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SAGA Pod / Learning Curve with City Councilman Philip Kingston

Shy, quiet District 14 Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston stops by world SAGA pod headquarters to discuss his ongoing opposition to the Trinity toll road — including, but not limited to, bashing the mayor and his “dream team” of architects and urban planners. We also discuss the new PAC co-founded by D Magazine Group chairman and D Magazine publisher Wick Allison, and its efforts to back politicians for city council who support restoration of urban neighborhoods by replacing and rerouting I-345 and I-30*. We then touch on what the city could learn from DISD and its comprehensive plan. And, oh yeah — we talk about Kingston getting kicked out of […]

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SAGA Pod: Jim Schutze on DISD, DMN, and Mayor Mike’s Money

Jim Schutze stops by the World SAGA Pod Headquarters to discuss all things DISD: the current HR scandal, a huge DISD effort not covered by the local media (warning: I say bad words), and how Mike Miles has survived every attempt to run him out of town. Then we segue to talk about the squishy accounting system used by Mayor Mike Rawlings and endorsed by City Hall: where sitting officeholders can take as much money as they want from rich people, but the folks running against him are limited on how much they can take. Nice gig if you can get it!

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Helping the City Council Understand What DISD Really Needs From a City Partnership

James Ragland wrote a column the other day that said (as summarized by his headline writer) that he was against DISD drama but for game-changing ideas in education. And I thought, me too! (Semi-related, things I’m also for: game-changing ideas in politics, religion, space traveling, weight losing, ninja training, tile laying, #longforming, Tim irritating, and gaming.) Ragland then pointed out some game-changing ideas that are to be discussed today in the game-changingest venue one can imagine: a joint DISD-City Council task force meeting.

Now, I’m all for making the city more accountable in fixing DISD’s problems. (Thus, the 10k-plus words I spilled over on Learning Curve in making suggestions to the Home Rule Commission, some of which dealt directly with ways to make Dallas and the other 15 cities that DISD touches have more skin in the game. But that ship has sailed.) But I also want to make sure the city is focusing on helping in ways that make sense. So I just wanted to provide a little context for today’s meeting. […]

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Dallas ISD Climate Survey Mostly Good News for District

The fall 2014 DISD “campus climate” survey was just released, and as you can see from the chart above (click to embiggen), the top-line numbers reveal mostly good news for the district. A whopping 85 percent of teachers filled it out. I know this isn’t what you’d expect if you subscribe to the local media narrative, but it doesn’t surprise me that much. A friend was talking to two DISD assistant principals yesterday, and both said that Miles had been much better this year about communicating with and listening to campus leadership. But, you know, you can choose to ignore this and wallow in the status-quo muck if you so desire. Free country. Here are the full results, btw.

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Stop by Booker T on Saturday To Tell a Story About Your Favorite Teacher

Maybe you saw this DMN blog post last week about a cool program tied to the Extra Yard for Teachers Summit, to be held in Dallas on January 10. Pretty cool deal: Teachers tell their story “about their life as an educator” in an attempt to win a speaking spot at the summit. (The event is designed to support and cheer North Texas teaches as they head into the second half of the school year.)

On Saturday, the summit’s organizers are staging a pretty cool event where you, normal non-teacher Frontburner person, can tell your story about a teacher who made a difference in your life. There will be a video booth outside of Booker T. Washington HSVPA at Flora and Jack Evans Streets in the Arts District tomorrow from 1 to 5 p.m. Some of the footage will/may be used for the summit.

I will be out of town this weekend, so I can’t make it. But here’s the story I would have told, which I call, “The Second Best Memory I Have That Involves A Teacher”: […]

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Marcos Ronquillo Ends Worst-Kept Secret, Will Announce Run for Mayor

Dallas lawyer Marcos Ronquillo will announce today the thing that everyone has known for months: that he plans to run for mayor. Ronquillo opposes the Trinity toll road project and will make that the centerpiece of his campaign. He will probably announce other stuff, but all anyone is going to talk about is that Rawlings=pro-toll road, Ronquillo=anti-toll road. Including me, apparently.

