FrontBurner

A Daily Conversation
About Dallas

The Latest

Politics & Government

Lee Kleinman Got F@*&>! Over the Cotton Belt

| 6 hours ago

 

lee_kleinman3

What you see here is Councilman Lee Kleinman’s wheels shooting off at a meeting yesterday of the transportation committee. You can watch the full video for yourself. Go to the 30:00 minute mark. Kleinman doesn’t actually say anything. He just mouths the words. But I believe the message was: “You fucked me.” You wouldn’t know it from reading Julieta Chiquillo’s account of the meeting, but it was an exciting one (we miss you already, Brandon Formby). Here’s what I think happened:

Read More

Theater

10,519,200 Minutes

| 6 hours ago

Jonathan Larson’s Tony-winning musical, Rent, opened on Broadway in 1996. I was a legal intern at the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York City at the time. It was pretty much before the internet and email and smartphones. I would walk from the Tribeca office to the New York Law School Library on West Broadway to do research, with a pocketful of dimes to make copies of case law. I’d overhear the receptionist phoning Judith Lichtman, the director, to let her know that “Hillary” was on the phone, and listen to Judith ask her about how Chelsea was doing in school.

I had a public interest stipend of $1,000, so I would have been in a tenement for the summer if it weren’t for The Webster Apartments on West 34th, one of the most ingenious gifts ever given to young working women. Charles and Josiah Webster, cousins of Roland H. Macy, the founder of Macy’s, sunk a portion of their fortunes in a nonprofit apartment building intended to provide food and cheap, safe lodging to single women coming to New York City in the 1920s to make their way as sales clerks. They funded it well; it still exists, in exactly the same form, with exactly the same purpose. There’s a gorgeous “Green Room” overlooking a manicured back garden, a library, a dining hall, and private receiving rooms where ladies can entertain male guests, who are still not allowed past the front hallway.

I didn’t have a cell phone, so I’d have to wait for one of the public phones in the lobby to call my girlfriend, Melissa, at her sister’s house in the evening. But mostly, to save money, I wrote her letters. Every day.

That summer, Rent was already getting a fair bit of buzz, but I managed to score a couple of discount seats in the farthest corner of the topmost row, and I convinced Melissa to leave her firm job early on a Friday to fly out for the weekend. I figured I could sneak her upstairs to my room.

Read More

Architecture & Design

Preservation Dallas Wants a Downtown Subway, Walt Humann’s Fair Park Plan

| 7 hours ago

On this year’s list of Dallas’ “Most Endangered Historic Places”, Preservation Dallas advocates both for taking the second downtown DART light-rail line underground and for the city’s support of the private Fair Park Texas Foundation taking over management of Fair Park.

The organization’s interest in those issues is, of course, due to their desire to protect the buildings in those places. On D2:

Over $350 million in redevelopment of historic properties would be impacted by noise and vibrations from construction and running trains, removal of access to buildings for services and garages, and even potential demolition of portions of historic structures. This kind of impact to historic properties is too great for the amazing amount of work that has been done to revitalize them and downtown Dallas. We believe that mass transit benefits the city and the expansion of the DART system to make it more flexible is good for the city’s future. However, in order to create that flexibility the new line should be buried in a subway so that the historic buildings along the line can continue with their full use and access to keep them viable for the future and part of the renaissance of the urban core.

On Fair Park:

Read More

Transportation

Is the Oak Cliff Streetcar Still a $50 Million Waste?

| 8 hours ago

A few weeks ago, a Facebook friend raised a question. Now that the Oak Cliff streetcar has been built out to the Bishop Arts District, do I still stand behind the argument I made in this 2012 column that called the public transit project a “$50 million waste.” After all, one of the arguments that piece made was that the federal money that Oak Cliff’s neighborhood transit activists had secured to help realize their dreams of the return of the Oak Cliff streetcar was only enough to get the streetcar from Union Station to Methodist Hospital, hardly a stretch worthy of such a large expenditure of public transit funds. Now the line reaches all the way to Bishop Arts. Is it time for me to eat crow?

Read More

News

Leading Off (9/27/16)

| 11 hours ago

Mark Cuban Attends the Presidential Debate. Before the candidates went at each other, Cuban told reporters in the spin room: “I’m not here to cause a scene. I’m not here to make faces. I’m not here to stare him in the eyes. I haven’t practiced the stink eye. I don’t have a little dance move. I’m not going to do anything like that. He’s good enough at that on his own.” He also said that since he started trolling Trump, he has received death threats and has been under attack from hackers. (PS: Hank Stuever’s recap of the debate in the Washington Post is the best I’ve read.)

Dallas Wants a DART Subway. The transportation committee met and crafted a resolution that it will send to the City Council next month. The resolution calls for revamped bus service and for the second rail line through downtown to be built as a subway. And Councilman Philip Kingston said that he doubts DART’s claim that it can afford to build that subway and the controversial northern Cotton Belt line.

Bank Run on Pension Fund. Trustees of the police and fire pension met yesterday and revealed that in the last six weeks, pensioners have withdrawn $220 million from the fund. Board Chairman Samuel Friar said, “We’ve got to stop this runaway train. We think the action we took today will help in doing that.” Interesting word choice, given that the board took no action yesterday. Remember: if the pension fails, the city of Dallas is on the hook.

Greg Hardy Gets to Wear the Gray Towel. The former Cowboy had his mugshot taken after being arrested Sunday night in Richardson on a drug charge. He was pulled over for a traffic violation, but a cop found cocaine in the car and a Top Golf membership card issued to Overlord Hardy Jr. He posted bond last night before 6.

Frisco Teen Sentenced to Life in Prison. Zachary Callens was 16 when he gunned down his parents in their home. Yesterday at his sentencing hearing, his four siblings testified for the prosecution, saying their brother showed no remorse for the killings. 

Read More

Nature

Law Man Walking: Nature Treks With Bill Holston

| 1 day ago
Photo of the author by Ben Sandifer
Photo of the author by Ben Sandifer

What music really moves you? For me, it is the blues, and particularly acoustic blues. I’m a sucker for the raw emotion of the lyrics. I get lost in the ragged sound of slide guitar. Saturday I was driving down to meet my friends Scott and Elizabeth at River Oaks Park. Our goal was Lemmon Lake. I was listening to the album God Don’t Ever Change, a collection of artists covering the great bluesman Blind Willie Johnson. I have three versions of “John the Revelator” on my iPhone. Don’t you? As I drove south across the Trinity River, the sun began to lighten the sky. Sinead O’Connor sang “Trouble Will Soon Be Over,” which I took as a hopeful prayer this election season.

Read More