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Making Dallas Even Better

What Happened to Citizen Oversight of the Trinity River Project?

After reading late last week about Mayor Rawlings’ plan to make more plans for the city’s largest park (without the involvement of the Parks Department or the citizens of Dallas), I thought it was time to check in on the status of the Trinity Citizens’ Oversight Committee. As you may recall, the Trinity Dream Team’s leader, Larry Beasly, stated their proposal needed “public input and confirmation,” and that the design process “needs a conscience that is ‘of the people.'”

Their “suggestion (was) a carefully arranged monitoring of implementation, (then) and on an ongoing basis into the distant future, but an oversight panel of independent professional and citizen monitors who can make sure the concept does not get distorted through the detailed design process.” Peter Simek reported Beasly as stating that the multi-disciplinary team of experts should actually report to the citizens group. In that same piece, Council Member Lee Kleinman was quoted as stating his desire for more public input. The Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects also publicly endorsed such an approach, stating they “strongly advocat(e) for an oversight body comprised of Dream Team members, local design organizations (including AIA Dallas) and private citizens to ensure that the vision of the Dream Team is faithfully reflected in the design and execution of a Great Trinity Park Parkway.”

So where do we stand on the formation of such an independent oversight body?

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The Mysterious Plan for a Mayoral Compound

The Dallas Morning News’ Rudy Bush brought us surprising news yesterday that a new $180,000, by-invitation-only compound is being constructed for the Mayor and his staff. I use the word “surprising,” because I don’t recall the City Council ever having been briefed on this matter, much less approving the expenditure. Based on a review of the plan that Mr. Bush somehow dug up, it appears the Mayor Pro Tem, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem and their four assistants are being kicked out for parts unknown, their offices to be taken over by the Office of the Mayor.

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Mayor Mike Rawlings’ Strange Case for the Trinity Toll Road

Back in December, Mayor Rawlings met with the Dallas Morning News editorial board to make his case for the Trinity toll road. At the time, the story was reported by the DMN, with subsequent editorializing on FrontBurner by Jason Heid and Wick Allison. I was also tempted to write something about it at the time, but dropped the idea after the pieces by Jason and Wick appeared. Since then, however, I find myself going to back to re-listen to the audio recording over and over. It’s not that politicians don’t say crazy things at times. We all know they do. It’s the idea that someone, somewhere, thought the DMN editorial board would find this pitch persuasive.

What I’ve attempted to do below is step through the mayor’s case point by point.

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Feds: Trinity Toll Road Must Be Built to Large-Scale Version

What this means, of course, is that Michael Morris, Mary Suhm, and Craig Holcomb’s “we can always make a smaller road, and that’s what we plan to do” argument is complete garbage, and likely always has been. Because why wouldn’t it be complete garbage? If the environmental impact was going to be different for two DIFFERENT projects, you’d need two DIFFERENT approvals.

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Richard P. Sheridan is Quite a Sore Loser, And The Operative Word There is ‘Loser’

Richard P. Sheridan, the nutjob who finished fourth in Saturday’s election for the District 13 seat on the Dallas City Council, is mad at me. To hear him tell it, it’s because I didn’t do enough to inform the voters that Leland Burk, who finished second to Jennifer Staubach Gates, is gay. But I think […]

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Bill Bragg, the Voice of Big Tex, Is Gone. Here Are His Possible Replacements.

Word came late this afternoon that Bill Bragg, the voice of Big Tex, did not have his contract renewed. Here are some possible replacements: – Michael Irvin – George W. Bush, while eating a sandwich – Deion and Pilar Sanders, together, for a month – Hank Hill from King of the Hill – Ashlee and […]

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Some Idiot Tried to Smash a Camera at Deep Ellum Urban Gardens a Few Weeks Back. Know Him?

Kicking around on Facebook this weekend was a security video from Deep Ellum Urban Gardens, showing a few young gentlemen trying to shatter a security camera at the community garden. Know this fool? Contact Kelly Cromwell Clemons at And watch the video, because there are a couple other clowns who make an appearance as […]

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As Texas’ Drought Continues, City Tells Man His Cacti and Stones Aren’t ‘Historically Appropriate’

If you’d like a Cliffs Notes version of the water conservation debate in Texas, look no further than two stories the Morning News posted yesterday. The first is a blog post about conservation efforts: With the state in the midst of one of its worst droughts in history, local water conservation advocates gathered Tuesday to talk […]

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