Find a back issue

Morning News Says Mike Rawlings Should Run Again Because Mary Suhm

The DMN ran an editorial over the weekend that said Mike Rawlings should run for another term. My take: Sure, why not? He can’t build a coalition on the council, but he is onboard with school reform. I’m for the latter more than the former.

The paper’s reasons Mayor Mike should run again? (Other than because he’s “a salesman with a soul,” of course.)

Full Story

Leading Off (7/21/14)

Dallas Bike Czar Originally Moved to Dallas to Work for TxDOT. Ashley Haire calls it the “ultimate irony” in this Dallas Morning News piece. The 36-year-old engineer relocated from Portland to work as a project manager on the reconstruction of I-30 and I-35E. Now, with her new position that she started in May, she’s planning new bike lanes, is pro bike-sharing programs, and supports the City Council’s decision repealing the helmet requirement. More biking news: Dallas may start counting the number of bikers on the streets with the help of the North Central Texas Council of Governments. And Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price hopped on her bike to lead the Tour de Fort Worth, an event the 64-year-old mayor created three years ago.

What’s Going on With these Civilian Police Officers? Ten are headed to the jail to wait with suspects before they’re booked. This is part of Chief David Brown’s effort to save money by hiring fewer officers in advance of a projected $14 million budget shortfall. But the president of the Dallas Fraternal Order of Police, Richard Todd, is saying this is really just a swap of manpower. Now the clerical work they were doing back at police headquarters, for instance, will have to be done by someone else. Also on the civilian public safety front, Steve Blow offers this take on the new inductees into the reserve police force.

Flower Mound Teen Dies in Go-Kart Accident. 14-year-old Kierstin Eaddy was participating in a racing event outside Texas Motor Speedway Sunday when her kart failed to stop after crossing the finish line. She crashed through a fence, and her helmet came off. Eaddy was airlifted to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. An investigation is underway.

Rangers 20 Games Below .500. The Rangers lost 9-6 to the Toronto Blue Jays Sunday, dropping the struggling team to 20 below .500 for the first time since 2003. It’s only the sixth time in the history of the team that they’ve fallen 20 below in the first 100 games. Sunday’s game was No. 98. Next up: Yankees. Choice quote: “Texas has been really, really bad.”

Full Story

Leading Off (7/14/14)

Clay Jenkins Standing By Obama. Again. The Dallas County Judge has a long history of working with the Obama Administration. In 2007, he donated $1,000 to the then-senator’s presidential campaign. He also contributed pro bono legal work to the campaign, has worked with the administration to keep a mail processing plant in Dallas open, has helped challenge the voter ID law in Texas, and has joined Obama’s push for a “living wage.” Now there’s the plan to house 2,000 migrant children in Dallas, which Jenkins presented a week after meeting with four White House officials during the U.S. Conference of Mayors. However, reports say Jenkins asked the officials what Dallas could do to help with the children detained in South Texas. More than 57,000 have been detained, though most have been transferred out of those facilities, since October. In other news, experts say there’s little risk of a public health problem emerging related to these children.

Chandler Parsons Headed to the Mavericks. The Houston Rockets had until 11 p.m. last night to match the Mavs’ three-year $46 million offer, but no dice. Around 6 p.m., the Rockets said they wouldn’t make the move. Favorite part of this story: Mark Cuban commenting via his Cyber Dust messaging app, which sounds like Snapchat, no? Are the kids still using these things? Anyway. Welcome to Dallas, Parsons!

Police Chief David Brown Pushing for Unions to Desegregate. There are four – Dallas Latino Peace Officers Association, the Dallas Police Association, the Dallas Fraternal Order of Police, and the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas — and two of them are fighting over a police training academy and claims that black recruits are failing out at a greater rate than their white counterparts. Brown says the fight has proven to be a distraction and has made him play referee. Only problem is that a) the grievances were statistically true and b) some believe Brown favors the BPA, of which he is a member.

$2.7 Million in “Technology” Purchased, Unnecessary in Fort Worth School District. What does this even mean? Someone purchased “technology,” then ordered up maintenance for said “technology,” now the bill is $2.7 million, only discovered through an audit? Sounds like they were trying to manage payroll and grades and attendance records and vendor payments out of the same system. And that system didn’t work. But then there are double payments and maintenance on services not even being used in the mix? Goodness.

