A Daily Conversation
About Dallas


How Big is the Pension Fund Crisis? New DART Bailout Proposal Offers Perspective.

| 5 hours ago

The dominoes keep falling in the ongoing saga over the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund. Late last week, the Dallas Morning News reported on the latest idea to fix the troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund, and it is a whopper of a proposal.

In short, Dallas City Council member Scott Griggs has drafted a resolution that would take one-eighth of the sales tax Dallas currently contributes to Dallas Area Rapid Transit and use it to shore up the sinking fund. That would generate around $32 million-per-year for the police and fire pension, though it would leave an already financially challenged DART with a big budget gap.

How big?

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Nature & Environment

Blackland Prairie Folks Are Excited About Re-Wilding the Trinity

| 8 hours ago


I had no idea that there was a group of folks so dedicated to grass. I’m talking about the Blackland Prairie Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas. Most press releases that come through my email don’t get much attention. This one caught my eye. For reasons that will become obvious:

It was with great excitement that the Blackland Prairie Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas learned of the upcoming March 8 symposium sponsored by D Magazine, “Envisioning the Trinity: Theme Park or Natural Wonder.” We support all efforts to create a Trinity River park system that works with this magnificent Blackland Prairie river and its native grasses, and not against it. The ideas outlined in D’s March “Wild Dallas” section on the Trinity have great merit and need vigorous exploration and support. We welcome the Blackland Prairie’s return and offer our resources in service to the prairie.

Before settlers reached North Texas, the Trinity River floodplain was thick with big bluestem, switchgrass, Indian grass, eastern gamagrass, and other natives. Rabbits and deer roamed amid the long strappy leaves soaring six feet tall or more. At the approach of a bobcat or coyote, large flocks of quail, doves and other birds fluttered into the sky.

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Hundreds of Dallas Bridges Are ‘Functionally Obsolete’

| 8 hours ago

The numbers on Dallas’ deteriorating streets are grim, and anecdotal evidence from drivers paints an even more dire picture, of tires blown out and tongues accidentally bit on especially bumpy roads. It often seems we’re only a few weeks of infrastructure decline away from seeing potholes that swallow beloved family pets and belch out clouds of subterranean gas.

But our bridges, at least compared to the rest of the country, aren’t in terrible shape. They’re still not great, though: of the nearly 3,000 bridges in Dallas County, 17 are considered structurally deficient, and 941 are functionally obsolete. This is according to data from the 2015 National Bridge Inventory, compiled by the Federal Highway Administration and packaged in a user-friendly interactive feature by The Washington Post.

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Local News

Leading Off (2/27/17)

| 15 hours ago

“Entitled Children” at Highland Park High School Troll Author, Mock Japanese Internment. Best-selling author Jamie Ford (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet) came to Highland Park Thursday as the keynote speaker in the town’s literary festival. Earlier that day, he spoke at the high school to a group of freshmen and sophomores, where, he says, 1,000 students interrupted the Q&A portion with random clapping and cheering, so loud he could barely talk over them. There is a lot to get to in here, but maybe start with the end of his talk, when he fielded a question about the Japanese Internment. From his website:

“I got my point across and in that brief moment your impoliteness was forgiven and all was well. I thanked you, for not clapping and cheering the Japanese Internment. Then you clapped and cheered the Japanese Internment. You couldn’t resist. That showed me more about you than I wanted to know.”

Bill Paxton, RIP. The Fort Worth native and star of Apollo 13, Twister, One False Move, and the best part of so many other movies, died Saturday of complications from surgery. He was 61. Storm chasers honored him.


Drive-By Shooter Fires On DPD’s South Central Station. Nine shots were fired early Sunday morning, three of which hit the substation. No one was injured.

Nerlens Noel Makes Dallas Debut. He finished with 9 points and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench in the Mavs’ win over the new-look Pelicans, including a game-finishing steal and dunk. As Rick Carlisle said, “Good trade.” He plays his second game in a Mavs uniform tonight against Miami.

Erykah Badu Turns 46 With a Birthday Shindig at The Bomb Factory. Also on the bill, among many others: Houston rap legend Scarface, Pete Rock, Talib Kweli, and Leon Bridges, who performed Ginuwine’s “Pony.” I am tired.

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Local News

The Arboretum Is in Full Bloom

| 3 days ago

The Dallas Arboretum has always been one of my favorite places in the city, in springtime especially. There’s a nice breeze off the lake and the sun is out. And then there are the tulips. The tulips of all different colors are part of the 500,000 spring-blooming bulbs that make their appearance during the Dallas Blooms festival, starting tomorrow and running through April 9. This year’s theme is Peace, Love, and Flower Power. So you can guess that the scenery has a 60s vibe.

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Sports & Leisure

Rangers Add Unholy Abomination to Menu at Spring Training Games

| 3 days ago

As you may or may not know, the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers share a park in Surprise, Arizona, during spring training. At said park, there are obviously concession stands. At those stands, they occasionally add new menu items to keep things fresh. One of those new items is called the Triple Play. Why the Triple Play? Because it is:

A 1/3 pound hot dog is wrapped in a 5.3 oz burger patty and secured in two slices of bacon for $8.75. Ask for a ladle-full of nacho cheese on top to round the bases! ONLY 890 CALORIES!

Surprise, as in “Surprise, you are having a heart attack” or “Surprise, your pants don’t fit anymore.” “Surprise, your wife left you.” (via)

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Politics & Government

City Council Report: What’s the Best Way to Waste Time?

| 3 days ago


Wednesday’s City Council morning open mic session began with regular speaker Robert Chicarelli, whose last appearance a few weeks back began with an angry exhortation to the council members to “pay attention, very much, right now.” Chicarelli, who is homeless, began this time by noting that we don’t know what newly minted City Manager T.C. Broadnax did regarding homeless issues in the previous cities he oversaw and that he should thus be prevented from doing anything here until we know what he’s going to do. He also accused Broadnax of being an insider, as well as an outsider, insomuch as he’s new to Dallas, even though Chicarelli himself is clearly a Yankee with an obnoxious Yankee accent. He concluded, as he did last time, with a threat to “go to jail on purpose” this weekend.

The next speaker, another homeless fellow, also went after Broadnax, though on grounds that were more difficult to follow, later accusing Mayor Mike Rawlings of having roped off the seats directly behind the speaker’s podium so that the black and Hispanic schoolchildren who were there for a field trip wouldn’t appear on television. Then the mayor and the homeless man got into a dispute over whether the homeless man could use his remaining 36 seconds to just stand there or if he had to sit down if he didn’t have anything to say. A compromise was made by which the fellow continued talking, this time about how Rawlings’ family owned slaves. Actually, you should just watch the whole thing here, starting at 5:23.

Next up was the woman who wears complicated homemade t-shirts bearing confusing numerological displays and, in this case, a slogan denouncing “heterophobia.”


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