Find a back issue

Zac Crain is a senior editor at D Magazine. He moved to Dallas in 1997, and since then, he's worked as an editor at the Dallas Observer and American Way, written for Esquire and Spin, ran for Dallas mayor, written a book, and served as "glue guy" for a handful of rec-league basketball squads. Scouting report: can't go right, but he's a creative passer, and semi-accurate set shooter.

Leading Off (11/20/14)

Revenue Is Up For Downtown Dallas Hotels. That’s the thrust of this story, although mostly it’s just kind of a long run-up to the real point: man, we could be doing even better if we fixed up the convention center so we could get more medical and technology citywide conventions. And maybe so. But then the GM at the Sheraton, Mark Sanders, comes along with this: “Sanders said at this point he’s not counting on getting a huge boost from college football fans in town in January for the inaugural College Football Playoff game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. ‘Actually, we’re not sold out,’ he said. ‘We don’t think that’s going to be quite as big as everybody’s predicting.'” [Deep breath] OK. Mark — can I call you Mark? The College Football Playoff game is not the Super Bowl. College football is not the NFL. Who comes to town for the game will largely depend on who is playing in the game, and they have not decided who is even in the playoff yet, so of course you are not sold out yet because most of the people who will come to Dallas for the game do not know they are coming yet. And when they do come, you can overcharge them and everything will be awesome, OK? (Karen Robinson-Jacobs was a sweetheart for not pointing this out right when you said it.)

Mavs Round-Up. Dirk inspires in win over Wizards, coming back and hitting a big three-pointer after rolling his ankle (again). Cuban serves on jury. Former Mav Delonte West cut from his Shanghai team.

Producers Give Up Effort to Rescue Dallas. TNT canceled the show in October, and since then, Dallas‘ executive producers have tried to find a new home for it, aided by a #SaveDallas campaign on Twitter. They’ve finally given up. They probably should have never revived the show in the first place, but that’s a debate for another time.

Full Story

Leading Off (11/13/14)

Thomas Eric Duncan’s Fiancee Lands Book Deal. Louise Troh’s memoir “will tell of her life with Duncan and how her faith had been ‘tested but not broken'” by his death from Ebola. It’s scheduled to come out April 28, published by The Weinstein Company and Perseus Book Group.

Northeast Gateway Toll Road Dead — For Now. The controversial project is expected to be left out of Mobility 2035, a long-range planning document that will go before the Regional Transportation Council today. Good job, Hunt County residents.

Debate Over Highland Park ISD’s Book Policy Continues. Currently, they are just on the edge of a potential Footloose situation, so it’s probably best to get this locked down.

Clayton Kershaw Wins Cy Young Award. The Highland Park grad won his third Cy Young after going 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA and throwing a no-hitter. He’ll find out today if he’s also the National League’s MVP.

Full Story

Dirk Nowitzki Is Now The Highest-Scoring Foreign-Born NBA Player Ever

It happened last night during the Mavs’ awesome comeback over the Sacramento Kings — who, P.S., have not beaten the Mavs in Dallas since 2003. He passed Hakeem Olajuwon, and it probably would have been more fitting if it had come off one of his patented, one-legged, lean-back jumpers, but a midrange shot is probably just as good. Dirk will more than likely finish just behind Shaquille O’Neal on the scoring list this season. If he plays through his entire three-year contract somewhere near this level, he has an outside shot — no pun intended — to finish his career ahead of Wilt Chamberlain as the No. 5 scorer of all-time. That is amazing. I SEE YOU, BIG GERMAN.

Full Story

Why Are the Mavericks So Awful In the Third Quarter?

