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Politics & Government

The Untold Story of How Angela Hunt Killed the Toll Road

| 1 min ago

Near midnight, in an empty Cafe Brazil just east of SMU, Angela Hunt was about to alter the course of Dallas’ history. She laid out a proposal to two men sitting across from her, Lake Highlands City Council candidate Adam McGough and his campaign manager. Make a public statement, she asked them, one promising that, if elected, McGough would vote to withdraw city support for the construction of a six-lane toll road inside the Trinity River levees (“kill Alternative 3C,” in the parlance of the day). This was a big ask. McGough, a former chief of staff for Mayor Mike Rawlings, had never rejected the Rawlings-supported Trinity toll road plan. But now, in June of 2015, he was in a runoff with a tough candidate, Paul Reyes, a former John Carona staffer who had won a plurality of votes in the general election against McGough, 40.9 to 36.4 percent. The third-place candidate, James White, with little to his campaign other than a relentless anti-toll road message, had garnered more than 22 percent.

During her four terms on the Dallas City Council, from 2005 to 2013, Hunt often met with people skeptical of her stance against the proposed toll road. She would wheel around documents in a large luggagelike briefcase, hoping that facts would convince skeptics that the plan was a dumb, dangerous boondoggle. But she often found herself on a political island, ignored by her colleagues and the business community. As modern policymaking teaches us daily, facts rarely change a politician’s mind. As the workplace too often shows us, men in suits don’t like women telling them they’re wrong.

At this midnight meeting, however, Hunt didn’t bring her rolling briefcase. She didn’t ask McGough to take a stand because of facts, research, or the whispers of his heart. She was brokering a backroom deal to win the election for him.

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Local News

Leading Off (9/25/17)

| 3 hours ago

Cowboys Try to Bounce Back Against Arizona. They looked like trash last week against the Broncos, Zeke Elliott especially. Can they right the ship on Monday Night Football against the Cardinals? Here’s what you need to know.

Police Investigate Death of Woman Found Unconscious Outside Downtown Parking Garage. Her body was found early yesterday morning. It’s possible that she fell or jumped.

Mayor Rawlings Says City Will Offer Amazon Incentives. Among them: their own giant B and G for Big Things Happen Here photo ops, and they can also name the former Lee Park if they want.

An Idea for What to Do with the Robert E. Lee Statue. Hm. I don’t know.

Cold Front Coming. Cold front coming!

Officially Full-On Panic Time For FC Dallas. Until Tesho Akindele kicked off the scoring, it looked like FC Dallas would make short work of the upstart Minnesota United. But the opposite happened, and the 4-1 loss keeps the side under the line for playoff qualification. Ugh.

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Politics & Government

Suggested New Names for Oak Lawn Park

| 3 days ago

As Alex says, Lee Park is no longer. We await a more permanent name (well, as permanent as such things can be). Doyle Rader had some thoughts yesterday on what we should do with the statue-less plinth that now stands in Oak Lawn Park. His idea is way smarter than my first idea, which was to buy the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and mount that sucker up there. Or how about the Nasher asks Theaster Gates to create a sculpture and time its installation with the month-long celebration, in March, of his Nasher Prize? Not enough time? Too costly? Come on, people. Big things happen here, I’m told.

Meanwhile, let’s do the name thing. Here are some suggestions for the task force to consider:

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Local News

Lee Park Will Be Oak Lawn Park, For Now

| 3 days ago

The city’s Park and Recreation Board voted unanimously this morning to temporarily rename Lee Park, a little more than a week after the statue of the Confederate general that gave the park its name was removed.

Oak Lawn Park, the park’s original name until 1936, will serve as a placeholder title pending the recommendations of the city’s task force on Confederate monuments, and whatever the city decides to do with those recommendations. A permanent name change must also apparently await a new city policy on renaming parks, per Park Board President Bobby Abtahi at this morning’s meeting. Meanwhile, the park board approved spending about $40,000 to remove any “Lee Park” signage at Oak Lawn Park.

The city’s task force on Confederate monuments is set to meet later today to discuss changing Dallas streets named for Confederate figures, including prominent thoroughfares like Lemmon and Gaston.

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Leading Off

Leading Off (9/22/17)

| 3 days ago

Rangers Show Off Renderings for Globe Life Field. Workers will break ground on the $1.1 billion stadium, which is expected to be ready in time for the 2020 season, next week in Arlington. Unofficial Twitter consensus, subsequently canonized by the Morning News, seems to be that it will resemble a cross between Minute Maid Park in Houston and Safeco Field in Seattle. Looks like a ballpark, all right.

J.J. Barea Raising Money for Puerto Rico. The Mavericks guard is from and has family on the island, which is shattered in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Little (Lakewood) Park on the (Blackland) Prairie. Dallas will uproot up to 19 trees at the park to help preserve the blackland prairie ecosystem they’re planted in, to the consternation of some of the well-intentioned neighbors who planted them in the first place.

