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Making Dallas Even Better

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 (7/23/15)

Trauma Cases Down At Parkland. Which is a bad thing I guess? I guess I naively expected this to be a story about people being safer or something, which I now see as stupid as I’ve typed it out. The problem is, fewer traumas hurts the hospital’s ability to train trauma specialists, and also lost revenue, which is not insignificant as it opens a new hospital and trauma center.

Former Plano Neurosurgeon Faces Six Felony Counts. “It is so rare for a district attorney to prosecute a physician,” said James Girards, the attorney for one of the patients that sued Christopher Duntsch after a botched surgery. “What makes this different is the overwhelming evidence.” Duntsch already had his license suspended in 2013 because of “imminent peril to public health” that was “due to impairment by drugs or alcohol.” I’m sure you can expect Brett Shipp to be skulking around the courthouse in his Oakleys once this trial gets going.

DISD Fires Scandal-Plagued HR Exec. If you’ve been following this case for what seems like the last 10 years, this is not a huge surprise. But will Tonya Sadler Grayson sue? “At no time have I violated any of Dallas ISD’s rules or any laws, and I have done nothing to warrant termination,” she said in a statement. Which is followed by a quote from her attorney. So … yeah.

Did You Watch Mark Cuban Shoot Sharks With a Shotgun? He did, playing the president in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No, which debuted last night. WHO’S SORRY NOW, DEANDRE?

Cowboys’ Stephen Jones: This Is One of Our “Better” Teams. “It’s all coming together,” the team’s executive vice president said. You expect to succeed your father with fairly reasonable statements like that, sir? Come on. Tell people you’ve already got dinner reservations at the Super Bowl site. Start trash-talking potential opponents. Call it a dynasty. The season hasn’t even started yet, fella. I need you to get Cowboys fans good and irrational. Say something about “secret sauce” or whatever.

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Leading Off (7/16/15)

Dez Bryant Finally Signs. It went right down to the wire, but the wide receiver — full name: Dez Bryant Caught the Ball! — agreed to a five-year deal worth $70 million, with $32 million of that guaranteed. Probably the only loser in this is ESPN’s Ed Werder, who would have gotten a lot more screen time during a potential Bryant holdout. But it’s the Cowboys, so I’m sure something will come up.

Jordan Spieth Atop Leaderboard At British Open. At least he was when I wrote this, at six under par through 12 holes. I hope this didn’t jinx him. (UPDATE: I might have? He’s now five under after 13.)

Mansfield Firefighter Foils Armed Robbery. After a masked man with a hunting knife pushed past Daniel Gaskey to hold up a Midlothian convenience store, the off-duty firefighter took about seven seconds to completely control the situation. He jumped the robber, disarmed him, and held him down until police arrived. “He was all worried about [running late for work], and then we found out he had intervened in an armed robbery while he was getting some coffee,” said Fire Chief Barry Bondurant.

BOBCAT ALERT. Panther Creek Estates in Frisco has a roving band of bobcats on the prowl. Word of warning: don’t name your housing development after big cats, because that is just rolling out the welcome mat. That’s the saying, right?

Deion Sanders to Appear on Lip Sync Battle Tonight. He’s taking on Justin Bieber and performing Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” (in blond wig) and Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music.” Hopefully it won’t be like his school and start out with promise and then fold like a pair of pants.

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Mavs’ Fallback Plan: Zaza Pachulia

After DeAndre Jordan’s epic pump fake, the Mavs have acquired veteran center Zaza Pachulia from Milwaukee. He’s on an expiring contract, so that doesn’t impact their situation going forward, and he is serviceable.

One thing: if Hotel Zaza does not figure out some sort of promotion involving him, someone over there should be fired.

(Also, apparently the ghost of Deron Williams is looking to stop haunting Brooklyn and move back home-ish. Hey, sure, why not.)

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Leading Off (7/9/15)

DeAndre Jordan is a Jerk. After agreeing to sign a four-year, $80 million deal with the Mavericks last week, Jordan backed out and after an insane night will instead go back to the Clippers, a poorly run franchise with a long history of being terrible and terribly run and a recent history of buckling like a belt in the playoffs, formerly owned by a racist slumlord, now owned by a billionaire Shrek impersonator, captained by this wildly gesticulating insurance pitchman who sort of openly has disparaged him, and until about five minutes was known as L.A.’s JV team. But hey, no big deal. The Mavs have no real fallback plan, since Tyson Chandler signed with the Suns and just about every worthwhile big man is off the market. I would not be surprised if Wes Matthews decided not to come to Dallas, either, so next year will be a real test of Mavs fans’ MFFL status, because they just aren’t going to be good, and really, to make it worth their while, they need to be bad bad. Great way for Dirk Nowitzki’s career to end. I don’t blame Mark Cuban or anyone else. They got it done, and if they could have signed the contract then and there, I would probably be waiting for Jordan No. 6 shirsey to arrive. I agree with Bob Sturm.

Controversial DISD HR Manager On Paid Leave. No decision has been made yet on whether Tonya Grayson will be terminated. But, anyway, so where does this DeAndre mess leave Dirk? I mean, on the one hand, I couldn’t bear watching him play for anyone but the Mavs. At the same time, it would break my heart watching him suffer through an ignominious end here. ARGH.

