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Making Dallas Even Better

Police and Fire Pension Board Stops Seeking Museum Tower Fix

News broke this morning that at its meeting yesterday the board of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System voted to stop looking for a solution to the glare problem that has caused damage to the neighboring Nasher Sculpture Center:

“The DPFP Board has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the members of the pension system and to provide long term benefits for the Police and Fire Fighters that have served the City of Dallas,” says Dallas City Council member Lee Kleinman via email Friday morning. Kleinman is one of four council members of the fund’s board, along with Kingston, Scott Griggs and newcomer Erik Wilson. “At yesterday’s Board meeting a motion was made to discontinue efforts to seek a resolution. Despite my advocacy to continue, other Board Members believe it is prudent to provide certainty. Except for my vote, the Board stood unanimous. While this outcome is personally disappointing, I must applaud the efforts and sincere dialogue of all stakeholders in this process.”

Griggs wasn’t at yesterday’s meeting, and Kingston, who worked behind the scenes to resolve the issue and come up with a fix, had to leave before the vote was taken due to a prior obligation. Wilson voted for the resolution to kill the deal with Hines.

Back in May, it looked like the building was closing in on a solution, but guess that didn’t work.

It doesn’t seem like Museum Tower is on the right side of this fight, so I can understand the disappointment of those seeking to protect the Nasher. However, just having read about this, I happened upon a post by Rudolph Bush on the DMN‘s editorial blog that put me in a Jim Schutze-ish frame of mind — that maybe this dispute is just a fight among the rich people over the protection of rich people’s things.

That’s probably an overreaction, but Bush does remind us there are far more important issues for our city to confront:

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Things To Do In Dallas This Weekend: Aug. 28–30

There are things to do every weekend, as those of you who regularly read about things to do in Dallas on weekends are probably aware. But this weekend, and these things, are exceptional. Consider, for a moment, the water balloon wars in Deep Ellum. Or a culinary showdown starring fried lobster and bacon margaritas. Or the director of Clerks speaking at the Texas Theatre. We’re looking at some serious world class things worth doing in Dallas this weekend.

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Leading Off (8/28/15)

Dallas Police Chief Defends Use of Deadly Force. DPD officers fatally shot a man suspected in a robbery near Fair Park on Thursday afternoon. Top cop David Brown says the measure was a “last resort” after attempts to subdue him with Tasers failed. The suspect had a box cutter, though witnesses differed in their accounts of whether he was holding any weapons as he struggled with police.

Hinojosa Appears on Track to Get Super’s Job. Dallas ISD board members say they are pleased with the work of once-and-interim district superintendent Michael Hinojosa. Though they won’t indicate whether he’s the lead candidate to win back the job that was once his on a permanent basis, it’s looking like that might well be the case.

Ken Paxton Needs a New Lawyer. The Texas attorney general pled not guilty yesterday in a Fort Worth courtroom to the securities fraud charges that he’s facing. Afterward, his lawyer quit on him, with some wondering if the change in representation is part of a legal strategy.

Man Who Committed Suicide at D/FW Hyatt Faced Theft Charges. Eugene Dickey, who jumped to his death from a ninth-floor balcony at the airport hotel on Tuesday night allegedly had stolen $1.6 million from the Texas Educational Theater Association, of which he was treasurer.

Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Aug. 27

Anna Badhken is about as intrepid as journalists come these days. Her reporting has taken her to wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Chechnya. Her writing’s landed her in The New York Times, The New Republic, and in five books of her own. The most recent, Walking With Abel, is about her time spent with a nomadic community traversing the West African savanna. The point here is that Badkhen has a lot of stories to tell. She’ll share a few tonight at Wild Detectives.

There is also a whole mess of concerts to choose from, and a fight club we’re allowed to talk about. Behold.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: A Post-Modern Logo For the City of Dallas

Question: How do you feel about this new logo for your city? Sure, it looks a lot like Plano’s starry P, and Arlington has a star shoved up their A too. But, looking at some of the others, what do they say to people? Irving has horses, Desoto’s eagle is proof of their All-American-ness. Richardson, well, people all over Richardson are trying to figure theirs out. The winner in my book is Addison, which with its jaunty logo, really spells “Party!” What is your opinion on this move? Are we turning into a regional star like Plano and Arlington? Should we keep the branch of nature in our D? Do we need more marketing? And if you have a recipe of two from the 1800’s, I’d love to discuss. — Amy S.

If only the current municipal governance of Dallas had the same wisdom and fortitude of character that you have demonstrated with your query, dear reader, I might could have spared them the wasted time involved in consulting those ne’er-do-wells who prattle on around the old horseshoe each week as to the possibility and probability of replacing the current city logo (the one which comes garnished by a side of parsley) with the star-emblazoned iconography devised by the Convention & Visitors Politburo.

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Despite Rule Changes, Trustee Joyce Foreman Will Try to Make Board Meeting Absurd as Ever

I talked to Superintendent Michael Hinojosa last week, and he was as charming as you’d expect — said all the right things, he was funny, he was self-deprecating, etc. One thing he said sort of made me smirk, though. He was talking about how he has to win the trust of a diverse group of DISD stakeholders because he knows that, if he can do that, the district can overcome some of the turmoil it’s had in the past. He believes this because, as he said, “All of those community people [various DISD stakeholders] have different interests, but they all want the same thing.” Meaning, better educational outcomes for kids.

