FrontBurner

A Daily Conversation
About Dallas

Friday Fun

Kids Rule. Haters Drool.

| 2 days ago

Because this week has proven that the world is, by and large, getting dumber, I have decided to turn to the next generation of leaders for inspiration. And I have not been disappointed. Here’s a round-up of some local kids doing some amazing things this month.

17421502_1484341924.8118
Bishop Curry V has an awesome name. Via GoFundMe

Bishop Curry V is a fifth grader at Melissa Ridge Intermediate whose name implies greatness. And this kid is great. After a baby died in a hot minivan last summer near his home just north of McKinney, Bishop decided to invent a device that could be attached to car seats to alert parents and authorities when a child has been left in a vehicle, and to blow cold air to cool the child down until he or she can be rescued. He named it “Oasis.” His dad, Bishop Curry IV, who happens to be an engineer with Toyota in Plano, set up a GoFundMe page to raise $20,000 to finalize the provisional patent, build a prototype, and find a manufacturer. As of today, the account is currently at more than $22,000.

Read More

Local News

Leading Off (2/17/17)

| 3 days ago

North Texas Experiences “A Day Without Immigrants.” Several Latino-owned businesses in Dallas closed and hundreds of DISD students staged peaceful walkouts as part of “A Day Without Immigrants” demonstrations on Thursday. These exhibitions were part of a nationwide effort to accentuate immigrants’ role in daily U.S. life. Many Dallas-area schools experienced lower enrollment Thursday. More than 200 students walked out of Dallas’ Moisés E. Molina High School, which has a 96 percent Latino population.

Controversial Irving Mayor Won’t Seek a Third Term. Beth Van Duyne’s announcement came Thursday, a day before the filing deadline for May elections. She did not disclose her future plans; however, her trip to Trump Tower in the days following the presidential election has led to speculation that she could join Trump’s administration. Since taking office in 2011, Van Duyne has brought national attention to Irving and gained a reputation for her vocal opposition to sanctuary cities and position against Sharia law.

Mexican Consulate Hosts Immigration Meeting. The town hall-style meeting Thursday night brought together hundreds seeking guidance and comfort from elected officials. Worries have increased with President Donald Trump’s orders on immigration and the construction of a border wall. However, the predominant concern was how Trump’s actions could impact children—immigrants themselves as well as those born in the U.S. to immigrant parents.

Car Fire in Uptown Garage Leaves One Dead. Firefighters discovered a body inside of a car engulfed in flames Thursday afternoon in the 3600 block of McKinney Avenue near West Village. The car was parked on the top floor of a parking garage, witnesses said. The person’s identity has not been released, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Ken Paxton Will Be Tried Twice. The state attorney general was back in court Thursday where he discovered prosecutors plan to try him in back-to-back trials on his separate charges. Paxton faces two first-degree securities fraud charges and one third-degree felony charge for failing to register as an investment advisor.

Read More

Sports & Leisure

FC Dallas Owner Dan Hunt Explains the Team’s New Symbolic Kit

| 3 days ago

FCD Badge

FC Dallas officially kicks off the 2017 MLS season on March 4 in LA against the Galaxy. Prior to that, the club will play both legs of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, hosting Panama’s Arabe Unido next Thursday at Toyota Stadium before hitting the road. Prior to that, FCD hosts its annual Cocktails and Cleats event on Friday at F.I.G., where it will introduce its new secondary kit. The team has been teasing the reveal online over the last few days, and owner Dan Hunt called to take us through the various elements of jersey’s symbol-heavy design.

Read More

Politics & Government

City Council Report: T.C. Broadnax Is in the House!

| 3 days ago

dallas_city_hall

Tuesday’s announcement that Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins were proposing a city-county partnership to oversee and coordinate the array of organizations that currently deal with the Dallas homeless situation yielded a measurable degree of confusion and outrage at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. Dozens of citizens with an interest in the issue showed up either to speak at the morning open mic session or to applaud vague criticisms of the mayor, the city, and society at large. Still, several of the three-minute citizen speeches were really rather cogent, citing specific and evidence-based points on various aspects of the proposed reorganization that in several cases helped to inform the ensuing council discussion, which turned out to be impressively productive — with the exception of a strange and suspicious interjection from pretend-lawyer Councilwoman Tiffinni Young, which was gently shot down by newish City Manager T.C. Broadnax in some of his first extended remarks at a council meeting since taking his position late last month.

Read More

Politics & Government

Retired Firefighters Respond to Laura Miller’s Take on the Pension Director

| 3 days ago
Kirk, Leppert, Miller: the faces of Taxpayers for a Fair Pension
Kirk, Leppert, Miller: the faces of Taxpayers for a Fair Pension

Last Friday, I put up a post taking former mayor Laura Miller to task. The way I see it, her current public advocacy for a pension fix stands in sharp relief to her lack of action on the matter when she was mayor. For four years, she failed to appoint two of the four pension board members that she could have. I also find it interesting that her lawyer husband is now billing hours to the city of Dallas as he works on a lawsuit filed against the pension board. Read the post for more detail, if you’re not yet up to speed.

