Dallas Stars Extend Ralph and Razor’s Contracts

Dallas Stars fans will have a second reason to celebrate today if their team beats the St. Louis Blues and clinches a playoff berth. Here’s the first reason to celebrate: The Stars have extended the contracts of broadcasters Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh, who are in their 24th and 18th seasons, respectively, with the team. Through the franchise’s on-ice ups and downs, these two have been an on-air pleasure.

Full Story

Leading Off (4/11/14)

WFAA Frames DISD Home-Rule Debate as Race War. Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas ISD trustee Mike Morath are both supporting the effort to create a new charter to change how the school district is governed. They’re white, and they’ve implied that some elements of the school board  are standing in the way of DISD making important changes. Those three board members are African-American, and they accuse home-rule proponents of trying to erode minority representation. Morath fans the flames by saying things like ”this is not to say that race is not a factor … But to say that race is a dominant factor is missing the forest for the trees.”

The Watchers Don’t Like Being Watched. Dallas Police staff are putting out a warning to the city’s cops about a dangerous new threat to their safety: citizens on patrol with video cameras. Concerns were raised recently after a woman affiliated with a group called Cop Rock Cop Block was found to be following and taping an officer. Ron Pinkston, president of the Dallas Police Association says such behavior could be a threat because police “don’t know who it is pulling behind us. We don’t know they’re there to videotape, they might be part of… if that guy has has just done a kidnapping they could be part of the kidnapping. You don’t know.” I also don’t know what he’s talking about, even if, yeah, I’m sure some of the folks recording the cops are just being jerks.

Man Sues Perot Museum After Accident. According to the suit, 74-year-old Myung Oh of Carrollton was leaving the museum in June 2013 when he fell on the steps and was left a quadriplegic.

Full Story

A Totally Boring 9-Minute Recording From Today’s Meeting of the Regional Transportation Council

Seriously, if you spend one minute reading this post — especially if you take the time to listen to the audio — then you really need to reevaluate your life, figure out where everything went so pear shaped that you had the time and interest to dive into this. That said, here’s your prep guide for the audio that I recorded today out in Arlington at the HQ of the North Central Texas Council of Governments’ Tom Vandergriff Conference Center (decor theme: gray on gray). First, you need to know that cupcakes were served, on account of the NCTCOG’s 40th birthday. Keep that in mind. Second, I loitered in the NCTCOG lobby before the meeting and spotted not one, but two gentleman attendees wearing cowboy hats. In other words: my kind of meeting. I stayed for about 25 minutes, just the part where they discussed I-345. I’m only going to give you the highlights. Okay, here’s what you’ll hear:

Full Story

Louis Bedford, Dallas County’s First Black Judge, Loses Battle With Prostate Cancer

Bedford, a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, became the first black judge in Dallas when he served on the municipal court in 1966. He spent most of his adult life mentoring other black lawyers, including Dallas County DA Craig Watkins, who he swore into office. Watkins remembered that moment in this profile I wrote of him in 2009:

“I was looking at him when he was swearing me in, and he was trembling and he was almost teary-eyed,” Watkins says. “I was like, why is he so emotional for me? And then I realized: all the struggles that he had been through were really for me to have this opportunity. He said at the end of his little thing, ‘You’re the first. Let’s make sure that you’re not the last.’ I really didn’t understand at the time what he was talking about, but I understand it now. Any little thing you do will jeopardize someone else that may be different—a woman, Hispanic, whatever—to be put in this position. Whatever you do, if you make the smallest mistake, it will shine a disparaging light on everybody else that comes.”

Bedford was 88.

Full Story

Conan O’Brien Plays Video Games on Jerry Jones’ Really-Big-Screen TV

Conan O’Brien may no longer be broadcasting his show from the Majestic Theatre downtown, but he’s not quite done sharing his adventures in Dallas. On Monday night — back in his usual Burbank, Calif., studio — he showed a second clip of the time he spent as a Johnson County deputy sheriff (and it’s funnier than any of the remote pieces aired last week in Dallas.)

And last night he finally found a grander purpose for the super-sized screen at Jerry World: during an edition of his recurring “Clueless Gamer” feature he settled down to play Madden football and several other games.

Full Story

How Badly Does TxDOT Want the North Texas Vote?

The controversy over I-345 — and how TxDOT and its local partner, Michael Morris have handled it — could not come at a worse time for the highway agency. On the ballot in November is a constitutional amendment to increase the agency’s funding by $1.25 billion a year by drawing down on the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

The Legislature only granted this small amount after considerable wrangling. The agency by its own account needs an additional $4.5 billion a year just to keep up with the state’s population growth. But legislators are just as wary of the agency’s obfuscations, wild estimates, changing stories, alarmist traffic simulations, and bungling public relations as Dallas leaders in the last two months have learned to be.

Yet those same Dallas leaders say the agency needs every dollar it can get. Texas is exploding in population, roads are already inadequate, and cutbacks to maintenance could have severe economic consequences. So why is TxDOT — like a lumbering elephant — walking all over Dallas right when it needs our votes?

Now might be a good time for the Texas Transportation Commission, whose five members are probably more politically astute than highway engineers, to get that elephant under control. TxDOT seems to have a talent for alienating legislators. If it alienates North Texas, it could lose its only chance for new funding. That would be tragedy not just for the agency but for Texas.

Full Story

Leading Off (4/10/14)

Michael Morris Apologizes To Wick Allison And Other Dallas Leaders. In advance of today’s meeting of the Regional Transportation Council, the (deep breath) North Central Texas Regional (almost there) Council of Governments transportation director apologized for throwing down the race card last week regarding the efforts to tear down I-345.

Dallas ISD Trustees Consider Hiring Education Lawyer To Advise Them On Home-Rule Push. I’m sure that will make this whole thing go so much smoother.

Dwaine Caraway Asks City Staff To Begin Process of Renaming Lancaster Road After Nelson Mandela. Specifically, the portion between I-20 and Corinth and Illinois. This seems like a fine idea, though, as usual with Caraway, a little bit out of nowhere. I’d love to sit in on a brainstorming session with him sometime.

Full Story

First Look at the Proposed Boy Scout Hill Restaurant Overlooking White Rock Lake

Jim Schutze has written something that you should read. It’s about the proposed restaurant at White Rock Lake. The hopeful developers are Lyle Burgin and Rick Kopf. I’ve had lunch with these guys, and I like them. Kopf rides his bike at the lake, and he seems to appreciate the beauty of the place, which is why, he told me, he wants to build a restaurant there. But I’m afraid Kopf and his friend are a bit like Lennie in Of Mice and Men. They don’t know their own strength. They just might crush the thing they love. And Schutze is right. Opposition seems to be building steadily in the neighborhoods around the lake (I live in one of them).

Full Story

What Does South Dallas Think About Highways? Let’s Ask a ‘Militant’ Black Leader.

In the discussion about possibly tearing down I-345, the Dallas Morning News editorial board and its partner, Michael Morris of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, have come to the defense of the working poor in South Dallas. At the paper, Rodger Jones writes about “economic justice,” and Tod Robberson tells us that lowering I-345 would throw the lives of South Dallas commuters into “upheaval.” Morris says only rich white people are interested in tearing down the elevated freeway. Let’s see about that.

Full Story