Find a back issue

A Less Than Objective Recap of the Festival of Ideas

On Saturday, I, along with 700 or so other people, slipped and skidded my way to the Arts District for the Dallas Institute and DMN’s Dallas Festival of Ideas. Because of ice, snow, and everything else Mother Nature threw at us last week, the conference went from a $90, two-day extravaganza to a free-to-all afternoon of talks (what it should have been in the beginning).

Full Story

Schutze Was at a Very Different DISD Meeting Than Was the Morning News

Do you know why it’s unfortunate that print media revenue is falling and online media revenue is a pie split so many different ways as to make it difficult to fund any sizable news-gathering operation? Do you know why it’s a shame that we live in an age where most cities, including Dallas, have one only one daily newspaper?

If you don’t, then I point you to Jim Schutze’s take on the same Dallas ISD board meeting that I mentioned (linking to a Dallas Morning News story) in this morning’s “Leading Off.” The Unfair Park account of what occurred is so different from the perspective offered by DMN reporters Tawnell Hobbs and Matthew Haag that I might believe you if you told me they had been filed from parallel universes:

Full Story

Trammell Crow Visits D Magazine’s EarBurner Podcast, Episode 2

Not that Trammell Crow, the other one. Trammell S. Crow, the real estate scion and the force behind Earth Day Texas. He was good enough to bring his posse to the Old Monk to chat with Tim Rogers and Zac Crain about the event that’s planned for the last weekend of April in Fair Park.

But don’t hit the snooze button just yet. Crow is an odd duck who doesn’t fit into all the usual stereotypes of a Dallas rich guy. It’s a fun conversation, even if Tim neglects to introduce himself and Zac at the outset.

Before I leave you to it, a couple of corrections:

Full Story

Leading Off (2/27/15)

Winter Is (Still) Coming. The forecast calls for snow this morning, freezing rain tomorrow.

Trustees Interrogate Dallas ISD Staff on Hiring. For more than three hours the board put questions to administrators over whether they told the truth about the purpose of $6.4 million approved in October for the hiring of teachers. Some believed the superintendent’s explanation, some did not.

And the Hits Keep Coming For DISD. The Morning News reports that Texas Education Agency investigators found 60 district employees had not been fingerprinted and that an additional 120 had been fingerprinted but not in the correct way. Proper fingerprinting is necessary to conduct criminal background checks. Furthermore, according to the TEA report, Superintendent Mike Miles submitted a statement saying that DISD was in compliance with fingerprinting requirements even though an internal district audit had indicated otherwise.

Lancaster Police Release Report on Dez Bryant Incident. Rumors of an incriminating video featuring the Dallas Cowboys receiver led to media requests for information about what happened in that Walmart parking lot in 2011. According to the cops, there was no offense committed, and they have no video of what occurred. Could there be any less news in this news?

Mockingbird Pedestrian Bridge May Finally Get Built. The project, providing a path for pedestrians and cyclists over the six-lane street, is a key link in the plan to extend the Katy Trail. City officials have said construction should begin this fall.

Congressman Pushes For Chris Kyle to Get Medal of Honor. Republican Roger Williams of Cleburne introduced a bill Thursday proposing the late American Sniper receive the prestigious award for his Iraq War exploits. He’s probably got a better shot at this than he did the Best Picture Oscar, anyway.

Full Story

Leading Off (2/26/15)

Council Essentially Closes Officeholder Account Loophole. City code limits how much an individual donor can give to a candidate for office — $1,000 for council elections, $5,000 if you’re running for mayor. But incumbents have access to an officeholder account which 1) has no limit and 2) could basically be used for anything, including their re-election campaigns. After mayoral candidate Marcos Ronquillo pointed out how unfair this is, the council decided to take a look at it, and yesterday voted that only $100 of officeholder account funds could be used on a campaign. You know what that means? PIZZA PARTY.

