Well, not nobody, but nearly nobody. A little more than 4 percent of those registered. Schutze thinks he knows why:
But elections don’t rule the world, because government does not rule the world. Look at the inner circle of neighborhoods in Dallas. You think nobody gives a shit what goes on here? Then how come there’s all this incredible jazz going on, all these apartments going up and cool new restaurants opening, houses getting fixed up or torn down and replaced, all of the sheer action you see if you drift the streets in Uptown or North Oak Cliff or East Dallas or … whoa, have you taken a serious look at downtown Dallas at night lately?
No, stuff is definitely happening here. Meanwhile, City Hall seems to have less and less to do with any of it. They plod along and do stupid things nobody wants them to do, like drilling for oil in parks or refusing to build bike trails, while the city itself, the actual city, the real-life place just flows around City Hall as if it were a stalled car in traffic.
The city of Dallas has released the results of its 2013 community survey, on which the city council will be briefed on Wednesday. See the report here. Or just keep reading for the highlights.
In terms of overall satisfaction with the way the city is run, Dallas residents were 15% more satisfied than the average of 20 other U.S. cities with a population greater than 500,000. This general level of approval was consistent across all 14 of the council districts.
Residents are also happy enough with Dallas as a place to live, work, do business, and raise a family. The only quality-of-life factor on which the city scored poorly is public education, with 35% of residents rating the schools as poor compared to only 33% who believe they are good or excellent. (Of course, this is a city government survey and the city isn’t officially in charge of the schools.)
Kingston and Callahan Win Dallas City Council Runoffs: Philip Kingston and Rick Callahan won their runoff campaigns this past Saturday. Kingston was the choice of outgoing council member Angela Hunt for her seat. Callahan becomes the representative for Pleasant Grove. With the victories, the Hispanic representation on the city council drops from three to two.
Man Drowns in Plano Golf Course: There is a lot unclear about how a man drowned in a water hazard at The Course at Waters Creek golf course. Who was it? Why was he there? Was he alone? And what’s with Plano? Or, as FrontRow’s music critic (and Plano native) Chris Mosley said on Twitter of the golf course death, “This city’s ability to turn ordinary into tragic is unparalleled.”
Police Association Recovers Smoker: On the street, a $10,000 trailer-mounted smoker is apparently worth $75 in dope.
Rangers Losing Streak Worst in Three Years: The Rangers dropped their sixth game in a row yesterday, making it their worst losing streak since April 2010. Manager Ron Washington held a closed team meeting after Sunday’s game. And speaking of flopping, Dirk Nowitzki doesn’t think it’s a big deal in the NBA.
Arts District Agrees to Levy Tax for Klyde Warren Park. Back in March, a petition was circulated calling for the creation of a public improvement district to collect a tax from neighboring property owners that would fund upkeep of the downtown green space. Arts District leaders didn’t care for the idea, since they felt the museums and theaters in the neighborhood had just as much right to benefit from such an influx of cash. Well, a deal has been struck between the park and the rest of the district to use 10 percent of the expected $600,000 in annual revenue for their joint benefit. The City Council still has to approve the PID.
Dallas Arts District Annexed by the Park Cities. Certain bathrobe-wearing, shotgun-toting local reporters have remarked that this corner of downtown is nothing more than an upscale playground for the residents of Highland Park. Seeing that today’s Morning News article on Klyde Warren has been classified as Park Cities news, this area has apparently gone from being a mere sphere of influence to full-on occupied territory.
North Texas Can’t Take Oklahoma’s Water. The Supreme Court says so. Our region’s population is supposed to double within the next 50 years. We’ll need to speed up plans to build new reservoirs, or we’re going to have a whole lot of thirsty people.
Arlington Fires Cop at Center of Steroid Ring. The police department intends to expand its drug testing program after an investigation into the sale and use of HGH and steroids by officers led to the dismissal of one and the suicide of another.
8th-Grader Offered College Football Scholarship. Lindell Stone is 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, and just finished Dawson Middle School. Stone said he’s grateful for the offer from UCLA, but he’s more focused on giving us all another reason to hate Southlake by playing for Carroll High School this fall.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings doesn’t seem impressed by that solution proposed today to settle the spat between Museum Tower and the Nasher Sculpture Center. Buttonholed at an event in South Dallas, the mayor said he was already familiar with the condo tower’s proposed “oculi” fix. “It was something I had seen before,” said Rawlings, who helped previously to seek a mediated solution to the flap, to no avail. “It will be a good solution when the Nasher says it will work. Obviously I want a two-way dialogue on this, a 100 percent solution.” That solution will be one that satisfies the Nasher, he added—and helps “sell out” the units at Museum Tower, too.
