City Councilman Scott Griggs defeated fellow incumbent Delia Jasso last week in North Oak Cliff’s new District 1, where the voting-age population is 74 percent Hispanic. And DISD Trustee Eric Cowan fended off challengers Rafael Narvaez III and Arturo Sierra in District 7, where the student bodies of the three major high schools — Adamson, Sunset, and Molina — are all more than 90 percent Hispanic. So how did these two white guys cruise to re-election in overwhelmingly Mexican-American districts where their opponents were Latinos? It’s because the mostly white residents of Kessler Park, Stevens Park, and Winnetka Heights go to the polls far more than anyone else in North Oak Cliff.
So much for accountability in corporate governance. According to the DMN‘s Maria Halkas, every member of the J.C. Penney board that presided over the company’s spectacular recent meltdown has been re-elected to his or her cushy post. This apparently includes New York hedge-fund mogul William Ackman, who pushed to hire the failed ex-CEO Ron Johnson, as well as several board members from North Texas. All of the members have been compensated handsomely for their, er, leadership qualities at the Plano-based retail chain. Among the locals are ex-TI CEO Tom Engibous, the board chair, whose 2012 compensation was $328,702; Colleen Barrett, president emeritus of Southwest Airlines ($225,012); and R. Gerald Turner, president of Southern Methodist University ($235,012).
As usual, you can cast a ballot up to once a day on your desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device. It runs through June 2, and the winners will be honored in the August issue of D Magazine.
Take the jump to see all the categories we’ll be asking you to determine. We’ve selected a group of worthy nominees for each, but you’ll also be able to write in whatever you like.
As Jason mentioned in Leading Off this morning, plans have been hatched to build an $80 million maritime museum on the banks of the Trinity River. The big attraction would be the USS Dallas, the soon-to-be-decommissioned submarine used to film Hunt for Red October. Three things about this plan and its announcement have me scratching my head.
1. Can we tie in the museum with the canal that Dwaine Caraway wants to build on Main Street? Because if I could ride a nuclear attack sub from, say, City Tavern to Wild Salsa, that would be awesome. I’m in on that plan 110 percent.
2. The Morning News, you might be aware, was started by a fellow named George Bannerman Dealey. George had a nephew named Samuel David Dealey, who sits at fifth on the list of World War II submarine commanders, in terms of tonnage sunk. How do you write a story in the Morning News about a Dallas maritime museum featuring a submarine without mentioning Sam Dealey, aka “The Destroyer Killer“? (Hat tip to Richard Ross, the commenter who pointed this out on the News story.)
3. Finally, will city leaders please stop talking to us like children? Here’s what Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas CVB said about the museum: “Dallas is a city of big ideas, and this is just one more example.” Stop it! When someone proposes building a museum around a submarine in Dallas, don’t feed us that B.S. line about thinking big. Just say it. “This idea is insane. It’s nuts. But you know what? Dallas is crazy town. We’re gonna get Sean Connery up in here to cut the ribbon, and then he’s gonna pull a Crazy Ivan in the middle of Main Street. Just watch us.”
Mostly I’m just excited that this is the weekend before the nice long Memorial Day weekend. Let’s get moving.
How we know it’s officially summer: ‘Til Midnight at the Nasher is back. Wolfgang Puck and his general chokehold on the Arts District forbids you from bringing your own picnic, so your food choices are kind of limited, but do bring your party pants. Air Review is playing, and then they’ll screen Life of Pi. It’s free, too, which means you can splurge on Samar for an actual human-sized dinner.
Meanwhile, if you didn’t make it Homegrown Fest in Main Street Garden last weekend, the Fort Worth Music Festival kicks off two days of bands and beer this afternoon at at the Panther Island Pavilion. Worth sneaking out of work early? Obviously. Our music critic, Christopher Mosley, writes a bit about the fest’s line up over on FrontRow:
The Fort Worth Music Festival quite ambitiously tackles everything from a mariachi act (Mariachi Quetzal); to a New Orleans brass combo (Dirty Dozen Brass Band); to the somehow still hip indie act, The Walkmen. The decision to throw jazz in with current popular music is a respectably risky one, though Fort Worth’s rich jazz history has always given it a one-up on looking down its nose a little at the rest of North Texas. Which is fine with me, since Ornette Coleman was born there, and he should really have an entire jazz and avant-garde festival named in his honor.
Look, all I want is for the Old 97′s to play “New Kid” in honor of my precious Veronica Mars movie.
