ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 27: A general view of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium under construction on May 27, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
With stories circulating daily detailing the lavish amenities that are ubiquitous in the confines of Cowboys Stadium (many of these no doubt perpetuated by Jerry Jones himself), and becuase most Dallasites are either (a) swooning about those aforementioned golden touches or (b) trapped in a catatonic stupor induced by one of the massive screens that adorn the beast of North Texas, it's easy to forget that there was some very emotional and very vocal opposition to the leviathan venue.
And despite all the adoring news otherwise, it remains, though quieted by the futility of fighting with a stadium that has already been built.
The New York Times recently ran a story, titled America's Team Moves Into Texas-Size Stadium (see, we are America's Team after all), those arguments are rehashed. The piece, which originally ran in mid-July, paints Jones as a benign cross between J.R. Ewing and Mr. Burns, even noting that the owner, in his excitement, almost ran down a group of fans in the parking lot. (Like when Mr. Burns ran down Bart in episode 7F10.)
The opposition says that the move undermined the needs of the city of Arlington, and circumvented protocall egregiously. Would you expect anything less from a Mr. Burns/J.R. Ewing hybrid?
“The mayor sold out and the council went right along,” said local lawyer James Runzheimer to the Times. “We don’t provide basic infrastructure, yet we subsidize a team.”
The use of eminent domain in the process is a red button as well. Jones says, in the piece, “The landowners came out really well on eminent domain,” before being reminded that they did so only after the original offer was increased at the behest of lawyers working for the landowners. “That’s correct,” he responded afterwards.
One such representative of the Arlington landowners was Glenn Sodd, who told the Times,“It’s a misuse of the Texas Constitution and the U.S. Constitution. To say we in this community need this stadium is a gross mischaracterization. We might desire it. We might wish to have it. But no one’s condemning land to build grocery stores.” Sodd went on to say that he didn't blame Jones, though, citing his status as a businessman.
Jones, for his part, remains convinced that the stadium will make Arlington a hub for tourism, an sizeable area of the city's market that has slumped on par with the recent economic downturn. He may be right; the Dallas Morning News recently reported that "At least 80 percent of Arlington's hotel rooms were filled for the Cowboys Stadium debut concert with George Strait in June."
In any case, Jerry's a proud papa, and he loves nothing more than looking at, showing off and boasting about the new apple of his eye.
“As far back as 15 years ago,” he said to The Times, “I’d go to the floor of the Texas Legislature and I’d say: ‘You’re not creating a subsidy to build a stadium, you’re priming the pump for people intoxicated with being involved in sports. Use them to prime the pump with private dollars, because invariably, they’ll spend more than you’d ever imagine.’ ”
Looking at ticket and concession prices at the palatial Cowboys Stadium, he's probably right.