UPDATE: Rudy Bush on why it’s a good thing for Dallas that Ronquillo is running.

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SAGA Pod / Learning Curve 12.03.14 — Mayor Mike, the Sequel

Jim Schutze of the Dallas Observer (and his dogs) join me in Jim’s living room to discuss Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings’ announcement that he will run for re-election. Do his opponents have a chance? What has the mayor accomplished? How can he help DISD reform? When will Eric pay Rudy Bush of the DMN the $20 he now owes him? Will the tollway be built? Why is DISD so important to this election? Why can’t Jim ever talk directly into a microphone? And why does everyone hate Eric so much? We answer-ish all these questions and more in […]

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Learning Curve’s 10 Suggestions for the Dallas ISD Home Rule Commission

Over on LC, I’ve put all 10 of my recommendations for the Home Rule Commission onto one post. I’ve also added a few additional links at the bottom of the post that I think are worth reading. And I’ve emailed it to the Home Rule commissioners, because I’m a full-service advocacy journo.

Oh, also, I’m about to send out my first Learning Curve newsletter, if I can ever figure out MailChimp. If you want to be added to the distribution list, send an email to eric.celeste@dmagazine.com with the words “SUREWHYNOT” in the subject line, and I will make it so.

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SOPS Presents Draft of a Charter to Home Rule Commission

Last night, Support Our Public Schools, the organization that began this home rule movement early this year, presented its proposed charter to the Home Rule Commission. It contains several things I’ve been talking about on Learning Curve, including moving trustee elections to November, adding a student trustee, and starting the school year earlier. I’ll have a dissection of it on Learning Curve in the next few days, but here it is for your perusal.

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Anchia Announces Town Hall Meeting on Tollway

In the release announcing this, State Rep. Rafael Anchia says 93 percent of respondents to his poll were against the tollway. We’re aghast. The release is below, the release with pictures and sample quotes from respondents is here:

(Update note: I’ve been gone, so catching up on a lot, including that the town hall debate is not a surprise, as I learned from this Unfair Park post.)

(Dallas, TX) State Representative Rafael Anchia will host a town hall meeting on the Trinity Tollroad Project on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Chris Semos campus of Rosemont Elementary School. The town hall meeting is open to the public and does not require a pre-registration.

The town hall will feature a panel of supporters, as well as representation from the opposition. Among the panelists are Michael Morris from NCTCOG and Councilman Scott Griggs from the City of Dallas, District 1. Additional panelists will be announced prior to the meeting.

Mr. Anchia represents Texas House District 103, in which a large portion of the Trinity Tollroad would lie. “In talking with constituents about the Trinity Tollroad Project, I was hearing a constant message of dissatisfaction with the proposed road. I conducted a survey to gauge the climate in and around Dallas, and the respondents were startlingly opposed to the project,” Representative Anchia said. The results of the online survey, along with a sample of public comments, are attached for review.

In the interest of efficiency, the public is encouraged to submit questions for the panel in advance by email to info@rafaelanchia.com.

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Speaking of the Mayor and the Toll Road, Let’s All Hear Him Talk About It

The below email went out yesterday. I’m out of town, so I haven’t been able to determine if Mayor Mike typed “Citizens List: All of Dallas” into the “cc” field. But since this issue is “critical to the future of our city,” I’m going to assume everyone is invited. See you there!

Friend,

If the schedule goes as planned, work on the Trinity Parkway will begin in early 2015. The Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is in its final stages and is set to be completed soon, the Record of Decision will be signed soon after the study is finalized. We have teams in place that are working to complete the design on the Parkway in preparation for the construction phase. Currently, about 30% of the design work is done. This project is critical to the future of our city, and how the design is finalized is one of the most important things we can do. I believe this project should be studied and reviewed by recognized experts using the best urban design principles that exist as we move to our next phase.

I invite you to join me for breakfast at Babb Bros BBQ & Blues in Trinity Groves on November 19 at 8:15 a.m. to hear my thoughts on how we can accomplish this goal.

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