5 Things We Know On A Sunday ( Night ) – All About Lubbock’s Vote On The Coliseum/Auditorium Edition

5 Things We Know On A Sunday


  1. Lubbock voters did the right, prudent and smart thing in narrowly voting to cede the Coliseum/Auditorium Complex and land back to the State of Texas and Texas Tech University. We won’t go over old ground again, we’ve stated our opinion in this space and others over the last few months why this is the right move for the City of Lubbock right now, given the current landscape both economically and politically.
  2. That the vote was as close as it was, 52-48 % in favor of abandonment is a testament to the failure of the Lubbock City Council, The mayor, the Chamber of Commerce and even Texas Tech in the ham-handed approach to what should have been a 65% margin at the very least in favor of the proposition. The message early all from all entities was muddled, mixed, and without focus. The leaders of Lubbock, whatever that may entail, seemed to think each and every other entity would step up and carry the water on this vote. No one seemed willing or able to take the lead on the issue and be willing to explain why the voters should move to vote for the proposition. That unwillingness to lead created an atmosphere of the proponents having “something to hide”. The voters smelled that and they reacted.
  3. For Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope, a guy a like a lot, to go out Saturday night after the narrow win and try to claim a political mandate was pure political folly. It is close to political insanity to try to do that and whoever advised him to make those comments shouldn’t be allowed in the same room with the Mayor anytime soon. If anything, the vote confirmed that Lubbock folks are in a distrustful mood. We saw this in the County Commissioner voting that saw a couple of long-time politicos thrown out for being tone-deaf. Pope should heed that warning and this vote. He’d have been better advised to take a conciliatory and humble approach to the vote last night. He should have said that he realized it was a divisive issue, that he understood the frustration of voters over past council decisions regarding the complex, the Citizens Tower issue, LP&L problems, Storm Drainage Run-off Fees and the police sub-station issue. He should have said he embraced those concerns and that with this vote, this council would show the people of Lubbock that this council would be better stewards going forward and thank them for the small, slight margin that allows the project to go forward. Instead Pope took a Victory Lap that all but ensures even more resistance from those folks in Lubbock who think the council is tone-deaf and doesn’t care. I can’t blame them after last night. If Pope and the current council are smart, they’d do well not to bring any bond-issues or major projects up to Lubbock voters anytime in the next year or two. If they do, those measures will likely fail.
  4. The vote Saturday was a vote against the City of Lubbock leadership being trusted to handle anything big. The humorous part to me, as I’ve said over and over, is that in order to punish the people folks thought screwed up handling money and facilities. . . they were gonna vote to give them more oversight over more money and facilities. That was irrational. But, emotional votes are often irrational; and when it comes to spending other folks money – it’s easy to vote with emotion instead of reason.
  5. The last thing, the last thing the City of Lubbock should do is build another Coliseum/Auditorium Complex using public money. The City, all cities, are horrible at running things that should be done privately. That’s why I have no problem with a vote to “abandon” with “no plan in place”. There doesn’t need to be a plan. At least not by the city. Want a venue that can host dirt events, mid-sized concerts, seats around 4-6 thousand people and attracts bookings year around? Fine. If you think it’s a great idea that Lubbock is screaming for – build it privately. Don’t use tax-payer money. The City of Lubbock stinks at that job. Let someone else do it. If no one else wants to do it, it’s because it’s a money loser. Bottom line, entertainment isa “Want” not a “Need” for a city. There’s lots of things I want and wish I had around West Texas. Those things aren’t viable and I don’t want my family and friends and even worse, people I don’t know, to have to pay for my wants. This is a chance for Lubbock to grow-up. Fiscally, intellectually and with an eye to the future. A future where the things that should be done by a city are done by the city and the things that should be done by the private sector are done by the private sector.


FULL DISCLOSURE: Ryan Hyatt lives outside the city limits of Lubbock, Texas and was not able to vote in the election.  As a long-time resident of Lubbock and Lubbock County though he reserves the right to comment on the issue.

