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SAGA Pod/Learning Curve: Schutze on Ebola and DISD

I think the headline is pretty straightforward. A few other things you should know:

• Jim starts off the podcast by coughing. He is so old and broken.
• We record it in his house, because he forgot that he didn’t have a car that day.
• At one point he tries to silence one of his dogs. I don’t even want to get into how he did this.
• If you’re wondering where ALL the antiques are, they’re in Jim’s house. I think you hear eight different clocks clang and ring and cuckoo during our talk.
• About Ebola, we focus on our officials’ reaction, the question of whether Presby can recover from its bad PR, and Peter’s question about how many will be infected before we panic. On DISD, we talk about the proper role of school board trustees, why black trustees ignore those rules, and how the city’s racial history fits into all this.

Here is the embed:

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Mayor Rawlings Learns How to Be Humble in the Face of Ebola

Jim Schutze and I recorded a podcast yesterday afternoon in which we discuss the city’s reaction to the Ebola crisis (and DISD stuff). It’s very timely. It’s also sitting in the trunk of my girlfriend’s car, somewhere in her office parking garage. Since I won’t be able to get the pod up until tomorrow, here’s an example of one item we discussed: How officials have learned to temper their confidence, and how doing so actually inspires more confidence in the public.

Remember what Mayor Mike Rawlings said eight days ago:

Rawlings said that he remains [..]

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Update on the Miles-Nutall-Dade Fight

The DMN today has a story saying that three longtime anti-Miles trustees — Bernadette Nutall, Joyce Foreman, and Lew Blackburn — want a board meeting to discuss the superintendent’s authority. In a blog post yesterday evening, I pointed out that said meeting is unlikely to happen until the board reviews its own lines of authority. Why? Because when Blackburn says in the DMN story that he will openly violate board policy whenever he wants, the root of the problem is exposed. Also because in the Dade matter, Nutall clearly was in the wrong in trying to attend a school staff meeting over Miles’ objections, and Miles was 100 percent right in having her removed when she didn’t comply. For background on school board policy that states this, see my post from Monday.

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Jim Moroney Will Look Everywhere for New Revenue, Even Other Papers

I have a column coming out in a few weeks in which I argue that Dallas Morning News publisher Jim Moroney must get right the enormous task before him: finding a new editor to lead his paper for the next decade. I give voice to those who express concerns about Moroney’s track record, but I ultimately believe he’s doing the best job he can in such a turbulent industry. (I like the guy. SUE ME!)

Another example of his innovation (or his deck-chair rearranging, if you believe his critics): His efforts to partner with other top newspapers across the nation. If you’re a news junkie [...]

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Toll Road Backers’ Strategy: Pretend to Re-evaluate Its Worth

My column in the current issue of D Magazine tries to answer the question of why the Trinity toll road advocates won’t let this unpopular boondoggle die. Because I write these columns five to six weeks before they appear in print and online, time will always cause some portions of my column to be wrong/irrelevant/laughable by the time it appears. In this case, it’s the portion where I describe the strategy of the toll roads’ backers — the coalition of the willing.

Well, it’s not wrong. I say they will try to fund the toll road in phases. That’s still probably true. But it’s not the most immediate, important part of their strategy.

That would instead be the scenario currently being promoted by said coalition to various business interests around town, which goes like this: [...]

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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.”)

LONG DIGRESSION ALERT:

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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