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Police and Fire Pension Board Stops Seeking Museum Tower Fix

News broke this morning that at its meeting yesterday the board of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System voted to stop looking for a solution to the glare problem that has caused damage to the neighboring Nasher Sculpture Center:

“The DPFP Board has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the members of the pension system and to provide long term benefits for the Police and Fire Fighters that have served the City of Dallas,” says Dallas City Council member Lee Kleinman via email Friday morning. Kleinman is one of four council members of the fund’s board, along with Kingston, Scott Griggs and newcomer Erik Wilson. “At yesterday’s Board meeting a motion was made to discontinue efforts to seek a resolution. Despite my advocacy to continue, other Board Members believe it is prudent to provide certainty. Except for my vote, the Board stood unanimous. While this outcome is personally disappointing, I must applaud the efforts and sincere dialogue of all stakeholders in this process.”

Griggs wasn’t at yesterday’s meeting, and Kingston, who worked behind the scenes to resolve the issue and come up with a fix, had to leave before the vote was taken due to a prior obligation. Wilson voted for the resolution to kill the deal with Hines.

Back in May, it looked like the building was closing in on a solution, but guess that didn’t work.

It doesn’t seem like Museum Tower is on the right side of this fight, so I can understand the disappointment of those seeking to protect the Nasher. However, just having read about this, I happened upon a post by Rudolph Bush on the DMN‘s editorial blog that put me in a Jim Schutze-ish frame of mind — that maybe this dispute is just a fight among the rich people over the protection of rich people’s things.

That’s probably an overreaction, but Bush does remind us there are far more important issues for our city to confront:

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Leading Off (8/28/15)

Dallas Police Chief Defends Use of Deadly Force. DPD officers fatally shot a man suspected in a robbery near Fair Park on Thursday afternoon. Top cop David Brown says the measure was a “last resort” after attempts to subdue him with Tasers failed. The suspect had a box cutter, though witnesses differed in their accounts of whether he was holding any weapons as he struggled with police.

Hinojosa Appears on Track to Get Super’s Job. Dallas ISD board members say they are pleased with the work of once-and-interim district superintendent Michael Hinojosa. Though they won’t indicate whether he’s the lead candidate to win back the job that was once his on a permanent basis, it’s looking like that might well be the case.

Ken Paxton Needs a New Lawyer. The Texas attorney general pled not guilty yesterday in a Fort Worth courtroom to the securities fraud charges that he’s facing. Afterward, his lawyer quit on him, with some wondering if the change in representation is part of a legal strategy.

Man Who Committed Suicide at D/FW Hyatt Faced Theft Charges. Eugene Dickey, who jumped to his death from a ninth-floor balcony at the airport hotel on Tuesday night allegedly had stolen $1.6 million from the Texas Educational Theater Association, of which he was treasurer.

Ask John Neely Bryan: A Post-Modern Logo For the City of Dallas

Question: How do you feel about this new logo for your city? Sure, it looks a lot like Plano’s starry P, and Arlington has a star shoved up their A too. But, looking at some of the others, what do they say to people? Irving has horses, Desoto’s eagle is proof of their All-American-ness. Richardson, well, people all over Richardson are trying to figure theirs out. The winner in my book is Addison, which with its jaunty logo, really spells “Party!” What is your opinion on this move? Are we turning into a regional star like Plano and Arlington? Should we keep the branch of nature in our D? Do we need more marketing? And if you have a recipe of two from the 1800’s, I’d love to discuss. — Amy S.

If only the current municipal governance of Dallas had the same wisdom and fortitude of character that you have demonstrated with your query, dear reader, I might could have spared them the wasted time involved in consulting those ne’er-do-wells who prattle on around the old horseshoe each week as to the possibility and probability of replacing the current city logo (the one which comes garnished by a side of parsley) with the star-emblazoned iconography devised by the Convention & Visitors Politburo.

