My favorite line from the letter of Gary B. Lawson, Esq., of Strasburger & Price, LLP to the Morning News:
Without laws there would be lawlessness.
I know what you’re thinking. No, Mr. Lawson is not a first-year associate. He is a partner. He graduated from law school at St. John’s University in 1970.
Just a bit ago, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System issued a statement about the hubbub today. It reads:
The Dallas Morning News article about pending litigation is inaccurate. As a result of the Dallas Morning News’ numerous open record requests, we asked the Texas Attorney General to review parts of each request as allowed by law.Â A copy of that letter was required to be sent to the Dallas Morning News. The letter to the Attorney General is simply a prudent and conservative measure as allowed by law in response to the threat of litigation against Museum Tower as speculated in the press.Â More importantly, we agree with Mr. Luce’s statement today that last week’s discussions were successful, cordial and professional. We’re confident that the process will continue and we’ll have a positive outcome.Â The System has not changed its mission to try to resolve this matter in a reasonable and professional manner.
It’s an interesting statement. It says the DMN story is inaccurate, but, you’ll notice, it doesn’t say exactly what the inaccuracy is. The DMN story said that Richard Tettamant, the head of the pension fund, confirmed that a lawsuit is being considered. If that’s not the case, why not say that in the statement? Is it just an unclear, poorly written statement?
Meanwhile, Unfair Park has a letter written by the pension fund’s lawyer, Gary Lawson, to the DMN accusing the paper and D Magazine of practicing advocacy journalism. Following is an excerpt, with my comments in [brackets]:
We are a nation and state built upon the foundation of laws. Without laws there would be lawlessness. [And without feckle, there would be fecklessness.] That notion depends, in part, upon the exercise an open and free press that is obedient to the Society of Professional Journalist cannon of ethics to report the facts of a story objectively and not take sides. [I think a preposition is missing from that sentence. In any case, a state built on laws doesn't depend on a free press. East Germany had plenty of laws. Beyond that, it is possible to report the facts of a story objectively while taking sides. The two practices are not mutually exclusive.] However, Dallas Morning News reporters, and at least one other media organization in Dallas [Say it! Say our name! Would it kill you to say it?], have chosen to ignore the SPJ Code of Ethics, which they so fervently hold up as a shield of honor [Really? When?], and instead are pursuing advocacy journalism to serve the agenda of one side of this complex situation. The Dallas Morning News has engaged in a coordinated campaign [It's a large organization run by managers. I hope it works in a coordinated fashion.] to move public opinion toward the Nasher side of that agenda, because your own reporter openly stated he, and by projection your paper, hold the rule of law in disdain. [Whoa! Need more details here. Which DMN reporter openly stated that he (or she) holds the rule of law in disdain? And did he (or, again, she) really say it that way? "Mr. Lawson, you should know, sir, that I hold the rule of law in disdain." Like that?] The Dallas Morning News, by this unethical act, has declared its advocacy agenda to influence public opinion with such pejorative fervor against our client in an attempt to force them to change their building. [Note: when you find yourself typing phrases like "pejorative fervor," you're working too hard to make your point.]
The Dallas Morning News and D Magazine [Thank you! See? You're still alive.] have failed to explore other Renzo Piano projects elsewhere around the world that have been embroiled in controversy over his aggressive and purposeful designs that disregard the surrounding community. [Um, point being? Renzo Piano could have tortured kittens while he was eating veal scallopini, and it wouldn't change the situation we're faced with in the Arts District.] Likewise they have failed to explore Piano’s flawed analysis of what future effects his buildings may project upon the immediate area. [Wha?] To suggest the Dallas Morning News independently and benevolently sought out Piano for his comments on the Museum Tower and Nasher situation is a stretch of the imagination. To invite, perhaps by suggestive questioning, a quote from Piano that a lawsuit will be brought in the Museum Tower and Nasher situation the Dallas Morning News has poisoned the well for any real hope that mediation will succeed.
You see what the upshot here is, right? Gary Lawson, it seems to me, is laying the groundwork for the pension fund to break off talks with the Nasher. It’s poorly laid groundwork. But there it is.
Four members of the Dallas City Council sit on the board of trustees for the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, the entity that owns Museum Tower. They are Delia Jasso, Jerry Allen, Sheffie Kadane, and Scott Griggs. Presumably when it comes to something like possibly suing the Nasher for having the audacity to be there and you know, get cooked by reflected radiation, those four councilmembers would have something to say about it.
It is one thing to be stupid. To have erected 42 floors of mirrors without first considering the impact on nearby properties — that’s stupid. But stupidity can be forgiven. Mistakes can be corrected.
