From the Publisher Playing “Gotcha!”

Laura Mille? got what she wanted, whether Dallas gets the Olympics or not.

IS TOM LUCE A LIAR?

The answer hardly matters. Laura Miller got what she wanted just by saying he is. Consider the rewards of slander. First, she grabbed a good headline and at least 40 seconds of airtime on all four local news programs. Second, she burnished her rusting image as a City Council watchdog, not an easy job when the rest of the Council expends considerable effort in conspicuously ignoring every word she speaks. And third, she showed once again thai she’s no lapdog of the “downtown business establishment” (such as it is). All in all, a pretty good day’s work. If you’re Laura Miller.

Many people misunderstand Milter. They question her motives. They complain about her tactics. They seem to think she’s operating with some dark, hidden purpose. Not me. I think her motives are crystal clear.

Tom Luce’s reputation doesn’t concern Miller. Nor do the facts of the matter, which are these: Tom Luce volunteered to take charge of Dallas’ Olympic bid, pledging to the City Council on behalf of the business community that no taxpayer dollars will be used in making the bid or holding the Games, if we’re lucky enough to get them.

The U.S. Olympic Committee, on the other hand, wants some sort of guarantee by a governmental entity that its money will be paid. There are numerous ways to satisfy the USOC without committing taxpayer monies. In Atlanta, for example, the Georgia Legislature pledged sales-tax revenues from Games-related events. Other ideas include imposing a surcharge on ticket sales. All of this would be new money derived from the Games itself, not taxpayer funds. But any version of a user’s fee would be a “tax” because it would have to be imposed, and the power to tax rests with the Legislature. (This is not very complicated. I’ll bet even Laura Miller understands it.)

Houston is one of our competitors for the Games. San Antonio is competing to get the Pan American Games. With Dallas’ blessing, the cities asked attorney Ray Hutchison to draft legislation allowing them to come up with ways to satisfy the USOC’s requirements. Houston and San Antonio aren’t as pristine as Dallas when it comes to using lax-payer money for their cities’ benefit, and the legislation Hutchison drafted would give them latitude not only to impose user’s fees but to raise sales taxes if they wanted. And that’s how Tom Luce became a liar.

Did you miss it? Sorry, let me try again, Luce promised [hat Dallas won ’I use taxpayer money. But the draft legislation allows Texas cities to use taxpayer money if they want to. So according to Miller, that makes Tom Luce a liar.

The game is called “gotcha!” Players get points not for delving into the complicated and messy business of real policy issues but for scoring the best soundbites. To play requires a mind uncloggedby considerations of the real facts of the case and unencumbered by any concern for the consequences. As for the consequences, some suggested Miller was trying to scuttle the Olympics bid. 1 don’t for a minute believe it. Miller doesn’t care one whit about the Olympics bid. She doesn’t care whether Dallas hosts the Games or not. She cares about as much for it as she does for Tom Luce’s reputation as a decent, honorable citizen.

Her motives are purer than that. With Laura Miller, what you see is what you get. And what you saw of Laura Mil 1er-yei again-was her face on the television news.

Newsletter

Keep me up to date on the latest happenings and all that D Magazine has to offer.

Comments