Privatizing the Farmers’ Market

Robert Wilonsky at the Observer broke the story — city manager Mary Suhm wants to sell the Farmers’ Market and Fair Park to raise cash.  Gee, I wonder where she got the idea to privatize the farmer’s market?

The market is one of the sacred cows in the city budget, as important to the city’s ruling elite as the Trinity toll road and the Calatrava bridges. Great cities are supposed to have great farmers markets, and we’ve thrown millions of dollars at the market in a vain attempt to get one (as I noted in my July column in our East Dallas magazine). That Suhm is giving up on the market means the budget crisis is even worse than she has let on. Which is kind of scary, actually.

The news about Fair Park is less surprising. It’s not like the city has ever shown much enthusiasm for Fair Park, other than to complain about how much it costs to maintain. After all, why should the ruling elite care about one of the most architecturally significant collections of buildings in the United States when they can build postcard bridges?


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  • Michael R.

    There was a good episode of This American Life recently that talked about this sort of activity by cities and states. It’s a short-term fix with long-term consequences. One point was that if governments were required to use GAAP (generally accepted accounting principals) it would be harder to do stupid stuff like that to balance the budget and instead force actual compromise to be made.

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/410/social-contract