Look, I’m Not Trying To Stand In the Way of Anyone Making Money. But the time for that decision was Friday or maybe after the weekend. I mean, that would not be optimal, but that still would have given the Mavs time to do something else. Now there are really no more options. I just read something like, oh, hey, Kevin Seraphin is still available, and I felt like I happened upon my 73-year-old father doing a Def Comedy Jam-style standup set. Has it really come to that? Kevin GD Seraphin. I mean, if that’s the case, pick a center out of the crowd. Go get one of those middle-aged white guys who spent a year in training so they could dunk once. Rock N Jock it up and let Dorrough play. If it’s between that and Kevin Seraphin, I’d rather the Mavs suck interestingly. I think Sam Perkins still lives around here. See if he’s free. Let a reporter really imbed with a team and force them to hedge on a pick and roll. Whatever. WHAT. EVER.

(Sorry, there’s just no way I can write about anything else right now.)

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Clippers Making Push To Keep DeAndre Jordan

Once an NBA free agent makes up his mind, it usually stays made up. There is a moratorium on league business between July 1 and July 9, so no contracts can officially be signed during that time. But almost always, once a player makes intentions clear, all other teams back off. Except now. Marc Stein is reporting that the Clippers are trying to get DeAndre Jordan to change his mind and stay in L.A. rather than sign with the Mavs.

Mark Cuban is in Houston (Jordan’s hometown) trying to beat back their overtures, and apparently, the Mavs’ general manager is on his way.

If Jordan does stay in L.A., 1) Cuban will probably form a breakaway league (if he doesn’t have an aneurysm) (joke credit: my friend Bob Mehr) and 2) I will do everything in my power to run off commenter LewP from this blog forever, because I believe he has willed this into existence. I only exercise so I can properly hold a grudge.

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DeAndre Jordan Signs With the Mavericks. Are They Contenders Now?

One of the prizes of this summer’s free agent class signed with the Mavericks on Friday, as I correctly predicted on a now-vanished episode of the EarBurner podcast. He joins Chandler Parsons and a rehabbing Wes Matthews in forming a new core for the franchise going forward. What are people saying about Dallas locking down maybe the biggest free agent in the team’s history? Some takes.

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Leading Off (7/2/15)

Texas AG Ken Paxton Could Face Felony Securities Fraud Case. A special prosecutor is planning to present a first-degree securities fraud case to a Collin County grand jury within the new few weeks. Texas Rangers had been looking into allegations that Paxton had failed to register as an investment advisor with the state. Kent Schaffer, the prosecutor, said he will likely file that case, too, which is a third-degree felony. A first-degree felony conviction is punishable by up to life in prison, but I would sincerely doubt Paxton would get that. Now, if I could stop being Zac Crain the highly respected journalist at America’s No. 1 city magazine and be Zac Crain your gossipy pal, I would say — after Paxton urged county clerks not to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, ignoring the SCOTUS ruling — this is how I feel about Paxton’s current sitch.

Tyson Chandler Signs With Phoenix Suns. Chandler — only arguably the best big man in Dallas Mavericks history — didn’t wait around to see if the Mavs were able to sign DeAndre Jordan or not. So now the Mavs really, really need to sign Jordan. Because, as someone pointed out on Twitter yesterday, right now this guy is the Mavs’ starting center.

Dallas County Jail Population At An All-Time Low. Current number of inmates is 5,618, down 600 from this time last year. That means the jail has been able to close six pods — large rooms with bunk beds, a common area, and a direct supervisor — with potential savings of $3.2 million a year. You know why I think the population is so low? Batman.

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Leading Off (6/25/15)

School Board Wants New DISD Superintendent As Soon As Possible. I’d like to dunk a basketball in traffic with two hands but we don’t always get what we want. New board president Eric Cowan said he’d like a new supe by the beginning of the school year. Dan Micciche said he’d like one in four months. Good luck. The piece I linked to also hilariously contains a quote from John Wiley Price regarding public officials not meddling (!). Yes, that John Wiley Price.

NBA Draft Is Tonight. Excited to see what kind of project the Mavs reach for too early and ultimately don’t play/trade quickly! (Seriously, everything about UCLA’s Kevon Looney suggests a slightly taller Draymond Green, so make that happen, Donnie and Cubes.)

Dallas NAACP To Meet About Confederate Landmarks. Arthur Fleming, president of the local chapter of the NAACP, says they will talk about which ones in North Texas they will push to have removed. “If we are going to move forward in America, as Americans, we have to let go of those symbols,” Fleming said. “They can keep the symbols. They can take them to a house or put them in a museum.” On the other hand: Gay Donnell of the Lee Park and Arlington Hall Conservancy, which oversees a large statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, says not so fast. “People can learn from it and apply it to race relations today, states’ rights today, local control today. That’s good,” she said. Riiiiight, Gay Donnell. States’ rights.

Sex Offenders Meet In Dallas. Who says we can’t get convention business? ATTABOY, Philip Jones.

“Group Petitioning For Alcohol Election To Make Frisco Completely Wet.” Is the headline to this story.

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Dwaine Caraway Officially Announces Run For County Commissioner

“I went to Mayweather fight and I didn’t get all this,” the man next to me leaned over and said, laughing, as a high school drum line led out the man of the hour, Dwaine Caraway, who represented District 4 on the Dallas City Council until yesterday. There was more to come. After Caraway finished his short announcement that he was officially entering the race for county commissioner — he didn’t prepare a speech, he said, because he was speaking from the heart — a mariachi band in the corner fired up.

Before Caraway was called to the stage, the MC said that he thought “Dwaine should have been a boxer — because he’s had to fight for everything he’s got.” And he’ll have to fight for this: embattled county commissioner John Wiley Price, whose spot Caraway is after, made it clear earlier today he’s not looking to give up so easy.

No one really expected Caraway to stay away from public office for long, so the announcement by “the most trill councilman ever” was not a surprise.

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