The Morning News headline this morning — "Reunion Arena: Aging facility’s future still isn’t certain" — is both true and laughable.

It’s true in the sense that the city council’s economic development committee (fresh from committing $500 million in taxpayer funds on the convention center hotel) has apparently had enough time to revisit Reunion Arena during the past couple of weeks and didn’t pull the trigger on the building’s demolition at yesterday’s meeting. It’s laughable because Reunion Arena has been a "dead man walking" since the American Airlines Center operating agreement between the AAC owners and the city more than 10 years ago effectively gave the AAC a first right of refusal to snag every meaningful event away from Reunion, if the AAC so chose. (In a nutshell, that’s why public-private partnerships are usually pretty one-sided; the "private" negotiators generally are simply better than the "public" ones, something that should be kept in mind as the convention center hotel deal progresses.)

Yesterday, the usual suspect (deputy mayor pro tem Dwayne Caraway) was quoted as whining: "I will not be one that will be strangled and be pushed into a move, and that’s what I feel we are doing." He said the same basic thing on Channel 8’s news report the other night, too. So he’s imploring the city to "reopen" negotiations with Center Operating Company, the guys running the AAC, to change the agreement and reinvigorate Reunion Arena with events.

Center Operating Company’s president, Brad Mayne, told the News politely that wouldn’t be happening; Frank Poe, the city’s director of convention and event services and a pretty sharp guy, said basically the same thing. So Caraway appears to be talking to hear himself talk: From a business standpoint, why would a private developer with a complete and total stranglehold on downtown large-venue entertainment want to give that up in return for … nothing?

There has been talk over the years about turning Reunion into a casino, but that’s still illegal. There was talk yesterday about turning it into a shopping center, but that’s simply wishful thinking — who in their right mind would build a shopping mall downtown? The city-subsidized grocery store downtown isn’t even making money. We could attach Reunion to the convention center, I suppose, and the $1 million Reunion loses each year could go under that facility’s budget. But hey, isn’t that still our bag of cash, too?

No, the city believes it will take about $5 million or so to demolish Reunion, and no one has been booking events there past June 30. You don’t have to be able to read between the lines to see that city staff, at the earlier direction of the council, has decided that Reunion is a goner. And despite the talk and arm-waving, that’s exactly what’s we can expect to happen.