Sunday, March 07, 2010

Texas v. California: conservative paper column pits the two states in competition ("A Tale of 2 States")


I lived in Dallas from 1979 to 1988 (owned two condos), have never lived in the Golden State; today’s “politics” column in The Washington Examiner “Low-tax Texas beats big-government California”, p 12 in the Sunday Examiner, link here.

True, Texas was the “family friendly” side of the Gulf-to-Pacific part of the country. In fact, my move to Dallas started with a job interview in Los Angeles in December 1978 that led to another interview the next day in Dallas. Yes, they paid to break the fare.

It’s true that today Texas schools do seem to have better test scores; and since I lived there, Dallas has gotten its light rail and gotten the notorious North Central Expressway widened (and the intersection with I-635 is spectacular). Last time I was there, the gay bar J-R’s had doubled in size; Cedar Springs was still fun.

Barone says that Texas is doing well in jobs compared to the rest of thecountry, and the same relatively speaking on home values in the subprime mess. But when I lived there, the real estate recession of the late 80s and savings and loan crisis started in Texas, after oil production increased overseas in the mid 1980s (ironically as a result of Reagan’s successful policies) and demand locally went down. And Texas companies then did not fare that well in the hostile takeover wars.

There were other anomalies then, too. The FHA assumption rules were more lenient, resulting in upside down home assumptions and deficiency liability for original owners (the rules have changed since).

But politics there could be mean. The AIDS epidemic hit Dallas and Houston hard, but about two years later than New York and California. The Oak Lawn Counseling Center was a beehive. But the Texas legislature in 1983 considered very draconian legislation, strengthening the Sodomy law (the 2106) and trying to ban gays from food handling and teaching (think about that in comparison to the military “don’t ask don’t tell” today). Fortunately it died, but it was a scare that it was even considered. But that history (the Ceverha bill 2138) may have helped set the stage for Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.

They say, don’t mess with Texas. Maybe the show Dallas will come back. Who knows, maybe I’ll wind up back there, maybe Austin this time, or the studios of Las Colinas. I do have a movie to make.

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