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Making Dallas Even Better

Leading Off (7/14/2015)

The Barnett Shale is Off-Gassing More Greenhouse Gasses Than Previous Thought: The EPA botched its initial estimates, and as it turns out, fracking in the Barnett Shale is responsible for 64 percent of all methane in our local atmosphere. The good news: most of those emissions are the result of human errors and mechanical failures.

Let’s Put Those Increased Violent Crime Numbers in Perspective: The Dallas Morning News breaks down the much-reported 10 percent increase in violent crime. The takeaway? Glass half-full, glass half-empty. You could argue the increase reflects a return to a historical norm. And if violent crime continues at pace through the end of the year, murders will be at the same level they were 2013 and 2012, while aggravated assaults would only see a 0.4 percent increase over last year.

When Will We Finally Run Craig Holcomb Out of Town? Read Eric Nicholson’s look into the laughable bike share program in Fair Park. I mean, it couldn’t be more stupidly designed, so it will come as no surprise that the usage numbers are equally laughable. But here’s the important bit: when Nicholson tried to get the usage numbers through an open records request, he was stonewalled by the Friends of Fair Park, which operates the program. That decision to not to release the bike share numbers was then upheld in a ruling by the Texas AG.

I mean, seriously? Bike share numbers? We’re keeping those under lock-and-key? Why? Because Friends of Fair Park – which is run by Craig Holcomb, who also heads the Trinity Commons Foundation – doesn’t want more mud on his face for a program that anyone who has any idea about anything looks at for two seconds and thinks, “Good God, that is the sorriest excuse for a bike share program I have ever seen in my entire life.” I mean, seriously? How long are we going to let Holcomb meddle in the city’s business? How long are we going to let him lord over his two little fiefdoms, which happen to involve two of Dallas’ greatest civic assets – Dallas and Fair Park – both of which have languished for decades under the weight of curiously stupid ideas? For the love of all things good, Criag Holcomb, will you please just drift off into a quiet retirement and leave Dallas alone? Please. Thank you for your service. Now go away.

New Designer Drug in Town: It’s called Flakka, and it doesn’t sound like too much fun. Effects include “murderous rage, paranoia, ultra-violence, and running around screaming.” Or basically what it feels like to read about Craig Holcomb’s meddling in Dallas affairs.

It’s Finally Texas Hot: After cool temps and so much rain, we can’t really complain about DFW finally flirting with 100 degrees (heat index popped up to 109 in some places yesterday). Well, unless the AC goes out in your entire apartment complex. Then you can complain.

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Why Marcos Ronquillo Will Never Be Mayor of Dallas

Last night the Dallas Museum of Art held their annual Art Ball fundraiser. As they have in years past, the museum created a parody video (below) intended to stoke chuckles under the tent raised for the black tie hot spot on the city’s social calendar, and perhaps score a little internet buzz in the subsequent days. The video is chock-full of (white) people you should know if you circulate around the halls of power and money and art in Dallas, collectors and patrons, curators and museum administrators, scenesters and socialites. Notably featured is Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who hams it up alongside DMA museum director Maxwell Anderson, who plays the front man in a remake of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” I find the whole thing a little grating and embarrassing, for the museum and everyone involved, though as the DMA’s media relations will surely remind me, I am certainly not in the video’s target audience.

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It’s a New Year, And We Still Don’t Know How to Pay for the Trinity Toll Road

If you have been a little tuned out over the last few weeks like we have, then what better way to kick-off the New Year than brushing up on some Trinity Toll Road news? Let’s start with Wick’s masterful take down of Mayor Mike Rawlings’ latest position on the road. Then brief yourself on the all star mega-meeting Sen. Royce West is hosting this week to try to hash out just where he stands on the road (attendees are slightly skewed pro-toll road by my reading of the list, but let’s hope our man Patrick Kennedy gets time to speak his mind).

Of course the elephant in the room—after we’ve yammered on and on about planning and cities and economics and transportation equality—is that we still don’t know how to fund the blasted road. Brandon Formby brings us up to date on that ever elusive question by peeking into Michael Morris’ magical cabinet of financial wonders to see how the COG man is fudging the numbers of late. In short, the plan is still essentially the same: find enough cash in the couch cushions to get cement in the floodway, then bully taxpayer-funded government agencies to scale it up later.

Happy New Year.

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Video: Cowboys Fan Doesn’t Take Monday’s Loss Very Well at All

As Tim wrote Tuesday morning after the Cowboys loss to the Redskins, there’s no reason to freak out about a 6-2 start to the season. But at least one Cowboys fan couldn’t control his emotions after Monday’s loss. Actually, he basically tore apart his entire apartment (including ripping a kitchen counter clean off the cabinets) in a display of pure fan anguish that is surely fueled by alcohol and, frankly, kind of depressing to watch. Imagine what this guy would have done after Game Six if he was as big a Rangers fan as he is a (drunken) Cowboys fan. Deadspin has the (language NSFW) video.

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Secret Deal to Dump Delta Signals More Crony Capitalism at Love Field

Just over five months ago, Dallas residents and the City Council were surprised to learn that the city of Dallas had secretly commissioned a study that supported city staff’s determination that the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division had erred when it determined that Virgin America, rather than Southwest Airlines, should receive the two American Airlines gates that American had determined it no longer needed.

Cheered on by the city of Fort Worth, here and here, Dallas city staff proceeded to throw all sorts of roadblocks up against what should have been a straightforward lease approval. The process quickly devolved into a national farce, possibly because the idea that allowing one airline to control 90 percent of the gates at an airport would serve competitive interests is ridiculous on its face. Council Member Vonciel Jones Hill featured prominently, arguing that the city (she?) was in a better position than both the contracting parties (American Airlines and Virgin America) and the Department of Justice to determine what was best for the citizenry. Finally, after weeks of opaque, behind-the-scenes machinations at City Hall (during which time Virgin was compelled to launch a high-cost public relations campaign, and Sir Richard Branson was compelled to interrupt his vacation for a trip to Dallas to beg for the gates as part of an effort that directed critical international spotlight to what appeared to be crony capitalism at work), Virgin was finally given the green light by city staff to actually take possession of the gates that appeared to have been rightfully its own from the outset.

Fast forward to this past week: once again, residents and elected officials found themselves surprised to learn that city staff had taken action to thwart an airline’s ability to operate at Love Field.

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Did Pete Sessions Insult the President to His Face?

There’s a little Washington kerfuffle going on right now over whether Dallas’ Pete Sessions, in a meeting of congressional Republicans with the president in October, said to him, “I can’t even stand to look at you.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it happened, and it was Sessions who said it. A Sessions spokeswoman denies […]

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Leading Off (9/17/12)

Boy Scouts Hid Hundreds of Accusations of Child Molestation: The Los Angeles Times found that the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America kept a confidential “perversion file” with information on accused sex offenders whom the organization often forced to quietly resign while keeping their crimes “under wraps.” Of the 500 instances in which the Scouts learned […]

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Leading Off (7/16/12)

Grandma, Baby Survive Wild Middle of The Night Adventure Unscathed: Elizabeth Smith’s grand baby was sick, and so early Saturday morning around 3 a.m. she headed to a 24-hour pharmacy in Pleasant Grove. On the way back, a man in a passing truck stopped and told her to get in his vehicle. Smith refused, the […]

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