Over on Burnt Orange Report today, there’s a quick piece on Tony McDonald, the chief of staff for State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, of Bedford. In it, McDonald is taken to task for a history of racist, homophobic writing. Let’s tackle the racism first. From a 2008 blog post: “Where are literacy tests when we need them? Seriously – I don’t think it is a virtue to take the serially uninformed to the polls just so they’ll cast a vote for your demagogue candidate.”
That post, from McDonald’s personal blog, has since been removed. BOR then makes the move to homophobia:
“Homosexuals” love to compalin about how they are an opressed group, who just wants peace and tolerance, and love, and ranbows [sic] … The reality is that they have a sickness, and that it corrupts their moral beings. This manifests its self not only in their horribly self-destructive tendencies, but certainly carries out into their view of others as well. The worst thing we can do for them, if we care at all about their well-being or the well being of our society is to encourage their destructive, depraved, and deadly behavior. By doing so we only encourage them to destroy themselves, and to continue on trying to destroy the society around them.
That post — entitled “Sodomites Expose Themselves” — has also been removed from McDonald’s blog. The BOR piece said McDonald “displays a disgusting history of promoting bigoted viewpoints that speak to the lowest common denominator of humanity.” McDonald commented on the post, too:
Might as well have titled it “Conservative state rep’s conservative chief of staff does and says hilariously awesome conservative things.”
Never thought embedding a 20 year-old clip from a Nickelodeon show would be in my job description, but here we are. Late Friday, Observer editor Joe Tone unearthed a letter Mary Suhm wrote to the City Council in advance of Wednesday’s Trinity East drilling hearing. Unearthed might be the wrong word here since it’s in the City Council’s briefing packet, but since Tone posted it at 10 p.m. on a Friday, that’s an unearthing in my book.
The City Attorney’s office has also affirmed that the City Manager had the authority to sign a non-binding letter with Trinity East — making no guarantees — to assist in moving the process forward through several different approvals and Council actions. Requests for assurance of assistance are often sought by outside parties in development deals and an example is provided in the appendix of the briefing.
In short: we’re cool. Nothing to see here. Why’s everyone so pissed?
Okay, so maybe the City Attorney said this is fine. Problem is, that sets up a domino effect of legal interests. If the City Council doesn’t approve the drilling application, Trinity East will likely sue the city, claiming its agreement with Suhm was above-board and should be honored. If the City Council does approve the application, the legal battle will begin from the other side, directed at the city again. Dallas’ anti-gas folks would cobble together some money, and the Sierra Club or Gus Van Sant and Matt Damon or the anti-fracking Illuminati will throw their money behind them to prove you can’t buy City Hall.
Either way, the city ends up in a multi-million dollar lawsuit fighting gas drillers or its own citizens. The entire letter and briefing are below, courtesy of Tone:
Sequester Cuts Would Burn in Texas: If automatic cuts to federal spending kick in Friday, Texas stands to lose millions in funding to military bases, ports, pre-school services, tuition assistance, teachers, environmental programs, law enforcement, and more according to state-by-state cut details released by the White House Sunday.
Mayor’s Education Fix a Bore: The Dallas Morning News’ Tod Robberson has been tracking the progress of the education component of Mayor Rawlings’ GrowSouth initiative, and, as it turns out, students get bored and don’t pay attention during large assemblies hosted by local celebs high school kids have never heard of. Who would have thought?
Visitors Stranded on Zoo Monorail: Okay, forget those images of children dangling helplessly while a tiger paces below licking his chops. Sure, firefighters had to rescue about 100 people who were stuck on the Dallas Zoo’s monorail Saturday, but the monorail did not stall over any animal exhibits.
Four-Alarm Fire Takes Down Shooting Range: As it turns out, the reason why it is illegal to fire tracer rounds in a shooting range is a pretty good one.
Back in the 80s, Mike Conaway was the CFO of Bush Exploration, George W. Bush’s failed oil company. Since then, he’s gone on to become the United States Congressman for Texas’ District 11, consistently running on an anti-spending platform.
His brand of fiscal conservatism doesn’t stretch to his friendships, apparently. According to Think Progress:
A ThinkProgress review of legislative correspondence with the U.S. Department of the Interior revealed that on September 11, 2012, Conaway wrote Secretary Ken Salazar to request a “reconnaissance Survey” of a potential new national park location. According to the log, Conaway’s letter asked that the National Park Service “look at the possibility of adding the George W. Bush childhood home as a unit of the Park Service.”
Conaway’s office did not respond to requests for comment from Think Progress.
Dallas State Rep. Rafael Anchia and Round Rock Rep. Larry Gonzales sat down with the Texas Tribune yesterday to discuss the growing Hispanic population, and how that affects education spending, poverty, and English-language proficiency.
“It’s very important that as this state wants to remain economically competitive globally that our populace and our young people are fully-bilingual,” Anchia said.
Other quick-hit notes:
- Three out of every 10 Dallas kids lives in poverty
- 180,000 children in Dallas County are undernourished
- 80 percent of DISD students are eligible for free or discounted lunch
And before you jump down my throat, the “Fear of a Brown Planet” line is from the Tribune‘s Julián Aguilar, who moderated the sit-down.
“Texas can not secede from the United States…because Texas never ceded anything to the United States, at all,” said Arlington’s Bob Wilson. So yeah, that’s the tenor of this piece.
Pretty heavy on the gay marriage news today, but whatever. Politico‘s reporting that Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and Laura Bush will all star in a pro-gay marriage ad sponsored by the Respect for Marriage Coalition. Comments from President Obama’s 2013 inauguration are also included.
Bush’s comments: “When couples are committed to each other and love each other, then they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has.”
The ad uses clips from various television appearances. It’s not news that Mrs. Bush, Cheney, or Powell support equality, but it’s unclear whether any gave their OK for the ad. I have an email in to Mrs. Bush’s spokeswoman to clear that up.
U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Fort Worth) will join the LGBT Caucus this session, making him only the third current member of the Texas delegation to do so.
“I promise you I will represent LGBT issues very strongly,” he told Dallas’ Stonewall Democrats last night at Ojeda’s. “It’s something I will continue to talk about because it’s the right thing to do. Attitudes are changing in our country.”
Veasey will join Houston’s Sheila Jackson Lee and Dallas’ Eddie Bernice Johnson on the caucus. Former San Antonio Rep. Charlie Gonzalez was also a part of the group.
“I think the people who are against equality in this country, they’re in the minority now. They are people who are holding onto something in the past and stopping the rest of the country from moving forward.”
Watch the rest of Veasey’s remarks in the above video.
Sen Wendy Davis supporters say 3,500+ signed petitions demanding LG Dewhurst return her to Sen Ed Committee.2 b delivered Fri.
— Dave Montgomery (@daveymontgomery) February 20, 2013
Back in January, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst removed Fort Worth State Sen. Wendy Davis from the senate’s education committee, after she led a filibuster last session against $5 billion in school cuts. Dewhurst told the Observer the move “took into account Senators’ requests and geographic diversity, as well as the strengths and talents of each Senator in determining committee assignments.” Right.
Since her removal, Davis supporters have been gathering signatures asking for her reinstatement. We’ll see if those end up meaning anything.
Whenever I used to vent to former Arts District executive director Veletta Lill about all the things that frustrate me about the Arts District — its shortage of residences, its orientation towards the high end of the market, its one-dimensional character as a depot for imported art and performances — Lill would remind me that the Arts District as it stands today is only 25 years into a 50-year vision. The things that make a neighborhood a neighborhood (people of all walks of life, services, booze and coffee) will come, she promised optimistically.
Regarding that future vision, Lill always singled-out the parking lot adjacent to Museum Tower as key component in the overall Arts District build-out. Now it looks like the spot could be the location of the most significant development on Flora Street since Rem Koolhaus and Joshua Prince-Ramus decided to perpetually torture any Dallas theater lover with weak knees. Curious what’s going on? Jump.
Willie Iles Jr., the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America’s national director of government and community relations, spoke Friday at Fort Worth fundraiser, a banquet where the funds would go directly to three inner-city Boy Scout troops. The Star-Telegram attended as well:
Of the 1.4 million non-profit, non-religious groups today that directly affect young people, the Boy Scouts is the only one with a written policy to exclude, Iles said. Pointing out that there were 40 words in the Boy Scout Oath, Iles dramatically stopped after reciting only the first 14: “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God. …”
He asked rhetorically, “What if I have four sons — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? And Matthew is gay?”
Iles, again saying he had “no opinion” on the subject, said there are 16,000 public schools systems in America and there are gay teachers in many classrooms.
“And yet we don’t have people running to pull their kids out of school,” he said.
In an appeal to the faith-based community, he said Boy Scouts is the country’s largest outreach organization, adding, “We’re in the outreach industry, not a Bible study class.”
I applaud Iles for everything he said, except one thing. You clearly have an opinion, sir. You have an opinion that could affect the lives of millions of young men. If only you were in a position to use that opinion for the betterment of the Scouts…
In an editorial in the Texas Tribune today, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins split from the majority of Texas pols (but not their constituents) and endorsed an expansion of Medicaid in the state:
Dallas County has 672,681 residents who are uninsured — 28.1 percent of the population. Expanding Medicaid would provide eligibility to an additional 133,000 citizens, add $580.5 million in annual Medicaid funds to Dallas County, and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in additional economic activity, providing Dallas County and other large counties with the opportunity to cut local taxes while simultaneously dramatically improving coverage and economic competitiveness. Conversely, failure to participate will place our taxpayers in the position of covering other states’ expansion with our federal taxes while continuing to pay the full cost of our own expansion population with local taxes…
…Now is the time to seize the opportunity. The Texas Medicaid population represents a significant portion of the critical mass needed for national expansion to reach its objective. As other states opt in, critical mass grows without us. Since the first three years of expansion are covered by federal tax dollars, drawing down our fair share as soon as possible is only prudent.
If you have a half-hour or so, check out this piece on BarkingDogs.org, the site run by rabble-rouser/ community organizer/ parade hater Avi Adelman. It includes: an over-reaching (?) conservation district, City Hall, City Council candidate Philip Kingston, and a couple trying to build a home on Goliad Avenue. Excerpt:
Such a battle is taking place over 5902 Goliad Avenue. Before the land was turned, the enforcers harassed and insulted the Brittany and Dusty, who simply wanted to build a house as soon as they applied for a building permit and CD review. It’s too tall, it’s too high, it’s too off grade, and on and on and on. Even when Brittany and Dusty fought back, saying the demands by the CD were not in the CD’s rules or City Code, the enforcement committee kept pushing, and harassing and threatening them to force subjugation. There was a meeting in the Kingston home between the so-called enforcement committee and Brittany and Dusty – and Britany clearly knew the City and CD rules better than anyone on that committee.
It should be noted that the antagonist in Adelman’s story — Kingston’s wife Melissa — has sued Adelman before. So, grains of salt, etc.
Is the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System Overinvested in Real Estate? There are so many questions raised by this lengthy report on how the pension fund that owns Museum Tower ended up managing the luxury proprieties it propped-up with large cash infusions after the real estate bubble burst. For example: What are the properties really worth now? Should the pension fund be managing Hawaiian estates and Napa Valley resorts? Is fund administrator Richard Tettamant having too much fun hobnobbing on the taxpayer’s dime? If speculative land plays don’t pan out, is it really accurate to report them as investments in “natural resources?” Is Tettamant cutting sweetheart deals for developer buddies? Are his efforts to beat market returns putting the future of the our city’s finest – not to mention the pocketbooks of Dallas taxpayers – at considerable risk? Lots of questions. But here’s the one I want to ask: did the fund really need to pay to move a piano from Hawaii to the lobby of Museum Tower? I mean, they sell pianos in Dallas, right? Really nice ones, I bet.
As American Swallows U.S. Airways, Airline Field Thins: There was a time when airports were packed with brands like Pan Am, TWA, Eastern, Braniff — all of which have gone the way of the Concorde. Now the “extraordinarily complex” merger between American and U.S. Air leaves just four major carriers: American, United, Delta and Southwest.
Tim Tebow to Speak at First Baptist: The announcement that the incredibly meh quarterback will speak at Robert Jeffress’ First Baptist Church raises all the expected questions about whether or not Tebow endorses statements Jeffress has made in the past about homosexuality, Mormonism, Islam, and on and on. And I suppose those are pertinent questions to ask, even if I wish the only question surrounding anything regarding Tim Tebow was “who cares?”
State Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth) filed a bill today that would remove provisions in the Texas Family Code that deny same-sex couples the ability to marry in Texas and allow the state to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
“Continuing to deny all Texans the freedom to marry robs them of that experience and is detrimental to their families,” Burnam said in a statement. “Texans want a state where anyone can work hard and provide for their families. Our Texas values mandate defending the right of all Texans to have their rights and responsibilities as couples recognized by the state.”
The bill is the fifth such bill filed by state legislators this session; Dallas Rep. Rafael Anchia filed a bill to repeal the state’s anti-gay marriage amendment last week.
“The increasing public support for the freedom to marry in Texas is yet another sign that equal recognition of loving, committed couples is a mainstream Texas value,” Equality Texas executive director Chuck Smith said in a statement. “Rep. Burnam has long been an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community and the freedom to marry. HB 1300, together with the Joint Resolutions filed in the House and Senate, are the legislative steps necessary to enact into law what we already know to be true: that LGBT Texans are equal and deserve equal recognition of their familial relationships.”
Jump for the full bill: