More questions about privatizing the Dallas zoo

Yesterday’s news that Mayor Park Cities wants to give the zoo – or “spin it off,” as Dallas’ Only Daily Newspaper described it – to the private Dallas Zoological Society raises a variety of questions that need to be answered.

Again, privatization is neither good nor bad. It’s the deal that makes it so – and so far, there are so many questions about this deal that no one can tell if it’s a good idea. More, after the jump:

1. Why does it have to be done in two weeks? I still haven’t seen a good explanation for this.

2. Why, if spinning off the zoo is such a good idea, isn’t there competitive bidding? That way, the taxpayers can maximize the benefits.

3. If the deal is being done to save the city money – which Leppert said it was – why does the city need to give the new operator a subsidy?

4. How much will that subsidy be? If it costs the city $12 million to run the zoo, what’s the point of paying someone else $8 million to run it?

5. Who are the big donors who will supposedly give money to a privately-operated zoo but won’t give it to a city-run zoo?

6. Most importantly, what precedent does this establish? Does this mean that every time we’re facing a budget crisis, will the mayor find a city function with a private support group and ask them to run it? Will the Friends of the Library be given the library system? Will the Friends of Fair Park be given Fair Park?


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