The Mavs have started fairly strong this season, opening with a 3-2 record and only one really bad loss (last night, against the Portland Trailblazers). Chandler Parsons has mostly righted the ship after a terrible start against San Antonio. The other new guys have mostly fitted in. Dirk has looked like Dirk. But there is one troubling aspect that those five games have in common: the team’s absolutely dreadful third quarters. How bad has it gone when the second half starts? They have been outscored 170 to 106 in the third quarter, or 34 to 21.2 on average. That is not good. Giving up 34 points is not good. Being outscored by 13 points is not good. It is all not good. So, what is up?

A. The team’s dominant offense has allowed it to coast a bit on defense. When the opponents make halftime adjustments to slow down the offense, the defense is exposed.

B. The Mavericks have a deep roster, but the second unit is not packed with scorers. When the starters naturally begin to drop off a bit, there is no one on the bench to bail them out and bring some renewed energy on the offensive end. (Quicker version: the team misses Vince Carter way more than it thought it would.)

C. During halftime at every game, Warden Hazen takes Parsons aside and threatens to pin Caretaker’s murder on him, thus extending his prison stay indefinitely. By the time Parsons decides to take his chances with the warden and starts playing to win again, it is already the fourth quarter.

Or maybe something else?

Full Story

Rafael Anchia Is Asking Folks If They Support the Trinity Tollroad

The state representative has a survey up and running on his site, and it’s pretty straightforward. Anchia hasn’t said yet what he plans to do with the information. Meantime, Brandon Formby has a good summation of where the road stands at this moment.

My two cents: we don’t need the road. I’m not exactly alone in saying that. But after running inside the levees a few weeks ago — that’s right: I run now, and I come up with smarmy, backdoor ways to mention it — I am of the opinion that we don’t really need anything there. Amenities, schmamenities. Finish the trails, maybe throw in a few places to hang out and throw around a frisbee, a playground — nothing serious, just the kind of thing you’d find at an elementary school. The Trinity project could be finished by summer, and we can get contentious with each other over something else. Like 345 — have you guys heard anything about that?

Full Story

Leading Off (11/6/14)

HUD and Dallas Come to Agreement On Discrimination Case. The city will have to modify its fair housing policy and continue developing its Neighborhood Plus plan, as well as host a housing symposium and send reports to HUD. What it won’t have to do is admit any wrongdoing or pay any money, not to HUD and not to the developers at 1600 Pacific who accused the city of discrimination. Honestly, though, the first seems like they’re admitting at least a little wrongdoing.

Neighbors Are Terrified of Mark Cuban’s Plans For Preston Road Properties. Even though they have absolutely no idea what those plans are.

Randy Travis Continues Recovery From Stroke. I hope he makes it all the way back, because I’m, sitting on, like, 50 jokes here.

Former Mail Carrier Battles Stray Dogs. I don’t always ask, but please read all of this.

Rangers Bring Back Michael Young. As special assistant to GM Jon Daniels.

Group of Investors Acquires 33 Acres and 700,000 Square Feet in the Heart of the Design District. The group is headed by Dunhill Partners, which is headed by Bill Hutchinson, whom I really only knew as the guy who threw the sort of gross pajama party for his birthday every year. But I guess he had to make money somehow and this is one of the ways. Other investors: Tim Headington (of course), the owners of Highland Park Village, and Newt Walker.

Full Story

A Simple Proposal: Tear Down the Convention Center

1. Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau president Philip Jones said we needed a hotel to make the convention center work. We gave him one. Now he says we need we need bigger ballrooms and more flexible multipurpose meeting space, because “he has a list of large convention groups that either have canceled plans to come to Dallas or may cancel because ‘they no longer fit.'” You know what I would love? I would love to see that list.

2. OK, so we spend $300 million or whatever it ends up being so the United American Consortium of Briefcase Salesmen of America will keep coming to Dallas. Super. Do you want me to tell you what happens next, or are you the kind of person that doesn’t want to see the movie until they’ve read the book? You know what? I’m going anyway. OK, OK, next Philip Jones is going to say that the hotel needs some upgrades — let’s say $200 million — because it’s no longer suitable, and the North American Confederation of Pet Accessories Dealers Worldwide is for sure going to cancel because of it. Then the convention center will need something. Maybe a heliport and a series of underground canals, because the Universal Order of Scuba Suppliers likes to be near water. I’d price that out at around $400 million, but that is only if Jones serves as his own general contractor.