Being a stupid bully, on the other hand, that’s something else entirely. That’s intentional. If Museum Tower files suit against the Nasher, then we know what to think of Delia Jasso, Jerry Allen, Sheffie Kadane, and Scott Griggs.
This is amazing. The Morning News is reporting that negotiations between the Nasher and Museum Tower have “all but broken down” and that it is almost certain that the owners of the tower will file a suit against the Nasher because Museum Tower is having trouble selling condo units due to public criticism.
I’m trying to think of an analogy for this situation. Here’s the best one I can come up with: a guy moves in with his girlfriend. They live in a small town. After a couple weeks, the guy starts smacking her around. At first, the girl keeps quiet. She doesn’t want to make trouble. But after months of getting punched and choked and otherwise abused, she decides she has had enough. She tells everyone in town about this horrible man and what he has been doing to her. Next thing you know, the guy can’t get a job because everyone knows he’s a terrible person who hits women. But rather than apologize and do penance and seek counseling and reform his evil ways, you know what does? He sues the girl for defamation. It’s her fault he can’t get a job.
We had an opportunity here. The world is watching to see how Dallas fixes this problem. I’m afraid that the entire city is about to step into the role of that abusive boyfriend.
By now the name Sarah Hepola should be familiar to you. Not only has she written for us, but she’s been filling up the internet for a while. Perhaps you’ve seen her work on Salon. Beginning with our July issue, Sarah will now write a column for D Magazine called The Smart Blonde. You can read the first installment, about the Dallas big hair myth, here. So what, exactly, is The Smart Blonde all about? Glad you asked. Herewith, Sarah explains her intentions:
The Smart Blonde Manifesto
By Sarah Hepola
Last November, I took two friends visiting from New York to Nick and Sam’s on a Saturday night. I wanted them to have the ritzy Dallas steakhouse experience. What we got, instead, was a glamour parade.
“This is crazy,” my friend Lisa said as we watched the women arrive in various shades of bedazzlement.
“Is it prom?” asked her husband Craig.
Well, tickets to Louis C.K.’s October 20 gig at the Majestic Theatre came and went. The truly heinous stench of Ross Avenue from Olive to St. Paul has, unfortunately, lingered. Seriously, Dallas, you smell. You’re basically forcing me into the arms of Fort Worth.
I have no special attachment to the Blue Man Group, since the guy I dated in college was a huge fan and I was not.Â This guy was also a huge fan of making weekly pilgrimages to every comedy club where Jerry Seinfeld had ever performed and sitting at the table closest to the stage. Obviously, that relationship worked out well. The silver lining: Arrested Development altered my feelings just enough to allow me to smile benevolently upon these painted PVC pipe percussionists. No such luck for Jerry Seinfeld.
Anyway, the Blue Man Group performs at Bass Hall tonight, sans Tobias “I Just Blue Myself” FÃ¼nke but still cool in every other way. My brilliant marketing scheme for AD‘s upcoming Netflix revival is for David Cross to join the real dudes on tour. Nobody has to pay me for this genius idea (though I like money). Just make it happen, and invite me.
Eric “Slouchy” Nicholson over at Unfair Park wondered if “Stuff Dwaine Caraway Likes” is officially a meme yet. Maybe. I’ve tried to help it become one after the jump.
According to the Star-T, tonight the SyFy cable network will show a video shot in Fort Worth in May 2011 by a guy named Brian Luenser. It’ll air on a program called Fact or Faked Paranormal Files at 8 p.m. tonight.
What you’ll see is just a bunch of transformers exploding after having been hit by lightning. But when Luenser first posted the video last year, and it went viral, there was speculation that the video was a fake. The version that’ll appear on TV will be in HD, as opposed to the somewhat lower quality you see embedded at the top.
Unlike the video Luenser posted last year, however, the above has audio.
“You could hear birds chirping,” he said, apparently because they thought the explosions were the sun coming up.
It’s eerie. Â And he’s posted a second newly-released video here.
The Society of Professional Designers is kind of a thing. If you run in certain circles, you know the initialism SPD. Well, yesterday they named our Hagman cover their cover of the day. Our staff photographer, Elizabeth Lavin, took the portrait of Hagman in Los Angeles. I heard through back channels that the honchos at TNT thought it was the best photograph taken of Hagman in all the media run-up to the Dallas relaunch. Our creative director, Todd Johnson, designed the cover. Kudos to both of them. They do some of the best work in the country, and it’s a privilege and a joy to work alongside them — except when Todd introduces spelling errors when he retypes headlines and when Elizabeth pesters you nonstop for a week to hire a helicopter for a complicated shot she has in mind. Besides that, though, they are awesome.