This article has 13 Comments

  1. I was in favor of keeping the auditorium/colosseum…not solely for its significance to Lubbock’s history, but also because, in the long run, it would have been MUCH cheaper to overhaul that building, than to commit a long-term investment partnership in a new, similar facility.
    And if, after Dan Pope’s use of the term “we,” when discussing the idea of building a new facility, you don’t think that’s exactly what the city has in mind…in the words of George Strait, I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona… and I’ll throw in the Golden Gate for free.
    There’s absolutely nothing, in this or any other city council’s history… that leads a rational mind to think a massive expenditure is not in Lubbock’s not so distant future.

    1. Good comments.
      1. I think if you’re gonna spend tax-payer money it would be better spent on a new complex. You can’t renovate and do the things needed for another 50 years of use at the current building in a cost-effective way. It just can’t be done. If you want to spend tax-money on projects like that, have at ya, but you’d be better off doing it brand-new at this point. I oppose that on philosophical grounds.
      2. If you were for spending money on the old complex, but not a new one. . . more power to ya. You’ll have the chance to vote it down like Lubbock did in the mid-90s. Simple equation there. Just say no.

      1. I’m not in favor of spending money on an entertainment facility. But, this is the city of Lubbock we’re talking about. They’re going to spend massive amounts of money. It’s just a matter of … more or less? Should they spend huge amounts of money… or…more than huge amounts.
        I don’t want ANY city money spent on such a facility. But it’s going to happen, despite what I want. So, I would rather it be the huge amount of money, not the…huge-er…amount.

  2. Please Texas Tech, implode the building. Have an implosion party. Watching that from the Roof Top bar would be fantastic.

  3. About the only part of this I agree with you on is that the City of Lubbock needs to be out of the entertainment business.

    As for the rest, I won’t dissect point by point – but I will say there those who think those in power in this city don’t have a plan are being naive. Whether under the guise of a multi-purpose facility or a Convention Center or some public/private partnership, there is a plan. The Civic Cheerleader, latest and greatest crowd never met a tax dollar they couldn’t squander – and this vote has partially opened the door for them to squander exponentially more than updating Coliseum and Auditorium would’ve cost.

    And, it was also verified in all of this that we live in a city where those in power are unable to tell the truth. Both the figures for the alleged dollar losses and numbers of events held in the venues are an example of the untruths put forth. From “creative” accounting to out and out omissions, those numbers were manipulated strictly to favor the side pushing for abandonment of the facilities.

    I hope that the dream of privately owned entertainment facilities becomes a reality. However, I will have to see it to believe it.

    But, lucky you. You don’t live in Lubbock any more and don’t have to help fund the whims of the Civic Cheerleaders.

    1. I’ll allow the comment for now, but if you’re alleging malfeasance or out and out lying on the part of any elected official in Lubbock you need to provide proof and documentation. If not, it’s a bit reckless in my opinion to throw that out there.

  4. My only question is where did the money go that was allocated years ago to renovate the Auditorium/Coliseum? What did our city leaders do with it? Oh wait…. was it used for that eyesore of a building downtown that pieces were falling in the street from great heights? Or was it on the new dog parks? It certainly was not on fixing the potholes in the streets. Maybe it was to create handicapped ramps on corners where there are no sidewalks. And we all know that Lubbock will NEVER have another tornado….let’s not even talk about public safety.

    1. The bond then was for the Auditorium and Civic Center. The council decided that the money was better spent on the civic center. Bigger return on the dollar. Not illegal. My question is where were folks in Lubbock then? Apathy gets you results like this. Just like the voter turnout this weekend and past elections. That’s what we will talk about in coming days. When folks aren’t involved, this is the contentious result.

  5. If they need a dirt complex for Rodeo, ask about the Mallet Event Center in Levelland. A great facility that has hosted several animal events. Close enough to Lubbock.

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