Today Texas Monthly revealed its picks for the best and worst Texas state legislators of this year’s session down in Austin. They’ve only posted the names on their site, not the reasoning behind those selections, because for some reason they think it’ll entice you to go buy one of their “print products.”
The North Texas reps who made the cut:
Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth)
Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth)
Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie)
Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth)
Sen. John “The Last Republican” Carona (R-Dallas)
Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills)
Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano)
You’ll recall that City Councilman Scott Griggs had gathered signatures to get a resolution in support of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples on the council’s agenda. It looked like it was headed for consideration at City Hall. Then, after the May election, defeated City Councilwoman Delia Jasso pulled her support for the measure. So it’s not an today’s agenda.
But after speakers chided them for not addressing the issue, council members ended up having a bit of a debate about gay marriage anyway. From DMN:
And a fight it may be: Sheffie Kadane made it quite clear he’s opposed to the resolution, insisting that it be put to a citywide vote since, after all, many of his 85,000 constituents may not support gay marriage. Count him among their lot.
“It’s a moral issue,” he said. “It’s not an issue for us to be voting on. I don’t know why these folks who are for this, why haven’t you sent a letter down to Austin. I have 85,000 people in my district, and I’m not going to say my 85,000 people are for gay marriage. … I believe in the infallible word of the Bible, and the Bible states marriage is between a man and a woman, and that’s my belief.”
But Hunt, in her final council meeting, said this is about much more than how someone chooses to interpret the Bible.
“This is a simple issue: You either support civil rights, or you don’t. Being an LGBT ally means more than riding in a parade. It means being there for the LGBT community when they need you, not just when you need them.”
The Morning News reports that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has decided to close Dawson State Jail on August 31. The legislature had earlier voted to shut down the place, but TDCJ made the final call. Now, what to do with the sweet available land near the Trinity…
And for years, the city of Dallas has been trying to get its hands on that property for a Trinity River development. When contacted by The Dallas Morning News this morning, Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm had no idea TDCJ would be closing the jail. But she was certainly pleased.
“It’s a nice opportunity, and we’ll go work on it right away,” said Suhm, “You’re bringing me some very good news.”
Suhm said the city has been told in the past “we will have first dibs” on the property if and when it goes on the market. But even before then, she said Tuesday morning, “We’ll talk to folks, and especially folks who own land around the jail, and see what their interest is.”
The presence of Lew Sterrett Justice Center across the street would seem to limit the possibilities, for now. A hike-and-bike oval? A natural gas well?
He wants guys to pull their pants up a little higher on their hips. He wanted stores to stop putting too many advertising signs in their windows. And now, City Council member Dwaine Caraway wants Dallas to outlaw those plastic bags that are used to carry away the stuff you buy at drugstores and supermarkets.
It’s a move that would be reminiscent of New York City Mayor Michael “No Big Sodas” Bloomberg. Big Brother-ism a la San Francisco. Nanny State-ism run amuck. Because some local yokels are too stupid to dispose of their trash properly, everybody else has to pay for their cluelessness? Here’s hoping the full council has more sense than that.
Rape, Murder on the Rise in Dallas: Dallas police statistics show that there has been an increase in the total number of rapes in Dallas for the first six months of 2013 compared with 2012, with month to month increases in both rape and murder for the first half of the year. The Dallas City Council’s public safety committee will be briefed on the statistics today.
Will Texas Democrats Get Their Act Together for 2014 Election? Next year’s elections will see more open seats for statewide offices than any ballot since 1990, but so far it looks like the only candidates jockeying for a chance to run at the open seats are Republicans. That doesn’t look good for the party that hasn’t won a statewide race since 1994.
Vadym Kholodenko Wins Cliburn Piano Competition: After two-and-a-half weeks of grueling competition, the 26-year-old Ukrainian pianist Vadym Kholodenko took home gold in Fort Worth. What does it take to be named one of the best young pianists in the world? Have a listen (and keep an eye on Kholodenko’s face).
