Museum Tower issued a press release this morning to announce that after having a “team of experts” examine 20 possible fixes to the reflection problem that’s causing the Nasher Sculpture Center to overheat, they’ve found that the only solution is to reconfigure the sunscreen system of the museum’s glass roof. It will provide “100 percent remediation of reflected light into the galleries.”
Museum Tower says it will pay for the testing, installation, and fabrication of new “oculi” to reorient the light.
“We know the newly designed oculi work. This solution has been peer reviewed by the best experts in the country,” said Dr. Cyrus D. Cantrell, Ph.D., P.E. ”It only requires a slight adjustment to the oculi system of about 45 degrees to completely eliminate unwanted light and any view of the surrounding buildings. This is a beautifully engineered solution.”
So that’s what they’re offering for the effect in the galleries. But what about the outdoors portion of the Nasher? Well, they’re still claiming there’s no problem for the garden at all.
The impact of reflected light on the Nasher’s garden has been carefully observed for over one year and according to Scott Ogden, a nationally known horticulturist and garden designer, “Reflections from Museum Tower have no demonstrable effect on the vegetation in the Nasher garden, there is no damage from sunlight reflected by the Tower, that the garden is doing well and will continue to do so.”
You can read more about their proposal on a website they’ve set up: oculisolution.com
UPDATE, 1 p.m.: The Nasher has released the following statement about the proposal:
The glare from Museum Tower is a problem for the entire Arts District, not just the Nasher Sculpture Center. Recycling the same grossly inadequate and deeply flawed idea in another publicity stunt is not a way to address the problems Museum Tower is causing for the people of Dallas. The bottom line is that the owners of Museum Tower need to fix their building.
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 she and Scott Griggs decided to do with their money:
We allocated all of our combined $5.6m towards the construction of floodway maintenance roads along the Trinity River that can also serve as hike and bike trails. The mayor joined us, contributing half a million dollars, and shared our enthusiasm about moving forward on the Trinity Park.
With over $6 million dollars, we will be able to build a 4.5 mile, winding, 16-foot-wide concrete road down in the floor of the floodway, stretching from the Sylvan Bridge to the Santa Fe Trestle in Moore Park. (To put this in perspective, the Katy Trail is 3.75 miles long.) Only occasionally will maintenance vehicles use this road, and it will be closed to public vehicles. The rest of the time, it can be used as a hike and bike trail.
Everyone signed off, including other council members, the DMN, assistant city manager Jill Jordan, and Suhm. Note that Hunt mentioned there would be maintenance vehicles there occasionally. No one thought this was a problem. Hunt told me just last week that this was one of the proudest accomplishments of her 8-year tenure.
What happened next caught everyone off guard.
Chris Hill is a Collin County commissioner, and a Republican. Until today he was also chairman of the Lone Star District of Dallas’ Circle Ten Council of the Boy Scouts of America. After yesterday’s vote to allow gay Scouts membership in the organization, Hill has resigned from that post. He issued this statement, according to the DMN:
It was with great disappointment that I received the news today that the national council of the Boy Scouts of America voted to change the membership standards that have guided the organization for over a century. It was my sincere hope that the executive leaders of the BSA would heed the call and the prayers of the scouting family throughout the country, the great majority of whom spoke with clarity and resolve in their opposition to the change. I am grieved and dismayed that the BSA has abandoned the 103-year legacy of its founder to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices.
BSA has its roots in the international Scouting movement, which was founded in Britain by Robert Baden-Powell in 1907. In 1989, biographer Tim Jeal wrote of Baden-Powell’s extremely close friendship with a fellow army officer: “Available evidence points inexorably to the conclusion that Baden-Powell was a repressed homosexual.”
Last year, on the opinion pages of the New York Times, Brooke Allen wrote that this possibility (which has been disputed, since there is no evidence that Baden-Powell’s relationship with this friend was ever physical), shouldn’t necessarily weigh on BSA’s decision regarding the inclusion of homosexuals:
Were Baden-Powell himself to be consulted on the subject, he would no doubt be horrified by any mention of open homosexuality in the Scouting movement. His mother’s training had taught him that sex was dirty, and this was an opinion he did his best to impart to the boys — and girls — who took up scouting. (“A Scout is clean in thought, word, and deed,” after all.)
Still, Baden-Powell’s life is a poignant story that should be known. This man who gave so much to so many suffered from the forces of repression and taboo. It is unfortunate that the American branch of the movement he founded should perpetuate them.
With Hill’s departure, there’s one less member of the organization to carry on that tradition.
Dallas ISD Board Votes to Fire 2 Principals. At Thursday night’s meeting, district trustees (by a v0te of 7-2) approved the dismissal of the principals of Madison and Roosevelt high schools. District data show that last year only 2 percent of Madison seniors attained “college ready” scores on the ACT, and at Roosevelt no seniors at all did that. Superintendent Mike Miles’ plans to get rid of educators who haven’t met performance standards have been the subject of contentious debate for months. Some feel Miles is taking a bold stand to reform under-performing schools that have been allowed to languish for too long. Others believe he’s pushing too hard, too fast. For better or worse, there’s no doubt that Miles is transforming DISD. In recent weeks, at least nine other district principals have accepted demotions after learning they had been targeted for dismissal. And 730 educators voluntarily left the district between last July (when Miles became superintendent) and February, compared to only 430 during the same time frame the previous year.
Man Killed in Southlake Town Square Was Drug Cartel Lawyer. The murder that shocked this safe, affluent suburban community appears to be related to Mexican drug trafficking. The victim has been identified as Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa, a native of Mexico who was a longtime attorney for the Gulf cartel and its leader, Osiel Cardenas (who’s serving a 25-year prison sentence in the U.S.).
Boy Scouts of America to Allow Openly Gay Scouts. Sixty-one percent of delegates to the organization’s National Council voted yesterday in Grapevine to permit boys to participate regardless of sexual orientation. The ban on homosexual leaders wasn’t lifted. The Onion reports that at least one gay Texas teenager is thrilled by the new opportunities afforded him by the policy change: “It’s perfect because I’ve been looking for a second thing to get mocked for, and Boy Scouts seems like a great fit. I think it’ll really open me up to a whole new batch of cutting insults.”
Where Do Saturday’s Elections Leave Hispanic Dallas City Council Representation? The answer, in short, is not in a good way. In a newly drawn district that is 74 percent Hispanic, incumbent Scott Griggs defeated Hispanic incumbent Delia Jasso. In another new district drawn to give Pleasant Grove single representation at the horseshoe (the neighborhood was previously split between multiple districts), candidate Jesse Diaz is headed to a runoff with white candidate Rick Callahan. If Callahan wins, then there will be one less Hispanic representative on the council than previously, whereas the redistricting was seemingly designed to add one Hispanic representative. In other news, Farmers Branch got its first Hispanic City Council member.
Arlington Man Throws Homemade Bomb at Neighbors: Michael Alex Johnson, 32, allegedly lit an eight-gallon bucket of gasoline on fire and threw it at two vehicles in a neighbor’s driveway. Luckily, another neighbor saw the incident and immediately called police. No one was hurt. Other bomb making materials were found in Johnson’s home, and Johnson’s mother described her son as “mentally ill.”
State Rep Wants to Build Bullion Depository: I don’t know why storing gold that belongs to the University of Texas Investment Management Co. out of state is a big deal, but apparently Giovanni Capriglione of Southlake is afraid the Yankee state may seize it when Texas declares its independence, or something like that. That’s why he wants the state to fund the construction of a Texas depository for the roughly $1 billion in gold bars. Rick Perry is, of course, on board: ““If we own it,” Perry said, “I will suggest to you that that’s not someone else’s determination whether we can take possession of it back or not.”
Worst Son In the World: Gonzalo Lopez: The night before Mother’s Day, Lopez killed his mother.
Will Changing Politics of North Dallas Affect Makeup of City Council? On paper, the Dallas City Council is non-partisan, but you don’t have to sit through too many council meetings to guess who voted Mitt and who voted Barack during the last election. As it turns out, more residents in historically conservative North Dallas voted Barack last time around, so Gromers Jeffers wonders if that will mean inroads for Democrats at the local level (paywall).
Did University Park Fire Firefighter to Avoid Paying Medical Bills? A 31-year-old former University Park firefighter says that five months after he threw-out his back on the job, UP stopped paying for workers compensation benefits. Then he was fired. So now he is suing the wealthy enclave. University Park is self-insured.
Tarrant County Water District Election Borrows From Chinatown Plot: Why would the wealthy Dallas investor who bought the estate of Bernie Madoff drop big bucks on a candidate for the Tarrant Regional Water District board — a candidate who doesn’t even live in the district? Why would that candidate need to start Political Action Committee when his opponents last month raised contributions of only around $3,500? What if I told you there was a pipeline project involved, and said pipeline is set to run through a few East Texas ranches owned by some wealthy Ewing-types. Starts to come into focus, no?
Someone, some agency, might have prevented it, right? Or at least kept homes from being built so near the fertilizer plant?
Gov. Rick Perry and the mayor of the West say there’s nothing that they could have done. Tod Robberson at the Morning News doubts that’s true:
In essence, everyone is pointing the finger at everyone else. No one wants to declare: The buck stops here.
This is a Republican-controlled state. And if I’m not mistaken, Republicans put enormous stakes on the notion of personal responsibility. That is: I made choices, and I have to live with the consequences of those choices. Well, someone made the decision to build houses, apartments, schools, etc. next to a ticking time bomb. Others in positions of power knew exactly what the explosive potential of that time bomb was. Others in positions of power knew it was their responsibility under federal law to warn local residents of the dangers.
Many, many people failed to execute their jobs properly and, worse, failed to embrace the full spirit of public safety by sharing information so that hundreds or thousands would not be placed in harm’s way. They failed, and now they don’t want to own up to it.
Very impressive, Texas.
West Blast Investigation Continues, Children Head back to School: The center of the fertilizer factory explosion was located over the weekend. Media were allowed a look at the epicenter of the blast Sunday. In Dallas, a memorial for a local firefighter who died in the explosions. West students head back to school in nine nearby school districts. Donations to West have been strong. And, if you haven’t yet, check out Zac’s expanded reflections on his hometown on NBC.
Photos and Criticism of the New Bush Center: The Dallas Morning News has a special section dedicated to the new George W. Bush Presidential Center, which opens this Thursday. It includes a sneak peek, an interview with the ex-president, and the news’ new architecture critic’s first bow:
Designed by New York architect Robert A.M. Stern, it seems decidedly undecided about its place in the world, trading in the language of architectures past while claiming, without much conviction, the mantle of the present. Everywhere competent, it nowhere rises to a level of inspiration.
Trial Over Kaufman Slayings Will Likely Take Place in Kaufman: You would think a highly publicized trial in a small county like Kaufman would force the trial to move in order to find jurors less familiar with the case. But finding any location in Texas where potential jurors are unfamiliar with the shooting death of the Kaufman County district attorney may be close to impossible.
The Irving-based Boy Scouts of America have said today that they plan on ending their ban on the participation of openly gay Scouts, but will continue to bar gay adults from serving as leaders in the organization. The proposal must still be approved at a meeting in May.
Former D Magazine staffer (and current TexMo editor) Brian Sweany summed up the situation well, via Twitter:
What the @boyscouts are saying: If you are a gay member, you can earn the rank of Eagle and be an exemplary Scout and young leader. (1/2)
— Brian D. Sweany (@Brian_Sweany) April 19, 2013
But if that same Eagle Scout later wants to volunteer as an adult, tough luck–you don’t meet the requirements. What a shameful message.
— Brian D. Sweany (@Brian_Sweany) April 19, 2013
And in today’s edition of bizarre-as-hell lawsuits, the Observer has the court docs filed by a former Southern Methodist University professor who claims she was fired in retaliation for trying to blow the whistle on Rick Halperin, the founding director of the university’s Embrey Human Rights Program. Patricia Davis, the professor, says Halperin was having sex with students and running around his neighborhood naked while peeping into windows. Now, I’m certainly not condoning that kind of behavior, but that’s not really the part of the story that jumps out at me. Rather, it is that Davis claims Halperin (who is, remember, the head of a human rights program that leads an annual summer trip for SMU students to holocaust sites) is secretly obsessed with Nazis. From the suit:
He appeared obsessed with the Nazis (privately giving Nazi salutes, screaming ‘Achtung’ on the telephone, displaying huge posters of Nazi symbols and events in his office and watching hours and hours of pictures of bodies and Holocaust death camps on his office television)
Up To 50 Principals Will Be Replaced Next Year at Dallas ISD: New superintendent Mike Miles is planning a leadership overhaul. Many principals have retired or resigned. Trustees will now get a list of an additional 10 to 15 that are being forced out. But Miles has taken some heat from parents who have “ambushed” school administrators at meetings demanding to know why their principals are being let go.
Gov. Perry Preaches From Pulpit at First Baptist: The Texas Governor used the opportunity provided by the church’s dedication of its new buildings to tell the congregation they can’t “condemn certain lifestyles.” The comments raised some eyebrows considering they came from a politician who has been outspoken about issues like supporting a constitution amendment to oppose gay marriage.
Josh Hamilton’s Family Gets Extra Security for Final Game in Angels-Rangers Series: After the boos and the taunting Josh Hamilton took at the ballpark this weekend, the player’s wife requested extra security at the stadium and watched the final game of the series from a luxury box.
Kaufman County DA and Wife Gunned Down: We’re only beginning to scratch the surface on this one. But some, such as Forney Mayor Darren Rozell, are already drawing connections between the killing of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, and the murder of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse two months ago on the day the U.S. Department of Justice released a statement saying Hasse was involved in a racketeering case against the Aryan Brotherhood.
DMN Lauds Don Williams’ Speech, Still Mum of Golf Course: Late last week, Glenn was quick to point out that Rudy Bush’s piece (paywall) on former Trammel Crow CEO Don Williams’ chiding of the Dallas elite at the Dallas Country Club was missing some choice words about plans to build a golf club in South Dallas (namely, that Williams at first thought the course was the “worst use of $12 million that the city could possibly spend” before taking a step back and saying that a golf course doesn’t equal jobs or development). Well, over the weekend, this Dallas Morning News editorial offered formal support to Williams’ tough talk, but still nothing about the golf course, which this DMN editorial endorsed back in November, saying that:
We know there will be naysayers and cynics. But when a corporation of AT&T’s size recognizes that it’s time to focus on southern Dallas — and then uses its substantial leadership powers to rally major backing — that’s a marker worth applauding. This golf course plan is a game changer.
So, DMN, tell us: Is Williams a naysayer or a cynic?
First Baptist Opens New $130 Million Campus For Easter: Those chewy, sugary gummy ducks in your kids’ Easter baskets? They weren’t the only tacky treats to arrive in Dallas yesterday morning.
Bradford’s earlier post about the proposed PID for Klyde Warren Park refers to today’s DMN story by Robert Wilonsky, which mentions a bone of contention between Jody Grant and the arts pooh-bahs. In a nutshell, Bob writes, they’re questioning Grant’s assertion that “he never said park officials wouldn’t ask the public for help funding the park.”
But editing D‘s special issue last year about Klyde Warren, I didn’t see anything from the backers about a possible public improvement district. When I asked Grant in a Q&A for that issue about how the park would be financed and operated going forward, he replied:
For continuing operations, we will have an operating budget of about $2.5 million to $3 million a year. Our challenge will be to run the park on a break-even basis.
Q: How are you going to do that?
SG: The template is the Biederman plan from Bryant Park. He gets sponsors for various things in the park, and then he gets that source of revenue from a restaurant. And he has never had to go out and raise any money at all. Revenue just comes in.
Q: But all the park activities will be free. So you need corporate support?
JG: Not corporate donations, but business sponsorships—or it could be individuals. We’ll be going to somebody like an AT&T, for example, and asking them if they will sponsor x event in the park. …
Q: How much money do you expect the restaurant to generate each year?
JG: I would hope it might cover as much as 20 percent of our budget—that’s total, for food and beverage services in the park, including catering.
Wait! There’s one guy who can maybe clear this up. Could somebody please go ask Mark Banta about it?
Cruz In Control: Say what you want about Ted Cruz, the guy’s a freshman Senator getting presidential buzz in March, three years before the next presidential election. This guy is not going away anytime soon:
Fracking Fuels Boom Towns: Gas production is driving the rebirth of tiny towns throughout rural Texas. But don’t worry, fracking has nothing to do with this:
Bigfoot Not Spotted in Fort Worth This Weekend: Bigfoot hunters descended on Fort Worth this past weekend for the Texas Bigfoot Conference. Unfortunately, Bigfoot was a no show.
Responding to questions about the percentage of women who voted for President Obama in last year’s election, former first lady Laura Bush told CNN last night that conservative candidates with extreme views on reproductive science are not the norm in the Republican Party.
She told Erin Burnett OutFront that “every candidate was different,” but that some were “obviously examples of candidates who frightened some women.” Those candidates, she said, “were the exception rather than the norm in the party.”
Bush went on to say that social issues shouldn’t be ignored just because of the party’s struggle to talk about them in an appealing way to voters.
“All of those social issues are very, very heartfelt by people,” she said. “And I understand their differences. And I’m glad that in our party we have room for all of them. I think that’s important too.”