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Despite Rule Changes, Trustee Joyce Foreman Will Try to Make Board Meeting Absurd as Ever

I talked to Superintendent Michael Hinojosa last week, and he was as charming as you’d expect — said all the right things, he was funny, he was self-deprecating, etc. One thing he said sort of made me smirk, though. He was talking about how he has to win the trust of a diverse group of DISD stakeholders because he knows that, if he can do that, the district can overcome some of the turmoil it’s had in the past. He believes this because, as he said, “All of those community people [various DISD stakeholders] have different interests, but they all want the same thing.” Meaning, better educational outcomes for kids.

This is good for him to have such a positive outlook. I think it’s one reason he will most likely by October have the “interim” title removed.

But I don’t necessarily believe he’s right. I know that “whatever is best for kids” is what everyone says he or she wants, but I don’t believe their actions always support this notion. And I think this evening’s DISD board meeting will prove me right. I think this based on how Joyce Foreman in particular has reacted to a rule change designed to improve governance. She has reacted in her usual petulant, self-centered manner.

This will, as usual, take a little explaining.

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Leading Off (8/27/15)

The Susan Hawk Saga Continues. You know by now that Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk is taking a four-week leave of absence to battle an episode of depression. And now we know that she will be staying at an in-state treatment facility, somewhere that is not in Dallas. It’s not certain when Hawk will be back in Dallas, but she will supposedly return to work late next month. Hawk’s neighbor, lawyer Bob Hinton, said he had observed stints of paranoia since Hawk became DA at the beginning of the year and that he is glad she’s finally seeking help.

SPCA Retrieves More Than 150 Mistreated Animals From Home. Yesterday, the SPCA of Texas removed quite a few neglected and dead animals from a home in Balch Springs. There had been multiple complaints of suspected animal cruelty. After animal control picked up several dead animals, the SPCA obtained a search warrant and, along with the police department’s animal services, “retrieved 107 cats, five of which were dead, 40 dogs, three doves, two chickens, one finch, one dead parakeet and one guinea pig.” As you can probably imagine, the conditions of the home and these animals were…not good. Thoroughly sickening. Let’s hope these furry friends find new loving homes soon.

No More Stop Signs For Now. The Dallas City Council voted yesterday to not make it easier for dense neighborhoods in Dallas to put up extra stop signs. Who cares about driving safety, anyway?

Leading Off (8/26/15)

Why Hasn’t the Sheriff’s Department Released Tape of Jail Death?
It never ever looks good when someone dies in police custody, and the moment is captured on camera, and the police don’t swiftly release the video. It always looks like a cover-up. A combination of sympathetic strangers and Joseph Hutchinson’s family are asking Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez why they still haven’t seen video of Hutchinson’s death — after he ran into the jail asking officers for help — despite the fact that it was reportedly caught on seven cameras.

Home Prices Went Up, Again. This time it was 8.2 percent in June. Only Denver and San Francisco had bigger numbers. Luckily, all markets are always stable all the time.

Orlando Scandrick Might Be Out for the Season. He’s been the best defensive back the Cowboys have had over the last few seasons. Yesterday in practice he planted, heard a pop, then fell to the ground screaming that he’d torn his ACL. Not good. Let’s hope he feels better soon, too.

Are There Any Good Reasons Left for Susan Hawk Not to Resign?

UPDATE: Clearly as a result of reading my post, Susan Hawk did the sensible thing a couple of hours later and released a statement clearing up the whole DA goes AWOL situation. She is taking a four week leave of absence to battle a “serious episode of depression.”

I’m going to piggy back on Jason’s poll today and extend the question about Susan Hawk with a request for feedback in the comments. I’m really curious to hear what you think about this. I’ve been following the Susan Hawk regime like everyone else, and at this point, I’m left wondering if she has any reasons left not to resign her post as Dallas County District Attorney. Here’s the situation as I see it.

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Week 2 of Voting for Dallas’ 10 Most Beautiful Kicks Off Today

Today starts the second week of voting for 2015’s 10 Most Beautiful Women, which means we’ll introduce you to five more lovely and accomplished ladies. You may have seen the sneak peek of more candidates last week on StyleSheet. (You can vote here.) After more than 400 nominations for this year’s contest and much consideration, […]

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Leading Off (8/24/15)

Where In The World Is District Attorney Susan Hawk? That is currently the burning question around the Frank Crowley Courts Building. She’s been off the clock and out of pocket since August 3, and no one is really saying what’s up. Maybe it’s just a normal vacation, but there is a lot of uncertainty even within her own office. Apparently, she is supposed to be back to her normal schedule — abruptly firing people, making odd public statements, and instilling a culture of paranoia — this week.

