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Making Dallas Even Better

No, Love Field Isn’t Worse Than LaGuardia Airport

Southwest Airlines is fighting to protect its virtual monopoly over the operations at Love Field, where it controls 18 of the 20 available gates. Delta Airlines is arguing in court that two gates should be taken from Southwest and made available for all airlines to use.

Meanwhile the CEO of Virgin America, which leases Love’s other two gates, earlier this week seemed to be angling to get more access, saying that with its current operational limitations, the airport is its “least-dependable” in the country. He added that even New York’s LaGuardia — which has the worst on-time departure rate in the U.S. — works better for Virgin.

But is that true?

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Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick: Texas Now Leading U.S. Again in Some Oil and Gas Regs

Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick won’t talk yet about a preliminary report to the commission ruling out a link between earthquakes near Azle and a disposal well operated by XTO Energy—findings that contradicted an earlier study by scientists at SMU, which did find a connection. But during an appearance in Dallas yesterday, Craddick said the commission, which regulates the Texas oil and gas industry, is working with its recently hired staff seismologist to investigate seismic activity and to hold “conversations” with concerned communities.

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Long Day for United Way, Fluor, Dallas Afterschool Puts STEM Education in the Spotlight

Inside the Santa Clara Regional Community Center Education Building in West Dallas, more than 100 local elementary students were quietly interacting yesterday afternoon with 30 volunteers from Fluor Corp., the Irving-based global engineering and construction giant. The purpose of the unusual gathering: to pique the students’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education […]

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Leading Off (9/2/15)

“Frontier Disney” Fraudster Sentenced to 17 Years. You’ll recall the story of Thomas W. Lucas Jr., the Plano man convicted of fraud after he forged documents and misled investors — who thought they were getting insider tips about plans for a Walt Disney theme park in North Texas. (Zac once compared Lucas to Uncle Buck.) Well, yesterday Lucas, 35, was sentenced for his crimes: 17 years.

Another City Honors Santos Rodriguez. In 1973, a Dallas police officer investigating the theft of coins from a vending machine forced a 12-year-old boy named Santos Rodriguez to play Russian roulette — until the boy lost. The city has had a hard time addressing this terrible injustice over the years. Now, from the DMN, this fiery burn:

“Just this week, we learned of Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park, so named ‘to remind us all of the importance to respect, love, care for, and protect all of the children of the world.’ About $350,000 in city parks funding helped redevelop it into a welcoming open space next to El Centro de la Raza.

Please stop by the next time you’re in Seattle.”

City Worker Does Terrible Thing to Dallas Children. From our local CBS affiliate: “Ripped apart and tossed into a nearby creek, kids in an East Dallas youth soccer league are unable to play their matches after a city worker was seen destroying the goalposts the league owns.” It’s no wonder those East Dallas kids weren’t able to play, after being ripped apart and tossed into a creek. Hope everyone recovers quickly.

No More Betting at Lonestar Park. Races were suspended yesterday, as the legislature debates the future of the Texas Racing Commission. Looks like racing will resume soon, though.

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Police and Fire Pension Board Stops Seeking Museum Tower Fix

News broke this morning that at its meeting yesterday the board of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System voted to stop looking for a solution to the glare problem that has caused damage to the neighboring Nasher Sculpture Center:

“The DPFP Board has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the members of the pension system and to provide long term benefits for the Police and Fire Fighters that have served the City of Dallas,” says Dallas City Council member Lee Kleinman via email Friday morning. Kleinman is one of four council members of the fund’s board, along with Kingston, Scott Griggs and newcomer Erik Wilson. “At yesterday’s Board meeting a motion was made to discontinue efforts to seek a resolution. Despite my advocacy to continue, other Board Members believe it is prudent to provide certainty. Except for my vote, the Board stood unanimous. While this outcome is personally disappointing, I must applaud the efforts and sincere dialogue of all stakeholders in this process.”

