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Making Dallas Even Better

Irving and Dallas Feud Over Cypress Waters

Despite today’s aforementioned rah-rah cries of regionalism, it would appear that what’s good for Dallas isn’t necessarily good for Irving, and vice versa.

NBC 5 reports on a “feud” (Side Note: How dumb are NBC 5 viewers?) between Dallas and Irving over which city will provide utility and fire service to the Cypress Waters development that sits in that island territory of the city of Dallas around North Lake, into which the Dallas City Council last week bribed Zale Corp. to move its headquarters:

“Governments need to work together,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. “We’ve got to be able to break down silos and say what’s good for citizens of Irving and what’s good for citizens of Dallas.”

Rawlings said Irving would be paid a fair rate by Dallas for its services. But Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne says it’s not enough:

“We fully understand being regional and we’re supportive of that,” she said. “We just want to be sure that we have the resources to take care of our own residents.”

Van Duyne swears the fact that Zale will be moving out of Irving when it goes to Cypress Waters has nothing to do with her objections.

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The Triumph of Dallas-Fort Worth Regionalism

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is following a group of about 100 leaders from the Atlanta metropolitan area who are in North Texas this week to see how we do business. Mayor Mike Rawlings addressed them last night at the Nasher:

“I’m a competitive guy – I played football,” said Rawlings. “And you are my main competition.”

He also made it clear he can make the argument that in the tussle between the two, he thinks the upper hand belongs to the 6.7 million person metro region known as DFW – for Dallas-Ft. Worth.

“We are basically one market now and DFW is the fourth-largest in market in the United States,” he said. “There’s New York, Los Angeles and Chicago and then there’s DFW.”

Earlier they’d met Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, who told them “What is good for Fort Worth is good for Dallas, and vice versa.” And during that same visit:

Much of the change in Dallas and Fort Worth is a bow to reality, said Mike Eastland, executive director of the North Central Texas Council of Governments. “The world has forced us to act regionally.”

Leading Off (5/4/16)

Ciao, Ted Cruz. Your senator, the man whose father, a Carrollton preacher, believed that God himself ordained his son’s White House bid, lost the Indiana primary to Donald Trump yesterday, prompting Cruz to withdraw from the race for the Republican nomination. Cruz’s announcement came in the form of an insult-laden speech (Update: this particular speech came earlier in the day. H/T: the comments) in which Cruz called Trump a “pathological liar” and “utterly amoral.” That kind of language feels tame in an election year that has also seen Cruz compared to “Lucifer” and Trump accusing Cruz’s dad of involvement in the JFK assassination. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, one of the many intellectual luminaries who occupy positions of power in state government, suggested Trump nominate Cruz to the Supreme Court. At this point, you could follow the rest of the 2016 election year, or you could just watch Robert Altman’s Nashville on repeat. Your choice.

The Mayor Thinks He’s Helping Dallas Grow South. During a Grow South update, regional marketer-in-chief Mike Rawlings gave his southern Dallas development initiative straight A’s, but also admitted that he wished Grow South could happen faster, better, and cheaper. I read about his perceived accomplishments, thought about the people who actually helped realize many of them, and wondered if what makes Mike Rawlings a poor mayor is the precisely the fact that he thinks of mayoring in terms of “faster,” better,” and “cheaper.” Does our mayor have the patience, vision, or political seriousness to actual plant seeds of substantial change in the impoverished, historically segregated city south of I-30? Or, as a developer rather acutely commented to me recently, is he merely “a quarterly returns guy?”

Susan Hawk Back in the Hot Seat. The DA’s department is under fire once again after an innocent man accused of heinous crimes and sent to prison for two years may have been convicted because prosecutors deliberately withheld evidence.

Suspect in Gruesome Church Murder Still At Large. Police in Midlothian are looking for help identifying a man caught on surveillance camera at Creekside Church of Christ on April 18. He was wearing a black helmet, balaclava, and vest with the word “police” on it, and he is seen brandishing a hammer and breaking windows while going through an office. Moments after the footage was taken, a fitness instructor arriving for an early morning class was bludgeoned to death.

Southlake Murder-For-Hire Trial Continues to Shed Light on Drug Cartel’s Inner Workings. The murder was cold, methodical, and it wasn’t supposed to happen in Southlake.

Time to Pine for Seguin. It’s not just that the Blues are up 2-1, it’s that after a gutsy comeback in a game 2 they eventually lost, the Stars fell to pieces in a 6-1 rout in St. Louis last night. Prediction: the Stars somehow scrape together a few wins and force a game seven. Then, a still half-injured Tyler Seguin enters the game in overtime and scores a goal that is likened to the hockey version of Kirk Gibson’s walk-off.

Burger Baron Jack Keller Dead at 88. “The secret of this business,” Keller told the Dallas Morning News last year, “is a good, consistent product, year in and year out, at a reasonable price.” Keller delivered that product at his classic, throw-back burger joint on Northwest Highway for 50-plus years. R.I.P.

Don’t Worry, There is Hope and Goodness in the World. Watch a motorcycle cop rescue a stray dog caught in traffic on I-30, and read about the dogs that were rescued from a Korean dog-meat farm that are now safe in a Dallas shelter.

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City Council Gives Zale Corp. $450K to Sort-of Move to Dallas

The Dallas City Council just voted this morning to grant Zale Corporation up to $450,000 to move out of Irving. Luring a corporate headquarters to town is generally considered an accomplishment worth crowing about, but take a look (above) at where the company plans to build its new $45 million complex.

