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Arts & Entertainment

Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Dec. 5

| 17 hours ago

Enough with the meek caroling and tinny shopping mall music. The best Christmas tunes are bold and brash, swaggering hymns best blasted by an orchestra’s brass and percussion sections, perhaps with some assistance from a giant organ — say, the magnificent but rarely deployed Lay Family Organ at the Meyerson — that will make your teeth rattle and eardrums quiver with the pure force of holiday cheer. The Dallas Symphony’s Big Brassy Christmas & Organ Extravaganza is tonight.

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Livable Cities

How Bad is Poverty in Dallas? Here Are the Numbers.

| 17 hours ago

The Dallas City Council’s Housing Committee will listen to two sobering briefings today. The first is the final report of the Dallas Commission on Homelessness, which outlines findings and recommendations of a year-long look into the homeless problem in Dallas. In short, homelessness in Dallas increased 21 percent over the past year thanks to a combination of high rates of poverty and shortages of affordable housing.

So how should Dallas fight its homeless problem?

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Politics & Government

Citizen Mike Rawlings Sues the Pension Fund

| 18 hours ago

Mayor Mike Rawlings Bloomberg videoCouncilman Scott Griggs put the filings in a Dropbox. I’m just digging into them myself. Let’s read together, shall we?

UPDATE (10:26) He’s trying to get a court to halt lump-sum withdrawals of DROP accounts. Why he filed as a citizen I don’t get.

UPDATE (11:06) The mayor’s office couldn’t comment on the matter because it’s not the mayor who filed the suit. They referred me to Laura Reed. While waiting to hear back from Reed, I called someone else who is smarter than I am. Here’s my understanding of the matter:

The mayor — excuse me — citizen Mike Rawlings filed this pleading for a temporary restraining order because if he’d filed as the mayor, or if he’d somehow gotten the city attorney to file (which he wouldn’t have), then the city would have had to give up its sovereign immunity defense in any counterclaim filed by the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System. A hearing on this will likely happen today, and it will likely happen in Judge Tonya Parker’s court. The interesting thing about that is Parker was once an attorney at Gruber Elrod Johansen Hail Shank, and Mike Gruber is the lawyer working for Rawlings.

One more thing: it is likely that Rawlings will have to amend his filing. Because the pension also enjoys sovereign immunity, Rawlings will probably have to sue the individual board members of the pension — meaning he’ll be suing the four Dallas city council members that he appointed to the board.

UPDATE (11:40) The hearing will indeed be in Judge Parker’s court, the 116th, at 2:30 today. And here’s the official statement from Rawlings:

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Local News

Leading Off (12/5/16)

| 22 hours ago

Lawyer Brian Loncar Dies Two Days After Daughter’s Funeral. On Friday, Grace Loncar, 16, was laid to rest. The actress and Booker T. student had struggled with depression for years. On Sunday, her father Brian — the lawyer known as “The Strong Arm” in TV commercials and billboards — was found dead. The cause of death is still a bit unclear: his stepson said the family was told it was probably a heart attack; investigators earlier were looking at a Rolls Royce Wraith outside his downtown office. Loncar was 56.

Dallas Still Has No DA. It’s been three months since Susan Hawk stepped down. Three months. Oh, also we still don’t have a police chief or a city manager.

Army Corps of Engineers Denies Construction Permit For Dakota Access Pipeline. Dallas’ Energy Transfer Partners is the company behind the pipeline being built near the Standing Rock reservation that has been the cause of months of protests. Construction was halted by the Corps’ decision and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said this “ensures that there will be an in-depth evaluation of alternative routes for the pipeline and a closer look at potential impacts.” Energy Transfer’ CEO Kelcy Warren, on the other hand, has already said he’s “100-percent sure” that the Trump administration would make the pipeline happen no matter what.

Muslim Volunteers Pack Survival Kits For Homeless at Austin Street Shelter. They wanted all of them to know that “you’re not alone.”

Cotton Bowl Matchup Set. It will be undefeated Western Michigan against Wisconsin on January 2.

Cowboys Clinch Playoff Spot. At 11-1, the team was more than likely going to the postseason, barring an almost unprecedented collapse. But with Washington’s loss to Arizona, it became official.

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Local News

Meet the Former Mavs Dancer Who’s Making Her TV Debut

| 4 days ago

If you attended a Dallas Mavericks game between 2009 and 2011, chances are you saw Jenna Gillund performing and cheering on the team during halftime. The former Mavs Dancer was born in Chicago but made Dallas her home for years before moving to Los Angeles. Now, the 28-year-old will appear on Bravo’s new docu-series, “Timber Creek Lodge,” that premieres on Monday and follows the staff of a luxury ski lodge in Whistler, Canada, as a number of shenanigans occur. I caught up with Jenna on her time with the Mavs and what led to her TV debut.

