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Making Dallas Even Better

Dallas Has the Most Christians

A Pew Research study of America’s religious landscape shows that of the country’s largest metropolitan areas by population, Dallas-Fort Worth has the largest percentage of people (78 percent) who identify as Christian and the fewest people who claim no religious affiliation (18 percent). Also we’ve got the most evangelical Christians (38 percent), plus the least Catholics (15 percent) anywhere other than Atlanta.

Of course, it’s another matter all together asking how many of those folks you’re actually going to see at church this Sunday.

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Can Somebody Explain to the Mayor That Plano Isn’t in Dallas?

I know this is well-trod territory for us, but again — watching the month-old video that Wilonsky posted about yesterday — we witness the disconnect that persists in the mind of Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Early on in a panel discussion that Rawlings took part in during the Atlantic‘s City Makers Summit last month in San Francisco, he alludes to wanting to do more for the state of southern Dallas and expresses his concern about Dallas being the city with the highest level of kids living in poverty.

But mostly he trots out the Chamber-of-Commerce-ese about how “fabulously well” Dallas-Fort Worth has done over the last decade. All the jobs being added, how Toyota “moved here.”

Only, of course, Toyota didn’t move here. They moved to Plano. Dallas has a lot of great neighborhoods, but Plano isn’t among them. And might the continued migration north of the best middle-class jobs have something to do with the too-long stagnation of the southern corridor? So why is this something for the mayor of the city of Dallas to tout?

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Win One of Our Neighborhood Icons of Dallas Posters

We were so excited about the launch of our neighborhood guides last month — more ‘hoods coming soon, I promise — that we decided we’d be fools not to take advantage of the merchandising possibilities.

And so we commissioned a nifty poster featuring various icons of Dallas neighborhoods. You can see a thumbnail of the featured image to the right. If you dig it — and how could you not? — enter here for a chance to win your own.

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Podcast: Laura Miller on Preston Center, John Wiley Price, Sacred Cows, and Clean Coal

Former Dallas mayor, as well as former Dallas Morning News/D Magazine/Dallas Observer reporter, Laura Miller stopped by the Old Monk yesterday to talk about why she now spends her days fighting for clean coal and against major new Preston Center development. Plus, in this week’s episode of Ear Burner, she tells the story behind her classic March 1991 D Magazine story on John Wiley Price.

A few notes before you listen:

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Leading Off (7/24/15)

We Still Haven’t Officially Hit 100 Degrees. Plenty of local weather stations have registered a triple-digit temperature in 2015, but where the records for all of North Texas are decided — near Runway 17C at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport — 99 is as high as it’s gotten this year. That’s unusual for these parts and could change today.

Lawyers Criticize Addison Police. Luz Granados-Reyes was arrested Monday after paramedics found her in a bathroom at the Hotel InterContinental, where she works as a maid, sitting on a toilet in which her newborn child (still attached to her via umbilical cord, as she’d just given birth) was submerged in the water. After the medical examiner’s report was made, the capital murder charges were dropped. Local defense attorneys who reviewed the arrest affidavit claim the police lacked cause for the arrest in the first place.

NAACP Comes to Defense of Grand Prairie Worker. Demoyas Baker was arrested for allegedly showing two teenage boys surveillance video of two 12-year-old boys engaging in a sex act at Dalworth Recreational Center. The civil rights organization is arguing that Baker, who is a black man, is being unfairly punished while a white co-worker is not being held accountable for his involvement in the same incident.

Richland High Debates Mascot Name. They’re the Rebels. The Birdville ISD school also has “Johnny Reb” and “Dixie Belle” student groups, in apparent celebration of the Civil War-era South. Some say it’s time to move on from such icons.

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Dallas’ Jason Roberts on How to Build a Better City

The New York Times this week hosted a two-day conference on the future of cities, and among the invited speakers was Dallas’ own Jason Roberts. You’ve likely heard of Roberts as the driving force behind bringing a streetcar back to Oak Cliff and the Better Block movement.

In the video above (H/T DMN) you can watch him explain how temporarily putting potted plants along sidewalks and painting your own lines on the street — in violation of municipal ordinances — can help transform a city.

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Is Donald Trump the New Ross Perot?

The Wall Street Journal’s professional opiners express fears that bloviating billionaire Donald Trump could — if he loses out on the GOP nomination for president — run a third-party campaign that makes it tough for the Republicans to win in 2016.

And that’s not the only parallel they draw between Trump now and Ross Perot’s 1992 campaign:

Like Trump, Perot was a businessman turned amateur politician who capitalized on voter dissatisfaction with the professionals. He was ideologically heterodox.

