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Politics & Government

City Council Report: Just Who the Heck Is Dick Zinnendorf

| 43 mins ago

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Each time some citizen comes up to the podium for the three-minute “open mic” speeches that every Dallasite is entitled to deliver before the Dallas City Council at the beginning of its weekly meetings, a little mystery-drama unfolds as observers look for early clues as to which of several categories the speaker will fall under. The most common of these are Well-Informed Citizen; Obvious Political Crank; Here to Make Goofy, Good-Natured Announcement; and Mentally Ill Homeless Person, with the latter divided into further sub-categories such as Angry Over Vague Recent Incident or About to Accuse Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo of Running Underground Prostitution Ring. Generally you can figure out which is which within 20 seconds; some defy categorization for up to a minute. But the first speaker on Wednesday morning conducted himself with such extraordinary thematic ambiguity that it remained unclear as to what he was about and even whether he really existed at all, at least until after some further digging. And then things got strange.

Dick Zinnendorf strode to the podium in a camo t-shirt to announce, “I’m here to defend the people of Dallas from the menace of Bobby Abtahi!” This was ambiguous enough. Abtahi is the newly appointed Parks Board head and one of several associates of developer and Rawlings backer Walt Humann that the mayor has managed to place on the board in recent months. Zinnendorf, then, could be a Well-Informed Citizen, but without further clues, one couldn’t rule out Crank or Mentally Ill. Presumably whatever he said next would narrow things down. But it didn’t.

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Transportation

These Are the Noisiest Places in Dallas

| 1 hour ago

The U.S. Department of Transportation this week released a national “noise map,” tracking decibel levels in cities around the country. The map focuses exclusively on noise caused by transportation, which explains why there is not an angry red splotch around my downstairs neighbor’s apartment and his expensive speakers.

Unsurprisingly, the most transportation-related noise in Dallas stems from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, a giant purple streak on the relatively low-decibel orange coating of the region’s many surface streets. Love Field, similarly, brings the noise. Those pink lines crossing the map would be our highways.

Airports and highways, it turns out, are loud.

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Good Public Transit

Why Dallas Needs to take the Lead on Downtown Subway, Streetcar, and Highway Plans

| 5 hours ago

After a year of debate over how and where to build the much-needed second downtown Dallas DART light rail alignment, there is a chance that any dreams of downtown subway will have to wait for a new presidential administration. That’s because the preliminary budget the Trump administration presented Congress includes some blanket language that wholesale precludes the federal government from implementing any new infrastructure funding—a problem for DART since the billion-dollar D2 project is contingent on receiving federal funds from an Obama-era “Core Capacity” transit grant program.

Nonetheless, at  a stakeholder meeting yesterday, DART officials said they would continue to move ahead with the plans for D2 presuming that once the raw meat of Trump’s budget gets filtered through Congress, the sausage that comes out the other end will include pork for subway building.

Let’s hope so.

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Politics & Government

Watch Barrett Brown Smoke in Video Produced by Reason

| 6 hours ago

Barrett Brown will be along in a bit with a report from yesterday’s City Council meeting. To tide you over, I offer the below video, posted yesterday to Reason’s site. It’s about 19 minutes long. If you don’t have the time right now to watch the entire thing, do yourself the favor and watch the first few minutes. You will get to see Barrett thoughtfully smoking his robot cigarette while he loiters outside City Hall. Then there’s a good shot of him loitering in the D Magazine lobby, which is followed by a shot of him thoughtfully drinking coffee at his desk (which desk he was recently booted from, forced to relocate to the area of the office where the women from D Home make their magazine (I’ve yet to hear complaints from them, but one never knows; they might just be too afraid to complain)).

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Leading Off

Leading Off (3/23/17)

| 9 hours ago

Former Baylor Tight End Charged with Sexual Assault. Tre’Von Armstead, who had been accused of gang raping a woman in 2013, was arrested yesterday—four years later. McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna said this was due to newly discovered evidence as well as Baylor finally showing some cooperation. Armstead faces three felony counts of sexual assault.

City Council Approves Ethics Rules Overhaul. Yesterday, after months of debate, the vote was unanimous to change the city’s ethics rules in order to spare City Hall from some political influence. “You’ve done something remarkable. This is an amazing thing for the city,” Mayor Mike Rawlings said. This overhaul includes barring successful campaign managers from lobbying officials for a year post-campaign and barring council members from appointing their staff to boards. These and other changes will go into effect July 1.

Dallas Getting Another Downtown Park. The city council approved yesterday a development called Pacific Plaza Park, which will be mostly funded by a $15 million donation and located between St. Paul Street and Harwood Street, north of Pacific Avenue. A parking lot will be unpaved to make this park happen, and construction is set to begin by early next year.

