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SAGA Pod/Learning Curve: Jim Schutze on DISD, the Toll Road, and Moving to Plano

Jim Schutze stops by to discuss his column from this week, which basically covers all the important things in Dallas: How we’re going to get middle-class parents to send their kids to DISD schools (or if we even should want to do that); how that would affect the ability of young couples to stay in the city, as they increasingly want to do; and how the Trinity River toll road (and the thinking behind it) makes all of this harder than it has to be. Also, I play a song on my phone. Because Tim convinced me to. The lesson: Never listen to Tim.

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Should DISD Split Apart, Move Board Elections to November, or Change Its Calendar?

You don’t know the answer to these questions? If you want to take part in the Home Rule Commission public discussions (first two are tomorrow, 9-11 a.m. at W.T. White and 1-3 p.m. at Hillcrest High), you’d better get studying. Lucky for you, I address each of these issues on Learning Curve:

Should DISD be split apart?

Should trustee elections be moved to November?

Should DISD change its school calendar?

Remember, we’ve previously mentioned home rule suggestion posts on student trustees, board accountability, and trustee impeachment, as well as whether home rule is “taxation without representation.”

Get reading, and sign up to talk at these community meetings. Or don’t. I mean, it’s only relevant if you care about your kids/ the city/ your soul.

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Balanced Vision Plan Co-Author on Trinity River Toll Road: ‘I Want to Apologize to Dallas’

People, if you haven’t gotten your tickets yet for this week’s big urban planning event — Choices for a 21st Century Dallas: Connecting People and Opportunities — you’d best do so now. And get your popcorn ready, because Harvard professor and Balanced Vision Plan co-author Alex Krieger says he’s coming to town “with guns blazing.”

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MIT’s Knight Science Journalism Program Rips DMN Story on Creationists

One of the great things about working for Genome, a Plano-based national medical science magazine, was getting to know science writers around the country. Because said writers know I live in Dallas, I got several WTF emails after the Dallas Morning News last week published this gee-whiz profile of the Institute for Creation Research, which tries to marry biblical tales with science. (As Dallas Observer writer Amy Silverstein notes, the institute is trying to gild the lily, because the Internet is already full of awesome papers that claim to prove biblical factuals.) The questions these science writers asked can be summarized thusly: Why would a reputable paper suggest that the institute’s members, who are essentially writing King James fan fiction, are in any way practicing science?

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Suggestions for Home Rule Commission: Student Trustees, Board Accountability, and Impeachment

The first three of my posts offering suggestions for consideration by the Home Rule Commission debating whether to rework the DISD charter. Come get a taste:

1. Should we have a student trustee?
2. How can we instill board accountability?
3. Should the board be able to impeach one if its own?

More to come. As always, read with your eyeballs.

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Did Anyone Notice That the City Council Showed Real Leadership Last Week?

Steve Blow’s column over the weekend was right on in pointing out that Mayor Mike Rawlings’ idea of a buffer zone for sexual predators is not a good one. But it goes beyond the reasons Blow mentions. Not only does it sometimes make it tough on people who don’t fit our typical idea of what a sex offender is, it’s also bad policy. In fact, some experts argue buffer zones make children less safe. And it should be noted that the Council did an outstanding job acting like leaders and not pushing through an ill-considered ordinance.

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SAGA Pod: Jim Schutze on JWP, Inland Ports, DISD, and Hippies

A JWP-heavy edition of the SAGA Pod. We talk to Dallas Observer columnist Jim Schutze about the biggest news story in Dallas in 2014: the indictment of County Commissioner John Wiley Price. Jim, who has covered JWP for three decades, talks about how JWP went from being a “ray of sunshine,” and “a very brave guy” — someone who “taught courage” to southern Dallas  — to a county official under indictment. Jim tells great stories from covering Price in the ’80s (the one about how Price would intentionally sweat on editors at the Dallas Times Herald is gold). He discusses about how the money for votes has always traveled form North to South, and how Price wanted his cut from the minster networks. He tells about the time Price told Jim the reason “Our Man Downtown” always aligned with downtown interests vs. progressive, East Dallas interests. (“Because you’re a bunch of hippies.”)