Like Trump, he had an admirer in Kevin Phillips, who in 1993 told the Philadelphia Inquirer: “He surged in the polls in his role as national watchdog.” After the election, Perot’s opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement put him at odds with the Clinton administration, though these days it would find him a home on the Democratic left.

Perot was known for rhetorical intemperance. “James Ragland, a former city hall reporter with the Dallas Morning News now with The Washington Post, recalls being at a meeting with Dallas police officers at which Perot suggested the police ‘ought to just go in there [high-crime neighborhoods], cordon off the whole area, going block by block, looking for guns and drugs,’ ” the Post’s Michael Isikoffreported in 1992. That’s somewhat reminiscent of Trump’s recent harangue about illegal aliens from Mexico—though we should note that in the 1993 Nafta debate with Al Gore, Perot was careful to praise the skill and industriousness of Mexican workers.

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All Clichés Are Bigger in Texas Award Nominee: Kiwi Edition

Stuff, a news and entertainment website in New Zealand, offers its readers tips for visiting Texas:

All the stereotypes you associate with Texas are typically accurate: cowboy hats, cowboy boots, conservative, Republican, meat lovers – with one exception, Austin. In sharp contrast to the rest of the state, this city boasts one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States, many of whom are more “alternate” in their habits and include a stack of vegetarians.

Do they mean “alternative”? And how many vegetarians constitutes a stack?

Then there’s this:

Texans rarely walk anywhere. Neither do they all drive “pick-ups” or utes (Austin, in fact, has a lot of Smart cars). It’s rare to see someone taking a stroll, and they will insist you don’t either.

Yep, they nailed us.


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Dallas’ First West Nile Case of 2015

A Southeast Dallas resident has contracted the mosquito-borne disease. From the city’s release today:

Dallas County Health and Human Services announced the first human West Nile Virus (WNV) case in the City of Dallas for the 2015 season. 

The resident lives in the 75217 zip code and was diagnosed with West Nile Fever. For medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons, the City of Dallas does not provide additional identifying information.

The City’s protocol is to conduct targeted ground spraying in areas where WNV has been confirmed in mosquitoes, and in areas where trapping has indicated significant increases in the number of mosquitoes that have the potential to carry WNV.  Existing traps near the human case have not tested positive for WNV.  The City will expand surveillance and place an additional trap near the location to gain information on mosquito activity.  

The City’s mosquito control program is continually evolving to address the threat of West Nile Virus (WNV).  Public information and outreach is extensive using television, radio, billboards, brochures, and community meetings.  Additionally, a webpage at is dedicated to WNV information, including links to videos developed to educate the public on WNV prevention.  The City is proactively identifying sources of mosquito breeding by responding to 3-1-1 standing water, stagnant pools and water conservation complaints.  However, it is important that residents do their part by taking the necessary precautions to avoid exposure to the virus.


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Poll: Should We Stop Honoring the Confederacy?

A memorial to Confederate soldiers was vandalized over the weekend in Denton, sparking another conversation about whether in 2015 we should continue to honor those who fought in open rebellion against the United States. What do you think?

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Denton Confederate Memorial Vandalized

I moved to Denton from Illinois in second grade and did most of the rest of my growing up there. I remember during one of my earliest visits to the Courthouse Square, still a child, I noticed the monument to Confederate soldiers, which was vandalized last night. I remember thinking it was curious that a city in the United States would memorialize people who’d fought in open rebellion against the nation. No, I’m not sure I appreciated then how divided our country remained for many decades after the Civil War.

I also attended Robert E. Lee Elementary in Denton ISD,  and I never gave much thought to the curiosity that the leader of a rebel army would be honored in such a way. I knew who he was, but really his was just a name of a long-dead guy on the building where I went to class, as much thought as I ever gave it.

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Will the Texas Rangers Be Buyers Ahead of the MLB Trade Deadline?

Casual Rangers fans, whose last familiarity with this year’s team was some vague notion that 2015 wasn’t going nearly as poorly as expected, I have some news.

Things are now going about as poorly as expected. And the MLB end-of-July trade deadline approaches. But that doesn’t mean there will be a fire sale in Arlington, as usually happens when a team isn’t winning and needs a bit of rebuilding.

In fact, it’s been reported that Texas is a serious suitor for the services of Cole Hamels, still one of the game’s better pitchers but playing for the awful Phillies. Says Grantland:

This might seem curious for a team that’s five games under .500, with just two wins in its past 11, sitting 7.5 games behind the front-running Angels and closer to last place than to first. Except, it’s also a potentially logical move for a team that might have a wider variety of options for 2016 than anyone else.

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