The dark gray line represents the city limits. You can see on the map that Zale’s plan is to move just a couple miles away to the little island territory of Dallas around North Lake, as part of the Cypress Waters development. It’s an area even farther from the center of Dallas than is Zale’s existing headquarters. Some of you may not even have realized that land was part of the city. It was annexed back in the 1950s when Dallas Power and Light (which became TXU) needed a cooling reservoir for a new electric plant.

In return for the city’s largesse, staff members estimate the economic impact to the city of $11.3 million over 10 years. Outlaying $450,000 for a return of $11.3 million obviously seems like a no-brainer.

However, when Councilman Mark Clayton probed for more information about the estimate during the council’s discussion period, it was disclosed that only about $800,00 would come back to the city as direct tax revenue. The vast majority of that $11.3 million is based on estimating the impact of the hundreds of new employees that will, according to the underlying logic, come to live, work, and play in Dallas (spending money all along the way).

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AT&T’s Q1: Highlights From the Latest Earnings Call

AT&T Inc. beat analysts estimates during its first quarter, when it also experienced a rise in revenue due to the DirecTV acquisition. The quarter represented the fourth straight quarter of double digit growth for adjusted earnings per share. During the earnings call, the company announced video streaming services, updated investors on DirecTV cost efficiencies and progress in Mexico, and discussed its transition to becoming a software-defined network.

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No One Is Drilling in the Barnett Shale

The Star-Telegram reported on natural-gas industry data that shows that there are no active rigs drilling anywhere in the two-dozen county region of North Texas under which the Barnett Shale formation sits. A decade ago, there were nearly 200:

Plummeting oil and gas prices, along with the seductive lure of bigger payouts in other parts of Texas and across the country, have brought exploration in North Texas to a halt. In March of last year, the count dropped to one rig for a week, then stayed under 10 since then.

Things have gotten so bad that the Powell Shale Digest in Fort Worth, once a must-read for those following industry activity in the Barnett, is publishing its last edition on Tuesday.

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Forget About Buying a New Home Under $200K in North Texas

Citing a report by housing-market data service Metrostudy, HousingWire says anyone looking for a brand-new starter home for under $200,000 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is out of luck:

“First-quarter starts data presents further evidence of Dallas-Ft. Worth’s market shift in price,” said Paige Shipp, regional director of Metrostudy’s Dallas office. “Historically, most of DFW’s starts and closings occurred below $200,000. The new normal reflects a meteoric rise in starts above $200,000.”

According to Shipp, housing starts to be priced between $300,000 and $349,999 jumped 81.2%, which is almost twice the increase in closings.

On the other hand, starts below $200,000 dropped 14.6% from last year and closings plummeted 31%, Shipp said.

And Shipp said that there’s not much hope on the horizon for those looking for a new home priced under $200,000.

“Due to rapidly rising land and development costs, developers argue there is little hope for the revival of the sub-$200,000 new-home market,” Shipp added. “This will remain an issue until municipalities, developers and builders understand and deliver higher-density lots and smaller homes to the market.”

Author: Glass Ceiling Won’t Shatter Until Men are Caregivers, Too

Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas Republican, is a big fan of Anne-Marie Slaughter, who’s written a new book about attaining “true equality” between women and men, including in the workplace. The author “has given us a blueprint for the future in which women truly have freedom to choose,” Hutchison wrote in a […]

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Why TV Networks Love the Dallas Cowboys

Here’s Ad Age on why your Dallas Cowboys — a team that finished a lousy 4-12 last season — are set to have 11 of their 16 games this fall broadcast nationally, including five in primetime:

“America’s Team” last season still managed to reach a massive TV audience. According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Dallas over the course of its 11 national games averaged 24 million viewers and a 13.5 household rating, making it the No. 2 draw behind the Green Bay Packers. During their own 11-game stretch, Aaron Rodgers and Co. delivered 24.4 million viewers and a 13.8 household rating, offering further evidence that (in the NFL, at least) the size of one’s home market has no bearing on one’s national footprint. (With a reach of just 433,860 TV homes, 68th-ranked Green Bay-Appleton is the NFL’s smallest DMA.)

The meeting of the league’s two biggest ratings dynamos is obviously good for business, and securing a rare rematch of last year’s Cowboys-Packers game was a top priority for Fox.

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Kinky Friedman Brings His Irreverent Satire to The Lodge

It was an eclectic group that gathered at The Lodge last night to mark the establishment’s 20th anniversary with a special appearance by Kinky Friedman, the iconic, irreverent Jewish Texan singer/songwriter/novelist and sometime political candidate. There in a private back room at the “classy gentlemen’s” club were people like the Lodge founder and CEO Dawn Rizos, Robert Wilonsky and Gromer Jeffers Jr. from The Dallas Morning News, The Ticket’s Mike Rhyner, and Ruth Buzzi. Ruth Buzzi, the Laugh-In lady who’d whack the old man with her purse? Yep; turns out she and her husband Kent Perkins are old friends of Friedman’s, and often put him up at their ranch near Stephenville. It’s a good thing all these people in the private room understood and appreciated Kinky’s offbeat brand of satirical humor, because some people at the upscale strip club didn’t.

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Fed Says Oil Decline Won’t Create Another Dallas Banking Bust

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has released a collection of essays — called “After the Boom” — that look at the effects of the oil price decline of the last year on various segments of the economy, including housing and banking.

Bottom line for Dallas is that with Texas’ more diverse economy, and with Dallas less energy-industry dependent than other cities like Houston, today’s relatively low oil prices will likely slow things down a bit but shouldn’t blow up into a full-on bust. Yes, we’ve talked about this before.

Furthermore, much as D CEO argued last year, structural changes that occurred following the painful, oil-collapse-driven banking crisis of the 1980s will prevent that the local financial industry from falling apart:

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