At one point, you’ll hear me consider talking about how the DMN covered the inland port stuff. Look, I’m just too tired to go back over this. Here’s all you need to know: [...]

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Morning News Says Mike Rawlings Should Run Again Because Mary Suhm

The DMN ran an editorial over the weekend that said Mike Rawlings should run for another term. My take: Sure, why not? He can’t build a coalition on the council, but he is onboard with school reform. I’m for the latter more than the former.

The paper’s reasons Mayor Mike should run again? (Other than because he’s “a salesman with a soul,” of course.)

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Should There Be More Soccer Talk on Local Sports Radio?

Peter Welpton wasn’t sure what to do next. A two-decade-plus veteran of radio, Welpton had made a career change three years ago when he took a job a digital development the Dallas Morning News to help the paper improve its technology. But earlier this year he became a victim of his own success: To help pay for for some of the technology strategy and partnerships Welpton had pitched, he and others in his department were let go.

Oh, well. That’s business. And instead of wallowing in bitterness, Welpton asked himself, “What do I love?” He came up with two answers: soccer and The Ticket (Sports radio 1310AM/96.7FM). So he put together a proposal and took it to Ticket management: Let me put together a soccer show. The Ticket’s response: “HAHAHAHAHA who let you in, no, seriously, get out.” He revised his pitch: How about a World Cup show? The response: “Hey, Budweiser might sponsor that.”

Thus was born Bud Light’s World Cup Kick Around, which has run weekday evenings at 7 p.m. (and other times) during the World Cup. For soccer fans like me, it was wonderful to hear informative, insightful soccer talk. Now that the show is about to air for the last time (it will bracket Sunday’s 2 p.m. World Cup final, from 11-1 and 4-6), here’s a quick Q&A with Welpton — which is just a cover so I can make one last pitch to sports radio suits that if you want the next generation of sports fans, you need more soccer talk. [...]

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The Dallas Miracle: How Data Show Mike Miles Deserves a New Contract

Over on Learning Curve, I tell you about how the most rigorous ISD analysts in the state say DISD made astounding gains in 2013. Which, when we consider that Mike Miles wants a contract extension, leads us to the classic line from Rounders, issued by Teddy KGB:

“Pay him. Pay that man his money.”

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SAGA Pod: Jim Schutze on DISD Board Cock Fights and Car Wash Drug Lords

How’s THAT for a headline? SEO, baby.

It also has the advantage of being true. It’s another edition of the SAGA Pod, Learning-Curve-syle (ish!). Jim Schutze from the Dallas Observer is back, ready to talk DISD board and car washes. For the first half half of the show, we discuss the naming of the 15-member home rule commission, analyzing just how long it will take for Shirley Ison-Newsome to make the teachers on the commission rethink their life choices. We talk about the donkey punch Bernadette Nutall delivered to the rest of the board, and how she may still be standing behind the DISD horseshoe with two middle fingers in the air. Then we talk about Jim’s car wash — not Jim Schutze’s car wash, btw — and why the city and the Dallas Morning News have decided that this place needs to be shut down. Jim says it’s a legitimate business, unfairly targeted, and that the city is ignoring real drug houses nearby because they don’t understand the cultural importance of car washes in poor black communities. We do all this while drinking beer. Well, I do, anyway. (Which may explain the gratuitous swearing.)

If you need background on the DISD board stuff, see my post from Friday, as well as the comments, where Lew Blackburn Jr. and I have a little back-and-forth going on.

As always, please listen with your ears.

The iTunes link is here.

The webpage is here.

The rss feed is here.

Or you can listen here:


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DMN Headline Says Former Police Chiefs Against New Plan, Except Kunkle Isn’t

I admit I missed this when I read the story today, because I got through about half of it and thought, “Okay, all the former Dallas police chiefs think the civilian-hiring plan by current Chief David Brown is politically problematic.”

As councilman Philip Kingston realized: Nuh-uh. You have to wade through about half the article, but our most recent former chief, David Kunkle, says that even though the civilian-hiring plan has real-world problems, it’s worth moving forward and trying to implement it again.

Kunkle said he remains a firm believer that putting civilians in as many jobs as possible is a good plan. Officers should be out on the street, he said, and keeping civilians around should be part of any long-term plan.

Just so we’re clear.

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