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Making Dallas Even Better

The Convention Center That Ate Dallas

A couple of weeks ago, after reading that the taxpayer-funded Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau apparently wanted to lend us the letter “D” from their “DALLAS” logo to replace the City of Dallas’ existing letter “D” logo, I got to thinking once again about the outsized influence the DCVB wields over municipal affairs.

Late last year, after Philip Jones, the DCVB’s president, tossed out a plan to have taxpayers pay for a $300 million addition to the convention center, I took a look into the finances and found that it lost $37 million per year before debt service and $54 million after interest expense — amounts that were virtually identical to its losses prior to the opening of the half-billion-dollar city-owned Omni Convention Center Hotel in 2010 (one of the primary justifications for building the hotel was that it would drive more business to the convention center and stop its losses). Some of the most interesting observations, however, came from reader comments to my post. Former city council member and the executive director of the Dallas Arts District, Veletta Lill, made the following observations:

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Leading Off (8/26/15)

Why Hasn’t the Sheriff’s Department Released Tape of Jail Death?
It never ever looks good when someone dies in police custody, and the moment is captured on camera, and the police don’t swiftly release the video. It always looks like a cover-up. A combination of sympathetic strangers and Joseph Hutchinson’s family are asking Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez why they still haven’t seen video of Hutchinson’s death — after he ran into the jail asking officers for help — despite the fact that it was reportedly caught on seven cameras.

Home Prices Went Up, Again. This time it was 8.2 percent in June. Only Denver and San Francisco had bigger numbers. Luckily, all markets are always stable all the time.

Orlando Scandrick Might Be Out for the Season. He’s been the best defensive back the Cowboys have had over the last few seasons. Yesterday in practice he planted, heard a pop, then fell to the ground screaming that he’d torn his ACL. Not good. Let’s hope he feels better soon, too.

Podcast: Basketball Legend Nancy Lieberman on Her New Gig With the Sacramento Kings

Widely regarded as the greatest female basketball player ever, Nancy Lieberman stopped by the Old Monk to talk with Tim and Zac about her long and varied career on the court, as a coach, as a broadcaster, and as a mom. Lieberman’s about to start her new gig as an assistant coach for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

Notes to inform your listening experience:

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Leading Off (8/14/15)

Police and Fire Pension Fund Faces FBI Inquiry. More precisely, Brett Shipp of WFAA reported that G-Men have “made contact with” members of the organization’s board and staff, but he’s doesn’t know the nature of the investigation.

DART, Dallas Weigh 2nd Downtown Line. A decision is expected soon about the city’s and transit agency’s preferred second downtown light-rail route. Ten options remain under consideration, with all of those running to, or near, the existing Convention Center station. Cost of construction could run between $493 million and $1.1 billion, depending on which route it chosen. Recently, over on StreetSmart, Patrick Kennedy indicated his preference for Alternative 3C, though he’s also sympathetic to those who wish the city was ready to put a subway below Commerce Street.

Cowboys Drop Preseason Opener. The San Diego Chargers defeated Dallas in the first official practice game of the new season, by a score of 17-7. I’m sure the city’s call-in sports radio hosts and guests are being cautious and measured in their responses to the meaningless outcome.

Dallas Ranks High For Cop-INduced Fatalities. That’s according to a Chicago-based group that looked at data for the years 2010-2014 and concluded that only the cities of Phoenix and Philadelphia saw more deaths per capita at the hands of police during that period. Dallas officers shot and killed 34 people, which translates to 2.7 fatal shootings for every 100,000 people.

Family Erects SignS In Clash With Neighbor. A Farmers Branch family and the man who lives next door have clashed over barking dogs. So much so that the family is ready to get out. They’ve placed signs in their front and back yards announcing why:

Will their tactic work in this seller's market?  (still: CBS DFW) Will their tactic work in this seller’s market? (still: CBS DFW)

Day Care Leaves Boy at AT&T Stadium. The 5-year-old was found wandering alone on the field at the House That Jerry Built after a special “Kids Day” event. His mother retrieved him from Arlington Police hours after Jeanette’s Little Haven Christian Academy misplaced him.

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Dallas Big-Game Hunter Is Next Target of Outrage

There’s an op-ed in today’s paper about Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the the lion and hasn’t had a real fun time since because the internet. Next target of animal lovers’ outrage? Dallas oilman Kerry Krottinger. Have a look at this picture of his trophy room, which appeared in a National Geographic story about taxidermy. Krottinger has a lot of it in his house. So he must be evil!

Me personally, I don’t like to kill big animals. Too messy. But I think I understand the allure for big-game hunters. Even hunting quail is thrilling. And I know an argument can be made, strangely enough, that hunting animals responsibly can be an effective tool in conservation. Read this sad, fascinating GQ story about an elephant hunt, if you don’t believe me.

