Leading Off (8/1/14)

City and Klyde Warren Park Talk of Closing Olive. And they didn’t tell their neighbors yet. They swear they were going to. Why wasn’t that stretch of the street closed when they built the park?

Fort Worth Doctor With Ebola Returns to the U.S. Kent Brantly was in West Africa offering humanitarian aid when he contracted the deadly virus. CNN has used the pandemic as an opportunity to scare the bejesus out of its viewers by pointing out that Ebola is “only a plane ride away.”

Immigrant Kids Won’t be Housed in Dallas County. County Judge Clay Jenkins announced as much after the federal government said that the tide of refugee children from Central America has slowed significantly.

Dallas ISD Won’t Tell Investigator Why He’s Being Investigated. Jeremy Liebbe was placed on paid leave and escorted from his office two weeks ago, but his lawyer says he still doesn’t know why. Sources told the Morning News it’s because of the way he went about conducting an investigation of his own supervisor.

Toddler Falls Over Railing at the AAC. The 2-year-old was watching the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus with her family when she tumbled from the 200 level to the Plaza level below. She was hospitalized in critical condition.

Another Day With a High in the 80s. Yes, you still live in North Texas.

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SAGA Pod: Jim Schutze on JWP, Inland Ports, DISD, and Hippies

A JWP-heavy edition of the SAGA Pod. We talk to Dallas Observer columnist Jim Schutze about the biggest news story in Dallas in 2014: the indictment of County Commissioner John Wiley Price. Jim, who has covered JWP for three decades, talks about how JWP went from being a “ray of sunshine,” and “a very brave guy” — someone who “taught courage” to southern Dallas  — to a county official under indictment. Jim tells great stories from covering Price in the ’80s (the one about how Price would intentionally sweat on editors at the Dallas Times Herald is gold). He discusses about how the money for votes has always traveled form North to South, and how Price wanted his cut from the minster networks. He tells about the time Price told Jim the reason “Our Man Downtown” always aligned with downtown interests vs. progressive, East Dallas interests. (“Because you’re a bunch of hippies.”)


At one point, you’ll hear me consider talking about how the DMN covered the inland port stuff. Look, I’m just too tired to go back over this. Here’s all you need to know: [...]

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On the Removal of Our Story ‘Up in the Air’

“How the Commemorative Air Force Landed at Dallas Executive Airport,” a story written by Brendan McNally and printed on page 22 of the August issue under the headline “Up in the Air,” has been taken down from our website due to numerous factual errors. The Commemorative Air Force is part of an umbrella organization called the American Airpower Heritage Group. We treated CAF as a singular entity and misreported how much it had raised in 2011 and 2012. In both years, CAF raised about $5 million. Furthermore, for a more complete picture of their financial state, the whole organization should have been considered.

We apologize to our readers and to the Commemorative Air Force. We will also detail the corrections in the upcoming issue of D Magazine.

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Leading Off (7/31/14)

Rick Perry Speaks at Israel Solidarity Rally. You can catch some of his comments here. Will I repurpose parts of that video at some point in the not-too-distant future? I mean, I guess I probably will.

ALLIGATOR WARNING. “Texas Game Warden Logan Griffin admits that often what people may initially think is something unusual in the water turns out to be nothing more a log or a tire. But officials want there to be no mistake — there are alligators in Lewisville Lake.” Gators!

Parkland Building New $19 Million Clinic South of Fair Park. That’s what this story is nominally about. To me, it’s more of an introduction to a woman I definitely want to hear more from, Mrs. Willie Mae Coleman.

Here is Everything You Ever Would Want To Know About Pedestrian Walk Buttons. If you don’t have time to read it all, I’ll give you the main takeaway: none of them work. So when you roll your eyes at someone who walks up to a crosswalk where, like, 10 people are already waiting and pushes the button a few times, it is 100-percent justified. Also: it was justified before. Semi-related: meet a cat named Traffic Light.

President Bush, Michael Young, and Pitbull Honor Derek Jeter On His Last Game at Whatever They Call The Place the Rangers Play At Now. Pretty good photos here.

Well, Human Civilization Had a Good Run. Oh, well. Catch you guys on the flippity-flop.

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D Academy Announces 2014-2015 Fellows

You may not know this, but D Magazine Partners has a leadership group called D Academy. It’s a nine-month immersion program that takes its participants through a series of crash courses on a variety of topics, including healthcare, the arts, education, criminal justice, the environment, poverty, infrastructure, philanthropy, and the city’s brand. Some of Dallas’ most influential speakers generously give of their time to talk about these topics with our fellows while Robin Pou provides leadership training.