Spurred on by Tim’s retweet of a Guardian article about the need for government to remain accountable, soon-to-be-former City Councilwoman Angela Hunt took to Twitter today to sound an alarm about how it’s not just surveillance by our national government that citizens should be on guard against.
Among the few occasions when it’s worth reading multi-part tweets.
Not just Feds. Local govt’s creating surveillance infrastructure, too: Red light cameras, license plate scanners, sobriety checkpoints
— Angela Hunt (@AngelaHunt) June 7, 2013
(H/T Unfair Park)
Unless you want to live in a zoning-free city (Hi, Houston!), both the government and the demands of the market are going to have to be involved (and, yes, even in Houston there are regulations about land use) in determining what type of development should be built in an area. But there’s an interesting, ongoing debate in Plano about where to strike that balance, as described in this DMN article.
Plano is running out of empty space, with only about 8 percent of its land undeveloped. A couple years ago the city staff took a look at what’s left and recommended that any spots that are currently zoned for non-residential use should be “reserved for corporate facilities, research and development, hospitals and medical uses and other generators of high-paying jobs and tax base.”
My immediate response in reading this was to wonder whether Plano really needs any more corporate campuses. Isn’t its west side already lousy with them? EDS, J.C. Penney, Frito-Lay, Dr Pepper Snapple, just to name a few?
Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in South Dallas: Tod Robberson wonders how Veronica Jacquez beat the odds in South Dallas. She grew up across the street from the Turner Courts public housing projects, amidst crime and poverty, but is now a junior at the University of Texas at Austin on her way to law school. The key, Robberson argues, was Turner 12, a program founded by a Lincoln High School coach who picks 12 students every five years for hands-on mentoring from eighth grade to graduation. In other words, it’s all about taking a one-on-one approach, fostering personal responsibility, and involving parents and family in the child’s future.
Rockwall Shocked By Recent Teen Suicides: An eighth grader and a freshman, both females, have killed themselves in recent weeks in Rockwall, prompting community-wide soul searching and questions about why the athletic and seemingly happy girls took their own lives.
Profar May Be Real Deal: Even if you only casually follow the Rangers you have likely heard of the team’s much ballyhooed top prospect Jurickson Profar. Profar played in a few games last season, but with the recent injury to Ian Kinsler, he’s getting some real playing time this spring. And his play during this stretch, including his game-winning home run yesterday, seems to suggest the rookie may live up to the hype.
View Larger Map of where the Richards Group wants to build.
I once wrote in D CEO that Stan Richards seems like someone I’d want to work for (if I didn’t already have this nice gig.) His advertising agency, the Richards Group, is the sort of home-grown firm that’s done Dallas proud by establishing a national reputation in its industry. The city should be rooting for companies like that.
But when I read today that the Richards Group is looking for a 10-year, 50-percent real property tax abatement in order to build a new $45 million corporate headquarters on a patch of land next to the West Village, along Central Expressway at Blackburn Street, I was confused. I don’t begrudge Richards trying to make the best possible deal that it can for its own business interests. They are far from unique in doing so. It’s just that the spot they want to build on, in a thriving area of Uptown, along one of the city’s major highways with great access to downtown and to North Dallas, would seem to be about as prime a parcel of land as there is.
Why must the city sacrifice almost $1.8 million in revenue as an incentive? Wouldn’t Richards, or any number of other companies, be lucky to set up shop there? So I called assistant city manager Ryan Evans to ask.
The Morning News has the memo she sent to council members yesterday. Rudolph Bush writes her a love letter:
The beginning of the end of Suhm’s career comes at a time when a new council will shortly be seated. There is reason to believe several members of the new council would not be as supportive of her.
Scott Griggs, a sharp critic, handily defeated Delia Jasso, a staunch backer, in District 1. Lee Kleinman, who has a strong independent streak, took over for Linda Koop in District 11. And Philip Kingston, who has publicly questioned Suhm’s management, was the leading finisher in District 14, where he will be in a runoff with Bobby Abtahi.
People close to Suhm have said that she is terrified at the prospect of retirement. Whatever people think of her work, no one doubted her total dedication to City Hall and to the city itself.
Suhm’s commitment to the job was legend, and the loyalty she inspired among her top staff was unquestioned.
Her departure, and the effort to replace her, will draw a great deal of energy from City Hall in coming months.
She officially leaves the gig in September.