In celebration of its 60th year of fundraising and Dallas-area social investment, Communities Foundation of Texas launched a yearlong series of civic-oriented events yesterday with a panel discussion on Dallas education. Introduced by Mayor Mike Rawlings and moderated by Dallas Morning News columnist Bill McKenzie, the first of three “Cause-Minded Conversations” addressed how the public and private sectors are partnering to improve college and career readiness among Dallas students.
According to the CFT, only 20 percent of Texas students today achieve the post-high-school credentials that will be prerequisites for more than 60 percent of American jobs by 2025. It’s numbers like these that must be publicized in order to enlist the public’s support in achieving necessary and urgent change, argued panelists Regina Nippert, of SMU’s Center on Communities and Education; George Tang, of Educate Texas, a project of CFT; and Todd Williams, of Commit!, a nonprofit aimed at improving school performance among Dallas County students. The major imperative of this generation of thinkers and workers in Dallas’ education sector is how to avoid—in Rawlings’ words—the “trap door” of a miseducated next generation.
There were a bunch of interesting bits I couldn’t fit into my earlier post that I thought I’d throw out there.
Sheffie Kadane thinks the 22-acre tract is worthless: “This is West Texas land, this is desolate land, it’s good for nothing,” he said. “I don’t even consider these parklands.” He also didn’t know if the Trinity River was near the land ( “Is the river even near there? I’ve never even seen that.” Yes, it sits in the river’s floodplain, and would require a spill remediation plan, if approved.) and called Mary Suhm “a great city secretary.”
Dwaine Caraway questioned former mayor Tom Leppert’s involvement: A good question. Where was Tom Leppert when all this was happening? No one — Suhm, Griggs, Hunt, city attorneys — had a good answer.
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins asked why this hearing was even taking place: “I don’t know why we’re here wasting time this morning,” he said. Mayor Mike Rawlings chimed in, saying that, even if Atkins disagreed with Griggs and Hunt’s assessment of Suhm’s deal, that the council and city’s residents deserved to hear every side of the story. Councilwoman Sandy Greyson later responded: “I think a discussion about those questions are never a waste of time. We need to be as transparent at City Hall as we can be.” Well reasoned, both. (Also, let’s start using GriggsAndHunt as a new portmanteau for this debate, okay? Or maybe Grunt?)
This is why, when I make my first billion and become famous, I will buy an island and force my children to live there. That way, they can do whatever they wish, and no matter how sordid or silly or salacious, their doings will not drag my good name (cough, cough) into the headlines. Witness Thomas B. Pickens III, who is being sued for “breach of fiduciary duties, self-dealing, misappropriation of corporate assets, and usurpation of corporate opportunities.” The Courthouse News headline: “Former CFO Sues T. Boone Pickens’ Son.”
Waste five minutes with this today in honor of Mr. Cliburn, who died this morning.
From a 1936 picture postcard of the Old Mill (now a restaurant) at the Texas Centennial Exposition. For many more images from Dallas’ dining history, see Amy Severson’s recent contribution to SideDish.
Share your own Ghosts of Dallas.
The City Council excoriated, admonished, supported, and back-patted city manager Mary Suhm this morning for her role in the controversial Trinity East drilling contract, before later turning the excoriation and admonishment on each other.
During a three-hour hearing, councilmembers Angela Hunt and Scott Griggs stood alone in their inquisition of Suhm and later found themselves more the target of the Council than the city manager. Both questioned the timeline and wording of city action and documents, taking Suhm to task for not being abundantly clear regarding her agreement with Trinity East.
“I’ve never distrusted you, but I distrust you,” Hunt said. “I think this is dishonest…I think month after month you told this Council there’s not going to be drilling on park land, and you knew there was going to be.”
The hearing was to determine how 22 acres of city park land found its way to a gas-drilling agreement Suhm signed with Trinity East in 2008, even though the Council had not yet approved its inclusion. In return, Trinity East paid the city $19 million. The agreement between the city and Trinity East was not binding, according to a memo Suhm wrote to Council: “The City Attorney’s Office has also affirmed that the City Manager had the authority to sign a non-binding letter with Trinity East – making no guarantees – to assist in moving the process forward through several different approvals and Council actions.”
Suhm consistently deflected Hunt and Griggs’ questions, either repeating the question back to them or giving short responses. Hunt and Griggs were the first two councilmembers to question Suhm, after which the hearing turned to questioning of the pair’s motives.
All of you advance planners are really hurting us here in last minute land. The Tame Impala show at the Granada has been sold out for weeks, and as I warned you yesterday, Art Spiegelman’s talk to the Dallas Museum of Art tonight is all full, too.
The nice thing about the DMA is that if you really want to go, there’s always a simulcast for the more popular events. I think Spiegelman, the graphic novelist who chronicled his family’s history and suffering at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust in a two-book series, is worth sort of lurking around. There’s always a shot at a ticket upgrade, but the simulcast is free. He’ll expound upon the topic of “What the %@&*! Happened to Comics?,” in which Spiegelman will explore the history of comic books and the value of the medium. Paging People Newspapers’ Dan Koller, who could probably give me an extemporaneous lecture on the subject right now. Also, a meatball pita sounds fantastic. The Greek it is. Just walk yourself over after dinner.
