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Speaking of the Mayor and the Toll Road, Let’s All Hear Him Talk About It

The below email went out yesterday. I’m out of town, so I haven’t been able to determine if Mayor Mike typed “Citizens List: All of Dallas” into the “cc” field. But since this issue is “critical to the future of our city,” I’m going to assume everyone is invited. See you there!

Friend,

If the schedule goes as planned, work on the Trinity Parkway will begin in early 2015. The Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is in its final stages and is set to be completed soon, the Record of Decision will be signed soon after the study is finalized. We have teams in place that are working to complete the design on the Parkway in preparation for the construction phase. Currently, about 30% of the design work is done. This project is critical to the future of our city, and how the design is finalized is one of the most important things we can do. I believe this project should be studied and reviewed by recognized experts using the best urban design principles that exist as we move to our next phase.

I invite you to join me for breakfast at Babb Bros BBQ & Blues in Trinity Groves on November 19 at 8:15 a.m. to hear my thoughts on how we can accomplish this goal.

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Leading Off (11/14/14)

Feds Auditing DA’s Use of Forfeiture Funds. Craig Watkins may be on his way out, after suffering a defeat in last week’s election, but he’s still facing a federal investigation. Authorities stopped sending forfeiture money to the DA’s office in August after an auditor had a call with Watkins. “It was a contentious phone call during election season in which Mr. Watkins believed the inquiry was being driven by his opponent,” said Dallas County prosecutor Lincoln Monroe. “Craig thought it was a setup. It was not a good conversation that Craig had.” He added that the federal audit was prompted by a mix-up that will soon be rectified.

Frisco Homeowners Want Power Lines Buried. Brazos Electric is proposing a 2- to 4-mile stretch of overhead lines to increase capacity in the fast-growing city, but neighborhood residents are concerned about the impact on their home values. They want the lines placed underground, which Brazos says would cost $31.5 million, compared to $3.5 million for putting them overhead. Brazos plans to apply to the Public Utility Commission for its expansion in December, and the city and a homeowners’ group plan to challenge it.

Felony Lane Gang Strikes Again. Coppell police are looking into whether an organized group of professional thieves is responsible for a series of smash-and-grab car break-ins. The gang is known for cashing victims’ checks in the outside teller lane at various banks — which I guess is the “felony lane?”

Clayton Kershaw Hogging Baseball Awards. After winning his third Cy Young Award as the National League’s best pitcher on Wednesday, the Highland Park High School graduate and Los Angeles Dodgers hurler received Most Valuable Player honors on Thursday. He’s the first NL pitcher to take the MVP since 1968.

Mavs Score Most Lopsided Win in Team History. Dallas got off to a 45-10 lead in the first 15 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers and finished with a 123-70 win. It’s their largest margin of victory ever.

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D Magazine Staffers on Councilman Philip Kingston’s Toll Road ‘Nice’ List

Rudy Bush has posted City Councilman Philip Kingston’s Trinity Toll Road “Naughty and Nice” list, identifying those he considers on the wrong (pro-) and right (anti-) side of the debate over building a highway between the levees.

Among those on the “nice” side of the ledger are our own Tim Rogers and contributors Eric Celeste and Patrick Kennedy. Plus, Wick Allison, who even charts a pull quote:

“I learned from the Trinity mistake. Maybe the biggest prejudice of all human beings is presentism. That is to say, what is has always been and will always be.”

Top of the naughty list: Mayor Mike Rawlings and former city manager Mary Suhm. So, yeah, no surprises. For whatever it’s worth, via the DMN:

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Nov. 13

Judging from the last DGDG production I attended, Dirty Filthy Diamonds at the Margo Jones Theatre, I am very much looking forward to what the troupe has in store. They have a defiant yet controlled recklessness that’s simultaneously visceral and playful. This should prove very interesting in such literally lofty confines, as opposed to a historic theater in Fair Park.

