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Leading Off (9/1/2014)

Rick Perry Tweets and Deletes. Sunday evening, Governor Perry’s official account tweeted out an image of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg (you know, the one who he tried to push out of office after her arrest for drunk driving, a move that has resulted in his indictment) with a ruddy nose and this caption: “I don’t always drink drunk at 3x the legal blood alcohol limit….” Perry posted that the tweet was “unauthorized” and quickly deleted it, but this is the internet. Listen, it could happen to anyone—you’re workshopping a good joke, and your finger slips. Oops.

Five-Year-Old Girl Found Dead in Northeast Dallas. Last seen around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, she was reported missing, then found deceased in an vacant apartment at a complex that was not her family’s own, around 2:30 p.m. Police have not released any other details.

Florida State University Does Not Quite Steamroll OSU. The two teams met at AT&T Stadium Saturday night for the Cowboys Classic. FSU, ranked no. 1, did win, but Oklahoma State University made them work for it. The final score was 37-31.

Volunteers in the Cedars Identify Problem Spots For City. The program, dubbed a “code crawl,” involved members of the Cedars Neighborhood Association armed with cellphones, taking photos of standing water, fallen stop signs, trash, and other code violations. The photos were sent along through Dallas’ 311 app. As it happens, the Cedars Neighborhood Association has also found success with its citizen crime patrols.

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Behind the Scenes of the Dallas 40 Cover Shoot

The September issue of D, celebrating the magazine’s 40th anniversary, should be on a newsstand near you soon, if it isn’t already. The centerpiece of our celebration comprises 40 stories about 40+ people who represent some aspect of how Dallas has transformed in the last 40 years, or who epitomize some aspect of what Dallas is today. Those stories are truly brought to life by the astonishing portraits taken by our own Elizabeth Lavin.

Hear her and our creative director Todd Johnson talk about what made this project so challenging, and why we were motivated to do something special to mark our company’s birthday, in this video about the cover shoot. (And thanks to Robbie Curtis for producing this and the other video clips in our Dallas 40 online package.) Enjoy.

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Leading Off (8/29/14)

Judge Rules School Finance System Unconstitutional. It’s the second time in 18 months that State District Judge John Dietz of Austin has decided in favor of the 600 local school districts that sued the state. Dietz ruled that, even after increasing school funding by $3.4 billion during the most recent session, the legislature has still left education statewide underfunded. He also cited inequities in the way state funds are distributed. The state (namely attorney general and GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott) will appeal.

Dallas County Not Properly Tracking HIV. A state report found 209 adult cases and 139 pediatric cases went “unreported” by the county health department from 2009 to 2012. That’s the largest number of unreported cases in Texas. Failure to follow up to collect information makes it difficult to determine whether a patient’s contacts may have also been affected and means the department can miss out on federal funding to treat patients.

Cowboys Winless in Preseason. They fell to the Denver Broncos, 27-3, last night. It’s the fifth time in franchise history the team hasn’t bothered to win any of its meaningless practice games.

Bitcoin ATMs Open in Dallas. In case you want to exchange your money that’s backed by the full faith and credit of the United States for a crypto-currency backed by the self-assurance of libertarian utopians worldwide. Right now one Bitcoin will cost you about $507.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Injustice For Willard Bishop Jackson

Life was going well for Willard Jackson in January 1972. The basketball team he coached at Dallas’ Oliver Wendell Holmes Junior High School was undefeated. They’d won the city championship two seasons before and finished second the previous year. There was talk of an opening soon at South Oak Cliff, and he’d been told his name was at the top of the list. The 29-year-old envisioned his future: a few years successfully coaching high school and then he’d take another step to the collegiate level.

If only he hadn’t stopped in for a drink at the Sportspage bar on Inwood Road one Saturday night, that might have been. Instead, as recounted by one of the 40 greatest stories ever published in D Magazine, Jackson was arrested and charged with the rape and robbery of two women in an Oak Lawn apartment weeks earlier. In “A Case of Rape,” Jim Atkinson writes of how our justice system delivered injustice for Jackson — convicting him of a crime he didn’t commit despite what seems to be overwhelming evidence in his favor (including a solid alibi and the confession of the actual perpetrator.) It’s a heartbreaking tale, and Atkinson’s article was a finalist for a National Magazine Award.

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Leading Off (8/28/14)

Six Police Shootings In 17 Days. People are wondering what is going on. Not saying something is, but with that many in such a short period of time, it’s worth asking a question or two.

Deion Sanders Trying to Merge Prime Prep Academy With Another School. Flash forward two years, and this newer, bigger, more embattled school is trying to merge with another another school. Take the L, Deion.

VENOMOUS CATERPILLARS. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Texas Transportation Commission May Block Toll Lanes On Central. Finally, someone is talking some sense.

U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaña May Become First Latina Head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She’s being looked at for the gig by the Obama administration. I’m sure she’d do a great job, based on the times I’ve seen her lose her mind at various sporting events, which is not even remotely germane to the matter at hand, so I’m not sure why I brought it up.

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Leading Off (8/27/14)

John Wiley Price Trial Date Pushed: When I wrote Leading Off on Monday, I said (despite a planned 2015 start) Price’s trial wouldn’t start until at least 2016. Then I bet everyone $100. It’s smart that none of you took me up on that offer.

Lawsuit: Day Care Duct Taped Child to Mat: I don’t have children. I also don’t think this is the best way to handle nap time. Hold up, what? The day care also withheld water from kids so they didn’t have to change as many diapers, and hit kids? Duct-taping seems almost middle-of-the-road now. For the record: “Heart2Heart offered no comment on the lawsuit.”