Well, today I got a press release from the Dallas Retired Fire Fighters Association in which they respond to something that Miller told me in that first post. She said, “Obviously, if we had known back then that the police and fire pension fund administrator was making poor investment decisions and hiding the results from everyone, we would have done something about it.” She was talking about Richard Tettamant. I’ve written a lot about Tettamant in this space, and Eric Celeste wrote about him in the January issue of D Magazine. Let’s just say that we, as an organization, are not fans of what Tettamant did with the roughly $100 million that the city gave him every year to invest, and we are eager to see if anything comes of the FBI’s visit to the pension offices.

In that sense, I agree with Miller. I’ve asked her for comment on this press release. I’ll update this post if I hear from her. But let me point out one thing. She referred to “hiding results from everyone.” I take that to mean Tettamant and his lieutenants didn’t accurately portray the value of the riskier investments that the pension was making (mainly real estate). But the Retired Fire Fighters Association, in its press release, refers to “this claim of hiding any pension board activities.” That’s not the same thing. Decide for yourself. Here’s the release:

Read More

Politics & Government

Lee Kleinman Falsely Claims Endorsement From Police Association

| 4 days ago

lee_kleinman3

UPDATE (11:44) I was away from my desk and missed Kleinman’s return call. The endorsement has been removed from his site. Here’s what he wrote to me:

I can’t speak specifically to the letter since they sent it to you not me. My 2013 campaign site had their logo removed last year, and the site has been scrubbed for any other references to the fact that they endorsed me in 2013 and 2015.

I may still be eligible for an endorsement if I agree to bail out their failed pension with $3 billion in taxpayer funds.

ORIGINAL POST: Last summer, I wrote about a dustup between Councilman Lee Kleinman and the Dallas Police Association. The two sides have not made up since. This morning comes a press release and a demand letter sent from the Dallas Police and Fire Fighters associations. The release you can read for yourself, below. Money quote from Mike Mata, head of the DPA: “The city of Dallas is a far more dangerous place under the leadership of Lee Kleinman.” And here’s the demand letter.

The upshot: once upon a time, Kleinman had the endorsement of the two associations. But they withdrew that endorsement, something the groups say they haven’t done in 59 years. They say they’ve asked Kleinman repeatedly to remove the endorsement from his website; as of 10:04 this morning, it was still there. Maybe it’s just a tech thing. Perhaps Kleinman has misplaced the password to his WordPress account. I left a voicemail seeking comment, and I’ll update this post if Kleinman calls back. 

Read More

Leading Off

Leading Off (2/16/17)

| 4 days ago

City Council Debates Approach on Tackling Homelessness. On Tuesday, Mayor Rawlings and County Judge Clay Jenkins introduced a cross-jurisdictional partnership that would observe how social services and nonprofits are dealing with homelessness. However, some council members said yesterday that they would prefer to leave the county out of it and keep this as a city issue. City Manager T.C. Broadnax said city staff should already be employing the measures that the partnership would espouse. The council will likely decide on the issue in March.

Police and Fire Pension Settles Lawsuit with Former Real Estate Advisers. The pension and CDK Realty Advisors have agreed to drop all claims because they “have now resolved their differences.” Except that, according to pension system attorneys, CDK is partly responsible for the awful state that the pension is currently in. But, yeah, everything’s good.

Dallas Pimp Convicted by Jury. 33-year-old Martavious Detrel Banks Keys was convicted by a federal jury yesterday on multiple sex trafficking counts, including child sex trafficking. His sentencing is set for June, and he faces 15 years to life in prison. In 2015, he had forced two girls, 14 and 15, to work as prostitutes, and used violence and drugs to keep them in his control. Heinous. The two girls escaped separately, within a month of each other.

Interim CFO for Dallas County Schools Resigns. Alan King, who was hired to help fix the bus agency’s financial issues, resigned yesterday. King did not provide a reason for resigning.

Read More

Education

CityLab Weighs in on North Texas’ ‘Stadium Arms Race’

| 4 days ago

The Atlantic’s CityLab blog has a fascinating series called “Wastelands,” which reports stories of “what we squander, discard, and fritter away” in our disposable contemporary culture. The latest report, however, isn’t so much about throwing things away, like, say, their photo essay on trinkets found at Dallas estate sales. It is about squandering tax dollars on enormous high school football stadiums.

It’s not the first time the national press has taken notice of what CityLab dubs North Texas’s ISD “arms race.” But CityLab’s report draws a insightful comparison between the money Texas cities spend on buildings versus classrooms, and it wonders why so much money is being spent on football stadiums when the school districts already have stadiums that they can’t even fill-up:

Read More

Law

The Judge Who Sent Me to Prison and His Bachelorette Daughter, Rachel Lindsay

| 5 days ago
Judge Lindsay and his famous daughter, Rachel
Judge Lindsay and his famous daughter, Rachel

In the latest in the string of bizarre and possibly supernatural incidents that have plagued me since childhood, it was announced Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that the star of the upcoming season of The Bachelorette is the daughter of Sam Lindsay, the federal judge who sentenced me to 63 months in prison in a case that was denounced as retaliation for my work in exposing government wrongdoing by outlets ranging from the New York Times to Der Spiegel to U.S. News and World Report, by NGOs including Reporters Without Borders and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, by former U.S. prosecutors, and by foreign members of parliament. Lindsay also ordered me to pay $800,000 in restitution to Stratfor, a State Department-linked firm that was revealed by Wikileaks to have conducted surveillance for Dow Chemical on Bhopal activists, among other things.

Read More