The Morning News has more details about the demotion of Edwin Ruiz-Diaz. When I got the press release yesterday from the Dallas Police Department, I was trying to think about how I would react if I saw a uniformed police officer draining a brewski in a bar. It certainly wouldn’t have been as amusing as this.
West Explosion Still Possibly the Result of a Criminal Act. Authorities believe the deadly incident at West Fertilizer Co. occurred when a fire inside the seed building caused 28 to 34 tons of stored ammonium nitrate to explode. What they haven’t determined is what started that fire, though they’ve narrowed the list of possibilities: “a problem with one of the plant’s electrical systems, a battery-powered golf cart, and a criminal act. They ruled out a wide number of others, from a rail car on site loaded with fertilizer to someone smoking.”
Help Pouring Into Cleburne and Granbury, Even From West. The National Weather Service now says that 16 tornadoes touched down in North Texas on Wednesday night. Volunteers and rescue workers have poured into the hardest-hit communities. Some of that help has come from West, even as that town continues to deal with its own disaster recovery: “The Church of Christ in West, which has been feeding volunteers and victims since the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion, bagged up 200 lunches — pulled pork sandwiches, chips and cake — and sent them to storm-struck Cleburne in Johnson County.”
Dallas to Get a Maritime Museum. No, our city isn’t any closer to the ocean today than it was the last time you checked (about 250 miles away). And yet an $80 million maritime museum, with the soon-to-be decommissioned nuclear submarine USS Dallas as its headlining attraction, is being planned for a 3.5 acre site near the Trinity River, along Riverfront Boulevard in the Rock Island area. I suppose the proposal is no stranger than the fact that the town of Fredericksburg is home to the National Museum of the Pacific War.
An insider contends the maestro has been complaining about the expense of the place for quite a while. But so far no one’s saying exactly why the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Jaap van Zweden has listed his 4,258-square-foot unit at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton for sale. Actually, according to DCAD, the DSO music director is only a 50 percent owner of the 3-bedroom place. World-renowned violinist Michael Guttman owns the other half, the appraisal district says.
Valued by the green eyeshades at DCAD at a proposed $1.8 million, the swanky home has been listed for more than a month now for $2.9 million. Jonathan Martin, the DSO chief executive, told us the other day that Jaap “isn’t going anywhere,” and we know his contract runs through 2015-16. So, it may just be that he’s traveling so much these days he’d like to off-load the Ritz digs while the market is fairly strong, then move into something less grand. (We’ve tried repeatedly to call the DSO to speak with Jaap, but for some reason no one’s picking up the phone.)
Reason No. 27 that I love this guy: Dirk Nowitzki says he’ll take a “significant pay cut” next summer so that the team will have a better shot at signing another superstar (like Chris Paul, hopefully). ESPNDallas’ Tim MacMahon reports that Dirk says, “At this point of my career, it’s all about competing and winning. It’s not about money.” Swoon.
Today American Airlines announced that it is instituting a new boarding procedure wherein any passenger who is carrying on only a bag that can fit under the seat — a purse or a backpack, for instance — will be able to board earlier than the wretches daring to drag on their rolling suitcases. The carrier is hoping to speed up its passenger load times.
But what’s this? An added bonus for those whose only reason in declining to check their small suitcase is to avoid the checked-bag fee:
With the new boarding process, customers who wish to board early before Group 2 can gate-check their carry-on bag at no charge.
You’ll have to pick it up at baggage claim after the flight, but you’ll also get to board early. And just think how pleased you’ll be with yourself, knowing you’re $25 richer.
I spent some time in my closet last night. I’m not ashamed. As Krista noted in Leading Off today, you can text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to the relief fund for Hood, Johnson, and Ellis counties.
Hopefully tonight will be marked not by a dozen deadly twisters and window-breaking ice balls, but by a flurry of idioms. The public radio program A Way With Words is doing a live show at the Lakewood Theater, benefiting the Aberg Center for Literacy, which helps adults reach English fluency and obtain a GED. That means tickets are a little pricey, but if you’re a big fan, it’s co-hosts Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett’s first visit to Texas. We want to make a good impression. And this may come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but I love A Way With Words. It’s an educational radio show about the nuances and cultural influence of language. It’s also an endless source of amusement, since you get to learn fun new slang terms (such as “gone pecan” and “high lonesome”) and try them out on your friends. KERA’s Krys Boyd moderates the interactive evening of quizzes and questions with participants Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas Morning News columnist Jaquielynn Floyd.
