain’t got it, you gotta have it. So as the orchestra led by T. Boone composes it’s requiem for the masses, it will be interesting to see who ends up dancing to his tune. The T. Boone Pickens Foundation has gifted many with it’s riches from the downtown YMCA to the Dallas Arboretum, so going forward it will be interesting to see who continues to dance to his music.

Atmos Energy, XTO, Exxon all are great contributors to our arts. But at what price? From Addison’s highly recognized Water Tower Theater to the Van Cliburn Foundation, we all end up dancing the dance.

The latest and boldest dance on the dance floor was earlier this week, when Dallas mayor Tom Leppert eagerly accepted a $1 million check from Oncor’s CEO Bob Shapard to help close the city budget gap. In order to keep the recreation centers open, Mayor Tom thought it best that he start to “boogie down” with Oncor. Right now, the city is also looking for “dance partners” in order to finance Fair Park and the Dallas Farmers Market. In the coming season, when Oncor deems it necessary to over cut your 75 year old oak trees, you want that perfect cantaloupe from the Farmers Market, or a visit to see Big Tex is on your dance card, please don’t complain. Just keep dancing. It’s the Dallas way.

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