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Cofounder of Dallas-Based The Tot Fired After Racist Instagram Post

| 12 hours ago

Every now and then in this modern-day world, you come across a piece of content and wonder how nobody caught the problem before publishing to the masses. There’s the whole Pepsi debacle, and this particularly creepy Bloomindale’s holiday campaign (which would really not fly today!). Swedish retailer H&M recently ran into some pretty serious trouble over their decision to have a young Black boy model a “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” sweater.

Street-style star and cofounder of Dallas-based The Tot Miroslava Duma may have a slightly lower reach than the above brands, but her 1.6 million Instagram followers (nothing to sneeze at) did witness a similarly poor decision while viewing her Instagram Story on Monday night.

Duma, who is currently attending Couture Week in Paris, shared a photo of flowers with a note from Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko that read “To my [N—] in Paris,” a nod to a 2011 Kanye West and Jay-Z. Apologies were quickly issued. (Sergeenko’s original convoluted post has since been deleted, but you can read it in full here.)

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Local News

Tackling Housing Affordability in Dallas Begins With Understanding

| 15 hours ago

On January 17, the Dallas City Council heard what it should already know. The Market Value Analysis, a database and report by the Philadelphia-based lender and research group known as The Reinvestment Fund, had discovered the hard data needed for Dallas to make more informed decisions on neighborhood revitalization and where to get the most bang for its incentive bucks.

The analysis should surprise no one. With the exception of areas of Oak Cliff, Dallas’ poorer areas by every measure are south of Interstate 30. Residents lack education and job prospects, which translate into lower salaries, cheaper and less-maintained housing, and a lack of business infrastructure like shops, services, and entertainment.

The reasons are equally unsurprising.

The best guide for reasonably-priced housing in Dallas are often the redline maps that banks oversaw for almost 40 years. Those maps delineated where mortgages were often simply unavailable. Without the ability to get home financing at reasonable rates, housing prices plummeted to the value of what a buyer could pay in cash. It was only in 1968 when that odious policy was officially stopped. Officially.

And while some 20 organizations took part on this report’s steering committee, none was a bank. Last year I peppered some bankers about southern Dallas and their lack of business there. When I pointed out that decades of bank-driven redlining was a direct cause of southern Dallas poverty, you could have heard a pin drop. The pin stayed on the ground when I continued that southern Dallas deserved the banks’ penance.

We should all know redlining was actually “black-lining.” The neighborhoods deemed “Definitely Declining” were already or were becoming the black and brown sections of Dallas. And white folks, believing melanin to be contagious, abandoned areas adjacent to these often newly black areas. This only spread the problem.

And as Frontburner once pointed out, those nearly 40 years of damage have barely improved for southern Dallas. However, the story for Dallas north of I-30 was different. Those areas rated “Definitely Declining,” including Uptown and much of Oak Lawn, have now returned to prosperity. This Market Value Analysis was a first step in trying —again—to fix the problem. Councilman Philip Kingston, of downtown and Uptown and East Dallas, pointed out that Dallas has the lowest median income of any U.S. city over 1 million residents. Of the city’s past attempts, he said, “We’re fake, we’re hypocrites,” in part because Dallas has more than 1,000 housing vouchers that landlords won’t take.

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Politics & Government

A Further Investigation Into Dunking on City Council Members

| 18 hours ago

Yesterday Zac Crain posed the trenchant question: if you could dunk on any current city council member, why would you pick Philip Kingston? In answering that question, Zac postulated that “Adam McGough is going to make a business decision and bail out of the paint as soon as he sees you coming.” This morning, though, we might need to reevaluate that scouting report. Through an intermediary, Councilman McGough sent us this photograph of himself dunking when he was a junior at Nacogdoches High School:

I have several questions about this photograph. Is that a regulation basketball? The graininess of picture makes it hard to tell. Similarly, is that a 10-foot hoop? It seems so, because its support appears to be the unadjustable sort that drops down from the ceiling of the gym. Was this an uncontested dunk? We have to say yes, given the casual dress and general disposition of the other people on the court. Which brings us to Councilman McGough’s pants. Are those white jeans he’s wearing? We can confirm that they are, in fact, white jeans. When asked why he was dunking in white jeans, the councilman responded: “Because I was cool.”