Griggs wasn’t at yesterday’s meeting, and Kingston, who worked behind the scenes to resolve the issue and come up with a fix, had to leave before the vote was taken due to a prior obligation. Wilson voted for the resolution to kill the deal with Hines.

Back in May, it looked like the building was closing in on a solution, but guess that didn’t work.

It doesn’t seem like Museum Tower is on the right side of this fight, so I can understand the disappointment of those seeking to protect the Nasher. However, just having read about this, I happened upon a post by Rudolph Bush on the DMN‘s editorial blog that put me in a Jim Schutze-ish frame of mind — that maybe this dispute is just a fight among the rich people over the protection of rich people’s things.

That’s probably an overreaction, but Bush does remind us there are far more important issues for our city to confront:

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Leading Off (8/26/15)

Why Hasn’t the Sheriff’s Department Released Tape of Jail Death?
It never ever looks good when someone dies in police custody, and the moment is captured on camera, and the police don’t swiftly release the video. It always looks like a cover-up. A combination of sympathetic strangers and Joseph Hutchinson’s family are asking Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez why they still haven’t seen video of Hutchinson’s death — after he ran into the jail asking officers for help — despite the fact that it was reportedly caught on seven cameras.

Home Prices Went Up, Again. This time it was 8.2 percent in June. Only Denver and San Francisco had bigger numbers. Luckily, all markets are always stable all the time.

Orlando Scandrick Might Be Out for the Season. He’s been the best defensive back the Cowboys have had over the last few seasons. Yesterday in practice he planted, heard a pop, then fell to the ground screaming that he’d torn his ACL. Not good. Let’s hope he feels better soon, too.

Brint Ryan Shows How To Handle a Crisis

Sean Weaver is a young guy who until not long ago worked for the Dallas firm Ryan, which handles corporate tax matters. Weaver worked out of a Fairfax, Virginia, office, where he ran a $20 million scam that got him in trouble. Here’s the FBI’s press release from last week. Late last night, Ryan chairman and CEO Brint Ryan sent out his own release explaining what happened and assuring everyone that Weaver acted alone and that Ryan (the firm and the man) cooperated with authorities to bust the guy. That’s just solid damage control, right there. Kudos to Ryan (the firm and the man). I especially like that he ends his note thusly: “I sincerely thank you for your business and your continued trust and confidence in Ryan. If you have any questions at all, please call me at 972.725.0481.” I called the number, just to see if it actually rang Ryan’s office (the man). It does. Fran answered the phone. I asked my question: “How many folks have called with questions?” Fran’s answer: “You’re the first one.”

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CEOs Offer Advice for Overcoming Major Business Obstacles

For Gabriella Draney Zielke, the big obstacle was dealing with people. Craig J. Lewis’s was convincing his family and friends to “take the leap of faith” with him to start a business. And Jennifer Sampson overcame hers after hearing from one of the most prominent CEOs in North Texas. These chief executives were among several […]

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Is the Lakewood Theater Under Attack?

UPDATE: And, of course, Fingers of Fury has more details, including confirmation that crews are not demolishing the murals, etc.

On Friday Jim Schutze stopped by the Lakewood Theater, allegedly mid-donuts run, and noticed that work crews were busy inside the historic theater. He ducked in and, before being kicked-out, noticed that interior demolition work was going on. This was after Robert Wilonsky posted about the demolition shots that were clogging his Facebook page, including a disheartening photo of a dumpster filled with the theater’s seats. This morning, my Facebook page has also been inundated with updates about the renovation/demolition work. There are apparently TV news crews now on the scene.

But should we be freaking out about the Lakewood’s presumed demise?

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Leading Off (8/20/15)

New Parkland Hospital is Open Today. Bright and early at 6am, the Rees-Jones Trauma Center, Emergency Department, Urgent Care Emergency Department and Labor & Delivery services in the new Parkland Memorial Hospital opened at the new location, 5200 Harry Hines Blvd. Other sections of the new hospital, including intensive care units and a burn center, will gain operation over a three-day period. All inpatient services will be transferred by Saturday’s end. I, for one, would not wish to be a patient during this transition. Chaos. But the new 2.1 million-square-foot facility does look pretty.

Burn Bans Spread Across DFW like wildfire. Denton and Tarrant counties have already set up burn bans, and Dallas County will likely do so next Tuesday, which would be in effect for 90 days. Funny how the burn bans are coming on the heels of yesterday’s rain, the first since July 8. And to think, not long ago we were all hoping the downpours would desist.

Cannabis-based Smoothies Coming to a Suburb Near You. I mean, Frisco. Who would have thought? As it turns out, the AmeriCanna Cafe, a cannabis-based smoothie shop, is indeed set to open in Frisco within the year. If the hair starts to stand up on the back of your neck while reading this, don’t worry. It’s perfectly legal. Apparently, the ingredients are derived from hemp seeds, while are allowed for consumption in the U.S. Smoothies will have at most only negligible traces of THC, so you will not need to worry about failing a drug test (at least not because of this smoothie).

Last Week Tonight Broadcasts Episode on Televangelists With All Sorts of Dallas Connections

Take a few minutes to watch this segment, below, of HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. Not only does it feature some Brett Shipp reporting on Kenneth Copeland from way back in 2007, but it will catch you up with the current status of Robert Tilton, who turns out to be a pen pal of John Oliver’s. It was all produced with help from Dallas’ own Trinity Foundation.

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Meet the New Fed Boss, Same as the Old Fed Boss?

Age around 60? Check. Steel-grey hair? Check. Wire-rim-type eyeglasses? Check. Background working for a Wall Street investment bank? Check. At first blush Robert Steven Kaplan, just selected as the new president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, seems pretty much like the old president and CEO he’s replacing, Richard Fisher.

While Fisher was known as an “inflation hawk,” though, not that much seems to be known about Kaplan’s views on monetary policy. He’s currently a business professor at Harvard, and previously was vice chairman of the Goldman Sachs Group. (Oh yeah: he’s also on the board of Heidrick & Struggles International, the search firm that was hired to replace Fisher. It’s said he’ll quit the board.)

Assesses Danielle DiMartino Booth, an ex-Fed employee who worked for Fisher as an advisor: “At least on paper, [Kaplan’s] qualifications suggest that he is highly capable of maintaining the Dallas Fed’s reputation as a district that can continue to be global in perspective and incorporate the financial markets into its economic and monetary policy-making framework.”

Leading Off (8/13/15)

Dallas Love Field Vendors Win Right to Raise Prices by 10%. All you Love Field lovers, listen up. The airport is about to get pricier, and I don’t mean the cost of flights. Dallas City Council members signed off yesterday to let airport vendors — who agree to pay employees a minimum of $10.37/hour — raise prices by 10%. The issue was raised after certain vendors said they were struggling to make a profit. Other vendors, however, said there are many more passengers passing through Love Field as a result of the repeal of the Wright Amendment, and they’re doing just fine. Mayor Mike Rawlings was one of the opposing voters. Which side was more correct? We may never know.

7-Story Rolex Building Comes to Uptown. Harwood International broke ground Tuesday on a 136,857-square-foot building for Rolex at Moody Street and Harry Hines. This is not the first partnership for the two companies. Thirty years ago, Rolex and Harwood International built the first office in Uptown Dallas. The in-progress building brings something new to Uptown in that it will be architecturally unique and will feature gardens that has not yet been done elsewhere in the city. But, you’ll have to wait a while to see the project come to fruition as the building will open next year. This is a part of a continued Uptown resurgence, also evidenced by the opening of the new Whole Foods Market on Mckinney Avenue yesterday. All this boom in Uptown is great — but as more and more buildings shoot up, so will prices.

DFW’s First All-Recliner Movie Theater Opens. Today, Cinemark opens its first all-recliner movie theater in Roanoke; it will serve Southlake, Keller, Trophy Club, and Roanoke. Every single seat will recline and have adjustable foot rests, so go ahead and get comfortable because watching a movie just got even more relaxing.