Public School Covers Up Religious Plaques: Because, you know, it’s not really kosher to make Muslim, Jewish, or atheist students walk past a sign that mentions the “Holy Christian Church” and implores students to “give God alone the glory.” How did this fly for the past 17 years?

Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputy Indicted on Sexual Assault Charge: “A new detective was going through files and realized [this 2006 case] hadn’t been filed so he notified us,” said Dallas County DA Office spokeswoman Debbie Denmon. “Since the case was never filed with our office, we knew nothing about it.” Bureaucracy wins again!

 

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How an Office Romance Went Off the Rails and Brought Down the NCPA’s John Goodman

Back in June, when the National Center for Policy Analysis fired its CEO for alleged “sexual misconduct and breach of fiduciary duty,” the free-market think tank had more than a dozen directors on its board. Chief executive John C. Goodman denied the charges at the time, you might recall, and said his dismissal was based on trivialities. Today the NCPA board is down to just five directors—and insiders say the Dallas nonprofit is struggling to survive.

So, what happened to bring all this about? The apparent implosion has come as the result of an office romance between Goodman and a staffer that went way off the rails, leading to an unusual “job promotion” that backfired badly:

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The Dallas Skyline Turns Red For D Magazine

If you were any near the vicinity of downtown Dallas last night, you likely noticed that the familiar red hue of D Magazine had taken over Reunion Tower, the Bank of America building, the Hunt Oil building, and the Omni hotel. As Tim noted a little while ago, it was in the celebration of the publication’s 40th anniversary.

We asked our Instagram and Twitter followers to share their photos with us using the hashtag #DTurns40. The response was terrific, and here are some of the best.

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Leading Off (8/26/14)

Trinity River Work Put on Hold Till … When? Until yesterday, we expected the Army Corps to deliver its “record of decision” about the Trinity floodway in December. Now we know it won’t come till next year, February at the earliest. Without the record of decision, we don’t know what is or is not possible between the levees. That includes the lakes and the soccer fields and, yes, the toll road. From the News: “Rob Newman, the Corps’ Trinity River Corridor Project manager, reminded after the meeting that the federal contribution isn’t guaranteed. ‘It still has to be applied for and appropriated through Congress.’ And even then, the Trinity project is still short the $805,604,000 needed for the athletic fields and the restoration of the river bends and the trails and parks promised almost two decades ago. That also does not include the Trinity River toll road, which is guesstimated to cost another $1.4 billion or so.” Seems like everything is coming together.

Dallas’ Park System Needs Help. Speaking of the above, Park and Recreation Department Director Willis Winters explained yesterday what we need to do to become a world-class — [sorry]

A Bunch of Kids Missed the First Day of School at DISD. Explain to me why this is a news story. Okay, even easier: give me some context. Tell me how many kids missed the first day at, oh, Richardson ISD.

Arlington ISD Teacher Arrested for Public Intoxication. First-grade teacher Megan Updegraff clearly wasn’t ready to go back to school.

Police Shooting in Pleasant Grove. Steven Douglas becomes the fifth person shot by DPD this month. He died. From all accounts, this guy had it coming, and the cops did their job admirably.

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Middle-Class City Workers Don’t — Can’t? Won’t? — Live in Dallas

Because I know you all can’t get enough of talk about municipal worker salaries, this morning I read more interesting data regarding the residency of city of Dallas employees. It was contained in a memo packet that was distributed to Dallas City Council members on Friday.

You already know that a relatively small percentage of Dallas cops live within the city limits and that only 36 percent of all city workers are Dallasites. This new information points to the fact that, as City Councilman Philip Kingston noted to me, “We seem to do worst with our middle income earners.”

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Leading Off (8/25/14)

School Starts Today: This is your annual reminder that school zones (and their expensive tickets) also restart today. And after last year’s troubles with third-party student transportation companies, Dallas ISD has 180 mini buses on the road. They’re blue, and look like hotel shuttles. You should not pass them. (See above warning.)

McKinney Avenue Trolley Extension Delayed Again: If you’ve ever been to our office downtown, you know it sits at the foot of the McKinney Avenue Trolley line. Well, former foot. The line extension now pushes it down St. Paul, near the DART line. Anyway, the construction’s been a mess for a couple of years now. And it seems like we’ll all have to wait until December for it to all clear up.

John Wiley Price Trial Delayed: Until September 2015. But nobody actually expects it to even start by then, right? Standing bet: $100 down, it doesn’t start until January 2016.

Cocaine Found in Tamales: This was in Houston, but how could you not click on that story?

 

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Only 36 Percent of City of Dallas Employees Live in Dallas

As I wrote previously, yesterday’s post about the relatively low percentage of Dallas Police officers who live within the city proper got me curious about what those numbers look like for all city employees. So I asked.

According to the city public information office, as of last year (the most recent info they had) 36.2 percent of 12,316 city of Dallas employees are also residents. The city’s data claims a slightly higher percentage of cops (21.7 percent) than was in the FiveThirtyEight post (19.1 percent.) The fire department has fled the city at an even higher rate though, with only 17.2 percent of its uniformed personnel Dallasites.

The city charter requires only that the city manager, auditor, attorney, and secretary live in town. If you look at the department by department breakdown below, you’ll see that cops and firefighters are the least likely employees to be residents. Among the city’s civilian workforce, 48.6 percent call Dallas home. Sanitation Services boasts a 70.1 percent residency rate among its 321 employees.

See the full data below.

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