Privatizing city services – is the zoo the first of many?

We should have expected this, given the city’s budget woes. Mayor Park Cities wants to hand over control of the Dallas zoo to a private group by the middle of August.

The catch, as so often with the mayor, is that Leppert announced the deal as a fait accompli, said it positively, absolutely had to happen immediately, and dared the city council to disagree. Yes, he is pretty good at this sort of thing, as his work with the convention center hotel demonstrated. But one would think he would have at least mentioned this to the Oak Cliff council members, given that the zoo is in Oak Cliff. But apparently not, and he wants to do a deal with the private Dallas Zoological society in two weeks.

Two weeks? For a $12.3 million business that has the lives of hundreds of living creatures in its care? This is stunning, even for Leppert – who freely admits he isn’t quite sure how the zoo would function under this sort of ownership. Let me put this in perspective for the mayor. What would you do if Mrs. Leppert came to you today and said, “Honey, I found someone to buy the house. It’s a great deal for us. We’re going to move in two weeks.”?

Yeah, I thought so.



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