Shorthanded Mavs Lose to Atlanta. Playing the Eastern Conference-leading Hawks would be tough under normal conditions. The Mavs had to do it on the road, on the second game of a back-to-back, after weird weather-related travel conditions, and with only 11 players, since the law firm is injured, Amar’e Stoudemire doesn’t really play back-to-backs, and Rajon Rondo was suspended for one game after his dust-up with Rick Carlisle. So, even after a hot start, it wasn’t terribly surprising that the Mavs lost by 17. The only winner in all this: ESPN Dallas’ Tim McMahon, who everyone in the country now knows.

FBI Looking For The “Cookie Bandits.” That’s what they’re calling the group of robbers suspected of holding up as many as 30 businesses across North Texas. Not bad, as a far as names go, but I’m wondering why we always have to be tied to the word “bandit” in these monikers. It’s always the Yellow Hat Bandit or the Flip-Flop Bandit or the Body Odor Bandit or something. I mean, that’s fine, but it’s also limiting. “FBI Looking For the Cookie Monsters.” I’m checking out that story every single time.

“Dez Bryant Appears to Respond to Speculation Over Alleged Video.” Come on, now. One more hedge word and we all fall into an infinite dreamscape of nothingness.

Full Story

Tracy Rowlett, Byron Harris Rip Bill O’Reilly’s Claim in 1970s Suicide Story

A disputed tale about his reporting days in Dallas could turn into a big problem for Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, who has the most-watched program on cable news. The story, as the host of “The O’Reilly Factor” has told it in his books including Killing Kennedy and Kennedy’s Last Days and on the Fox News Channel, occurred during his stint as a reporter for WFAA Channel 8 in the 1970s. Reporting on a figure in the investigation into the John F. Kennedy assassination named George de Mohrenschildt—a Russian emigre who’d befriended Lee Harvey Oswald—O’Reilly claimed that he was standing outside the house in Palm Beach, Florida, where, and when, de Mohrenschildt apparently killed himself with a shotgun blast one day in March of 1977. Wrote O’Reilly: “As I knocked on the door, I heard a shotgun blast. He had killed himself.”

Full Story

Leading Off (2/25/15)

Eddie Ray Routh Convicted of Murdering Chris Kyle. The jury in Stephenville found him guilty as charged last night. Kyle’s wife, Taya, left the court during closing arguments and wasn’t present for the verdict. Routh will spend the rest of his life in prison. Expect video and audio from the trial to be released soon.

Wintry Mix Sux. More than one area child woke up this morning and said, “Where the heck is my 2 to 4 inches of snow? Huh, Pete Delkus?! It’s falling now, but it ain’t stickin.

Mysterious Booms Remain Mysterious. Yesterday what sounded like a series of bomb explosions were heard from Grand Prairie to Southlake. No one is certain what caused the noises, but the leading contender is demolition activity at a National Semiconductor plant in Arlington.

Southwest Airlines Grounds 128 Uninspected Planes. About 90 flights were canceled yesterday. The FAA says it’s working with both Southwest and Boeing “to evaluate a proposal that would allow the airline to continue flying the planes until the inspections are completed over the next few days.”

Fort Worth Didn’t Disinfect Drinking Water Last Week. The city has been cited by The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which is a thing. About a quarter of the water processed during a 24-hour period didn’t meet required standards.

Rajon Rondo Benched. The Mavs beat the Raptors last night, but the did it without the services of Rondo for the last 20 minutes of play. Rick Carlisle benched him after a “profanity-laced shouting match” about play-calling duties. At one point, an assistant coach had to step between the two men to keep them from yelling in each other’s faces. Instant analysis: this isn’t good.

Full Story

Ask John Neely Bryan: Why Is Love Field Called Love Field?

Question: Where does “Love” in Love Field come from? — George L.

Sir, I am tremendously pleased to have received your query, as it affords the opportunity to hold forth upon another of the great injustices and absurdities of Dallas history.

