Forbes released its annual “Let’s All Weep Into Our Empty Wallets” list today, known to many with less-empty wallets as the World’s Billionaires List. As usual, Dallas-Fort Worth did fairly well, with 26 folks landing on the list, up from 23 last year. If charts aren’t your thing:
A bill filed recently by San Angelo Rep. Drew Darby would limit challenges to the West Texas radioactive waste dump owned by Dallas billionaire (and evil genius) Harold Simmons. The bill, according to the Texas Observer, is “a grab-bag of measures that would put up roadblocks for groups or individuals challenging the company even as it allows Waste Control to bring in ‘hotter’ waste.”
“It guts the protections of that assure citizens get a fair hearing on any changes in the radioactive waste dump,” Tom Smith of Public Citizen told the paper.
Darby has received $20,000 in campaign contributions the past two years from the dump’s parent company, Waste Control Specialists. Darby’s chief-of-staff characterized the bill as aiding “operational flexibility.” Complicating the site’s regulatory process is the fact that while it sits in Andrews County, the closest and most affected town is actually in New Mexico. (Here’s a Google Map view of the Waste Control location, and Eunice, New Mexico. There’s also a review of Waste Control that calls the dump’s owners “Possibly some of the biggest criminals in the history of our state.”)
“The upshot of this is that it allows the dump to be quickly filled by highly profitable radioactive materials from out of state,” Public Citizen’s Smith told the Observer, “enriching Harold Simmons now. As a result when we need the dump 30 years form now for the South Texas Project nuclear reactor or the Comanche Peak reactor, there won’t be space.”
Is the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System Overinvested in Real Estate? There are so many questions raised by this lengthy report on how the pension fund that owns Museum Tower ended up managing the luxury proprieties it propped-up with large cash infusions after the real estate bubble burst. For example: What are the properties really worth now? Should the pension fund be managing Hawaiian estates and Napa Valley resorts? Is fund administrator Richard Tettamant having too much fun hobnobbing on the taxpayer’s dime? If speculative land plays don’t pan out, is it really accurate to report them as investments in “natural resources?” Is Tettamant cutting sweetheart deals for developer buddies? Are his efforts to beat market returns putting the future of the our city’s finest – not to mention the pocketbooks of Dallas taxpayers – at considerable risk? Lots of questions. But here’s the one I want to ask: did the fund really need to pay to move a piano from Hawaii to the lobby of Museum Tower? I mean, they sell pianos in Dallas, right? Really nice ones, I bet.
As American Swallows U.S. Airways, Airline Field Thins: There was a time when airports were packed with brands like Pan Am, TWA, Eastern, Braniff — all of which have gone the way of the Concorde. Now the “extraordinarily complex” merger between American and U.S. Air leaves just four major carriers: American, United, Delta and Southwest.
Tim Tebow to Speak at First Baptist: The announcement that the incredibly meh quarterback will speak at Robert Jeffress’ First Baptist Church raises all the expected questions about whether or not Tebow endorses statements Jeffress has made in the past about homosexuality, Mormonism, Islam, and on and on. And I suppose those are pertinent questions to ask, even if I wish the only question surrounding anything regarding Tim Tebow was “who cares?”
Rich People in Dallas Today Are Boring: This piece by Alan Peppard points out that today’s Dallas wealthy are much wealthier than the money-flinging showboats that built Dallas’ reputation as a strut-and-spit capital for the callously nouveau riche. But they are also less interesting. Gone are the days of the pumpkin-colored “Fat Albert” 747 waiting at Lovefield ready to whisk people better than you off to Acapulco.
Kennedy Is a Conspiracy Theorist: Speaking at the Winspear Opera House Friday, RFK Jr. told Charlie Rose that the Warren Commission was a “shoddy piece of craftsmanship,” and he doesn’t buy the lone gunman theory.
Bush Not Beating Around the Bush About Political Ambition: “‘We for sure are running, the question is the office,’ [George P.] Bush told The Associated Press during the first interview about his political future since filing paperwork in November to seek elected office in Texas.”
TCU Quarterback Kicks Rehab Habit, Back on Team: Casey Pachall disenrolled from TCU after being arrested for a DUI in October (which was after 15 TCU students, including Pachall’s roommate, were arrested in last summer’s drug sting). But now he’s back, because top-recruited college quarterbacks get more chances in life than you do.