The class also spearheads the Big D Reads program, a city-wide reading experience. The goal is to get Dallas involved in the ultimate book club through lectures, book discussions, street festivals, movie screenings, and performing arts events, with a special focus on Dallas ISD ninth graders.

D Academy is a lot of work. But it’s also a lot of fun. Therefore, we had many applications. The selection committee spent many hours arguing over the applicants and finally narrowed the field down to 24. They are:

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Judgmental Map of Dallas

I love maps of Dallas. I can’t read a traditional map to save my life, which pre-iPhone days, made for many hours lost somewhere between point A and point B. But I love maps that tell me something about my city. One of my favorites is this map by David Harman, which is screen-printed and hand made. It’s pretty, and I’ve seen it framed and hanging in various coffee shops around town. (David created these maps while in Dallas, but is now pursuing an MFA in Painting in Knoxville.) My other favorite is this one, created by the folks at bcWorkshop. This map portrays the 318 communities in Dallas. I printed this out and put it on my desk for a few days. I heard, “I didn’t know that part of town is called that” multiple times while people studied the map. It also led to an argument or two.

Both of the above examples were made with love and lead to a better understanding of the city. I don’t think this Judgmental Map of Dallas was made in the same vein. And while I don’t condone most of the stereotypes, it does make for an interesting read.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: The Stoneleigh, Heartbreak Hotel

Have you heard anyone refer to the Stoneleigh Hotel on Maple Avenue as Le Méridien Dallas? I haven’t, thankfully. Just like when the Melrose Hotel on Oak Lawn was rechristened with a corporate name — in that case, the Warwick — local tradition has remained important enough that ownership had to maintain the historic moniker.

I understand why these hotel operators feel the need to place established brands on their acquisitions. They want to reassure out-of-town visitors who’ve stayed at their other properties, but who are unfamiliar with Dallas, that they will receive the same quality of experience they’ve had in other cities. It’s the same reason that McDonald’s continues to do big business — familiarity counts for a lot with consumers. Why risk eating at a mom-and-pop burger joint that may not be any good when McDonald’s is right down the street and you know precisely what you’re going to get, as mediocre as it might be?

So there’s financial sense in enticing guests to book a room at Le Méridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh (the property’s mouthful of an official name). But I don’t have to like it, and neither should you. It dilutes and degrades the sense of place that the hotel built over the decades — even after its major renovation in the mid-Aughts — to paint it as just another link in a chain. Good for business, bad for the soul.

I feel this loss even more painfully after re-reading A.C. Greene’s November 1977 story about the prevalence of recently separated and divorced men living at the Stoneleigh. It’s one of the 40 greatest stories ever published in D Magazine.

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Leading Off (7/30/14)

Jack Matthews May Redo Downtown Dallas High School: Trammell Crow Co. had planned on flipping the property currently best known as “Hey, what’s that crumbling-but-awesome building I see outside the DART car?” Seems like Jack Matthews—late of the Cedars boom—will now try his hand.

Conditions Worsen For Fort Worth Doctor Fighting Ebola: The latest out of Liberia is that Dr. Kent Brantly is now in grave condition, and his condition has worsened dramatically in the past 48 hours. Brantly spent four years at John Peter Smith Hospital before moving to West Africa to work for the international relief agency Samaritan’s Purse. The worst part of ebola.

The Oakland Raiders Could Move to San Antonio: Jerry Jones, not entirely happy!

Cedar Hill Man Deliberately Drives Car Through House: Scottey Davis was arguing with his wife, then decided the best course of action was to drive his car through their home. His wife was airlifted to surgery and is in serious condition. Davis was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

David Finfrock Gives First On-Air Fist Bump: Other breaking news Dallas media firsts on Tuesday: Zac, Tim, and I developed the concept for the NTFL, the National Tiny Football League.* It’s regular football, but played with a four-inch foam ball. Imagine the trickery. And the fumbles.

*- This is true.

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The Best Thing Written So Far About the John Wiley Price Indictment

The John Wiley Price indictment is a big story, and I’m sure many journalists in town scurried to the courthouse, drooling over the drama that would unfold in the months to come. I did. But I also thought about Jim Schutze, because Schutze knows this story better than anyone in this town, and I was excited to see what he would do with it. In short, Schutze is delivering. Here’s his latest piece, a comprehensive overview of the real scandal, not the bribery, but the way Dallas leaders sold out Dallas and lost the opportunity to develop an Inland Port in South Dallas that would have completely transformed the city’s economic base while bringing tens of thousands of jobs to South Dallas. Here’s the money quote:

I’ve known Price for a long time. I look at him sometimes, and I don’t see a black guy anyway. I see a Dallas guy. He’s a typical Dallas guy who worships money. He loves the thrill of the deal. He thinks of hardworking pluggers as just shy of losers and worse. In 2008, when I asked him how he could oppose something that promised so many jobs in southern Dallas, he told me sneeringly he associated labor with slavery.