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Arts & Entertainment

Things To Do In Dallas This Weekend: Dec. 2-4

| 4 days ago

Rainy weather is going to do its best to complicate this weekend’s attempts at holiday cheer. The biggest casualty thus far is the Dallas Children’s Health Holiday Parade, which is officially cancelled.Reliant Lights Your Holidays, the Arts District display set for Saturday night, has been postponed to a date as yet unspecified. The show must go on elsewhere, though — you live a rain or shine lifestyle, and it’s the weekend.

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Nature & Environment

Is Dallas Really Building ‘The Nation’s Largest Nature Park’?

| 4 days ago

Did you hear the news? Dallas is building the nation’s largest nature park. Don’t take my word for it. I read it Wednesday, clear as day, in a news story that popped up in my Facebook feed. The New York-based design news website Inhabitat had the story first. Then it was picked up by other internet outlets.

“Dallas Is Building a 10,000-Acre Urban Park,” reads the headline on Seeker, which followed in its subhead: “The green space would be 12 times the size of New York’s Central Park and includes a thousand-acre hardwood forest.”

I was shocked.

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Media

A Few More Words About Tim Taliaferro, the New Texas Monthly Editor

| 4 days ago
This is the other Tim.
This is the other Tim.

Earlier this week, in a post about the big changes at Texas Monthly, I threw some “delicate shade” at Tim Taliaferro. I don’t know the guy. It was petty and immature of me to point out the absurd imbalance of the number of people who follow him on Twitter compared to the number he follows (1,486:1,340). So when I read in this 2013 profile of Taliaferro that he once worked for Bryan Garner, I figured I should at least make a call to atone for my earlier post.

Garner is something of a superhero to me. He is the English language’s foremost lexicographer. D Magazine profiled him back in 2007. I’ve met him, and my copy of Garner’s Modern English Usage bears an inscription from him. Point is: Garner’s take on Taliaferro carries weight. 

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Local News

Leading Off (12/2/16)

| 4 days ago

21 Indicted in Defunct Forest Park Kickback Scheme. Surgeons and health care executives associated with the now-bankrupt Forest Park Medical Center chain of luxury hospitals were indicted Thursday for allegedly participating in an illegal kickback scheme. Over four years, the chain, which catered to patients with private insurance, paid about $40 million in kickbacks and bribes for patient referrals, and collected more than $200 million in paid claims. For more context, read D CEO Senior Editor Matt Goodman’s piece on the collapse of the five-hospital chain.

Decision Due Today in Dallas Police and Fire Pension Lawsuit. A solution for the troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund depends on the ruling, which State District Judge Ken Molberg is expected to give today. The fund loses $3.3 million every month that a vote to make changes is delayed, the fund’s executive director testified during a four-hour hearing yesterday.

Eleven Straight. It was close, but the Cowboys held on against the Minnesota Vikings last night for a 17-15 win. Dez Bryant stepped up, catching the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter as well as four passes for 84 yards.

John Tesar Finds His Way Back to Top Chef. The first episode of the fourteenth season aired last night, but I’m not going to spoil it here. For the duration of Tesar’s tenure on the show, Alice Laussade will bring her colorful observations to SideDish each Friday. Look for her first post later this morning.

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Politics & Government

James Ragland Says My City Manager Conspiracy Theory Is All Wrong and Totally Right

| 5 days ago
Ragland
Ragland

James Ragland has an interesting column in today’s paper about the search for the next Dallas city manager. The online headline: “Is It Possible that Dallas Already Has a ‘Dak Prescott’ to Run City Hall?” I have some problems with it. Starting near the top:

“No matter who’s perched on top, the city manager in Dallas is like a big-league quarterback who doesn’t get to call his or her own plays.”

Given the headline, I assume we’re talking NFL in this analogy. I don’t think any NFL quarterbacks call their own plays. They might audible from one play to another, but that’s the extent of it. Also, there has never been a female quarterback in the NFL or in any big league.

“City Hall’s QB has to be a ‘system’ guy, someone who can thread the line in a council-manager form of government that spreads the power around.”

Lines are toed, or they are walked. Needles are threaded. But I’m glad that Ragland realizes that City Hall’s QB can’t be a ‘system’ gal.

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