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Making Dallas Even Better

Dallas 500 Quiz 2: A Shot at Redemption

If you totally bombed our first Dallas 500 quiz, don’t feel bad. Only a few members of the D CEO team got more than three questions right—and we produced the special edition. (Who knew that oil baron Malone Mitchell once won a Betty Crocker award for homemaking?! There. We’ve just given you a “gimme” if you retake the first quiz.)

Redemption can be had with this second quiz of Dallas 500 fun facts. Take the quiz below.

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Can Dallas Really Escape the Downside of Lower Oil Prices?

As Jason mentioned this morning, Mayor Rawlings apparently agrees with the conventional wisdom that plummeting oil prices aren’t all that worrisome for Dallas because we’re more diversified now, etc., etc. (Hey, that’s Houston’s problem.) But, the reality may be more sobering. Some of Big D’s leading business people—the ones who buy the Chanel handbags and the private jets and the weekend ranches and pony up tens of thousands of dollars for soup kitchens and inner-city education—made piles of dough off the shale boom, either directly or through investments. Now they’re either tightening their belts or at least starting to get jittery.

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Leading Off (1/15/16)

DISD Could Save Millions Consolidating Offices. Dallas school trustees were told Thursday that there’s big savings to be gained by bringing together under one roof operations now scattered among two dozen buildings. Three options for doing so were discussed, with the Nolan Estes Plaza site on Beckley Avenue looking like the most feasible. The cost of the proposed project would be $71.1 million, but the district stands to save $5 million-$7 million per year with the changes.

Truck Driver Killed in Train Collision. None of the 44 Amtrak passengers who were involved suffered serious injuries, but the man at the wheel of a rock hauler that was on the tracks by Scyene Road near Mesquite Metro Airport died Thursday afternoon.

Plano Mom Sued Over Loud Kids. Kelly Counts set up a playhouse for her four children in her backyard, only to have a neighboring couple file a lawsuit claiming that the noisy kids have upset their tranquil way of life. The neighbors are demanding that the playhouse be removed and have begun playing loud music with raunchy lyrics to drown out the sounds from next door. In response, the Counts family has filed its own lawsuit to stop the less-than-family-friendly tunes.

Dallas Income Gap Growing. A new study by the Brookings Institution has found that the income disparity ratio between the 95th percentile ($220,000 per year) and the 20th percentile ($18,000) in Dallas is 12.2 (by this measure, then, the rich earn more than 12 times what the working poor do). That’s the 17th-greatest gap among cities in the country. It’s also a greater difference than is found in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as a whole, where the 95th percentile is only $174,000 while the 20th percentile earns about $21,000. That’s a ratio of 8.3. Nationwide, incomes among poorer households remain 13 percent lower than they were prior to the 2007-2009 recession. These numbers further justify the concerns Mayor Mike Rawlings expressed to Bloomberg this week.

Mayor Rawlings Tells Bloomberg Oil’s Drop Doesn’t Worry Dallas, But Poverty Rate Does

Yesterday Mayor Mike Rawlings sat for an interview with Bloomberg. He described himself as a “middle-of-the-road” leader in terms of where he falls on the left-right political spectrum and boasted (as it’s one of his chief duties to do) about the “very good” state of the Dallas economy.

He was careful to draw a distinction between the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area and the city itself, underlining that each of the positive indicators he was citing was related to what’s happening strictly within the municipal boundaries. Apparently he’s heard the complaints about his office’s past conflation of the two.

Rawlings explained that, unlike much of the rest of Texas, Dallas’ more diversified economy protects it somewhat from the precipitous drop in oil prices. It’s the city’s unenviable spot on the list of big cities with high childhood poverty rates and poor economic mobility that concerns him more.

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Dallas 500 Q&A: Tim Love, Lonesome Dove

Tim Love is the chef and owner of beloved restaurants like Lonesome Dove, Queenie’s, and Love Shack. Today his empire has grown to employ more than 350. Love, who’s also the host of CNBC’s “Restaurant Startup” program, just announced an Italian pop-up in Fort Worth called Ufficio. Later this month, he’ll host the first of a four-part dinner series there.

