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Analysis: How Many Big-Box Stores Does Dallas Really Need?

The whole kerfuffle about the CityPlace Sam’s Club got my curiosity up. I know what my internal emotions tell me about the construction of more box stores and their barren, concrete parking lots, but what does it really look like? What are the facts? It actually wasn’t the CityPlace Sam’s that drove me to put together the information that follows. Rather, it was responses to rumors about a Costco at the old Steakley Chevrolet location at Northwest Highway and Abrams Road. In a June 2014 Lakewood Advocate blog posting, a reader comments: “YES! this would be awesomeness to have our own Costco!”

But why? There’s a Target (at Medallion Shopping Center) within 1,000 feet of there, a Sam’s Club about 2,000 feet away, a Walmart sitting on top of that same Sam’s Club (at TimberCreek Crossing), and yet another SuperTarget about 3,000 feet down Abrams.

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Poll: If the Trinity Toll Road Is Built, Will You Leave Dallas?

Before an event last night, I had a conversation about, yes, the Trinity Toll Road. Hard to avoid the topic these days, particularly in Oak Cliff at book readings with anarchist Icelandic politicians. I casually mentioned to someone that a number of people, particularly younger, community-minded people, have told me that if the Trinity Toll Road gets built they are going to leave Dallas.

“That’s funny,” he said. “I was just saying that to someone yesterday.”

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Bill O’Reilly Needs to Either Prove His Dallas-era Suicide Tale or ‘Fess Up—Or Step Aside

Wrapping up a guest appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Factor” program last night, Fox News host/political commentator Megyn Kelly joked that he had become a real “sweetheart” during the last week, and she wryly wondered why. Kelly was right: the usually combative, right-leaning cable news host has appeared more subdued than usual lately, chastened even. The reason, I believe, is the still-unresolved, ticking time bomb over a story O’Reilly seems to have made up involving his work as a reporter in the 1970s at Dallas’ WFAA Channel 8, about the suicide of a figure in the JFK assassination probe. It’s a tale he needs to come clean about publicly—or else relinquish his top-rated news commentary show.

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Warren Buffett Recommends D Magazine to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders

Over the weekend, legendary investor Warren Buffett, the “Sage of Omaha,” released his annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. Each year the financial world pores over Buffett’s words as if they are tea leaves predicting the future of the world economy. And considering that Buffett is the world’s third-richest man, it’s not hard to understand why.

Well, among his advice this year: Read D Magazine.

Before I depart the subject of spin-offs, let’s look at a lesson to be learned from a conglomerate mentioned earlier: LTV. I’ll summarize here, but those who enjoy a good financial story should read the piece about Jimmy Ling that ran in the October 1982 issue of D Magazine. Look it up on the Internet.

Through a lot of corporate razzle-dazzle, Ling had taken LTV from sales of only $36 million in 1965 to number 14 on the Fortune 500 list just two years later. Ling, it should be noted, had never displayed any managerial skills. But Charlie told me long ago to never underestimate the man who overestimates himself. And Ling had no peer in that respect.

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Leading Off (3/2/2015)

Nina Pham Is Suing Texas Health Resources. As if you could forget, Pham is the Presby nurse who was among those who treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, and then contracted Ebola herself. She announced her intent to file a suit today against Presby’s parent company, Texas Health Resources, on Saturday in a Dallas Morning News story complete with lots of photos of Pham and her adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bentley. The suit alleges negligence on the part of the hospital—a failure to develop policies, train staff, and provide proper protective equipment—as well as invasions of privacy.

This Weather Is Unpleasant. On Saturday, two people were killed and a third injured when their SUV slid off an icy I-30 overpass in Fort Worth and into a creek. Despite one nearly 70-degree day, there will be more danger-making sleet and storms this week, so do be careful.

Lucky Dog Books Will Vacate Davis Street Storefront. Another one bites the dust, ish. Owner John Tilton, who was unable to keep up with his rent and had been partially paying for months, mentions that he is looking at other possibilities in Oak Cliff. He and his wife have another Lucky Dog in East Dallas. A new Common Desk, the co-working space, will move into the space.

Toyota Is Polling Its Employees To See How They Feel About Moving To North Texas. The process will last a year, and “the surveys won’t specifically ask employees in California, Kentucky and New York to commit to the move.” The first one to respond with this should get a raise, probably.