“I can assure our fans this, that it’s going to be very uncomfortable from my standpoint, it’s going to be very uncomfortable for the next few weeks and months at Valley Ranch,” Jerry Jones told his weekly radio audience a bit ago on The Fan.
Cliffs Notes: Garrett is safe-ish, but might not retain offensive play-calling. Rob Ryan’s status is undetermined. And Tony Romo is “a tremendous asset and he’s an asset that’s going to be with the Dallas Cowboys for, as far as I’m concerned, a long time.”
So who does that leave? Dez isn’t going anywhere, and the team likely won’t part with Miles Austin, either. Witten and DeMarco Murray will stay. Felix Jones, I guess? Yes, that’s who will be uncomfortable. Cowboys fans everywhere areÂ breathingÂ a sigh of relief know their backup running back will be gone.
tp://frontburner.dmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/george-bush-ford-f150-300×179.jpeg” alt=”" width=”300″ height=”179″ /> George, strikin’ a pose. Source: Barrett-Jackson, “the World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions”
A pickup former President George W. Bush used on his Crawford ranch will be auctioned off to benefit Fisher House Foundation, a program dedicated to assisting U.S. military families.
Let’s go straight to the announcement:
“President Bush has used this stunning white F-150 at his Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas, since shortly after he left the White House in 2009. With a 5.4-Liter V8 engine commanding 310 horsepower, this impressive truck has a luxurious adobe King Ranch premium leather interior and 11,200lbs towing capacity. President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush have since used the truck to work around their ranch; entertain friends, family, and dignitaries and to give tours of their Crawford property.”
The most interesting thing to me: he used the truck to “entertain friends.” Donuts, presumably, or maybe some sort of demolition derby. Also, why’d he stop at the 150 model? Seems like a man who’d at least go F250, with all that ranching.
The auction is January 19, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Get more info and tickets (tickets?) here.
ds/2012/12/large.jpeg” alt=”" width=”600″ height=”338″ /> Photoshop, at its finest. Source: Barack Obama Park’s Facebook page
Carol just directed my attention to possibly the loneliest Facebook page in the history of Facebook pages, the one dedicated to renaming Klyde Warren Park ‘Barack Obama Park.” As of this morning, it had one “like.”
The main thrust behind the page: “Who @KlydeWarrenPark was responsible for the decision to name ‘a central gathering space for Dallas and its visitors’ after a 10-yr-old boy?” Answer: the dude who donated more money than all of us, combined. A series of tweets – from an account with 11 followers – continues to tell the story.
And, was/were that/those person/people intoxicated? Pressured by unpleasant forces? Confused? Unaware of effects? Or just simply unaware?
— Barack Obama Park (@BarackObamaPark) November 29, 2012
Dallas is going to have to grow up if it even wants to become a 2nd-class City. Fixing this mistake before it is too late is a good start.
— Barack Obama Park (@BarackObamaPark) November 29, 2012
So where are we now, third-class? Gasp, fourth-class?
Despite the soothing,Â pachouli-scented tones of Matthew McConaughey’s voice reminding all of us that Reliant is “totally alright, brother,” electricity deregulation may not have been that great for Texas consumers. The Texas Coalition For Affordable Power found that Texans have paid an extra $10.4 billion for electricity under deregulation. That’s mostly due to a run-up in electric rates between 2005 and 2008, when natural gas prices skyrocketed, the Texas Observer reports.
While the number – $10.4 billion! — is jarring, TCAP reports that, percentage-wise, Texas is fairly middle-of-the-pack. The 48 percent leap since 1999 trails the nation’s largest jump – Michigan – by 12 percent.
For the masochists in the bunch, there’s a 100-page report to parse through after the jump.
AT&T will take over the sponsorship of the Byron Nelson Championship in 2015 when Hewlett-Packard’s current agreement expires, PGA Executive Director Tim Finchem announced during a press conference today.
The announcement came during Mayor Mike Rawlings’ presser about the proposed Trinity Forest golf course. This would be the third PGA event sponsored by the Dallas-based telecommunications company; it already sponsors theÂ the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the AT&T National.
When Rawlings announced the proposed course, speculation ran that the Byron Nelson could move from Irving’sÂ Four Seasons Club when the contract expires in 2018; AT&T’s involvement in both the event and the course seem to support that prospect.
UPDATE: Finchem added, during a Q&A session, that “the odds are quite high” that the tournament could move to Trinity Forest.
Texans Are Nation’s Second Biggest Source of Election Funds: Donors from the Lone Star State have contributed $61 million to the presidential campaigns this year, second only to California’s $102 million.