This is good for him to have such a positive outlook. I think it’s one reason he will most likely by October have the “interim” title removed.

But I don’t necessarily believe he’s right. I know that “whatever is best for kids” is what everyone says he or she wants, but I don’t believe their actions always support this notion. And I think this evening’s DISD board meeting will prove me right. I think this based on how Joyce Foreman in particular has reacted to a rule change designed to improve governance. She has reacted in her usual petulant, self-centered manner.

This will, as usual, take a little explaining.

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Leading Off (8/27/15)

The Susan Hawk Saga Continues. You know by now that Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk is taking a four-week leave of absence to battle an episode of depression. And now we know that she will be staying at an in-state treatment facility, somewhere that is not in Dallas. It’s not certain when Hawk will be back in Dallas, but she will supposedly return to work late next month. Hawk’s neighbor, lawyer Bob Hinton, said he had observed stints of paranoia since Hawk became DA at the beginning of the year and that he is glad she’s finally seeking help.

SPCA Retrieves More Than 150 Mistreated Animals From Home. Yesterday, the SPCA of Texas removed quite a few neglected and dead animals from a home in Balch Springs. There had been multiple complaints of suspected animal cruelty. After animal control picked up several dead animals, the SPCA obtained a search warrant and, along with the police department’s animal services, “retrieved 107 cats, five of which were dead, 40 dogs, three doves, two chickens, one finch, one dead parakeet and one guinea pig.” As you can probably imagine, the conditions of the home and these animals were…not good. Thoroughly sickening. Let’s hope these furry friends find new loving homes soon.

No More Stop Signs For Now. The Dallas City Council voted yesterday to not make it easier for dense neighborhoods in Dallas to put up extra stop signs. Who cares about driving safety, anyway?

An Object Lesson on Jumping to Conclusions During a Breaking News Story

Here is a hypothetical: a man shoots and kills a reporter and a cameraman on live morning television. You are an editorial writer for a major metropolitan daily newspaper. You wonder if Donald Trump’s antipathy toward the press led to the shooting. Should you A) go get a cup of coffee and wait a bit to see what develops, or B) put up a blog post wondering if Donald Trump is partly to blame for the two deaths? Tod Robberson at the DMN went with option B. Let’s see how that turned out.

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Aug. 26

Despite a youthful run of reckless behavior and several years of high-impact sports in grade school and high school, I have never broken a bone. As one of many young people who grew up considering Evel Knievel — a guy who suffered more than 433 bone fractures in his career — something of a role model, I used to think of this as a great and abiding shame. Now, I’m pretty content with a bubble-wrapped lifestyle. Leave the daredevil-ing to others, and appreciate dangerous stunts from a distance.

Tonight, you can appreciate the master of broken bones from the comfort of the Texas Theatre, which is showing a new documentary about Knievel. Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen play an acoustic show at the House of Blues, and you better believe there are other things to do in Dallas.

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Leading Off (8/26/15)

Why Hasn’t the Sheriff’s Department Released Tape of Jail Death?
It never ever looks good when someone dies in police custody, and the moment is captured on camera, and the police don’t swiftly release the video. It always looks like a cover-up. A combination of sympathetic strangers and Joseph Hutchinson’s family are asking Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez why they still haven’t seen video of Hutchinson’s death — after he ran into the jail asking officers for help — despite the fact that it was reportedly caught on seven cameras.

Home Prices Went Up, Again. This time it was 8.2 percent in June. Only Denver and San Francisco had bigger numbers. Luckily, all markets are always stable all the time.

Orlando Scandrick Might Be Out for the Season. He’s been the best defensive back the Cowboys have had over the last few seasons. Yesterday in practice he planted, heard a pop, then fell to the ground screaming that he’d torn his ACL. Not good. Let’s hope he feels better soon, too.

Brint Ryan Shows How To Handle a Crisis

Sean Weaver is a young guy who until not long ago worked for the Dallas firm Ryan, which handles corporate tax matters. Weaver worked out of a Fairfax, Virginia, office, where he ran a $20 million scam that got him in trouble. Here’s the FBI’s press release from last week. Late last night, Ryan chairman and CEO Brint Ryan sent out his own release explaining what happened and assuring everyone that Weaver acted alone and that Ryan (the firm and the man) cooperated with authorities to bust the guy. That’s just solid damage control, right there. Kudos to Ryan (the firm and the man). I especially like that he ends his note thusly: “I sincerely thank you for your business and your continued trust and confidence in Ryan. If you have any questions at all, please call me at 972.725.0481.” I called the number, just to see if it actually rang Ryan’s office (the man). It does. Fran answered the phone. I asked my question: “How many folks have called with questions?” Fran’s answer: “You’re the first one.”

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Are There Any Good Reasons Left for Susan Hawk Not to Resign?

UPDATE: Clearly as a result of reading my post, Susan Hawk did the sensible thing a couple of hours later and released a statement clearing up the whole DA goes AWOL situation. She is taking a four week leave of absence to battle a “serious episode of depression.”

I’m going to piggy back on Jason’s poll today and extend the question about Susan Hawk with a request for feedback in the comments. I’m really curious to hear what you think about this. I’ve been following the Susan Hawk regime like everyone else, and at this point, I’m left wondering if she has any reasons left not to resign her post as Dallas County District Attorney. Here’s the situation as I see it.

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