We all like to believe that we were cool in high school. For some of us, this might even have been true.

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Politics & Government

Clay Jenkins Asks Republican Candidates to Condemn GOP Lawsuit

| 19 hours ago

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, a Democrat, is calling on Republican candidates for office to denounce a lawsuit filed Friday by the local GOP, which aims to boot 128 Democrats off the March 6 primary ballot and effectively clear the way for uncontested and otherwise unlikely Republican wins in November. The county’s Republican Party — kept largely out of power in Dallas County electoral politics since 2006 and broke as of two years ago, but led by an ambitious new chair — seized on an apparent clerical snafu to blindside local Democrats.

The lawsuit accuses Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Carol Donovan of failing to sign the petitions of her party’s candidates as required by the state’s electoral code, an alleged unforced human error that fits with a portrait of a local Democratic Party that can’t get out of its own way.  In some cases, the lawsuit alleges that someone else signed Donovan’s signature. State Sen. Royce West denounced Republican “shenanigans,” while state Rep. Eric Johnson painted the move as an attempt by the GOP to “disenfranchise minority voters.”

Jenkins, who sat down Monday for a brief interview with D Magazine to address the lawsuit as both a Democrat and the county’s top elected official, seemed to agree with those characterizations. The county judge, running unopposed in the primary but facing Republican contender Todd Gottell, the former mayor of Rowlett, in the general election, also called on Republican candidates to condemn what he called the “desperation tactics” of their own party, describing the lawsuit as a threat to a fair and equal election. Here are some excerpts from that interview, condensed and edited for clarity.

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Local News

Leading Off (1/23/18)

| 21 hours ago

North Texas Food Bank Raises More Than $55 Million. Jan Pruitt, the longtime and beloved director of the food bank, died a year ago of cancer. Before she left us, though, she launched a campaign to raise $55 million to help hungry people. The largest ever capital campaign for a North Texas social service agency has been quite a success.

Puppies Lick Southwest Airlines Pilots! Do you want to see pictures of the 62 puppies and kittens that Southwest flew out of Puerto Rico? Of course you do.

Officials Can’t Find Millions of Dollars in DCS Cameras. As North Texas school districts divvy up the buses and equipment that belonged to the shuttered Dallas County Schools, they can’t account for a bunch of stuff. No surprise.

Zoe Hastings’ Killer Gets Life in Prison. Hastings, you’ll recall, was the 18-year-old who was abducted from an East Dallas Walgreens parking lot, sexually assaulted, and murdered. A jury took less than seven minutes yesterday to send Antonio Cochran to prison for life (though he could be eligible for parole after 30 years).

Dennis Smith Jr. Did This Last Night:

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Sports & Leisure

If You Could Dunk on Any Current City Council Member, Why Would You Pick Philip Kingston?

| 2 days ago

No one on D Magazine’s staff can currently dunk a basketball on a regulation 10-foot hoop. Editor Tim Rogers has done it at least once before — I didn’t see it, because it was a long time ago, but I believe his story, even though he is often more physically confident than reality allows. Former staffer Adam McGill could jump surprisingly high (I think he played competitive volleyball?), but I’m not sure if he could dunk. The best I could ever do was get my hand over the rim, but that ship has sailed and sunk in the middle of the Atlantic and then somehow exploded on the ocean floor.

But we would if we could. And you would, too. Would you also like to dunk on a current member of the Dallas City Council? I mean, you’re probably not dreaming of that exact scenario, but if it presented itself, you wouldn’t pass it up. You’d take it to the rack with authority. Of course you would.