Oak Cliff People notes that the Facebook page of congressional candidate Domingo Garcia appears to have been hacked.
An alert FBvian points to the news on TMZ that a woman is apparently shopping around some pics of Terrell Owens handling up on his business. The two were having fun on Skype when she snapped the action shots.
Mike Mooney got a lot of praise for his recent story about Owens on Grantland. But where were the sex pics, Mooney?! A better reporter would have had em.
Summer is really, officially here. As a longtime Texan and amateur life coach, I’m here to help.
DO properly hydrate. I suggest a minimum of eight 3-liter bottles of water a day. If you’re Mike Mooney, make it nine. And get a haircut.
DON’T gripe too much. We’re all in this together. One “GD it is hot out there” when you arrive at work should do you, along with unlimited, soulful mmm-hmmms should anyone else broach the subject. And no, you don’t get another one if you happen to go out during the day. That, sir or madam, is on you. It’s called a sack lunch. Get familiar.
DON’T strain yourself making too many similes. “It’s like hugging the sun” is fine enough. I know that’s not very good. See? Not trying.
DO invest in a box fan. No jokes. Those things are super underrated. I carry one with me at all times.
DON’T check the weather anywhere else, unless you can afford a plane ticket to go there immediately. In which case, give me $5,000. Enterprise wants the hail damage fixed after all.
DON’T Instagram or Facebook pics of thermometers. I mean, we get it. It’s terrible. Do you think if you get 100 “likes” it’s going away? Of course not. I tried that once with a picture of Tim. He’s still standing right behind me, talking loudly on his phone to someone I probably don’t care about in his old radio voice. It doesn’t work.
DO keep a copy of your will in your pocket. I’m not saying it’s going to get that hot, but you never know, right? Me? I like to be prepared. I have a copy on me at all times. It’s … pretty short. Everything goes to charity, and Wick has to finish the novel I’ve been writing. It’s basically a re-telling of To Kill a Mockingbird set in a dystopian future where mockingbirds have actually taken over and Scout and Jem and everyone are semi-literate, but non-verbal cats. Don’t worry. I have it all outlined pretty well.
It seems the bowling story I wrote for the current issue – you can see video from the amazing night in question here – has inspired some art. Specifically, the story inspired an artist named Chris Piascik, who created the image you see here for the blog kottke.org. The words “I felt loose as a goose” come from Bill Fong, describing what it felt like to be on the hottest of hot streaks. There are t-shirts, iphone covers, and prints available in various sizes.
I’m still having fun with cutting and sorting the data of our 2012 Best Dallas Suburbs ranking. Today I wanted to know which of our suburbs are the biggest bargains, since many of us can’t spring for a $1.6 million house in Highland Park or a $500,000 house in Parker. Here’s how I determined the best deals:
For the definitive magazine ranking of 63 Dallas satellite cities, our methodology ended up with an overall weighted score for each, on a scale between 1 and 5. Parker, as you know, was our No. 1 finisher. It garnered a 4.143. On the bottom of the scale was Cockrell Hill, with a 1.737.
So I treated 1.737 as a minimum score, subtracted that number from each suburb’s actual weighted score to get a better picture of how many points each had earned relative to one another. Then I took the average home sales price of each and divided that by this new relative weighted score to determine how much it would cost to live in each city per point above the minimum scored.
Anyway, to the list.
Dave Barnett Talks About the Botched Robbery. Barry Horn got the first interview with Barnett (paywall) that I’ve seen since the Rangers TV broadcaster became a national sensation for teaching everyone what “word salad” means. The preliminary diagnosis: “a complicated migraine.” The scary sentence in the story: “The Rangers say they are awaiting a complete diagnosis before determining Barnett’s future.” Let’s hope this incident turns out to be something Barnett can laugh about when he retires after many more years of broadcasting.
DMN Editorial Misses the Mark. Not sure how you could live in North Texas and write an editorial about yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on immigration law without even once mentioning Farmers Branch. These things happen, though, and we must soldier on.
Museum Tower Gets More Bad Press. We all know Museum Tower is reflecting heat and light onto the Nasher Sculpture Center, thereby cooking the museum. Now some folks on the other side of Museum Tower are complaining, too. This Channel 8 video shows the morning reflection hitting One Arts Plaza. The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System owns Museum Tower. Richard Tettamant, who runs the pension fund, told me what his intentions were for Museum Tower: “‘We need a piece of artwork to be in the Arts District. We need that building to look like something people will appreciate and love.” Um …