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Making Dallas Even Better

Poll: Does Dallas Need to Pay Down Debt Before Fixing Roads?

UPDATE: The City Council has reportedly agreed that there will be a 2017 bond program, because “deferred maintenance is not an option.” But it looks like it may well be a smaller bond, in the $200 million to $500 million range, than the $1 billion initially discussed.

We learned last week that several members of the Dallas City Council are pushing to delay what had been discussed as a possible $1 billion bond election in 2017. The argument for doing so is based upon concerns that the city has substantial debt obligations already, as well as uncertainty over how shortfalls in the police and fire pension fund might affect future operations.

But with so many roads across Dallas pockmarked with potholes, opponents of a postponement say there are too many vital infrastructure needs now that would prove even costlier if further delayed. What do you think?

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Poll: Should Dallas Cops Issue Tickets, Not Arrests, For Marijuana Possession?

Dallas Police Chief David Brown sounds conflicted about a proposed change that would have officers issue citations, instead of arresting, those found in possession of marijuana. But he conceded to a city council committee today that the approach — which would save police time and money — is “just so damn practical.”

Meanwhile City Councilman Philip Kingston called it a “no brainer,” comparing marijuana possession to jaywalking. The issue was referred to the full city council.

What do you think?

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Poll: Would You Ride a Bullet Train That Doesn’t Reach Downtown Houston?

We learned last week that the Dallas-to-Houston bullet train is likely not to see its southern terminus reach downtown Houston but will instead stop at that city’s Northwest Mall, which is along Interstate 610 loop, just south of U.S Highway 290 — about an 8-mile drive from downtown. The reason is that the environmental impact of taking a train through the neighborhoods that would be affected by the closing of that distance are too costly.

Houston’s METRORail doesn’t connect to Northwest Mall. According to Google, this is the public transportation option available for getting from there to downtown:

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Poll: How Far Will the Texas Rangers Go?

The Texas Rangers’ improbable season continues this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in Canada. (Do they even play baseball up there in that frozen wasteland?) They’re considered the underdogs in their best-of-five series against the Toronto Blue Jays for the right to advance to the American League Championship Series.

But the Rangers weren’t even supposed to make it this far, so what do you think will happen?

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Poll: Do Uber and Lyft Belong at D/FW Airport?

As Tim mentioned in Leading Off this morning, Dallas taxi operators have sued to prevent Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport from allowing drivers for app-based services like Uber and Lyft from picking up passengers there. Cabbies argue that “the entire culture that has developed at the airport taxicab queue is one based on the American dream.” By implication, D/FW officials hate the American dream.

What do you think?

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Poll: Should Dallas Consider Raising the Minimum Wage?

This week, as Rudolph Bush notes, the Dallas City Council will have a discussion about whether vendors on city contracts should be required to pay their employees a “living wage” of $10.25 per hour, rather than merely the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.

Meanwhile, other big cities in the United States have already set their own wage standards higher for all workers — including $10 in Chicago and $15 in Seattle. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is pushing for a $15 minimum nationally. But cost of living varies widely depending on where a person resides, so a higher federal standard would be only a little help in some places while overkill (killing jobs) in others.

Even so, if the City Council decides that those paid on city projects need to be better paid to support themselves and their families, why shouldn’t that same concern (if state law allowed it) extend to everyone who works within the city’s limits?

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Poll: Should We Stop Honoring the Confederacy?

A memorial to Confederate soldiers was vandalized over the weekend in Denton, sparking another conversation about whether in 2015 we should continue to honor those who fought in open rebellion against the United States. What do you think?

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