So, why, as soon as you read “dunk on a current member of the Dallas City Council,” did your mind immediately conjure the image of Philip Kingston? Specifically, the time Tracy McGrady yoked on former member of the Dallas Lone Ranger Heroes, center Shawn Bradley. It did, right? It’s OK. We’re all friends here. Except Tim. He will pretend to be, but don’t trust him.

Anyway, I think I know why. First of all, you know Kingston is competitive enough to try to block your dunk, or at least get in your way. And if you’re gonna dunk on someone, you definitely want to dunk on someone. Adam McGough is going to make a business decision and bail out of the paint as soon as he sees you coming. Dwaine Caraway might try one of those old man tricks and swipe at the ball as you’re going up. Sandy Greyson plays the game the right way and will of course try to take a charge, like some floor-slapping kid from Duke. Maybe Scott Griggs would go for the swat, but, honestly, I think he knows his limitations and will instead try to leak out for layup at the other end while you’re celebrating.

So, yeah, you’d dunk on Philip Kingston.

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Politics & Government

Dallas County GOP Uses a Boneheaded Clerical Error to Punk the Dems

| 2 days ago

Because I have a supernatural ability to write timely columns eight weeks before they are published, you’ll note that my February issue piece debuted on FrontBurner a few hours ago — the very morning that news broke about Missy Shorey’s lawsuit against the Dallas County Democratic Party. The story raises many fascinating legal questions, primary among them: is it possible that a boneheaded clerical snafu by the Dallas County Dems — i.e., the party chairwoman failing to personally sign petitions on behalf of local candidates — could get 128 of those candidates thrown off the ballot?

Answer: dunno! Not a lawyer. That doesn’t mean I don’t have some hot takes freshly baked and ready to consume.

Here, then, are five quick thoughts on the lawsuit and the hubbub it’s already caused:

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Politics & Government

Missy Shorey Has the Most Impossible Job in Dallas

| 2 days ago

Everyone in the room is smiling. Missy Shorey, the first woman ever elected to chair the Dallas County Republican Party, nods her head and opens her eyes wide. Her executive director sits next to us, smiling the wan smile of someone slightly petrified her outspoken new boss will say something too quotable. The life-size cardboard cutout of Ronald Reagan, staring at me from over Shorey’s left shoulder, smirks confidently. They’re listening to me opine that Lupe Valdez, the former Dallas County Sheriff who stepped down to be a Democratic sacrificial lamb in a gubernatorial bid against Republican incumbent Greg Abbott, is “a terrible candidate.”

“I didn’t say that!” Shorey belts out, laughing. “I think she’s great. Let’s open up that sheriff’s office, please. I’ve got a few ideas [who could fill it]. Run, Lupe, run!”

It’s all feel-good vibes here at the GOP headquarters. But the mood shouldn’t be so upbeat, to be honest. The offices, on the northbound service road of North Central Expressway at Meadow Road, would need refurbishing to be considered utilitarian. The county GOP coffers are not 18 months removed from containing a laughable, paltry total of $180. And if you look at any of the red-blue U.S. maps that show recent election results, it’s easy to spot Dallas County, a square blue island in the North Texas red sea.

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Books

The Best Book Sale in Dallas Is at the Library This Weekend

| 2 days ago

Since killing off Book Ends, its first floor surplus bookstore, the downtown branch of the Dallas Public Library has held biannual sales to help move thousands of books and assorted media items off its shelves. It’s a wonderful time to buy a lot of used books, for only a little money.

That time is once again upon us this weekend. Head to the J. Erik Jonsson Library on Saturday (Jan. 27) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., or Sunday (Jan. 28) between 1 and 4 p.m. for DEALS DEALS DEALS. (Members of Friends of the Public Library get first dibs on Friday, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.) Proceeds from the sale go toward nice and good library programs benefitting cool Dallas residents, like me, who just borrowed Virginia McAlester’s A Field Guide to American Houses (I want to learn to verbalize my hot home architecture takes)  and Alfred Moir’s Caravaggio (I like the pictures) from the library downtown. Swell place.

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