Just Ahead Of A City Council Vote On The State Fair’s Lease Extension, The Fair Seemingly Wanted To Sweeten The Deal With A Few Gifts To Council Members.

Unlike seemingly every other media outlet in Dallas and, to a degree, the whole goddamn state, we here at Central Track aren’t exactly enamored with the State Fair of Texas. Why? Because, for starters, we’re not kids any more, and we’re no longer oblivious to the ways of the world. But also for a litany of other reasons, which we’ll happily run down for you here, one per day, over the entire course of the fair’s 2019 run, adding to the list we ran throughout the fair’s 2017 run.

In a previous edition of this series, we mentioned the obvious support that the State Fair of Texas had from former mayor Mike Rawlings throughout the process of Dallas City Council eventually approving a 10-year extension to its lease at Fair Park.

But Rawlings isn’t the only area politician who could be seen as being in the fair’s back pocket. At least 10 city council members were offered perks at the fair in 2018 according to gifts each member reported to Dallas City Hall’s open records.

Those who questioned the ethics behind city council’s gifts earlier this year might not be surprised to hear about this potential conflict of interest for council members regarding anything having to do with the State Fair of Texas.  

Here’s what we have been able to deduce from our perusal of these records: Of the 10 council members who reported getting offered gifts by the State Fair of Texas in 2018, nine accepted the fair’s offerings in some capacity — either by choosing to attend the fair and its related events or by handing them off to constituents. Former city councilman and mayoral candidate Scott Griggs appears to be the only candidate to turn down the fair’s gifts, with his report noting that he declined two offerings from the fair, one of which was the mysterious “tri-color” passes that the fair does not make available to the greater public. Per their own gift reports, council members Jennifer Staubach Gates, Adam Medrano, Omar Narvaez and Lee Kleinman all accepted these “tri-color passes,” which provide free parking and admission to their holders for the fair’s entire run. Eight of the council members also reported receiving gifts from the fair to its annual Texas vs. Oklahoma football game.

None of this would be too concerning except for the fact that city council was very much voting on the fate of the fair’s future in Dallas while accepting these gifts and having their questions about its operations go unanswered. Conveniently, these gifts all came to council just a couple months before conversations of a renewal of the state fair’s lease agreement came to their head. 

“We’re being asked to approve a multi-year extension of an existing contract that has a lot of problematic provisions,” then-council member Sandy Greyson, who indeed accepted gifts from the fair herself, said at the time.

And, yet, with support of the mayor and the majority of council — only Kingston, Griggs and Greyson even asked for a delay on the vote — the measure passed.

Curious, no?

Cover photo via WikiCommons.

More Reasons Why The State Fair Of Texas Sucks:

  1. Its history is super racist!
  2. It’s a major drain on Dallas police!
  3. It’s bad for your health!
  4. It’s so damn expensive!
  5. It’s not the economic driver it says it is!
  6. It’s a super shitty neighbor!
  7. It’s an altar to false idols!
  8. It makes Fair Park useless!
  9. It wastes city funds on out-of-towners!
  10. It exploits cute animals!
  11. Its executives take home too much money!
  12. Everything on the midway is a ripoff.
  13. It has willfully ignored its obligations and allowed Fair Park to fall into disrepair!
  14. It refuses to be transparent about the way it spends public funds.
  15. It can’t handle Fair Park’s long-term needs.
  16. Its lauded scholarship program is a joke compared to those of other, similar events.
  17. It uses fear tactics in its negotiations with the city.
  18. It goes out of its way to shield its crowds from the poor black neighborhood that surrounds Fair Park.
  19. Its low-level employees get burned by its executives’ bad business decisions.
  20. Its ticket-based economy is designed to squeeze even more cash out of attendees.
  21. It cares way too much about parking lots that go unused most of the year.
  22. It’s petty as fuck.
  23. It celebrates humanity’s fucked up relationship with livestock.
  24. It refuses to change.
  25. It can be easily debated.
  26. Its concert bookings could be heated up a few degrees.
  27. It’s tearing the Fletcher family apart!
  28. It’s spent a least $1 million to keep its books out of the public eye. What’s it hiding?
  29. It fired a beloved employee, claiming his request to attend a charity event was a contract violation.
  30. It has become a literal joke.
  31. Who’s buying what they’re selling?
  32. Its racist roots are still being unearthed by national scholars.
  33. It’s in bed with its would-be critics.
  34. It thinks you’re super dumb.
  35. It caters to Dallas’ elite in ways you’ve never even heard of because you’re such a plebe.
  36. No, seriously, its racist past is super troubling.
  37. Its attendance is in decline — to the point where other state fairs that last half as long draw bigger annual attendance figures.
  38. It caters too much to TX/OU weekend.
  39. Even its booze is gimmicky.
  40. It’s predictable.
  41. It uses its powerful friends to rush the city into meeting its demands.
  42. It’s a scourge on Dallas traffic.
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