Full Story

Leading Off (7/11/14)

How Soon Until Every Dallas Highway Is Tolled? Tomorrow new express lanes will open on Interstate 35E, allowing drivers to pay to bypass the usually congested interchange from I-35E to Interstate 635. Meanwhile some Collin County leaders are pushing back against a Texas Department of Transportation proposal to make the HOV lane on U.S. Highway 75 a managed toll lane. Their counterproposal is to get rid of the HOV lane entirely, opening it up for all traffic.

ACE Cash Express to Pay $10 Million For Illegal Tactics. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that the payday lender used false threats, intimidation, and harassing calls to bully borrowers. ACE also took on new loans to pay off old loans, purposefully driving customers even further into debt. The company’s training manual even had a graphic depicting how to keep the vicious cycle going.

Abducted Boy Reunited With Father.  At age 2, Drew Drees was taken by his mother, who didn’t have custodial rights after she and his father had divorced, to India. Eight years later, she returned with Drew and was promptly arrested at DFW Airport after arriving yesterday.

It’s July 11. Free slurpees, everybody.

Full Story

What Does Google Think of Dallas’ Best Suburbs?

By now you’ve surely been up and down and up again our ranking of the Best Dallas Suburbs. Our sortable chart allows you to reorder the 64 North Texas towns (Dallas is included for comparison’s sake) on the list by factors such as population, crime, education, or just the overall ambiance of the place.

So you know what our numbers say. But what does the all-knowing, all-seeing Google machine think of our cities? How does Google Maps present us to the world? To find out, I asked for directions from Dallas, Texas (unspecified address) to each of the suburbs (unspecified address). Wherever Google dropped its pin representing each, I took a look around via the magic of Street View.

That gives us the spot to which Google will direct travelers who don’t know exactly where they want to go in these towns, just that they want to get there. To my mind, that makes these locations the virtual entryway to each, the online face of these cities. I leave it to you to interpret whether there’s any deeper significance to where Google’s directions would take you and what it says about our suburbs.  (By the way, in Dallas, the location is Main Street downtown, right next to Plush nightclub)

Full Story

D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: The Backyard Yacht of Highland Park

The 4000 block of Miramar Avenue looks pretty normal — if “normal” can ever appropriately be used to describe a row of homes in Highland Park. It sits just off Lakeside Drive, with easy access to sickeningly picturesque Lakeside Park and Exall Lake. It’s a block away from Beverly Drive and Dallas Country Club as well.

The homes are a mix of traditional and modern designs, most valued in the $3 million-$4 million range. On the corner, technically on Lakeside, sits the 60th most expensive home in Dallas. At 4004 Miramar, you’ll find one of D Home‘s 10 Most Beautiful Homes in Dallas for 2014. Across from that, at 4005, is a fairly unremarkable (by Highland Park standards) that’s valued at more than $3.1 million, with $2.5 million of that assessed for the land alone.

That lot looked very different 50 years ago.

Full Story

Poll: Is Mike Miles Underpaid?

Over on Learning Curve, Eric Celeste yesterday ran through some of the numbers relevant to a discussion about whether Mike Miles, superintendent of Dallas ISD, is being paid what he’s worth for the job he’s required to do.

Miles makes $306,000 a year. Eric, after comparing that base salary to other Texas school superintendents and to CEOs of similarly sized companies and nonprofits, reaches the conclusion that it’s perfectly reasonable for Miles to be seeking more money.

What do you think?

Full Story

Leading Off (7/7/14)

Dallas City Council Approved $2 Million for Floundering Bexar Street Project, Without Much Questioning. Part of a $29 million revitalization effort for the southern Dallas street sits Hailu Ejigu’s two-story, mixed-use building. The story goes something like this. An original cost of $700,000 doubles to $1.3 million when Ejigu changes the scope of the project, setting out to construct a building nearly twice the size. The city plays along, beginning the pattern of cutting him checks. By the end, that number reaches $2 million. Along the way, Ejigu is expected to produce some 75 percent of financing through equity of his own and a bank loan. When the loan doesn’t come through, he goes back to the city, which produces a loan. The city also reimburses Ejigu for all kinds of expenses, lawyer fees and the like. A dollar store opens in the building but is unsuccessful. Tenants, both residential and commercial, are hard to come by. Oh, and a second phase of the project remains. For the full story, read the Dallas Morning News’ two-part series here and here.

