What The Hell is Wrong With Dallas?

In my latest contribution for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, I say Texas owes a whole lot to it’s growing immigrant population! The numbers are in and Texas grew more than any other state in the union in the last census report.

But the biggest loser of them all seems to be Dallas. While Texas leapt by 20%, Dallas grew by barely one per cent, and Fort Worth across the way exploded, just like Austin, San Antonio, El Paso and, to some extent, Houston, but mostly Houston suburban areas.

So what the hell is wrong with Dallas? Why are we not growing? Experts say this may be that we have had our growth day in the sun, are now land-locked and can only build on density, re-gentrify neighborhoods. That is certainly happening in parts of East Dallas and South Dallas, but still, when you are in competition with the suburbs and pretty manicured areas like Tucker Hill up there in Allen, well who wins? And will we ever have significantly better DISD? Here is what a commenter (from a teacher, no less) wrote on The Observer:

Until recently, our plan was to add on a little bit, maybe put in a small pool, etc. since our children attend excellent private high schools and we don’t want to move them. We love our neighborhood and our jobs. We’ve been happy here.

But lately we have come to realize that, thanks to DISD, our home will only appreciate so much. People can’t afford expensive homes and private school tuition. Since DISD caps any return on investment, developers have little interest in rehabbing blighted neighborhoods. People with children who can’t afford tuition will not invest within DISD boundaries. The blight spreads like a virus.

No one in city leadership seems to get the connection between schools and blight. The lack of blight in HP isn’t bc the people are rich, it’s bc the schools are good and people get rich from the appreciation on their homes.

And then there’s city govt. We’re taxed and taxed for dwindling services and surly city staffers. Every single thing is filtered through race.

Along your lines, our new plan is to get the kids through high school, cash out what we can from our home, and move somewhere small, sane, and at least a little bit scenic.

The fancy bridge does nothing for us, so we, in turn, can do nothing for the people (and their families) we would otherwise employ to design and remodel our home.

Dallas just doesn’t make financial sense anymore. Thus the growth of any place with decent schools; almost everyone would rather spend their money on a nice home with pool and not on private school tuition.

Bam — that says a lot. Is DISD really holding Dallas back? How about always calling the race card in city politics? Blaming the rich? Is it because of people like Eddie Bernice Johnson who could be beaten by a thoughtful, intelligent candidate not clutching a bible and Jesus to his chest? Do we need more mature city leaders? A more powerful Mayor, perhaps?

What the hell is wrong with Dallas?