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You Want Better Public Transit? Let DART Know What You Want.

A few days ago I wrote about how DART needs to follow the lead of other cities, such as Houston, and reroute their bus system. Well, DART officials say that’s exactly what they may do as part of the 10 Year Service Plan the transit organization is beginning to develop. Public meetings began this week to solicit feedback from riders about how the bus system can evolve to best suit their needs. There’s also an online survey you can fill out to offer feedback on what you believe DART’s priorities should be. (Here’s a cheat sheet for one of the questions: Frequent “to you” means buses every 10-15 minutes, no matter who “you” are.)

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Leading Off (11/13/14)

Thomas Eric Duncan’s Fiancee Lands Book Deal. Louise Troh’s memoir “will tell of her life with Duncan and how her faith had been ‘tested but not broken'” by his death from Ebola. It’s scheduled to come out April 28, published by The Weinstein Company and Perseus Book Group.

Northeast Gateway Toll Road Dead — For Now. The controversial project is expected to be left out of Mobility 2035, a long-range planning document that will go before the Regional Transportation Council today. Good job, Hunt County residents.

Debate Over Highland Park ISD’s Book Policy Continues. Currently, they are just on the edge of a potential Footloose situation, so it’s probably best to get this locked down.

Clayton Kershaw Wins Cy Young Award. The Highland Park grad won his third Cy Young after going 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA and throwing a no-hitter. He’ll find out today if he’s also the National League’s MVP.

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Alex From Target Gets the New York Times Treatment

The story of Alex from Target (from Frisco) is now a story about us looking at ourselves looking at ourselves looking at beautiful, polite people. When he left for work that morning, he had a little more than 100 followers on Twitter. Now he has around 733,000.

“To say Alex is ‘a sweet kid,’ as his parents describe him, is an understatement. He’s shy and exceedingly polite. He often chuckles to himself after speaking. While he answered most of my questions with short and sheepish replies, when I asked him about his girlfriend, Lindsey, he lit up, telling me that they met in chemistry class after sitting next to each other for a lab assignment.”

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Dallas Rates Well on LGBT Inclusion. The Suburbs Not So Much.

The Human Rights Campaign, a nonprofit organization working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, issued a report today called the Municipal Equality Index in which 353 American cities were rated on their inclusion of, and support for, LGBT residents.

Dallas scored well, 91 out of a possible 100, credited especially with having enacted nondiscrimination laws and for city leadership’s support of the LGBT community. Among the state’s biggest cities only Austin did better (a perfect 100.) Fort Worth got an 83.

But, according to HRC’s standards, Dallas’ suburbs have a ways to go. Irving and Mesquite scored perfect zeroes. Plano got a 22. McKinney a 12, Arlington 11, and Garland a 10.

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ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated Both Have J.J. Watt on Their Cover

Two magazine covers. Same football player appears on both. Neither issue is online yet; these are teaser covers released early. (ESPN actually did three covers, with Tony Romo and Demarco Murray appearing on the other two.) So why am I sharing this with you? What does J.J. Watt have to do with Dallas? Well, our own Mike Mooney wrote the story for ESPN (driving to Houston and back on the same day to have dinner with Watt, Mike’s only face time with his subject). I think my favorite detail about this deal is that the Houston Texans had the gall (presumably) not to tell each publication that another was working on a Watt story — and then the team bragged about the coverage. Well played, Texans. Well played.

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Moss Haven Elementary Students Sing ‘We Are The World’ to Fight Ebola

As the Advocate notes, some youngsters over at Moss Haven Elementary in Lake Highlands have produced their own remake of “We Are The World,” the well-intentioned all-star tune we all were made to get thoroughly sick of thanks to its constant play on MTV in 1985.

The Moss Haven video is part of an effort to raise $5,000 for Doctors Without Borders to help fight the Ebola epidemic.

If you have anything snarky to say after watching it, what kind of monster are you?

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