Rangers Win Third Straight, Nine of 11. Cole Hamels won, keeping the team in possession of the second wild card spot and leaving me dangerously close to watching a game. (I didn’t watch this one.) Also, over the weekend, Adrian Beltre did this.

TERRIBLE Doctor Will Not Have Bail Reduced. According to authorities, Christopher Duntsch “intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly” injured four patients and killed another during botched spinal surgeries, for which he was later arrested. At a hearing Friday, Duntsch was trying to have his bond lowered from $600,000. One reason that won’t happen? This 2011 email to an employee:“I am ready to leave the love and kindness and goodness and patience that I mix with everything else that I am and become a cold blooded killer.” I mean, what would even be the context for that? “Here is my upcoming schedule. Here is an update about the new parking situation. Oh, and here is a quick note about my goal to become evil. Dictated but not read, Dr. D.”

Megafest Wraps Up With ‘Raucous’ Service At the AAC. Bishop T.D. Jakes couldn’t make it because of an “eye issue,” but it didn’t seem like the attendees minded much.

The Ongoing Saga of Sam Rader, Christian Vlogger. I hadn’t heard of Sam Rader until a couple of weeks ago, when the YouTube clip of him surprising his wife with a positive pregnancy test went viral. Apparently, Sam and his wife Nia (who live in Terrell) have something of a following. Anyway, a couple of days after that was another viral clip, wherein the couple announced Nia’s miscarriage. Then people started to maybe suspect it was all made up. Then last week, after the Ashley Madison hack, it was revealed that Sam had a paid account with “Uber, but for affairs.” And now, over the weekend, Sam was kicked out of Vlogger Fair in Seattle, allegedly for threatening violence against another attendee. I wish I didn’t know about any of this. But because I have to, you do, too.

The D.O.C. Has His Voice Back. The Dallas rap legend released one of the best hip-hop debut albums ever, 1989’s Dr. Dre-produced No One Can Do It Better. (Maybe use headphones if you click that link.) Not long after, he crushed his larynx in a drunk-driving accident, leaving him with a whispery croak. Since then, he’s written rhymes for Dre and Snoop Dogg, among others, and of late has been mentoring Garland’s own Justin Mohrle, aka Justus. Over the weekend, he tweeted that his once-commanding voice has, at long last, come back. I don’t know what happens now. But it would be great to hear him do his thing for real again, at least one more time.

At 50, NorthPark Center Looks Better Than Ever

In an age where many shopping centers have suffered the fate of transforming into community colleges or pseudo-churches, NorthPark Center has seemingly found itself expanding towards ever-greater success. The most significant milestone in its history — the turning point at which the mall transformed to embrace a new era of retail — was its 1.2-million-square-foot, $250-million expansion in 2006.

NorthPark has long striven to cultivate a sense of a community among those who shop its 2 million square feet. Even after bringing more egalitarian offerings (such as a multiplex and food court) into its mix, the mall has continued to choosily curates its store selection — boasting a number of exclusive Dallas-Fort Worth outlets of major brands. Similarly, the mall monitors underperformers, with stores such as Forever 21, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Hollister, leaving  within the next 16-18 months.

As NorthPark prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary Saturday, let’s reflect upon the stores that represent the mall’s strong foundation and those emblematic of its 21st-century evolution.

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Correction: Di Mambro Plan Did Not Come From Mayor’s Task Force

Got a really sweet e-mail yesterday from the mayor’s PR chief, Scott Goldstein, that called my attention to a mistake in my September column in D Magazine (not online yet). Helpfully, Goldstein cc’ed the mayor (because, duh, his boss) and Wick (because, duh, actually runs the city). The e-mail:

Good evening, Eric,

Your piece on Fair Park in the September magazine was brought to our attention today. You wrote: “Recently, Mayor Mike Rawlings commissioned a task force that came up with a radical new blueprint to fix the State Fair and reinvigorate Fair Park and its neighborhoods. In short, it would restrict the Fair’s footprint at the park. Unofficially it is called the Di Mambro Plan, named for its lead architect, Antonio Di Mambro….”

