Thursday afternoon, I was in downtown Fort Worth, and was immediately struck by two things. First, there was a there there. Second, that, after so many years of time and money, we still don’t have a there there in downtown Dallas.

Of course, the Bass family is the main reason that so much gets done in in Fort Worth. They not only own a substantial portion of the area, but they aren’t shy about using their cash and political will to urge others to help them. One can argue about their methods and with the Disney-style Wild West look of the place, but it is difficult to argue with the results.

So, why, given that we have fabulously wealthy people in Dallas who could do what the Basses have done, are we still trying to figure out how to save downtown? (Which doesn’t even take into account that there are many sensible, rational people who are ready to write downtown off as a lost cause.) I don’t know there is one answer. I do know that it is going to take more than subsidizing a grocery store or giving the Hunt family a tax abatement. The question then becomes: Why aren’t we doing those things?

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