Full Story

First Look At Flora Lofts, Now Part of 29-Story Arts District High Rise

Back in 2013, Peter wrote about the Bob Meckfessel-led La Reunion TX proposal for 39 affordable artist lofts in the Arts District, built on the site of the parking lot next to Museum Tower on Flora Street. At the time of the proposal, the going rate for those lofts would be $360 to $790 each, and the artists would have to apply and meet certain income standards.

Full Story

Is It Time For DART to Seek New Sources of Funding?

The big, elephant-in-the-room problem with DART is funding. DART’s main funding source is sales tax revenue, and it increases sales tax revenue by taking on additional communities to pay into the pot. Add a suburb, increase your earnings. The problem is that the suburbs start demanding some return for their payment, as well they should. The other problem, as DART has been struggling with of late, is that you eventually run out of suburbs, especially when you fail to deliver on the promises you made to get the first round of ‘burbs to enter your funding pool. And so what you end up with is a system that is pre-designed by its financial model to be spread out and increasingly more expensive to operate, while simultaneously under-delivering on the services you’re set up to provide. It’s not a very good business model. In fact, it looks a hell of a lot like a Ponzi scheme.

Full Story

ESPN’s Interview With the Von Erichs Airs Friday

According to Kevin Von Erich on Twitter, ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 interview with the famous Texas wrestling family, which has been in the works for at least a year, will see the light.

Prior to catching that on SportsCenter, re-visit the magazine’s 1988 cover story about the Von Erichs’ professional triumphs and personal tragedies.

Full Story

Leading Off (2/24/15)

Yesterday Was a Mess, Today Isn’t Much Better, and Snow Is on the Way. There were hundreds of accidents on the roads yesterday. An American Airlines plane even slid off a taxiway at DFW. Today, as you already know if you have kids, most school districts are again closed. Then more fun: a winter storm watch kicks in at midnight. We’re looking at 2 to 4 inches of snow come Wednesday morning. So yeah. Enjoy all that family time. Hope you stocked up on booze and Netflix.

Developer Cancels Plans for Indoor Ski Resort in Grand Prairie. Details are sketchy, but the $215 million planned Grand Alps Resort and Hard Rock Hotel has pulled out of Grand Prairie. But don’t fret, folks. The developer says they are just looking for another spot in North Texas. Oh, and the $3.5 billion DreamVision Mountain DreamScape Texas is still planned for Fort Worth. It’ll have indoor skiing. So you’ll be able to ski inside in North Texas soon enough, probably.

Ron Washington Can’t Get a Job in the Majors. The Baton Rouge Advocate caught up with the former Rangers skipper. He says he has contacted some teams about getting work but hasn’t gotten a response from them. “This is the first time I haven’t been at a spring training since I left high school [in 1970],” Washington told the paper. “I’m dealing with each and every day trying to find peace with being out of the game right now and just enjoy my family.”

Three DISD Trustees Call for Meeting To Discuss Firing Mike Miles. Can you guess the three?

Terri Hodge Is Back in Politics. In 2010, she was caught up in the Don Hill investigation and admitted to federal income tax evasion, a felony. She’s out of prison now. And she’s working for U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, the woman who essentially stole money from her poor constituents and funneled it to her own grandchildren and nephews. Simply amazing.

Full Story

SAGA Pod / Learning Curve with City Councilman Philip Kingston

Shy, quiet District 14 Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston stops by world SAGA pod headquarters to discuss his ongoing opposition to the Trinity toll road — including, but not limited to, bashing the mayor and his “dream team” of architects and urban planners. We also discuss the new PAC co-founded by D Magazine Group chairman and D Magazine publisher Wick Allison, and its efforts to back politicians for city council who support restoration of urban neighborhoods by replacing and rerouting I-345 and I-30*. We then touch on what the city could learn from DISD and its comprehensive plan. And, oh yeah — we talk about Kingston getting kicked out of […]

Full Story