We run a leadership program called D Academy that is designed to educate our employees (and anyone else who would like to apply) about all matters related to the functions of our city. Yesterday, in a City Hall auditorium, Mayor Mike Rawlings was kind enough to field questions for the current class of fellows, and he said some things about the Trinity toll road and Adrian Peterson that give me pause. Such as:Full Story
As Tim alluded to yesterday, Dallas’ handling of the Ebola crisis has just been put into perspective for a national audience, thanks to Bryan Burrough’s thoroughly reported piece in the new Vanity Fair. Burrough’s lengthy story puts a generally heroic shine on the response by local officials. And it offers a refreshingly frank, behind-the-scenes look at the actions of two powerful local politicians, both Democrats, who someday may aspire to higher office. My initial impression was that the piece portrays County Judge Clay Jenkins as some sort of steely Superman, while Mayor Mike Rawlings comes off as, well, considerably less effective.Full Story
Jim Schutze of the Dallas Observer (and his dogs) join me in Jim’s living room to discuss Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings’ announcement that he will run for re-election. Do his opponents have a chance? What has the mayor accomplished? How can he help DISD reform? When will Eric pay Rudy Bush of the DMN the $20 he now owes him? Will the tollway be built? Why is DISD so important to this election? Why can’t Jim ever talk directly into a microphone? And why does everyone hate Eric so much? We answer-ish all these questions and more in […]Full Story
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!
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.
A hippie and the Skipper at City Hall.Full Story
Steve Blow’s column over the weekend was right on in pointing out that Mayor Mike Rawlings’ idea of a buffer zone for sexual predators is not a good one. But it goes beyond the reasons Blow mentions. Not only does it sometimes make it tough on people who don’t fit our typical idea of what a sex offender is, it’s also bad policy. In fact, some experts argue buffer zones make children less safe. And it should be noted that the Council did an outstanding job acting like leaders and not pushing through an ill-considered ordinance.Full Story
The DMN ran an editorial over the weekend that said Mike Rawlings should run for another term. My take: Sure, why not? He can’t build a coalition on the council, but he is onboard with school reform. I’m for the latter more than the former.
The paper’s reasons Mayor Mike should run again? (Other than because he’s “a salesman with a soul,” of course.)Full Story
UPDATE (9:44) On its website, ACE makes it impossible to figure out who sits on its board. I turned to Bloomberg, which I linked to below, in stating that Rawlings sits on the board. He hasn’t held that position for five years. My apologies for the error.
Jason mentioned in Leading Off this morning that Irving-based ACE Cash Express has agreed to pay $10 million to get the government off its back over the way the company takes advantage of the working poor, using “false threats, intimidation, and harassing calls to bully payday borrowers into a cycle of debt.” Couple of questions. Is Ron Washington still doing ACE Cash ads? He should stop.
Next question: when is Mayor Mike Rawlings going to step down from the ACE Cash board? If he’s really sincere about his GrowSouth initiative, he should do it today.
I need some help, guys. Write a caption for this photo. Winner gets a high-five in the comments.Full Story
City Council Members Upset Mayor Rawlings Doesn’t Consult Them. Alternative headlines: “Mayor Mike Rawlings Hard at Work on Several Initiatives” or “Mayor in Desperate Need of Better PR Team.” Tip: Inform council members of plans before media inquiries, avoid much of these issues.
SMU Not Headed to NCAA Tournament. Some 1,000 people gathered in Moody Coliseum for Selection Sunday, anticipating SMU’s entrance into the tournament for the first time in two decades. But the 23-9 Mustangs never got called. There’s all kinds of speculation as to why they won’t appear (bad losses at the end of the season, their American Athletic Conference affiliation), but the team will be a No. 1 seed in the NIT.
TxDOT Officials Claim They Spend More on Repairing Roads than Study States. A report released this month from Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense alleges that the Texas Department of Transportation spent 82 percent of its $3.4 billion budget between 2009 and 2011 on expanding roads rather than maintaining them. Another Smart Growth report has TxDOT spending just 11 percent of its budget between 2004 and 2008 on maintenance and repair, but officials maintain that number was closer to 35 percent.
Trimble Tech Group Holds Vigil for Local SXSW Victims. Tech senior Curtisha Davis and her boyfriend, 2013 Tech grad Deandre Tatum, both remain hospitalized in Austin after sustaining injuries in the crash that killed two and injured more than 20. A small group of parents, friends, and Tech alumni gathered on the school’s steps Sunday night to pray for the victims.Full Story
There’s a scary, scary story in the paper today by Matthew Haag about the home-rule effort to reform DISD. Here’s what you need to know about it.Full Story
The paper is coming around. On Wednesday, James Ragland wrote a column that clearly took aim at the home-rule movement, saying its backers wanted to “blow up the district.” An accompanying news story about the signature-gathering efforts painted a picture of confusion. Now this.
The DMN just put up an editorial endorsing the home-rule movement, saying, “It’s clear to this newspaper, as it has been for some time, that this is the conversation we must have to reform and improve public education. If it takes signing this petition, you should. It beats running to the suburbs.” Tod Robberson, too, posted an item a few minutes ago that supports the movement. You know who made that happen? Rawlings. As Robberson writes, “It’s wonderful when a politician throws caution to the wind, abandons political niceties and tells it like it is.”
It’s too early to say for certain, but we might be watching the defining moment of Rawlings’ tenure.Full Story
I read the front-page DMN story today about the home-rule movement for DISD, and I thought, “Oh, man, they still don’t have their messaging together.” Here’s how the story in the paper wraps up:
Rawlings and the group said they did not have a grand vision for a DISD charter. When asked why the community would support a plan that hasn’t been outlined, some group members said the effort would give the public a blank page and lets them write the future of Dallas ISD.
“The power is the blank page,” Rawlings said. “The citizens for the first time get to decide what they want to do.”
What? They have no vision? The power is the blank page? No, no, NO. People are going to hate that. But then I watched this video.Full Story
Isn’t there some way to reverse this in-your-face decision about the city manager’s pay? Seems to me it’s the type of issue that should have the taxpayers turning out at City Hall with pitchforks drawn.Full Story
Dallas Poverty Rates High Despite Growth. According to the Dallas Morning News’ deep dive on the issue, “Texas may grow jobs like California grows oranges,” but those jobs don’t necessarily fit the profile of those looking. It’s not an uncommon story, certainly one heard around the country, but Dallas’ boomtown reputation doesn’t fit the storyline. Unemployment sits at 6.1 percent, and outside of Detroit, Memphis and Philadelphia, Dallasites are more likely to live in poverty than those in the rest of the country’s 20 largest cities. Mayor Mike Rawlings is concerned that if these high rates persist, companies might take their jobs elsewhere.
4-year-old Signs Letter of Intent with TCU Baseball Team. Warning: Grab the tissues. Micah Ahern has been battling cancer since he was 15 months old. He’s currently going through his sixth round of chemotherapy and has had radiation and a stem-cell replacement treatments in the past. But none of that was top of mind recently when he met with TCU’s baseball team to sign that letter, for the year 2027, and pose for photos with the team.
Those Bizarre J.C. Penney Tweets? They Were Intentional. During the Super Bowl, the Plano-based department store sent out two typo-filled tweets, leading some to speculate that whoever was managing the account was drunk. Not so. Apparently, it was all part of a plan to promote the store’s February campaign to raise money for Team USA. The tweeter claimed to be wearing Team USA mittens.
Southwest Airlines Announcing New Love Field Service Today. Customers will have to wait until October to fly nonstop on these new flights, but now they’ll know where they can go.Full Story