Vote, What Vote? It's Time to Discuss the Astrodome's Future, Yet Again

Categories: Sports

Photo by Abrahán Garza
And so it begins again. The quest to save the Astrodome from the uncaring philistines who care nothing for architecture or history. Sure, there was a vote last November. And sure, the voters defeated a measure that would have used taxpayer funds to turn the Astrodome into a glorified visitor center for the use of the Texans and the Rodeo.

The vote was never meant to be the final word on the fate of the Astrodome, despite the voices of all the doomsayers saying a no vote meant sure destruction. The people who voted no probably thought that, too. Enough with the yearly wasting of millions of taxpayer dollars for a facility that is currently not safe to be used for any purpose.

That might be what the voters thought last November. But thinking has nothing to do with reality. A reality that this week has the brilliant minds responsible for the current condition of the facility meeting to once again discuss the fate of the Astrodome.

"The Judge [Harris County Judge Ed Emmett] is going to call a meeting and he's begun contacting people, essentially the folks who have an interest in the Astrodome," Emmett's director of communications, Joe Stinebaker, told Fox 26 last week.

That meeting is on Wednesday morning, and it's expected the most important people with a say in the outcome of the Astrodome will be present. Those people aren't the voters. Instead, the folks with the real interest in the Astrodome are those with the Houston Texans and the Rodeo -- you know, the very people who have vetoed every legitimate plan that has been presented for the use of the Dome because it would interfere with their absolute control of the area, especially on Sundays and during the Rodeo. (The virtually useless plan defeated by the voters last November would have seen the place primarily used by the Texans and the Rodeo for their games and events -- and for Quidditch tournaments.)

"The Livestock Show and Rodeo, for example, really needs a new arena," Emmett told KUHF. "The Texans really want something done before the Super Bowl."

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Although I appreciate the angst evident in the writer's rant. His wordsmithery would be better spent doing an in-depth article (perhaps minus the sarcastic tone,) on the politics behind the push to raze the Dome -- particularly amongst the players he named in his screed who have no interest whatever in protecting citizens rights to their cultural heritage, who engineered a phoney referendum in order to reinforce the mythical narrative of the Dome as a villainous tax burden, and who, by all accounts have failed utterly for over a decade to uphold their duty to protect this cultural asset. Or just continue looking at the tip of the iceberg, and get cranky about what you see. Your call.


As usual, The Press thinks it has the last editorial word on the subject. But perhaps a wee bit of reality check to the so called reality-check is due. The "voters"  were largely suburbanites and were a vocal minority -- none of whom represent those who live in Houston proper (all of whom voted in favor of the bond issue,) but the suburbanites as usual, overreacted as if someone had violated a deed restriction by putting a bird feeder on an otherwise unmolested and dull green lawn; it would not have cost the average taxpayers a dime; the costs would have been parceled to those in a higher tax bracket; it has not yet cost the voting public a dime, which is evident from Sport Authority documents which make it clear the support revenue comes from things like hotel and car rental taxes, not public money; the "stakeholders" at Wednesday's meeting included longtime preservationists and others who are not too eager to see Houston's cultural heritage obliterated by Nimbys and pro-wrecking-ball "progressives," as has been our pattern since the 1970s and which so many newbie Houstonians are wont to do. Perhaps a little less hysterics, and a little more concern for Houston civic duty is in order. The folks who built it understood civic pride enormously. The Dome is their testimony to that pride, destroying it is to spit in the face of their achievement and their legacy.


The Chron wants to keep the Dome until at least after the Super Bowl In Houston in 2017.   So the world can see how we handle tax money, and take prompt action on problems, I guess ...


I think it needs to become the Gaylord Houston hotel and resort. Proximity to the stadium and light rail are perfect and it's use as a themed destination hotel will dovetail with the interests of both the Texans and the Rodeo. Done. Somebody call Mariott.

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