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Leading Off (1/14/16)

Powerball winners in California, Florida, and Tennessee. Sad news for everyone who bought tickets—for the biggest jackpot in world lottery history—in Texas. The winning ticket in California was sold at a 7-Eleven in Chino Hills. Better luck next time, Dallas.

Charter school vote delayed. Yesterday, Dallas City Council members decided to wait another two weeks before voting on whether to approve a new charter school in southern Dallas. Some are concerned that it would take funding and students away from DISD.

$2.4 million granted to redevelop Southwest Center Mall. The City Council did make a decision yesterday, however, and that is to give $2.4 million to aid in the revamping of Southwest Center Mall in the city’s Red Bird neighborhood. Mall owner Peter Brodsky will need to spend $15 million on the mall’s facelift by 2019.

CEO of North Texas Commission moving to H-E-B and Central Market. Mabrie Jackson, president and CEO of the North Texas Commission, will make the switch to North Texas public affairs and community outreach for H-E-B and Central Market on March 1. Perhaps H-E-B is ready to open stores in the Dallas area.

Event Aims to Inspire DISD Students to Attend College

When sophomores and juniors from eight Dallas high schools turned up for a College and Career Fair at The University of Texas at Dallas Wednesday morning, there was plenty of rah-rah as the students entered the school gym through a gauntlet of UTD cheerleaders and red-jacketed City Year members clapping encouragement. But according to Dallas […]

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Airbnb Ranks Oak Lawn One of World’s Trendiest Neighborhoods in 2016

Short-term lodging service Airbnb last week put out a list of the “Top 16 Trending Neighborhoods on Airbnb in 2016.” It’s based on how much growth the site saw in bookings to those neighborhoods during 2015. The top finisher was Chūō-ku in Osaka, Japan, which accommodated 7,000 percent more travelers through Airbnb than it had the previous year.

I was surprised to find I have a personal connection to three of the 16. I lived in District VII of Budapest, Hungary, during one semester of college. I worked in the Richmond area of Melbourne, Australia, for a brief time to help finance a backpacking trip around that country. And I resided in a duplex in Dallas’ Oak Lawn for more than nine years.

That’s right: Of all the neighborhoods in all the world, Oak Lawn is the 11th-trendiest in Airbnb’s reckoning, boasting 260-percent growth in visitors. Only it’s probably not the Oak Lawn you’re thinking of. Look at the results you get when you filter for “Oak Lawn” on Airbnb’s map:

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Sam Wyly Considered Renouncing U.S. Citizenship

Dallas (former?) billionaire Sam Wyly is in the midst of a bankruptcy trial in U.S. District Court. He and his sister-in-law Dee declared bankruptcy in 2014 after a judge found Sam and his late brother Charles liable to the tune of $229 million for federal securities violations involving offshore trusts.

The headlining revelation from today’s hearing in the case is that Wyly considered giving up his U.S. citizenship in the hopes of avoiding tax obligations:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Holly Church started her cross-examination of Sam Wyly on Monday by reminding the witness that he testified last week how much he loves America and even cited the Boy Scout oath and its loyalty pledge to the country.

“Isn’t it true that you considered renouncing your citizenship?” Church asked.

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Forest Park Medical Center: More Like Krispy Kreme, or a ‘Gold-plated House of Popsicle Sticks’?

After writing about it for our business magazine and online for D Healthcare Daily, which he edits, D CEO Senior Editor Matt Goodman has become the go-to guy for reporting on the head-spinning collapse of the Forest Park Medical Center chain. Now Matt’s insights have been tapped by Lauren Silverman at KERA News, which ran a good synopsis of the luxury-hospital fiasco this week.

Likening once-fast-growing Forest Park to a “gold-plated house of Popsicle sticks,” Silverman quotes a Minnesota healthcare analyst who says the chain’s meltdown reminded him of what happened after Krispy Kreme opened several stores in the Twin Cities: “There was a huge amount of buzz, there were reports about cars lining up blocks long to get Krispy Kreme donuts and after a few months the excitement died out, [and] within about two years, all four stores had closed.”

6 Dallas-Fort Worth Real Estate Stories to Watch in 2016

Dallas-Fort Worth was recently selected by the Urban Land Institute and PWC as the country’s No. 1 real estate market for 2016. The highly respected ranking is based on expected performance in investment, development, and homebuilding. It credits DFW’s impressive employment growth for the market’s rise to the top—growth that’s supported by a business-friendly environment and attractive cost of doing business and cost of living.

The outlook for North Texas in 2016 is strong across all property types, in both investment and development potential. So, where do the greatest opportunities lie? Over at D Real Estate Daily, we’ve come out with our list of six things to watch this year.

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Quiz: How Well Do You Know DFW’s Business Elite?

You may have heard about our newest publication, the Dallas 500. Produced by the editors of D CEO (after months of research and hundreds of interviews), it includes insider tidbits about the most powerful business leaders in North Texas.

Over the next few weeks, we’re giving you the chance to test your knowledge about these movers and shakers.

Take the quiz below.

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Leading Off (1/6/16)

Two of Susan Hawk’s Former Top Employees Join Effort to Oust DA. The legal effort to oust Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk got a boost yesterday when two of her former top lawyers filed sworn affidavits that outlined her “bizarre behavior” and characterized her tenure as “paranoid and erratic.” The affidavits say the two lawyers even considered contacting the governor about their boss, a public official whose pupils sometimes “did not respond to light.”

Wyly Family Head to Court Today For Mega Bankruptcy Trial. Now that he has unloaded his personal art collection in a record-breaking sale, billionaire entrepreneur Sam Wyly and his sister-in-law Dee Wyly head to court today to begin what is shaping up to be one epic bankruptcy proceeding. Besides the high stakes – the Wylys are accused of owing $2 billion in back taxes, penalties and interest for hiding income in offshore trusts in the Isle of Man – the trial is expected to be incredibly long for a bankruptcy case (the judge has set aside four weeks). The IRS will introduce 1,270 exhibits in their effort to prove that Sam and his late-brother Charles masterminded one of the largest tax frauds in U.S. history.

Obama’s Gun Sale Surge. The president’s executive action on gun control has prompted a rush on gun stores, which have been selling weapons and ammunition like hot cakes according to a store owner in Garland.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly in Dallas Sports. Deron Williams hit a buzzer beater in the second overtime to push the Mavs over the Kings, and slumping superstars Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn were benched for the last 12 minutes of the skidding Dallas Stars’ loss to the New York Rangers. And here’s the latest solution to end the Cowboys’ misery from Jerry Jones, perhaps the greatest mind in the history of professional football general managers: “We need to draft another Troy Aikman.”

Why Are We Even Talking About a New East-West Highway Through Dallas?

Yesterday’s news that General Motors has invested $500 million in the mustachioed ride-sharing service Lyft, with plans for the building of a fleet of self-driving cars, is yet another sign of the massive transformation under way in America’s transportation systems.

As Goldman Sachs noted in a report last year, only 15 percent of Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000, the largest generation in our country’s history) consider it “extremely important” to own a car. Fully 30 percent of this cohort say they have no plans to buy a car in the near future. They are far more comfortable than pre-Reagan Era folks are with the “sharing economy.” They’re happy to rely on services like Lyft and Uber (as well as public transit) to get around.

GM isn’t the first automaker to read these tea leaves. BMW is behind car-sharing service DriveNow and Daimler AG has Car2Go.

So why is the North Central Texas Council of Governments continuing to operate as if its past assumptions about the growth of vehicle traffic on our roads remain valid? Isn’t talk about the need for a new east-west highway across Dallas ignoring important evidence?

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