Find a back issue

Trinity Toll Road Backers Launch Misinformation Campaign

This morning the Dallas Business Journal ran a commentary piece by Alice Murray, President of the Dallas Citizens Council, and I couldn’t help but wonder that if this had been 2006, the article would have appeared in the Dallas Morning News. Regardless, in the DBJ, Murray argues that we should build the Trinity Toll Road. Why? Well, because Dallas:

Quick: What do DFW Airport, DART, Victory Park and Klyde Warren Park have in common?

Give up?

Answer: All began as major public improvement projects that Dallas leaders were wise enough to support, and all have paid off big time in providing massive economic, social and cultural benefits to Dallas and the surrounding region.

And here’s another thing that they all have in common: All had vocal opponents who predicted all sorts of doom and gloom if these projects went forward.

Okay, so, you get that? Here we go.

Full Story

DreamVision Unveils Plans For $3.5 Billion Fort Worth Theme Park

The Morning News reported on this morning’s press conference in which the DreamVision Company touted its plans to bring a massive theme park: complete with a snowy manmade mountain fit for skiing, as well as areas built in the guise of New York City, Hollywood, a storybook playland, and the Wild West.

Left out of the presentation was talk of where exactly they might put 5,000-acre development. They seemed to be all about the sizzle instead of the steak.

And, yes, it would seem we are right to be skeptical that this project will come to fruition, given this company’s history in Florida.

Full Story

Read Jon Bois’ Eulogy For RadioShack

If you didn’t read this — SBNation’s Jon Bois writing about his days working for RadioShack — when it ran last year, now is a good time to do it. A taste:

This is a consumer technology business that is built to work perfectly in the year 1975. The Internet comes around, and this, being a technology company, is expected to move on it aggressively and know what it’s doing, except basically nobody really understood the Internet for a very long time. So they whiffed big a few times. Then the iPhone came around and rendered half the stuff RadioShack sold completely redundant. This company needed to become something radically different a decade ago. I just don’t think it knows how to be anything else.

It’s like retracing the steps and doings of a drunk person: okay, here’s where he keyed the cop car. Wait, why’d he do that? I don’t know, but his pants are lying here, so this is before he stripped naked and tried to rob the library.

ALSO: the CueCat makes a cameo.

Full Story

Ask John Neely Bryan: How Much Should You Tip a Parking Valet?

What are the proper rules and etiquette of valet tipping? What is the amount of tipping based on? Is a tip still expected if I can see my car or it takes longer to go to the valet and wait for him to bring my car versus just walking right up to my car and driving off? — Pedro A.

Full Story

DMN Editorial on Omni Hotel Just a Bit Off-Base

Today the paper brings us a sunshiney, happy editorial about the city-owned Omni convention center hotel. It says, in part:

Now, more than three years after the Omni opened, the hotel is proving its detractors wrong and showing that the risk we took to build it was a wise investment.

Not only is it exceeding profit forecasts, it is boosting the land around it and helping attract new life to downtown.

Furthermore, the editorial says, without the hotel, “the convention business surely would be weaker.” Really? It would?

Full Story

Morning News Perpetuates Myth That Dallas Is a Quickly Growing City

The headline from the Biz Beats Blog: “Behind Just Houston and Austin, America’s Third Fastest-Growing City Is Dallas.” Simply put, that headline is a lie. Or it’s a mistake. The Forbes ranking that the DMN is referring to doesn’t peg our city as the third-fastest-growing. Our region is growing that quickly. As Wylie H. Dallas recently pointed out, our city is nowhere near the top of the list. Wylie wrote: “Over the most recent year for which data is available (July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2013), the city of Dallas grew by 1.29 percent, placing us No. 27 out of 77, just barely ahead of Omaha.” Too often, city leaders seize on these sorts of reports to paint a rosy picture of how the city is faring. It needs to stop.

UPDATE (4:45): They changed the headline. Now it refers to the region. Thanks, guys.

Full Story

Japan Meets Texas at Toyota Groundbreaking

At Toyota’s unconventional groundbreaking for its new HQ in Plano yesterday, six so-called “wish trees” were placed behind CEO Jim Lentz inside a big white installation spelling out the word “TOYOTA.” Each tree in the display—they were actually native Texan Yaupon Holly trees—was festooned with little red tags on which students from Plano ISD Academy High School had written their wishes, hopes and dreams. The tags, apparently part of a Japanese cultural tradition, said things like “I hope to be a better artist,” “I want to go to a good college,” and “My dream would be a cure for cancer.” Lentz said the notes would be placed in a time capsule and the holly trees would be planted permanently once the HQ opens in late 2016 or early ’17. “It’s clear,” he said, “that this is the right place to begin the next chapter in Toyota’s history.”

