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Ask John Neely Bryan: Why’s the Dallas City Manager Strong While the Mayor Is Weak?

Would you believe that I have, on a number of occasions, been mistaken for impoverished Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price? I attribute these errors mostly to the fact that none of you damned 21st-century folks read anymore, and so your short attention spans equate any similarly triple-christened gentleman with another.

There’s little else that should bind the two of us in the public’s imagination — besides our spectacularly-sized gonads, of course. No inadequately endowed fellow is capable of founding a great American city or dressing like this.

Question: Why does Dallas employ a city manager?  What’s this with a “weak mayor”? — George L.

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What Did We Learn From Last Week’s Fair Park Poll?

If you haven’t noticed, my post last week that asked readers how they would react to the idea of moving the State Fair of Texas out of Fair Park got a wee bit of attention. So much, in fact, that I now keep a bag packed and ready to go by my front door so I can flee the state when the angry mobs arrive in the middle of the night with pitchforks and torches ready to tar and feather me. One thing I’ve learned: admitting you’re a Yankee and then saying anything about Big Tex is the online equivalent of suicide by cop.

Regardless, the amount of feedback that post received does seem to warrant a revisit, at least to sort through the noise. So, what have we really learned?

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Poll: Would You Care if the State Fair of Texas Left Fair Park?

Yesterday Mitchell Glieber, the president of the State Fair of Texas, released a startling statement. Responding to a proposal put forward by Boston-based planner Antonio Di Mambro that completely rethinks the layout and use of Fair Park, the State Fair said that adopting such a plan would “effectively end the 129-year tradition of the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.”

Sound the alarms! Raise the flags! The State Fair could leave Fair Park! How did we get here?

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Texas, Cotton, and Historical Insecurity: A Book Review Every Dallasite Should Read

I’m going to try to avoid cutting and pasting the entirety of Michael Ennis’ “The White Stuff” from the March issue of Texas Monthly. It offers such a compelling take on Texas economic and cultural history – with particular relevance to Dallas history – that anyone interested in this city should read the whole thing.

The column is about Sven Beckert’s new book Empire of Cotton: A Global History, which Ennis likens to last year’s surprise sensation Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty insofar as it seeks to shine new light on the inner workings of the “invisible hand” of capitalism and how that hand has shaped the world in which we live.

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How TxDOT Justifies Demolishing 195 feet of the Historic Continental Viaduct

Here’s an interesting document that has turned up. Last November, Mario Sanchez, a historical architect with the environmental affairs division of the Texas Department of Transportation, wrote the Texas Historical Commission to lay out a preliminary design of the interchange between the proposed Trinity Toll Road and the Continental Street Viaduct. It offers a detailed account of just how the current design of the Trinity Toll Road – aka Alternative 3C, as it is called in official documents – will impact the Continental Street Viaduct, namely, by demolishing 195 feet of it.

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