Local News

Looking back on the stories that shaped Dallas.

2017.

January.

The year began with the return of the man we once deemed to be The Trillest Councilman Ever. After getting trounced for a county commissioner’s seat by longtime incumbent John Wiley Price, Dwaine Caraway decided he wanted his old job back. Of course, he announced his decision to run for District 4 on The Ticket, the same station he once admitted to eating a dinner of beer nuts with a vodka cranberry. The fiercely loyal, lifelong southern Dallas resident would re-win his seat in May.

Thousands marched through Dallas on Jan. 21 in solidarity for women’s rights. (Credit: Alex Macon / D Magazine)

Like cities across the nation, thousands of residents came together to march through the streets for the rights of women. The Dallas Women’s March attracted 7,000 people, who walked through downtown onto East Dallas. Take a look at the art of many who attended. It was the most well-attended in years, perhaps since the Mega March brought six-digits to Ross Ave. more than a decade prior.

February.

PLAYING THE ANGLES:
Broadnax isn’t afraid to tell the mayor he doesn’t like one of his ideas.

The first day of February brought a new manager to City Hall. T.C. Broadnax pretty quickly signaled that things were going to be run a bit differently. In his first nine months, he hired a slew of outsiders to top positions, eschewing traditional gospel that all of Dallas city staff would come from within its walls. He replaced four of his five top lieutenants, and went out in public saying things like this: “You had a lot of people in there that truly don’t understand housing. They have come from other parts and places in the organization, and the rumor had been that if you can’t do it anywhere else in the organization, they would send you to housing. I’ve seen some semblance of that.”

It’s a new day at 1500 Marilla.

Rex Tillerson testifies during his Senate confirmation hearing for Secretary of State. (Credit: Newsmax)

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson was appointed to Secretary of Statewas in President Trump’s cabinet. He has, as of this writing, withstood replacement despite even—allegedly!—calling his boss a “moron.”

Christopher Duntsch, the exiled neurosurgeon whose outrageous surgical outcomes landed him on the cover of D Magazine in 2016, was sentenced to life in prison. The Plano doctor became the first physician in American history to be convicted of aggravated assault as a result of what happened inside his operating rooms.

March.

Dirk Nowitzki became the first international NBA player to knock down 30,000 career points. He’s on a list with five others: Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Wilt Chamberlain. Relive how Dirk saved Dallas basketball, one shot at a time.

Photo by Elvert Barnes / Flickr.

The police and fire pension plan had been showing cracks for years, ever since The Dallas Morning News pinned down all its shoddy real estate investments. In 2018, its collapse was suddenly imminent, and the city went to work trying to save it. A run on the high-interest deferral accounts bled it for weeks until a court ordered those to stop before it drained the account completely. If the pension ran out of money, the city would’ve likely had to file for bankruptcy—it wouldn’t have been able to pay what it owed. It would take a negotiation with the Texas Legislature in May until a resolution could be reached.

The Dallas Museum of Art’s landmark Mexico exhibition brought in a record number of attendees. It was the first and only American showing of the largest Mexican art collection ever. Learn about the activists who helped get the museum’s message into communities of color, and helped the residents get to the museum.

April.

The city’s new cite and release policy doesn’t give you free reign to get high, but it might save you an initial trip to jail if you’re caught with it. In April, the Dallas City Council passed a resolution allowing police officers to issue a court summons to those found possessing under four ounces of weed instead of being taken to jail and processed. You’re still facing jail time down the road, but it saves you the hassle of a bond—something many of the poor people who get popped with pot struggle to afford. It took months for the Dallas County Commissioner’s Court to OK it, as Dallas was the only city to move forward with the plan.

Spoiler: He can sometimes be rude.

Election season was a little spicy this year. That above was the half-assed attempt to nail the representative of downtown, East Dallas, and Uptown for being a jerk. A super PAC funded by the city’s moneyed elite failed hard at their campaign to paint Kingston as an ineffective, rude leader. Their man, Matt Wood, fought hard and fell far short. But that all happened in May, and it was darn near anticlimactic. But it did remake the City Council into a more progressive force, which is why we saw the Trinity Toll Road get killed once and for all. More on that later.

The yearslong federal corruption trial against outspoken County Commissioner John Wiley Price disintegrated in court. He walked out a free man, found not guilty on seven counts.

May.

Place in the Sun: Should Meier prevail, the new East Dallas resident would be the first Democrat elected to statewide
office since 1994.

Democrats are looking eagerly upon Pete Sessions’ place in congress. After Hillary Clinton squeaked past Donald Trump in District 32, the eyebrows of our left-leaning politicos raised sharply. (And I mean squeaked: She won by a percentage point.) Clinton’s would-be transition chief, Ed Meier, jumped in the race first. He was followed by Obama appointee Lillian Salerno, former NFL player and civil rights attorney Colin Allred, and the longtime WFAA reporter Brett Shipp. Sessions says bring it on. We say get your popcorn ready.