Grand Prairie Coming Around to Housing Undocumented Children. County Judge Clay Jenkins met with Grand Prairie city leaders Sunday after they voiced concerns about the former Lamar Alternative Education Center being considered as a housing option for some of the 2,000 children that have crossed into Texas from Mexico alone. D.A. Hulcy Middle School and a Parkland Memorial Hospital warehouse are also being considered. Grand Prairie may be more “at ease” with the idea, but strong opposition remains.

Chris Kyle Defamation Trial Starts Tomorrow. As we’ve reported before, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has been suing the Navy sniper since 2012 for defamation over an account in Kyle’s autobiography detailing a fight with a guy named “Scruff Face.” That guy was Ventura, and Ventura says the fight never happened. As a result of the book, Ventura says job offers stopped coming in. Kyle was killed in 2013. His widow, Tara Kyle, is the defendant in the suit, which is finally headed to court. For more on the legacy of Chris Kyle, read Michael J. Mooney’s story here.

Columbus Short Arrested in Dallas. So I’ve never seen Scandal, and I don’t know who Short is, but apparently he was on this television show. And apparently he’s also having a rough go of it these days. The actor was arrested around 2 a.m. Saturday at the Katy Trail Ice House for public intoxication. In March, he was accused of punching someone at a West Los Angeles restaurant, and in April, his wife said Short threatened to kill her. No word on why Short was in Dallas and why no one is mentioning that he also choreographed a Britney Spears tour.

Devin Harris Close to Signing 3-Year Contract with Mavericks. Sure, he sat much of last year with a toe injury, but he showed up in the playoffs, and he’s a Wisconsin Badger, and I have an embarrassing college picture with him in a box somewhere. Anyway, I’m totally on board with this.

Full Story

Vonciel Jones Hill Still Believes In the Trinity Parkway

The city councilwoman and chair of the council’s transportation committee has a piece in today’s Dallas Morning News urging citizens not to lose faith on the Trinity Parkway, even though more and more people have and everyone should.

In the first paragraph, Jones Hill says, “Dallas exists because of business, not because of lakes or rivers. Business needs a strong transportation system to be able to thrive.” In the last, she says, “Imagine what a fully realized Trinity — lakes, athletic fields, bridges, flood control, transportation improvements — can do.” Does she make an argument between those paragraphs that solves those seemingly contradictory statements? Not really. But maybe I’m just stupid. I’ll pull out a few sections for your perusal. Maybe you can help me.

Full Story

Leading Off (6/20/14)

Dallas ISD Board Names Home-Rule Commission. The 15-member panel includes the husband of trustee Carla Ranger and the son of trustee Lew Blackburn. I’ll leave the hot sports opinions to Eric over on Learning Curve, but, umm, seriously?

NorthPark Center Planning Major Expansion? Owners Nancy Nasher and her husband have sold a 60 percent stake in the mall for $362 million. The transaction has prompted speculation that big changes could be coming to the North Dallas shopping mecca, since the last time they took on an investment of this size was to finance the hugely successful addition of a fourth side to the building in 2006.

Police/Fire Pension Fund Lost $60M on Luxury Homes. The bad investments in Hawaii, Aspen, and other spots likely contributed to the decision by the fund’s board to dismiss administrator Richard Tettamant.

Report Details Structural Flaws in Allen’s $60M Stadium. The school district hopes to begin repairs this fall — during which time the Eagles’ football team will have to play its “home” games in Plano — and reopen it by graduation time in May 2015.

Full Story

FW’s Superintendent Resigns — Why This Means We Should Extend Miles’ Contract

If you haven’t seen this short video from Monday’s FWISD board meeting, do yourself a favor and watch. You might want to start screaming “NO!” as soon as it starts, just to get into the correct frame of mind. After that, head over to Learning Curve to read why I think Walter Dansby’s resignation as FWISD superintendent should signal to the DISD school board that it’s time to give Mike Miles a new contract.

Full Story