Just when you thought it was safe to release the death-grip from your wallet, here comes that band of merry men and women from City Hall who are only here to protect and serve . . . and spend.


Apparently, someone let it slip that you still had a few coins left over after the Arena vote and the recent visit by dear Uncle Sam. Somehow these pillars of our community discovered that you have one more mattress stuffed with a few dollars and buried in your backyard, waiting for a rainy day. Well, when it rains, it pours; and there is some guy named Noah knocking on your door with his hand out.


But the Arena vote is now history. Ross Perot, Jr. has been leaving prank phone messages on my answering machine, making Ògiant sucking sounds.Ó


Even so, a gutsy crew down at City Hall is now Òpretty-pleasinÕ Ó us to approve the largest bond package in Dallas history. Yee-haw.


I have decided that in modern American government, when it comes to annual budgets, tax increases and bond packages, no government worth its salt engages in any of these activities unless itÕs the ÒbiggestÓ or the ÒlargestÓ or is Òrecord-breaking.Ó After all, who wants the Òfifth-largest tax increaseÓ or the eighth-largest bond packageÓ on a budget that looks about like last yearÕs? If itÕs not the most, then people automatically suspect that you are not doing your job. Spend my money Ð or else.


So, here it comes: a $543.5 million bond package Ð i.e., one-half of $1,000,000,000 ! What in the world are we spending this kind of money on? For starters, itÕs $125 million for fixing potholes. ThatÕs right; we need bond money for a basic City function like fixing potholes. ThatÕs like borrowing money from your IRA to buy groceries. That should worry us about the operational aptitudes of our City government.


The bond package also contains money for Fair Park, the Zoo, White Rock Lake, a new Police department headquarters, a new fire station, libraries, a performing arts center, renovating the old Police Department headquarters, storm-drainage projects, and a new animal shelter. ThatÕs a very long list of projects, most of which at least sound reasonably connected to City functions, and all of that only adds up to $173 million.


The 800-pound gorilla in this bond package is Proposition 11, which is $246 million to rename the Trinity River the ÒRon Kirk Memorial Black Hole Ð and Entertainment Complex.Ó As with most beautiful dreams, this one is tempting. But for goodness sakes, weÕre having to borrow money to fix potholes! When you can barely afford to pay for your food and shelter, is it prudent to spend money you donÕt have on a condo in Aspen?


I am amazed that taxpayers are even being asked this question. IÕll probably likewise be amazed at the result.


The slogan of the bond supporters is ÒWe Love Dallas.Ó A more accurate slogan would be ÒWe Love Dollars.Ó



Neighborhood resident Bill Keffer writes a monthly opinion column about neighborhood issues. His opinions are not necessarily those of the Advocate or its management. Send comments and ideas to him at 6301 Gaston, Suite 820, Dallas 75214; FAX to 214-823-8866; or e-mail to editor@advocatemag.com.