Get a burger and onion rings from Lakewood Landing. It’s comforting— a big greasy hug from someone you actually like. Perfect for a rainy, disgustingly humid night. Honestly, I’d recommend this even if you can’t make to the Aberg benefit.
Anthony Swofford, a former Marine and the author of Jarhead, has made one of those newfangled electronic books about the tragic death of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. It’s titled Death of an American Sniper. In this excerpt, Swofford writes of the first time he ever heard of Kyle:
I would have liked to get down on my belly in a patch of dirt somewhere with a sick-ass sniper rifle against my shoulder and blow out some rounds with Mr. Chris Kyle. Bob was right: if I was famous for anything, it was for not killing with my sniper rifle. I thought about this Kyle guy. I wondered how he’d learned to shoot, what rifle or rifles he’d used, why he favored a two-pound trigger weight, and just how many goddamn people he might actually have killed. A few hundred? That seemed impossible.
But I also wondered about other things beyond such technical issues. Had Chris Kyle really been able to kill that many men and feel no guilt, as his book suggests? Was he perfectly adjusted to the stark reality of how he had achieved his fame? I know that normal men do not suffer from an addiction to bloodshed. But men trained to kill do. I suspected that the psychic toll of being such a proficient and excellent killer would have finally worn Kyle down. There surely must have been times when he was alone with his thoughts and a blunt nausea took over and he realized that he, a proud son, had slayed son after son, and that he, a loving father, must have vanquished many fathers who left children behind. Like most soldiers who’ve killed in combat, Chris Kyle could not have experienced many days when his train of dead men wasn’t bearing down on him, a chorus of ghosts.
I wondered about all these things, and I had no reason to think that I would never be able to ask the man himself.
I would recommend you purchase this work if you’re interested in reading more about Kyle, but only after you first purchase the (presumably) superior electronic book on much the same subject authored by our own Michael J. Mooney, The Life and Legend of Chris Kyle: American Sniper, Navy SEAL.
This is a really smart idea. The Dallas Morning News has released an 80-page ebook containing its reporters’ notes as they worked the JFK assassination. Here’s how they describe it:
Based on first-person accounts from Dallas Morning News journalists who witnessed the assassination, this gripping story chronicles President John F. Kennedy’s fatal visit to Dallas hour-by-hour, offering a fresh look at history.
Days after the assassination, reporters, photographers and editors assigned to the story wrote down their experience in a collection of notes that have been hidden from public view for decades. Now, you’ll experience the stories of staffers as they rode in the president’s motorcade, talked with Abraham Zapruder on the grassy knoll in Dealy Plaza, waited for updates at Parkland Hospital, covered the scene at the Trade Mart, followed police to the Texas Theatre and chronicled Oswald’s shooting in the basement of the police station.
This one-of-a-kind volume includes copies of the original typewritten, hand-edited notes, giving readers behind-the-scenes access to the first draft of history.
The project came from the squeezings of Will Pry‘s mind grapes. He is the mobile editor for the DMN.
The Morning News has the memo she sent to council members yesterday. Rudolph Bush writes her a love letter:
The beginning of the end of Suhm’s career comes at a time when a new council will shortly be seated. There is reason to believe several members of the new council would not be as supportive of her.
Scott Griggs, a sharp critic, handily defeated Delia Jasso, a staunch backer, in District 1. Lee Kleinman, who has a strong independent streak, took over for Linda Koop in District 11. And Philip Kingston, who has publicly questioned Suhm’s management, was the leading finisher in District 14, where he will be in a runoff with Bobby Abtahi.
People close to Suhm have said that she is terrified at the prospect of retirement. Whatever people think of her work, no one doubted her total dedication to City Hall and to the city itself.
Suhm’s commitment to the job was legend, and the loyalty she inspired among her top staff was unquestioned.
Her departure, and the effort to replace her, will draw a great deal of energy from City Hall in coming months.
She officially leaves the gig in September.
On the front page of today’s Dallas Morning News, sources say the Dallas Cowboys may abandon their practice facility in Valley Ranch for greener pastures in Frisco or Arlington. Irving, the Cowboys’ home for more than 25 years, is also in the mix. But the story says nothing about Dallas. Come on, Mayor Rawlings. You want to Grow South? Get America’s Team back in Big D. Personally, I find the concept of the Cowboys neither practicing nor playing in Dallas County offensive — and that’s coming from a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan.