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There Was No Debate About the Trinity Toll Road at the Stemmons Corridor Business Association Luncheon

The stage was set: the Three Generals of the Trinity Toll Road — former City Manager Mary Suhm, former city council member Craig Holcomb, and North Central Texas Council of Governments transportation director Michael Morris — in the same room as a council member who rides bikes with Better Block’s Jason Roberts and the guy who launched the campaign to tear down I-345. And all five were going to have a moment on the mic — all in front of the rapt, gracious attention of an old-school Dallas business association. It sure felt like a potential moment.

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Secret Deal to Dump Delta Signals More Crony Capitalism at Love Field

Just over five months ago, Dallas residents and the City Council were surprised to learn that the city of Dallas had secretly commissioned a study that supported city staff’s determination that the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division had erred when it determined that Virgin America, rather than Southwest Airlines, should receive the two American Airlines gates that American had determined it no longer needed.

Cheered on by the city of Fort Worth, here and here, Dallas city staff proceeded to throw all sorts of roadblocks up against what should have been a straightforward lease approval. The process quickly devolved into a national farce, possibly because the idea that allowing one airline to control 90 percent of the gates at an airport would serve competitive interests is ridiculous on its face. Council Member Vonciel Jones Hill featured prominently, arguing that the city (she?) was in a better position than both the contracting parties (American Airlines and Virgin America) and the Department of Justice to determine what was best for the citizenry. Finally, after weeks of opaque, behind-the-scenes machinations at City Hall (during which time Virgin was compelled to launch a high-cost public relations campaign, and Sir Richard Branson was compelled to interrupt his vacation for a trip to Dallas to beg for the gates as part of an effort that directed critical international spotlight to what appeared to be crony capitalism at work), Virgin was finally given the green light by city staff to actually take possession of the gates that appeared to have been rightfully its own from the outset.

Fast forward to this past week: once again, residents and elected officials found themselves surprised to learn that city staff had taken action to thwart an airline’s ability to operate at Love Field.

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The City of Dallas Isn’t Sharing in the Region’s Economic Boom

While scrolling through my Facebook timeline the other day, I was startled by a post from something called “Dallas Economic Development” which trumpeted the “fact” that “Dallas is a top 10 city for affluent residents.” This leapt out at me, because I suspected it to be untrue, so I decided to dig further.

Checking the Facebook page for “Downtown Economic Development,” I discovered that it is sponsored by the City of Dallas Office of Economic Development, which “supports existing and prospective businesses and the development and redevelopment of downtown and neighborhoods in southern Dallas.” Hmm … seemed legit, so far. To the extent I had any remaining doubts about the veracity of this “fact,” the Downtown Economic Development post referenced a Dallas Morning News blog post by Pamela Yip headlined “Dallas vaults into top 10 population centers for affluent.”

Hmm … I know Ms. Yip to be pretty careful when it comes to her writing, so I decided to press on. Her post made the claim that “Dallas and Houston were big beneficiaries of the trends, leading in the growth of high net worth individuals and wealth. The cities recorded the most aggressive rates of wealth growth among the affluent, both in 2013 and in the last five years, the report said. The cities also were the largest gainers in the growth of affluent residents.” Now I was definitely intrigued, as this simply did not square with the city of Dallas that I know.

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Texans Don’t Want to Leave

Yesterday Gallup published a poll (see the map above) of the percentages of people in each of the United States who have a desire to move from their state. Texas was on the lowest end of the spectrum, with only 24 percent of us wanting to get out. Only Montana, Hawaii, and Maine (23 percent each) residents like where they are more.

It’s not surprising to see how many Texans are satisfied with their situation. With our relatively strong economy, relatively low cost of living, and our ridiculous sense of self-worth and belief in the exceptional nature of the Land of Friends, it’s to be expected.

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The 35 Richest Neighborhoods in Dallas-Fort Worth

The little town of Westlake, north of Fort Worth, boasts the highest average annual household income ($526,590) among all North Texas neighborhoods. That’s good enough for 12th richest in the nation based on an analysis by geographer Stephen Higley who’s ranked the top 1,000 based on 2006-2010 Census Bureau data.

The very top of the list is occupied by ritzy suburbs of New York, D.C., Miami, and Los Angeles. Only Chicago has an inner-city neighborhood in the 10 richest. “The Golden Triangle” of Greenwich, Conn., outdoes everybody with a mean household income of $614,242.

Here’s the entire list of the 35 Dallas-Fort Worth neighborhoods that appear in the Higley 1,000:

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The Guardian Investigates Fracking in Ponder

The United Kingdom is having its own debate about the costs and benefits of allowing natural gas drilling via hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking), so the Guardian newspaper came to the tiny Denton County community of Ponder to see what life next to gas wells is like.

Their story, and the accompanying video, paints a nightmare scenario:

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Leading Off (10/21/13)

Death Threats and Support in Texas. Lots of good Ted Cruz reading/watching here. Death threats. Texas support. Texas tour. And CNN’s interesting interview with the Republican Senator that aired Sunday. It discusses his “rock star” status in Texas, his reputation in Washington, his fascination with social media, and just who he believes is at fault […]

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Dallas and Houston Won the Recession. But Will We Ever Overtake New York and Los Angeles?

The Atlantic made itself a bar graph showing that between 2009 and 2012 (years of economic recovery from the Great Recession), Dallas and our often-moist neighbors to the south outpaced the rest of the 10 biggest metropolitan areas in the United States in terms of GDP growth. DFW’s economy grew 19.1% while Houston’s gain was […]

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Dallas, Capital of the Great Plains

Forbes has got some more link bait for us in its new issue. Joel Kotkin draws a fun little map of the United States of America as it truly is. Not one nation under God, but “seven nations and three quasi-independent city-states, each with its own tastes, proclivities, resources and problems.” Dallas is declared the capital […]

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Dallas Fed: Texas Weathered the Housing Crisis Well Because of Its Stringent Regulations

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas yesterday released the conclusions of a study by two of its economists into the secrets of Texas’ relative success in weathering the housing crisis that precipitated the Great Recession. They focused on something that isn’t normally associated with our state: strong government regulations. Specifically, Texas is the only state […]

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