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Trinity Toll Road Town Hall Backs Pro-Roaders Against the Ropes

A standing-room-only crowd of more than 500 people packed the auditorium at Rosemont Elementary in Oak Cliff yesterday evening for what was perhaps the most honest, open debate about the Trinity Toll Road ever to take place in this city.

The event, organized by State Representative Rafael Anchia, pitted the most outspoken representatives of the pro- and anti-toll road debate in a town hall-style discussion about the controversial plans to build a high-speed traffic artery through the Trinity River floodway. The crowd was overwhelmingly against the road and at times cheered for comments made by anti-road flag wavers Scott Griggs, Patrick Kennedy, and Bob Meckfessel and laughed –- and at one point hissed –- at remarks made by North Central Texas Council of Government transportation director Michael Morris. But the event was largely well-mannered, thanks in part to able moderating by the state rep, who reminded everyone at the outset that they were sitting in an elementary school.

“If we were parents, and children were acting up, we would frown on it,” Anchia said.

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Here Are the People Who May Decide Dallas’ Future

Mayor Mike announced, in Mark Lamster’s words, his “rethink the toll-road squad” this morning. Tim, assuredly, will be along with additional thoughts on this later this morning. But here are the names on the squad, and what they may bring, Cliffs Notes version:

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Finance Panel: Southern Dallas Just Needs More George Baileys

Last night the Dallas Morning News held a campaign event panel discussion hosted by Mayor Mike Rawlings at Adamson High School in Oak Cliff to discuss financing and investment in Dallas’ southern sector. What brought me out, in part, was Dallas Fed chair Richard Fisher, who was to speak. But I was also intrigued by the promise of looking at issues of poverty, race, and southern Dallas development within the context of the financial services industry, an important, though often overlooked, ingredient in the legacy of blight and disinvestment in the southern sector.

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Dallas: ‘City of Hate’ vs. ‘Plague City’

We like to poke fun at Dallas’ perennial striving to be “world class.” It’s a symptom of a kind of self-regarding, aspirational character that is not unique to Dallas, but which does manifest itself in this city in a particular way. Most newer, up-and-coming cities share a sense of wanting to prove their worth. But Dallas’ history has shaped this sensibility in its own way. Entrepreneurialism is the city’s birth right; social status is engrained as one of its highest civic values. But our scars, too, have contributed to the particular substance of our striving, self-conscious attempts to be regarded as great.

As we spent considerable ink exploring last year during the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination, the scars left by those terrible events affected Dallas in a particular way. Not every city could have been branded a “city of hate;” that was the result of the particular cultural and political soup that was simmering here at the time.  But also, not every city would have internalized that reputation – and its shame and sense of remorse – with quite the same measure of wounded-ness. Those wounds have taken decades to get over, and they have also contributed to the desire and drive to make Dallas a great city.

In the days following the Ebola breakout, I couldn’t help but think about the assassination.

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North Texas Gets TIGER Grant to Study Schools, Transportation

The feds announced their annual divvying up of TIGER grants today, and North Texas once again finds itself in the mix, albeit for one of the smallest amounts granted.

The $210,00 grant will help “create a regional program and implementation plan to promote connections and coordination between transportation agencies, local governments, and schools.” The benefit, according to the U.S. DOT:

There are very high pedestrian and bicyclist accidents within a half mile radius of schools in the region. The project seeks not only to improve critical aspects of bicycle/pedestrian access to schools, but also will advance community health, environmental quality, and economic vitality as communities’ accessibility to schools and school-related activities is increased. The proposal will target an awareness-building campaign to communities found to be most vulnerable to bicycle/pedestrian crashes in the Dallas region.

Bicycles! Community safety! Education! What could be wrong with this?

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Mapped: Where Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz Spend Their Time on the Road

A couple weeks ago, the Sunlight Foundation did what can only be described as the Lord’s work. It took every U.S. Senate expenditure and transformed it from a worthless PDF to a searchable, sortable spreadsheet. It has everything. Staff retreats, photographer sessions, the salaries of the seven barbers who cut taxpayer-subsidized hair. Everything.

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Former Dallas City Councilman Dave Neumann Did Not Get a Parking Ticket Today, and Likely Never Will

In May 2011, Scott Griggs unseated Dave Neumann for the District 3 slot on the Dallas City Council. Today, Dave Neumann left a downtown event, hopped into a car on Lamar Street, pulled a quick U-turn, and headed off.

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Will Architects Charged With Rethinking the Downtown-Trinity River Connection Continue to Ignore the Controversial Trinity Toll Roll?

Over the summer, the Nasher Sculpture Center hosted The Connected City Design Symposium, a conversation about the CityDesign Studio-, The Trinity Trust Foundation-, Downtown Dallas Inc.-, and the Real Estate Council Federation-backed architectural competition that seeks new and creative ways to connect downtown Dallas to the Trinity River. It’s a competition open to both architects and amateurs alike, […]

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Poll Shows Majority of Texans Favor Legalizing, Taxing Marijuana

A recent poll by the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group, found that a large majority of Texas voters favor either the decriminalization of pot or outright legalization and regulation (taxation). The poll, conducted September 27-29, surveyed 860 randomly selected Texas voters over the phone and found that 58 percent supported making marijuana legal for […]

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Leading Off (8/26/13)

T.D. Jakes Is More Popular Than Jesus: The bishop is expected to draw 50,000 to the first Mega-Fest he has hosted in DFW. No word on how many loaves and fishes have been ordered. DFW Is Thirsty: Yeah, we get it, the region consumes a lot of water. Can’t we just ban the St. Augustine […]

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The Real Reason Mary Suhm and Jill Jordan are Killing the Trinity Trails

I know what you’re thinking. You think that the city staff pulled a bait-and-switch yesterday. Some background: Last year, city manager Mary Suhm went to the City Council and told members that she had some surplus bond monies they could spend. Each person got an equal share. Angela Hunt wrote at the time about what […]

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