Get Used to Seeing These Pumpkins. The DMA recently acquired the exceedingly Instagrammable All The Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, one of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s popular Infinity Mirror Rooms. While the exhibit doesn’t open to the public until Oct. 1, museum members and press are currently getting a sneak peek, and your social media feeds should begin filling up with images of the the polka-dotted outer-space pumpkin patch right about now. That will continue until at least Feb. 25, much longer than the 45 seconds guests are allotted to step into the mirror room itself.

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Podcasts

BraBurner Podcast: Brenda Gomez and Tammy Theis on Discovering Sara Grace Wallerstedt

| 4 days ago

Wallflower Management may be smaller than most, but it is no shrinking violet. Founded in 2009 by Tammy Theis, a former fashion reporter and stylist for the Dallas Morning News, and Brenda Gomez, formerly of Neiman Marcus and Page Parks, the modeling agency now counts a Vogue cover model and rising international star, Sara Grace Wallerstedt, among its ranks. After Holland Murphy spent the day with the Bedford teen as she prepared for prom, the details of which are included in her excellent profile in the September issue, we wanted to know more about her discovery. So we sat down with Theis and Gomez on the velour sofas in the back of Shoals Sound & Service and talked about what it was like to spot the freckled phenom from on high, how they convinced her to sign on the dotted line, and how to keep your cool when you find It. Streaming player and show notes for your pleasure:

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Local News

Q&A: Exploring Refugee Resettlement in Dallas With the International Rescue Committee

| 4 days ago

In the past two years, Texas’ cities and its statehouse have been at odds about what to do with refugees seeking safe haven here. The state’s largest municipalities have welcomed them with open arms. Houston has resettled more refugees than anywhere in the world. Dallas’ city and county leaders have made remarkably public statements of support—County Judge Clay Jenkins declaring that Dallas would house 2,000 refugees fleeing violence in Central America if needed, Mayor Mike Rawlings declaring it “the spirit of Dallas” to resettle the Syrian refugees who Gov. Greg Abbott had attempted to bar from entering the state.

The politics eat up the headlines, but there are groups on the ground in Dallas doing the work to help those who have been certified by the United Nations refugee agency. Fewer than 1 percent of the world’s 20 million refugees get the OK, and they must be placed in a city where relatives live or where there exists a community that shares a common language and culture. The International Rescue Committee helps build those communities like Vickery Meadow, which has been referred to in these pages as “Dallas’ own United Nations.” Its members greet refugees at the airport, provide them a furnished place to stay, and help connect them with jobs and basic services like healthcare. Two years ago marked the beginning of the GenR—Generation Rescue—chapter of the IRC here in Dallas, a volunteer organization made up of young professionals who help provide those services to the people being resettled. There are about a dozen chapters across the country.

It’s grown to include close to 100 members, and tonight marks its second annual Force For Change dinner and fundraiser. It’s sponsored by Slow Bone, AirBnb, Samuel Adams, TripAdvisor, and more. I caught up with Michele Villarreal, the head of GenR and the IRC’s development and external relations coordinator. It’s been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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Frisco

Frisco Pitches Itself to Amazon With Snappy Little Video

| 4 days ago

When asked earlier this month whether Frisco would join the scramble of Collin County cities vying for Amazon’s affections, a spokeswoman for the city said she could neither “confirm or deny any level of involvement in any potential economic development projects.”

A cute new video hosted on the city’s social media pages seems to dispel that mystery. Over highlights of the Cowboys’ flashy new home base and Jamba Juice, Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney works to charm Amazon into building its second headquarters in the North Texas boomtown, where people “live, work, and play by our motto [hands up, all together now]: progress in motion.”

We’re left with a few questions, and a comment:

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Local News

Leading Off (9/21/17)

| 4 days ago

About 100 Harvey Victims Making Dallas Home. The Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund, now up to $1.2 million after a surge of donations, will help cover the cost of everything from bus fares to kitchen supplies so those who lost everything can start a new life here. If you’d like to help replenish the fund, click here.

Jason Lowe Found Guilty of Girlfriend’s Death. The gruesome details and tall tales were shocking, the jury’s decision is not.

John Battaglia Deemed Mentally Well Enough to Die. Battagilia likely faked or exaggerated mental problems to avoid execution (he said “the KKK, child molesters, and homosexual lawyers” were conspiring against him). The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld his sentence. A new execution date will be set for the Deep Ellum resident who shot his young daughters as they were on the phone with their mother in 2001.

Sexual Predator Accidentally Set Free in Tarrant County. Due to a bureaucratic error, the Tarrant County jail mistakenly freed a man recently convicted of sexually assaulting a child. The victim’s mother received messages about his release via a phone app and quickly alerted authorities. He turned himself in to Johnson County and all is well, but good grief let’s not do that again.

Frisco Heritage Kids Take Cute Pics, Go Viral. The group of friends enlisted a mom to take their homecoming pictures inside Ikea and the internet is loving it.

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