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Making Dallas Even Better

The Business of Wikipedia: How Jimmy Wales Built the Free Encyclopedia

As the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales created what has become the modern day encyclopedia for a generation of Millennials. While it attracts billions of visitors every month and has become the fifth most visited website in the world, there’s one thing it’s not. “As a business, it’s a pretty terrible,” Wales said, adding that the site is financially backed by the nonprofit the Wikimedia Foundation. “It exists based on donations.”

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Dallas City Council Approves $3 Million to Lure Costco

After a long debate during which nearly every member of the Dallas City Council expressed a desire to do more to help underdeveloped southern Dallas, a 10-5 vote granted $3 million to multi-billion-dollar big-box retailer Costco to bring a new store to North Dallas.

The discussion centered on whether the city’s finite economic development resources should be spent on recruiting Costco to its proposed site along Coit Road near the High Five interchange, which is hardly in the sort of “food deserts” found in other parts of the city.

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Sam Wyly Committed Tax Fraud, May Owe IRS $1.4 Billion

A bankruptcy-court judge yesterday found that Dallas former-billionaire Sam Wyly and his late brother Charles committed tax fraud by putting more than $1 billion in trusts in the Isle of Man in the 1990s.

Wyly filed for bankruptcy protection in 2014, after he and Charles were found liable for $299 million in damages for federal securities violations involving the same trusts. Joseph Guinto wrote in D Magazine about the potential problems for the Wylys ahead of the SEC trial in 2013.

In the October 2015 issue of D CEO, John Browning described what was unusual about the Wylys’ bankruptcy strategy:

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AT&T Expands Gigabit Speeds to Business Customers

AT&T has increased its speeds with its business fiber service. The offering now gives Dallas businesses upload speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. The speeds allow businesses to download 8,000 word processing documents in 1 second, download a two-hour high definition video in 36 seconds, and backup or restore a 1 terabyte hard drive in two and half hours.

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Poll: Should Dallas Pay Costco For a Store?

Tomorrow the Dallas City Council will consider giving $3 million to Costco in exchange for the store setting up shop — and bringing about 175 jobs — to a tract of land along Coit Road near the interchange between LBJ Freeway and Central Expressway.

The Economic Development Committee last week signed off on the payments to be made from the city’s Public/Private Partnership Funds. Some on the council question whether a multibillion-dollar company really needs this sort of government handout in order to make its business in the city viable.

What do you think?

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Leading Off (5/10/16)

Southern Dallas woman who was mauled by dogs has died. 52-year-old Antoinette Brown was mauled on Rutledge Street by a pack of dogs on May 2 and was bitten more than 100 times. She died last night after being removed from life support. This truly horrific attack is yet another indicator that Dallas needs to get its loose-dog problem under control.

Continental avenue bridge might actually be renamed for ron kirk. The proposal to name the Continental Avenue bridge for former mayor Ron Kirk is getting closer to fruition. Yesterday, the City Council’s Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee voted (unanimously, no less) to bring the proposal to the entire council May 25.

Frisco woman has zika virus. She traveled outside the United States and has tested positive for the virus, which is spread by infected mosquitoes. This is the first confirmed case for Collin County, while Dallas County has had six confirmed cases this year. Zika’s most common symptoms include fever, joint pain, rash, and conjunctivitis.

Stars win to force game 7. They pulled out a 3-2 win against the Blues, which means Game 7 will actually happen. It will be the first Game 7 here at home since 2000 and the first overall Game 7 since 2007.

Queen Bey is flawless at Arlington show. I didn’t even attend, but that’s just a given. Seems like the Formation Tour is her best one yet.

T.D. Jakes Aiming to Bring His New Talk Show to Dallas—Eventually

Bishop T.D. Jakes won’t be taping his new daytime talk show in Dallas, at least in the beginning. But he says he hopes to bring the production from Los Angeles to his adopted hometown eventually, just as Oprah did her top-rated, long-running talk show from Chicago. Jakes’ secular program, which is scheduled to debut this fall in cities including Dallas, Atlanta, and Cleveland, will be produced and distributed by Tegna Inc. (formerly Gannett) unit Tegna Media and feature a mix of celebrities and “regular people,” Jakes said last week at a Dallas charity event. (Specifically, it was a pre-party at somebody’s house for Friday’s Genesis Women’s Shelter luncheon and featured a performance by C&W singer LeAnn Rimes.) Jakes’ hour-long syndicated show will be aired initially in markets covering “60 percent of the country,” he added. An author, pastor, businessman, and filmmaker, Jakes founded Dallas’ Potter’s House mega-church, which claims 30,000 members. The pastor also is said to have 5 million followers on social media.

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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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