Large Marge has opened the gates of gentrification to West Dallas. (Photo: Scot Miller)

In a way, we’d been awaiting what we saw in West Dallas. We may have chosen not to recognize it. The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge may well have been an express lane to gentrification. The La Bajada neighborhood fought hard for many years to retain its own place at the foot of what would’ve been the bridge. They found about as much ground as they could with the city, but the developers proved much more difficult. The arrival of Trinity Groves brought rows of cookie-cutter apartment buildings. Rents shot up. Then, the city passed crippling ordinances that increased regulations that landlords had to adhere to. One of the prominent low-rent landlords got out of the game, which triggered a mass eviction crisis. Peter Simek put it this way: “It is not a simple good guy-versus-bad guy affair, but rather a battle in the gray zone of property rights, gentrification, poverty, politics, history, and race. It’s one of the uglier episodes in recent Dallas memory. But the real issue in West Dallas is that the evicted tenants have no place to go. That’s because, in a city with staggering rates of poverty — the highest in the country of any big city, up 42 percent in 15 years — Dallas has an abysmal shortage of low-income housing.”

The crisis in West Dallas should open our eyes to what we could see in neighborhoods across the city.

June.

A deceptively quiet-looking Dallas City Hall. Photo by Kelsey Shoemaker.

With a slew of new faces on the City Council (three incumbents lost their seats) and the DART board, our founder made a case for a new Dallas: Kill the Trinity toll road and build the damn park in the levees, tear out IH-345, and reform DART or leave it.

Blowing up: Neave onstage at a November fundraiser.

Victoria Neave, the star freshman state representative and organizer of the Dallas Women’s March, crashed her car while intoxicated in East Dallas. She fessed up and accepted the consequences; time will tell whether voters will again accept her.

The bike share startup VBikes has arrived in Dallas. (Courtesy: VBikes)

It seems odd looking back in June, in those halcyon days of the arrival of bike share, when it was just Garland’s V Bikes making a scene. Opportunity and excitement were more common than anything else—better mobility! Increased ridership! Less pollution! But then came the three other companies, and then came the junking of the bikes and the riders on sidewalks and the nuisance of a new and unregulated industry. Here’s to 2018!

July.

 

The Dallas Museum of Art, with a little help from the Rachofskys, purchased a Yayoi Kusama infinity room.

From the candlelight vigil for Jordan Edwards at Virgil T. Irwin Park in Balch Springs. (Photo by Zac Crain)

Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old Mesquite High School student, was shot and killed by a Balch Springs police officer who was responding to reports of a party. That officer, Roy Oliver, was indicted for murder in July and is awaiting trial. His defense, as our Zac Crain argued, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Via Detroit Police Department Facebook page

Detroit’s U. Renee Hall became the city’s new police chief.

August.

The Trinity Parkway isn’t going to happen. (photo by Elizabeth Lavin)

The Dallas City Council finally, after decades, killed the honking Trinity Toll Road. Eventually, we’re told, we’ll get a park.

CORNER SCORE:
Canton Hall’s most recent incarnation was Deep Ellum Live, which hosted shows by the likes of punk stalwarts the Descendents.

The long-shuttered Deep Ellum Live was reborn as Canton Hall. The folks behind it? Of course it’s Clint and Whitney Barlow, the resurrectors of both Trees and the Bomb Factory.

 

Photo by Elizabeth Lavin.

It would take months for Cowboys star Zeke Elliott to accept his six-game suspension, for allegedly beating up his girlfriend. In the news, Zeke’s camp painted her as unstable and untrustworthy. The documents, as our Kathy Wise first reported, show something different.

September.

The newly progressive Dallas City Council decided it supports extending the DART rail in a subway under downtown.

Dallas police officers on motorcycles ready to escort the statue of Robert E. Lee to a storage facility. Photo by Alex Macon.

Dallas joined the ranks of cities removing their Confederate monuments, beginning with the statue of Robert E. Lee in his namesake park. This is one of the finest stories we published all year.

The mania over the location of Amazon’s second headquarters, HQ2, formally began. Much like bike share, it hasn’t stopped.

 

October.

IH-345, the stretch of highway dividing Deep Ellum from downtown and connecting interstates 35 and 30, is at the center of debate on how to develop the city’s urban core. Photo by Kelsey Shoemaker.

A Council committee, for the first time, supported exploring the economic impact of tearing out IH-345.

Anyone who’s ridden the DART rail knows how unpleasant and inconvenient it can be. In October, a full report came out illustrating just how poorly it’s serving its member cities.

 

November.

The 2017 bond package includes more than $500 million for city streets. (Photo by James Coreas)

Dallas voters approved a massive $1.05 billion bond project that will throw money at street infrastructure, parks, trails, facilities, and more. Here’s our full guide.

This map shows child poverty rates by census tract. The darkest orange areas are where more than 50 percent of children live in poverty. Via U.S. Census American Community Survey (2011-2015) / Opportunity Dallas.

One of the things you’ll want to keep an eye on in 2018 is city housing policy. Opportunity Dallas, a nonprofit run by one of the city’s smartest minds, is all-in on this—it’s calling out the segregation that exists here due to man-made decisions of the past. It wants to bring together the largest institutions to do something about it, to curb the fact that Dallas’ poverty level has grown more than any other big city in the country over the last 15 years.

December.

Lupe Valdez rides a horse in the 2017 Mardi Gras Parade in Oak Cliff. Photo by Bret Redman.

Our county sheriff, Lupe Valdez quit to run for governor, just as 2017 was coming to a close.

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