In fact he put that thought in a letter to Allen. “During slavery,” he wrote, “everybody had a job.”

Put it in writing. That proud of it. That may be a cynicism so profound that it transcends race, or descends it. I wonder sometimes. If all anybody really believes in is the big money and the fast deal, is there no one left out there to believe in the city?

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Jesse Ventura Wins Case Against Chris Kyle, Awarded $1.8 Million

A jury awarded the former professional wrestler/Predator actor/Minnesota governor $1.8 million in his defamation case against the estate of the late Chris Kyle, finding that Kyle had defamed Ventura in his book, American Sniper. I’d ask Michael Mooney for his take, but he’s probably off breaking his other foot or something.

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Think of the Kids Crossing the Border as the New Lost Boys

Sherry Jacobson has a piece in today’s paper wherein she talks to Gabe Anieu Maguil and Augustino Gend, two of the Lost Boys of Sudan who took refuge in Dallas a decade or so ago, after being forced to flee from their home country because of a violent civil war. Maybe it won’t make up your mind regarding the current border situation, but Maguil and Gend lend an interesting — and, I feel, necessary — perspective.

Maguil suggested taking a longer view of the current border crisis. These are children so eager to come to America, he said, that they will travel hundreds of arduous miles, across countries and borders.

They are no different, he said, than he was years ago.

“If they’re here, they can better themselves,” Maguil said. “And someday, they will pay taxes. They will be Americans.”

Earlier in the piece, Maguil talked about how “the United States embraced” him and his fellow Lost Boys, and he is right about that. Dallas, especially, was very welcoming to the Lost Boys, and it has long done great work regarding refugees from other countries, too. I’m not saying Maguil and Gend are the only voices to listen to. Just saying don’t ignore them.

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Why the Cotton Bowl Still Has Value as a Sports Facility

Back in March, I made a somewhat far-fetched proposal.  The best way to transform Fair Park and The Cotton Bowl would be to buy a Mexican league soccer team and have them play in Dallas’ most historic stadium. Some of the people I spoke to who have experience working with Mexico’s Liga MX agreed that the Cotton Bowl was a great soccer venue but were skeptical of the feasibility of actually moving a Mexican team to the United States, due to complications over ownership and the interest of the Mexican league. But whatever. A man can dream, no?

Well, tonight a little piece of that dream comes true.

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Poll: What Does the Uptown Sam’s Club Say About City Government?

Late yesterday a judge decided not to issue a temporary injunction against the building of a Sam’s Club mega-big-box store at the intersection of Central Expressway and Carroll Avenue, near Cityplace. That means developer Trammel Crow could file for a building permit today if they wanted to.

The neighborhood association had argued that the city’s notice of what could be built on that site under the new zoning was insufficient, but the judge ruled that the city had followed the law (even as she was apparently sympathetic to how the neighbors’ complaints.)  A lawsuit is still likely, but it won’t block the Sam’s Club from going up in the meanwhile.

In the August issue of D Magazine, Eric Celeste writes that the case is indicative of how Dallas’ zoning system needs to be fixed. What do you think?

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Leading Off (7/29/14)

Gerald Britt Comes Out in Support of John Wiley Price. Pretty explosive op-ed from the vice president for public policy at CitySquare. As in: “Whites need to understand that you cannot shame us into turning on [John Wiley Price]. As a matter of fact, your hatred of him endears him to us all the more. For those of us who know him, we understand that in a real sense, a John Wiley Price is a creation of the white man’s hatred of black people — and if not his hatred, his timorous acceptance of the status quo. Without either, no John Wiley Price can exist.” As I understand it, then, because white people hate black people, Price used his political office to enrich himself (allegedly). Man, this thing is going to get ugly. Seems to me, no way can the trial take place in Dallas. “Jesus, justice, and John.

Company Moves to Allen. CVE Technology Group is bringing 1,200 jobs to town. Excellent. Except the story uses the word “metroplex,” lowercase. Deeply disappointing.

UNT Lands Great Collection of Photographs. Imagine four generations of a family all taking pictures of North Texas (and not the Metroplex). This is pretty cool.

20,000 Muslims Celebrate in Fair Park. Ramadan is over, meaning all our Muslim friends will stop being so cranky from fasting during the day, and yesterday was the first day of Eid al-Fitr. Big party (and lots of praying) in Fair Park.

NBA Players Do Not Pick Terdema Ussery. Looks like he’ll remain with the Mavs.

Cristiano Ronaldo! Gay men, rejoice!

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