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?

By |2009-07-31T12:01:00-05:00July 31st, 2009|City Hall, News|Comments Off on More questions about privatizing the Dallas zoo

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Jeff Siegel
JEFF SIEGEL writes about neighborhood issues. He also blogs about wine. Email him at jsiegel@advocatemag.com or follow twitter.com/wine_curmudgeon.