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Tracy Rowlett, Byron Harris Rip Bill O’Reilly’s Claim in 1970s Suicide Story

A disputed tale about his reporting days in Dallas could turn into a big problem for Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, who has the most-watched program on cable news. The story, as the host of “The O’Reilly Factor” has told it in his books including Killing Kennedy and Kennedy’s Last Days and on the Fox News Channel, occurred during his stint as a reporter for WFAA Channel 8 in the 1970s. Reporting on a figure in the investigation into the John F. Kennedy assassination named George de Mohrenschildt—a Russian emigre who’d befriended Lee Harvey Oswald—O’Reilly claimed that he was standing outside the house in Palm Beach, Florida, where, and when, de Mohrenschildt apparently killed himself with a shotgun blast one day in March of 1977. Wrote O’Reilly: “As I knocked on the door, I heard a shotgun blast. He had killed himself.”

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Leading Off (2/25/15)

Eddie Ray Routh Convicted of Murdering Chris Kyle. The jury in Stephenville found him guilty as charged last night. Kyle’s wife, Taya, left the court during closing arguments and wasn’t present for the verdict. Routh will spend the rest of his life in prison. Expect video and audio from the trial to be released soon.

Wintry Mix Sux. More than one area child woke up this morning and said, “Where the heck is my 2 to 4 inches of snow? Huh, Pete Delkus?! It’s falling now, but it ain’t stickin.

Mysterious Booms Remain Mysterious. Yesterday what sounded like a series of bomb explosions were heard from Grand Prairie to Southlake. No one is certain what caused the noises, but the leading contender is demolition activity at a National Semiconductor plant in Arlington.

Southwest Airlines Grounds 128 Uninspected Planes. About 90 flights were canceled yesterday. The FAA says it’s working with both Southwest and Boeing “to evaluate a proposal that would allow the airline to continue flying the planes until the inspections are completed over the next few days.”

Fort Worth Didn’t Disinfect Drinking Water Last Week. The city has been cited by The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which is a thing. About a quarter of the water processed during a 24-hour period didn’t meet required standards.

Rajon Rondo Benched. The Mavs beat the Raptors last night, but the did it without the services of Rondo for the last 20 minutes of play. Rick Carlisle benched him after a “profanity-laced shouting match” about play-calling duties. At one point, an assistant coach had to step between the two men to keep them from yelling in each other’s faces. Instant analysis: this isn’t good.

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Dallas’ Evolving Tech Community Offers Model for Successful Regional Growth

This article in GeekWire has been circulating on the interwebs. It talks about the strides made by Dallas’ startup community in recent years to build the sense of identity and community that is necessary in any entrepreneurial tech scene hoping to thrive on sharing, synergy, co-mingling, and all that other mumbo jumbo stuff they blabber on about in Austin every March.

Admittedly, I don’t know much about Dallas tech, so I can’t attest to how accurate this portrayal is (it appears in GeekWire ahead of a GeekWire-sponsored Startup Week in Dallas next Month), however it does ring true with D CEO’s latest cover story. I bring it up because there is much in GeekWire’s portrayal of Dallas’ tech world that suggests a model for how we should be thinking about city-building and regional growth.

First off, while DFW has never been a stranger to tech success stories, from Texas Instruments to Mark Cuban, what the area has lacked is a sense of cohesion and identity. Why? In part, sprawl:

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Why Does Dallas Adore Its Beer-Shilling Waterfall?

Question: What’s up with the beer/waterfall sign along I-35 on Goat Hill? How long has it been there? How is it still here? Why didn’t Trammell Crow tear it down when they built those apartments? Is it really that beloved of a Dallas icon? —Todd J.

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Does Downtown Dallas Need Another Skycraper?

You know how liquor stores and other places will hang up bounced checks to shame customers who tried to swindle them? I think Dallas City Hall should have a similar “Wall of Shame” for developers with particularly bad track records. When these characters come back with new ideas, staff should look over their shoulder, point, and say, “Hey, wait, you’re the guy who did that.”

Two names on my imaginary wall of shame: the Trammell Crow Company and Ross Perot Jr.

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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.

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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.

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