Meanwhile, can I just tell you how much I wish this city council briefing was happening this evening? I’d say basically cancel everything, bring the caramel corn, and settle in. We can’t have everything we want, unfortunately. But over at the Dallas Contemporary, new media artist and SMU assistant professor Brittany Ransom will lead a discussion in her area of expertise—digital art, video, and interactive technology. This all has a bit to do with the Contemporary’s group video exhibition, Los Americanos, I’d imagine. You can also see part of that exhibit on the big American Airlines Center Plaza screens, which is a cool thing.
Lockdown (Highland Park) Highland Park High School is on lockdown as Police investigate a box of bullet shells found on campus, per HPISD.
— DFW Scanner (@DFWscanner) February 27, 2013
This is following a statement from the school’s principal, Walt Kelly, sent home yesterday:
We are asking all students to enter the building through either the front doors on Emerson or through the student entrance on Westchester. All other entrances to the school will be locked tomorrow morning, and faculty, staff, and campus security are instructed to be especially vigilant in the days ahead.
In an email to the HPISD community, officials said a box of .22 caliber shells were found.
UPDATE: The lockdown was lifted and students were sent home for the second straight day.
True story: in circa 1992, I had a meeting with Gregory Curtis, who was the editor of Texas Monthly. I was 22 years old and fresh out of college. The meeting went down in Curtis’ office. He was a boxer (probably still is) and was wearing a gray t-shirt that said something about boxing on it. Despite his attire, he had an aloof, magisterial air about him that made it difficult for me to find words in my brain and to say them with my mouth in the right order. I don’t remember the content of our conversation except for one question he posed: “What is the difference between a newspaper and a magazine?” Whatever my idiotic answer was, the meeting ended shortly after I stammered through it.
Long setup for the following: last week we published a story I wrote about the resurgence of restaurants in East Dallas led by the little strip on Peavy Road that includes Good 2 Go, Goodfriend, and 20 Feet. Today, the Morning News has the same story (paywall). If you’re interested, read them both. That’s the difference.
The young man to the right is David Williams, who spoke during the open microphone portion of the Dallas City Council meeting this morning. Rocking a serious bolo tie, he questioned the City Council on school safety, and made sure they knew he was against arming school officials. Then he dropped his bomb and bounced: “Do you feel it’s acceptable for city council members to be up and walking while their constituents are addressing them?”
Councilman Dwaine Caraway brought Williams back to the mic, told him they had similar views on school safety and gun control, then got to the heart of the matter.
“It is not so respectful for folks to be walking when visitors are speaking,” he said, promising to try and stay put.
Brad Holt is a senior videographer up at UNT, creating pieces for the school’s marketing department. He also owns a 2004 Saturn Ion Coupe, a car that he’d very much like to sell. The 26-year-old decided to combine those two parts of his life with the above ad, which he posted to YouTube Monday. Watch it. (Waiting.)
Holt and I chatted via email yesterday about the ad, which is, let’s say, different. Jump for the interview:
This kind of story seems to pop up every few months around the country, with a broadcaster always closing with, “One of the birds was taken to a local vet to determine the cause of death.” Then WE NEVER FIND OUT. What sort of Paul Thomas Anderson-led bird-killing cabal is keeping this information from us?
D: The Broadcast, 9 a.m.
Hosted by Lisa Pineiro, Pat Smith, Courtney Kerr, and introducing Midge Hill, sitting in for Suzie Humphreys
D Living , 10 a.m.
Hosted by Hilary Kennedy and Kimberly Whitman
D-TV is available on all local cable providers.
AT&T 47 | DirecTV 47 | Dish 47 | Charter 22 / 746 (HD) | Time Warner 24 / 429 (HD) | Verizon 18 / 518 (HD)
Man Tries to Save Soccer Club. This story is worth your time. It focuses on Rhadames Solano, an immigrant who, 15 years ago, created a 23-acre park with soccer fields, lights, shade structures, and picnic tables. The city wants this land for the Trinity River Corridor Project. The city said it has tried to work with Solano to reach an agreement, but now it’s time to take action, thus the lawsuit filed in January. Solano hasn’t hired a lawyer. He’s hoping they can reach an agreement. His daughters will be out of high school in seven years. He’d like to keep the park until then. I’m guessing there won’t be a winner in this story.
Man Caught Smuggling 75 Pounds of Weed Through DFW. Don’t try doing this.
Meet Lily, The Bunny With Two Legs. I’m going to be honest. It’s a slow news day (or at least it was when I went to bed last night at 11:42). So I’m giving you this video of a bunny at the North Texas Rabbit Sanctuary. She came to the center with a broken back and her two back legs had to be amputated. But don’t feel bad for her. As you’ll see in the video, she’s doing just fine.