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Making Dallas Even Better

Ask John Neely Bryan: Finding Money to Fix Dallas Streets

Question: Firstly, thank you profusely for settling upon an inspired new logo for Dallas. You’ve saved the council hours of back-breaking sitting in chairs and taking turns talking in circles. Now, can you help with the city budget? Starting to think we’re in over our heads. — Mike R. et al

Sir, you know that I love this city with the sort of passion which men generally reserve for their wives and their Barcaloungers. It would be my pleasure — nay, it is my duty — to guide you through these troubled times. The very fact that the mayor of the world’s greatest city has been reduced to the indignity of hosting a Twitter town hall meeting on budget matters beginning this evening at 6 p.m. — how ghastly!

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Ask John Neely Bryan: A Post-Modern Logo For the City of Dallas

Question: How do you feel about this new logo for your city? Sure, it looks a lot like Plano’s starry P, and Arlington has a star shoved up their A too. But, looking at some of the others, what do they say to people? Irving has horses, Desoto’s eagle is proof of their All-American-ness. Richardson, well, people all over Richardson are trying to figure theirs out. The winner in my book is Addison, which with its jaunty logo, really spells “Party!” What is your opinion on this move? Are we turning into a regional star like Plano and Arlington? Should we keep the branch of nature in our D? Do we need more marketing? And if you have a recipe of two from the 1800’s, I’d love to discuss. — Amy S.

If only the current municipal governance of Dallas had the same wisdom and fortitude of character that you have demonstrated with your query, dear reader, I might could have spared them the wasted time involved in consulting those ne’er-do-wells who prattle on around the old horseshoe each week as to the possibility and probability of replacing the current city logo (the one which comes garnished by a side of parsley) with the star-emblazoned iconography devised by the Convention & Visitors Politburo.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Nutria, the Furry Menace in Our Dallas Waterways

Question: The other night, we were standing on the Continental Bridge, taking in the glorious river, when we saw something swimming upstream. We were at first concerned it was a dog, but it was moving with such ease, and going underwater and coming back out, that we decided it must be something else. Our final guess is a nutria. What the hell is a nutria? Are there many in Dallas? Will we have more now, and if we were to jump in to try to rescue it, would it kill us? (Sure, all these questions could be answered on Google, but I’d prefer to hear Mr. Bryan’s take.) — David H.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: How Dallas Police Reach Out to Kids

Question: Back in the day, Dallas police officers used to have trading cards with their names, stats, positions, etc. on them and featured photos of the officers, cool police cars, and K9 units. I remember them being like a super-prevalent thing at any Dallas event — parades, carnivals, and the State Fair. Living now in a time in history where police departments are trying to combat all the negative media and bridge the gap between police force and community, I wonder what happened to the program, if it’s still around, and if not, what the police department in Dallas is doing to facilitate that relationship with Dallas area youth? — Callie L.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Does Dallas Value Its Past?

That pontificating whippersnapper Simek got me thinking yesterday about the fetishism of the past to which a surprising number of you folks cling. A mediocre sub-urban fish joint shuts its doors and that boy waxes rhapsodic about — well, by his own admission he’s not precisely sure what. Lordy!

You want Dallas to return to its imagined heyday of 1906? You soft-shelled ninnies wouldn’t last a minute back then. Why the pungent odors wafting from the great, relatively unwashed mass of humanity alone would knock you flat before you could scamper across Main Street. Even if you could manage the feat, enjoy wiping the paste of dust and well-ground equine excrement from your soles when you reach the other side. And the heat! My god, the heat! No artificial refrigeration to ease summer’s onslaught, no sir.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Why Can’t Businesses Place Signs on Downtown Sidewalks?

Question: Why aren’t businesses allowed to put signs on the street downtown? How are people supposed to know they exist if they cannot? (For example, Hospitality Sweet in 400 N. Ervay; Serj across the street from them.) — David H.

What luck! Just last night, during my habitual bedtime reading, I finished Article VII of Chapter 51A of the Dallas City Code, which governs signage and other signage-related activities. It was among the most riveting passages so far of my trip through the regulations of local municipal governance. I am continuously awed by the ability of lawyers to take the language of Shakespeare and Keats, Twain and Hemingway, and fashion it into the verbal equivalent of pouring out a medium-sized container of thumb tacks and jamming them one by one into the back of your hand. A taste:

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Ask John Neely Bryan: How to Fix Dysfunctional Dallas City Hall?