All of which is to say: hunting, it’s a complicated topic. There isn’t much middle ground. That’s why I can’t understand why Kerry Krottinger let National Geographic into his house. Krottinger might be the most ethical hunter ever to pull a trigger. He might donate large sums every year to animal conservation. It won’t matter. Because when you surround yourself with your trophies and pose proudly in front of them for National Geographic, you know you are going to get hassled. You are asking to get hassled.

Good luck with that, Mr. Krottinger.

Leading Off (7/30/15)

Rangers Trade For Cole Hamels. The deal for the Phillies ace might be too late to get them in the playoffs this season, but it sets up the team well for 2016. In exchange, they gave up Matt Harrison and a package of prospects, most notably catcher Jorge Alfaro. There is a lot of cash involved, too, so the commissioner’s office hasn’t approved the deal yet. So I guess there is a chance to Rangers could still get DeAndre Jordaned. Yes, we’re saying that now.

Dallas Man Sentenced to 15 Years For Sex Trafficking. LaDestro Douglas was pimping out underage runaways, and got what he deserved. This has been a signed editorial comment by Zac Crain.

Zoo Employees Mourn Kipenzi. Yeah, this still punches me in the gut.

Duncanville Teen Arrested After Video Shows Him Beating Up Other Teens. A few lessons here: 1) Don’t assault other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 2) Don’t have someone film you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 3) If you don’t have someone filming you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person, assume someone is filming you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 4) Definitely do not — and I really can’t stress this enough — post or let anyone post that video of you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person, to any social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever. Actually, you can post it to LinkedIn.

Goat Ranch Driving Range Coming to East Dallas

Ever since the Hank Haney driving range in Uptown became not a driving range, I have longed for a near-downtown spot to hit a lunchtime bucket of balls. Yes, Topgolf is great, but it’s too far. Well, it looks like we’ll have a new spot this fall. It’s called the Goat Ranch. It’s from the folks who brought us Bowlounge, and it’ll be on Haskell. From their site:

With 15 hitting bays, customers will hit into a fully-enclosed netted field. The field will not be your usual driving range targets but fun and creative targets, that make loud noise when you hit them.

The bar and event space is an old converted freezer building built years ago with lots of character. Surrounded with glass dock doors overlooking the driving range, the bar will offer a huge selection of mixed drinks and draft beers.

If you’d like to work there, this comes from the Craig’s List post announcing “a new bad ass concept in Dallas!!!”: “We need servers and bartenders. Preferably girls, not completely saying no to dudes, also tattoos welcome!!!”

Leading Off (7/22/15)

Dallas Police Officer Fired After Sexual Assault Arrest. Chief David Brown fired Senior Corporal Ryan Ramirez yesterday after Ramirez was charged in Kaufman County with aggravated sexual assault of an 8 year old.

Armed Civilians Guard Military Recruiters in Cleburne. Most of the men and women carrying guns, gear, and flags identify themselves as veterans. They say they are there to protect the active service members from an incident like last week’s shooting in Chattanooga. Apparently there are 15 to 20 groups like this organized around the country.

Addison Woman Arrested for Killing Newborn. Police in Addison arrested Luz Aurora Granadosreyes, 25, and charged with capital murder of child under the age of 6.

Jordan Spieth Flew Home with Zach Johnson, Drank from Cup. Really though, everything he does is great. Look at these pictures. Say you don’t love him.

Tony Romo Sues NFL. He’s part owner of “The Fan Expo,” which organized a fantasy football event at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Players scheduled to attend included: Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, Odell Beckham Jr., and Rob Gronkowski, The NFL somehow canceled the event, and Romo’s group wants more than a million dollars.

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Dallas To Get WNBA Team

The AP is reporting that the Tulsa Shock are moving to Dallas. (Or as the US News & World Report headline read, “Tusla Shock Moving to Dallas.” Is that, like, the Oklahoma version of Elon Musk’s car?) Here is what you need to know about the Shock: they suck. Or they have sucked. This year they were doing much better, starting the season 8-1. Then their star, Skylar Diggins, blew out her ACL. She’s out for the season. I have been doing some serious research on Diggins. It is my conclusion that I should interview her for a story in D Magazine. More updates soon.

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Will the Texas Rangers Be Buyers Ahead of the MLB Trade Deadline?

Casual Rangers fans, whose last familiarity with this year’s team was some vague notion that 2015 wasn’t going nearly as poorly as expected, I have some news.

Things are now going about as poorly as expected. And the MLB end-of-July trade deadline approaches. But that doesn’t mean there will be a fire sale in Arlington, as usually happens when a team isn’t winning and needs a bit of rebuilding.

In fact, it’s been reported that Texas is a serious suitor for the services of Cole Hamels, still one of the game’s better pitchers but playing for the awful Phillies. Says Grantland:

This might seem curious for a team that’s five games under .500, with just two wins in its past 11, sitting 7.5 games behind the front-running Angels and closer to last place than to first. Except, it’s also a potentially logical move for a team that might have a wider variety of options for 2016 than anyone else.

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