Full Story

Freed’s Furniture Alters Downtown Dallas in TV Ad

Freed’s Furniture, as anyone who has lived here for any length of time knows, is where you can afford your dreams. The family-owned company has been selling furniture in Dallas since 1938. They boast of this longevity in a TV spot that caught the attention of a longtime FrontBurnervian. The reason it caught his attention: Freed’s used a historical photograph of downtown, digitally removing the name of another furniture store, Winn, and replacing it with Freed’s. Have a look.

Full Story

Friday Afternoon Time Kill: Interactive Urban Decay

If you’re looking for a way to squander the next couple hours or so of late Friday productivity, I have an idea for you. Head over to the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for Quality Communities’ blog where they have put together a tool to help visualize 60 years of urban decay in Texas and Oklahoma. An interactive image slider graphic, not unlike the one we use in our “Ghosts of Dallas” series, allows you to toggle back and forth between aerial photographs taken 60 or so years apart of the city centers of Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City. You can see in an instant how an era driven by new highways, new parking codes and lots, new building styles like the skyscraper, housing projects, and public facilities like convention centers dramatically — and rather quickly — transformed the American urban landscape. It’s interesting, but a bit depressing — another reason to look forward to happy hour.

Full Story

Leading Off (1/16/15)

South Dallas Residents Don’t Want New Toll Lanes. Wait, I thought opposing the construction of new pay-to-play roads was classist and racist and that folks south of Interstate 30 are clamoring for the opportunity to pay to drive their cars to points north? Then why were those who showed up to a Tuesday meeting at Methodist Dallas Medical Center to discuss the proposed Southern Gateway project — redoing Interstate 35E south of Colorado Boulevard — so upset about the idea to include managed toll lanes in the plans? Listen to this:

“We don’t want this. We don’t want these tollways here. Not in Oak Cliff,” said Juanita Lozano, drawing an “amen” and applause from the crowd.

And this:

“You’re creating a system where people with means can zip from one end of this area to the other while they wave at the rest of us on the sidelines,” said Michael Amonett.

And how about this?

“Where will you get the additional land you need?” asked Alicia Quintans, who lives near I-35E and observes its daily traffic flow.

“There’s maybe two hours of the day when traffic is jumbled up on I-35,” she said, “and I don’t understand why we’re building these toll lanes for two hours of the day.”

Oil Boom Headed For Bust? We’re all still enjoying the cheap gasoline, but as prices have dropped, drilling budgets have been slashed and industry layoffs have begun. Concern of a sustained downturn is growing.

Hipster Wedding Chapel Denied by City. The owners of the Bows and Arrows floral shop were fixing up an East Dallas mansion to host weddings, but their request to rezone the home for that purpose was denied last week by the Plan Commission.

Full Story

Pickens: Oil to Hit $90 Again, But Not Before Some Pain in Texas

Here’s an explanation by T. Boone Pickens of the current crude-oil market, in four sentences: Prices are down from their $100-plus highs not because of OPEC but because, thanks to advances in fracking and horizontal drilling, the U.S. has oversupplied the market. However, the price will bounce back from below $50 per barrel into the $90-$100 range again in 12 to 18 months. The reason: excess oil inventories will hit all-time highs in 2015’s first quarter, leading many of the country’s 1,500 oil-drilling rigs to shut down. That in turn will crimp production, spurring the price turnaround by the third quarter.

Full Story

Clay and Mike: Bryan Burrough’s Tale of Two Dallas Leaders

As Tim alluded to yesterday, Dallas’ handling of the Ebola crisis has just been put into perspective for a national audience, thanks to Bryan Burrough’s thoroughly reported piece in the new Vanity Fair. Burrough’s lengthy story puts a generally heroic shine on the response by local officials. And it offers a refreshingly frank, behind-the-scenes look at the actions of two powerful local politicians, both Democrats, who someday may aspire to higher office. My initial impression was that the piece portrays County Judge Clay Jenkins as some sort of steely Superman, while Mayor Mike Rawlings comes off as, well, considerably less effective.

Full Story

New Task Force Will Study City’s Teardown Policy

There’s a new mayoral task force in town. Yes, we all know about the so-called “Dream Team” task force that is studying the Trinity River Toll Way. Today the mayor and City Councilmember Philip Kingston announced the creation of another task force to look at the city’s current historic preservation policy. The task force is being created in response to the recent demolition of a 19th century Romanesque Revival building on Main St. in Downtown Dallas. The Headington Company demolished 1611 Main Street back in September to make way for the construction of a new building that will house a Forty Five Ten boutique. At the time, there was much gnashing of teeth and confusion over the destruction of one of the oldest buildings in Dallas (even if those surprised by the event missed the long lead up). The Headington Company has said they tried to avoid demolition but couldn’t make the building work.

Full Story