Are North Texans Better Off Than They Were Four Years Ago: Ahead of tomorrow’s vote, The Star-Telegram gives that election-season question a local spin and finds out, of course, it depends on who you ask.
Jerry Jones Admits He Would Have Fired Himself as Cowboys GM: Jerry Jones tells Bob Costas he would have fired himself as general manager of the Dallas Cowboys had he not actually had been, well, the general manager. But since Jerry Jones is Jerry Jones, he can’t fire himself, he can only look himself in the mirror, straighten himself out, and try again. And you wonder why the Cowboys lost again.
Watch Plane Clip a SUV During Botched Landing: William Davis, the pilot who flew a Cesina Skyhawk through a passing SUV, says he’ll probably quit flying after this incident. Can’t say I blame him.
Tonight at 8 p.m. CST it begins. Join us at The Texas Theatre for the only Dallas watching party taking place in a theater where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. How’s that for a Dallas identity wormhole?
In the meantime, head over to FrontRow whereÂ we have a rundown ofÂ what early reviews are saying about the show — and the city. And meet Terry Linwood, the Jeopardy! champ and long-time Dallas fan who will be recapping the show for us each week. Be sure to check back early tomorrow morning for his take on the debut.
And to pump you up for tonight, a little flashback:
Sad day, guys, but this opportunity was just too good to pass up. New Superintendent Mike Miles came calling and, as you know, the man drives a hard bargain. I asked for $70,000; he countered with $90K. We shook hands and I grabbed my over-sized key ring and dust mop.
My salary may shock you. I’ll say this: historically janitorial services are not valued at the level Mike values them. I mean, most janitors walk around sweeping and picking up trash. I work differently. Whenever you have school reform, or any change, or just clean hallways, it has to be programs, it has to be initiatives, a fair amount of wax. That takes high-level, strategic-minded people. LIKE ME.
Joe Tone over at the Observer just asked me whether any school districts view their janitors the same way, so he could compare my apples to theirs. I couldn’t name any of comparable size.
“It’s rare,” I told him. “It’s taken a lot of time for school districts to catch up” to the for-profit-world maintenance-wise. But it looks like we’re finally here. My last day is Friday. I’ll miss you guys.
You’ll recall that two years ago a federal magistrate judge ruled that Andy Beal used a bogus tax shelter to create $153.6 million in tax losses for 2001. The judge also ruled, however, that the IRS had missed the deadline for disallowing those 2001 losses. A win for Beal.
Late last week, that win turned into a loss in the Firth Circuit Court of Appeals. Looks like the IRS didn’t miss its deadline after all. If you believe what the feds say, the loss on the 2001 tax year matter will cost Beal $70 million in tax and penalties. A pittance compared to the $5 billion his ex-wife wanted. (Of course, Beal’s ex is represented by Larry Friedman, which is all you need to know about which side you should root for.)
Dallas Needs To Accept Failure: The Super Bowl bid, DART, our ability to hit clean air standards — Michael Lindenberger might as well just tag on the Trinity River Project (no thanks to the Trinity Parkway), downtown revitalization, NFL drafts, and a litany of other ballyhooed projects to his editorial that says (paywall) that Dallas needs to learn to accept failure. But his key point is long overdue: Dallas’ fidelity to its own hype inhibits us for making key adjustments in civic planning to realize real goals. And while I like how the editorial tells us to refocus DART on moving people, and to listen to Jim Schutze more, Lindenberger kills his own argument when he says Dallas is still not “ready” for some more challenging ways to address key issues. After all, doesn’t this off-repeated attitude that Dallas is “not ready” for truly innovative policies and initiatives go hand-in-hand with Dallas’ denial of its shortcomings?
Off-Duty Dallas Police Officer Arrested For Firing Gun From Car on Highway: I suppose it was just another Saturday night for Rafael Mendoza, the three year veteran of the Dallas police department who was arrested early Sunday morning after driving around with his sidearm dangling out the window, smoking weed, and taking potshots at cars on Interstate 30.
Business Odds And Ends: Someone got paid today: the Dallas-based pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners, dropped a cool $5.3 billion acquiring Philadelphia-based Sunoco Inc. And A.H. Belo Corporation announced its first quarter 2012 financials, reporting a net loss of $0.18 per share, which is less than expected, says Robert Decherd. I suspect Wick will be around to slice and dice Belo’s numbers in greater detail.