Question: It seems like many of our city council members have a hard time getting along. Office harmony at 1500 Marilla has to be near an all-time low. We have to fix this — city governance is too important to be bogged down by petty strife. Based on your history, how should we best resolve this? Mediation? Arbitration? Reconciliation? Duels? — Freddie M.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Is Dallas a Midwest City?

Question: Is Texas in the Midwest? And what’s the Midwest? — Ryan C.

The gentleman who risked suffering the repercussions of my wrath for having dared to submit this staggeringly insulting question provided — so as to justify the depths of his own ignorance, no doubt — a hyper text transfer protocol address of an article posted by some execrable cyberpunk publication.

On that unfortunate page — which I urge my own thoughtful readers never to peruse, lest they risk the lowering of their intelligence quotients — a parade of ignoramuses compete to demonstrate which of them is least deserving of being considered homo sapiens.

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Dear Dallas City Council: Please Learn from the Trinity Mistakes of the Past

Today at 1 p.m. the Dallas City Council will convene a special meeting to discuss the latest plans for the Trinity River Project. The plans were developed by the mayor’s so-called “Dream Team” task force, a group of some of the best urban thinkers in North America who revealed a vision Tuesday of a “gracious and harmonious parkway” for the Trinity.

On the agenda is a resolution that will create “a team, including regional and State agencies and professionals, from appropriate disciplines, to determine any actions that would be necessary to implement the findings of the Trinity Design Charrette.”

There is every reason to believe that that group will not be able to realize the Dream Team’s vision because of the reality of the funding, flood control, and environmental requirements already written into the DNA of the Trinity River Project as it is conceived today.

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Fair Park Fire Displaces Nearly 40

In 2000, you might recall a tornado ripping through Fort Worth. I was at my aunt’s house that evening, had gone to bed early, and snoozed through the whole thing.

Somewhat closer to home, last night I had the strange experience of sleeping next door to a five-alarm fire. I live in Fair Park. I went to sleep at 2 am, which is why when I woke up at a little past 3 am because my bed was shaking and sirens were wailing and my neighbor was pounding on my door, it felt like I was in some sort of weird red and orange and blue dream. That’s also possibly why, after poking my head out in to the hall and not really seeing anything, I went back to sleep. In retrospect, I should have done a little more investigating. When I woke up again, my power was out, my building smelled like badly burnt toast, and I couldn’t leave to get to work—firefighters were still parked outside my garage and the air was thick with smoke. The fire started at a warehouse, 4100 Commerce, and spread toward my building, which, thankfully, is fine. My neighbors in 4130 Commerce are not so lucky. The units are uninhabitable.

Justin Terveen, cityscape photographer extraordinaire who apparently lives nearby, got a photo of the fire—it’s huge. Anyway, what I am saying is, I’m glad everyone made it out alive. Firefighters are awesome and brave and I’m crazy grateful they contained the fire. And I need to rethink my sleeping patterns.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Issuing a Challenge to the Dallas City Council

Friends, I must report that my editor and I nearly came to blows this week over the contents of today’s column, which I am officially filing under protest. I badly wished to give his proboscis a good wringing after he required that I supplant the golden prose I had spun for both your entertainment and edification with a tepid pool of my second-best work.

Granted, my second-best work is more satisfying to the mind and the soul than 99.9 percent of the pabulum churned out by other so-called “professional” scribes. That does not change the fact that I must live with the knowledge I have done you a disservice, dear readers. You’ll learn nothing of my extensive knowledge of weaponry or hand-to-hand combat, and all because some yellow-bellied stuffed-shirt down at the D Magazine offices is afraid the company might be charged with inciting a riot or threatening the lives of public officials if we’d run my original, superior text.

Oh, hang it all. Let’s get this nonsense disposed with.

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Blind Item: People Are Attracted To This D Staffer

Yesterday afternoon, the majority of the D Magazine editorial staff — Tim Rogers, Brad Pearson, Liz Johnstone, Michael “2 Chainz” Mooney, and myself — took a trip to the State Fair of Texas. During a stop to exchange coupons for beers, a young woman, judged by the group to be in the neighborhood of 14 years of age, came up to one member of our party, poked said staffer in the shoulder area, and said, “You’re cute,” before walking out of our lives again, forever. After much gentle ribbing, the staffer in question said, “You would literally be surprised at how often that happens.”

So — who was the author of that incredibly cocky statement?