This is totally, unequivocally false.

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Leading Off (8/21/15)

Parkland’s Moving Day Goes Smoothly. Hundreds of patients were taken into the new $1.3 billion complex on Thursday, as the county hospital’s operations officially began to transition away from the old building. Over on D Healthcare Daily, Matt Goodman wrote about the “slew of firsts” that racked up in short order: “The first two trauma patients at the new hospital were men in their 30s who were in a car accident. The first CareFlite helicopter landed on the helipad atop the hospital at 7:35 a.m., carrying a man in his 30s who was also hurt in a car accident. The first baby, a boy, was born via C-section at 9:40 a.m.”

Dallas Police Assistant Chief Demotes Himself. Tom Lawrence has asked Chief David Brown to reduce his rank to lieutenant. Brown says the request came after he confronted Lawrence about an inappropriate comment he’d allegedly made about a female commander. Lawrence says he’s been considering the change for six months and that the recent incident had nothing to do with it. The president of the Dallas Police Association says the unusual request — which comes with a significant pay cut — is a sign of major dissatisfaction with the department’s management.

Autistic Girl Kidnapped, Raped in Rowlett. Imagine the horror of the mother who became concerned when her daughter’s GPS tracker indicated she was in an unusual place, so she turned on the device’s microphone and could hear that the 15-year-old was being sexually assaulted at a nearby park.

Woman Stole Nearly $1 Million, Bought Roller Rink. Aurelia Anna Campbell was arrested for having embezzled $940,000 over the past seven years while working as a payroll clerk for a Bedford company. Some of the pilfered money was allegedly used to purchase the House of Quad roller derby rink in Denton, which is home to the North Texas Derby Revolution league. A body builder, investigators are also apparently looking into whether Campbell was using steroids.

Gainesville Man Indicted For 18-Year-Old Murder. Christopher Ax, 38, is charged with having killed his former girlfriend in 1997. The arrest was made after Texas Rangers took a new look at the case.

MegaFest Kicks Off in Klyde Warren Park

MegaFest 2015 officially kicked off today in Klyde Warren Park. Half family atmosphere — kids splashing and playing in the kids’ park, people getting food from the Thursday food trucks, and an Elsa impersonator wandering around — and half official, the kickoff served to welcome those who had traveled to Dallas for the event. The morning felt not so much like an event itself, as hype for the weekend ahead. And hype there was.

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Leading Off (8/20/15)

New Parkland Hospital is Open Today. Bright and early at 6am, the Rees-Jones Trauma Center, Emergency Department, Urgent Care Emergency Department and Labor & Delivery services in the new Parkland Memorial Hospital opened at the new location, 5200 Harry Hines Blvd. Other sections of the new hospital, including intensive care units and a burn center, will gain operation over a three-day period. All inpatient services will be transferred by Saturday’s end. I, for one, would not wish to be a patient during this transition. Chaos. But the new 2.1 million-square-foot facility does look pretty.

Burn Bans Spread Across DFW like wildfire. Denton and Tarrant counties have already set up burn bans, and Dallas County will likely do so next Tuesday, which would be in effect for 90 days. Funny how the burn bans are coming on the heels of yesterday’s rain, the first since July 8. And to think, not long ago we were all hoping the downpours would desist.

Cannabis-based Smoothies Coming to a Suburb Near You. I mean, Frisco. Who would have thought? As it turns out, the AmeriCanna Cafe, a cannabis-based smoothie shop, is indeed set to open in Frisco within the year. If the hair starts to stand up on the back of your neck while reading this, don’t worry. It’s perfectly legal. Apparently, the ingredients are derived from hemp seeds, while are allowed for consumption in the U.S. Smoothies will have at most only negligible traces of THC, so you will not need to worry about failing a drug test (at least not because of this smoothie).