3. We’ve spent $500 million, and we’re on a path that will see us spend God knows how much more to do what? Save Philip Jones’ $600,000 job? No thanks. We’re getting pushed around by groups of heating and air conditioning professionals. Is everyone excited that we’re turning into St. Louis?

4. The convention center doesn’t make money. It makes us spend money to construct more and more ornate crutches to prop it up, but it doesn’t make money.

5. Tearing it down gets us off Jones’ handout treadmill. But also: how much would that amount of prime downtown property be worth on the open market? And how much property tax would a new development in that location generate every year? Maybe I’m ridiculously, hilariously wrong here. Maybe I just like blowing stuff up.

Full Story

Leading Off (10/30/14)

DCVB Wants $300 Million To Spruce Up Convention Center. I see how this goes. First, Philip Jones says we’ll lose convention business if we don’t build a hotel. So we do. Great. Now he says we’re losing convention business because our ballrooms aren’t big enough. Next, he’ll say the convention center hotel isn’t quite right, so we’re going to lose convention business unless we spend a few hundred million. Then it’ll be the convention center again.

Cleburne’s City Servers Under Siege. Apparently, the DDOS attacks are in retaliation for the killing of a dog by a Cleburne police officer in August. A video of the shooting was released two weeks ago. The FBI is now involved in investigating the attacks on the servers.

Joseph Randle Is Chatty. Among many others things, while he was being booked into Frisco City Jail after being arrested for stealing cologne and underwear from a Dillard’s, Randle joked, “If I give you $100, will you give me a massage?

Frisco Will Finally Get Its First Luxury Hotel. Whew. I, for one, was wondering if it was ever going to happen. Omni is building it and it will be part of the development surrounding the Cowboys’ new headquarters and training facility.

Full Story

J.J. Barea Is Coming Back to the Mavs For Some Reason

The fan favorite from the 2011 title team was bought out of his contract by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. Today he signed with the Mavs for the veteran’s minimum. The Mavs will release Gal Mekel to make room for the — hahahahahaha — 6-foot Barea. (I am 6 feet tall, and I am at least two but more like three inches taller than Barea, at least based on the time I stood next to him after practice). I’m a little concerned the team is starting to get a little The Expendables in its roster construction, but honestly this is not a huge deal, probably.

ANYWAY, now the Mavs may try to finally roll out the all-point guard lineup I’ve long advocated for. And, in that scenario, fingers-crossed, they’ll play Barea at center.

Full Story

Leading Off (10/23/14)

Amber Vinson No Longer Has Ebola, According to Her Family. Still no official word from the CDC or Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, but her family says she’s been approved for transfer out of the isolation unit, and she looks happy and healthy in the photos that have been released. So hopefully she is out of danger. Vinson’s coworkers at Presbyterian got a call from President Obama yesterday, offering his support. What Presbyterian really needs is more patients.

Dallas Police Begin Testing More Than 4,000 Old Rape Kits. Some date back to 1996 and could lead to hundreds of new rape investigations.

Woman Accused Of Beating Her 12-Year-Old Daughter With a Belt Outside Bishop Dunne. Shannetta Robinson, 37, remains in Dallas County jail.

Irving Council Member Quits Committee After Dispute With Mayor. Dennis Webb used to chair the public safety committee. But he apparently felt Mayor Beth Van Duyne was being too political with the committees, so he quit during a public meeting. “Me and Allan [Meagher, chair of community services committee] find ourselves on committees that are meaningless … so your influence can be done,” Webb said. “To save myself and the citizens the grief … you can just find yourself another chair.” I assume he then dropped the mic.

Full Story