Teen Loses Suit Against Lewisville ISD. A ninth-grade girl, who had accused two football players of rape in 2012, lost the case that she brought against Lewisville ISD, which she says retaliated against her and favored the football players over her. This happened even though district officials testified that they didn’t completely adhere to Title IX rules during investigation of the allegations.

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Politics & Government

Meet the Shadowy Super PAC Behind the Attack Campaign on Philip Kingston

| 1 day ago

For Our Community, the political action committee run by the woman who helped get Mike Rawlings elected mayor, is doing its best to paint incumbent Councilman Philip Kingston as an ineffective bully. That’s the “disturbing truth” in the lengthy URL of its new attack ad campaign, disturbingtruthaboutphilip.com, which proclaims that Kingston is “unfit to serve our community” due, presumably, to his “track record of contempt, disdain, and outright bullying as a Dallas City Councilman.” It then offers three quotes, excerpted from council minutes and news reports, as proof.

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Sports & Leisure

Harrison Barnes Just Might Be the Most Awesome Maverick Ever

| 1 day ago

Harrison Barnes came to Dallas just as the city was dealing with the downtown shootings last summer. What an introduction to a new home. As he writes is this fine essay for The Players’ Tribune, he almost turned around at the airport and left. But not for the reason you might guess. Read the whole thing. It’s worth your time, and it’ll make you realize how lucky the team is to have him. 

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Nature

Welcome to Bobcat City U.S.A.

| 1 day ago

Perhaps by now you’ve perused our March issue, which is titled “Wild Dallas.” Maybe you saw it on the newsstand, looked at the pretty picture on the front cover and thought, “Huh, I wonder where that is.” After all, the shot (a “secret bird pond” near the Audubon Center) doesn’t look like what most of us experience during our day-to-day travels and travails through Dallas. Concrete, intersections, manicured lawns, maybe a park with a playground: these are the normal landscapes we encounter in Dallas.

But Dallas has a wild side.

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Local News

The Exciting Possibilities of Downtown Life, Via This Banner

| 1 day ago

 

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You may have noticed a few dispatches from D CEO editor Glenn Hunter regarding the trouble surrounding an in-progress mixed-use development in downtown called The Drever. Since I go for a walk every day around lunchtime (#amblebrag), I’ve been aware of the project for some time. But earlier this week, while out and about, something at The Drever caught my eye, a banner advertising the project that I had not looked at very closely. That’s it above, featuring Photoshopped renderings of what The Drever will eventually look like as well as a bit of the, um, bustling downtown crowd. Pretty standard stuff.

Now, then, let’s get to what caught my eye — computer, ENHANCE:

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Local News

Leading Off (3/22/17)

| 1 day ago

Maryland Man Arrested for Tweet Sent to Dallas-based Journalist. John Rayne Rivello has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with a hate crime enhancement for sending a tweet to Kurt Eichenwald, a divisive Dallas-based political journalist who has epilepsy. The tweet included flashing images and a message that read, “You deserve a seizure for your post.” Eichenwald claims the tweet did the trick and caused a seizure. Rivello’s iCloud account included a number of questionable screenshots including one of Eichenwald’s Wikipedia bio that listed the journalist’s death as December 16, the day after the tweet in question was sent.

Uptown Hit-and-Run Suspect Arrested. Dallas police tracked down and arrested an Oklahoma man in the hit-and-run crash that killed 23-year-old Rachel Spellman as she crossed an Uptown street at 2 a.m. Saturday morning.

RIP Roy Williams. The political activist was a co-plaintiff in a voting rights lawsuit that turned Dallas from an at-large system into 14-1 single-member district system in 1991, a change widely recognized for giving minorities a better stake in the city’s governance. Today the Dallas city council is comprised of 40 percent minorities. Williams died at the Dallas VA this weekend.

Trial Begins in Fatal Butt Enhancement Case. The details revealed in court yesterday that you’ll try to forget, but never will: Operating without a license in a Deep Ellum salon, Denise Rochelle “Wee Wee” Ross became known for giving clients the “Wee Wee Booty” via injections, which she sometimes told people was saline or hydrogel, but was actually industrial-grade silicone caulk. Punctures were sealed with superglue and cotton balls. Yesterday, the prosecution argued that Ross and her transgender assistant, Jimmy Joe “Alicia” Clarke, left Wykesha Reid’s dead body on a massage table “like a piece of garbage” after the silicone entered her bloodstream.

American Airlines’ Itchy Stitch-uation. The Association of Professional Flight attendants has received more than 3,000 complaints regarding new AA uniforms that rolled out in September. Employees have reported rashes, headaches, and breathing trouble among other maladies. On Tuesday, the airline announced it has ordered an alternate uniform that will be made by a different manufacturer.

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