Don’t be too quick to assume that Mayor Pro Tem Annette Strauss has a lock on the support of the pro-neighborhood forces in April’s mayoral election. It’s possible that she’ll end up with their support, but in the scramble for endorsements, nobody has yet been anointed, a point that’s made clear in the position taken by the Citizens for Responsible Growth (CRG). The CRG is a political action committee that lobbies for “quality of life” issues, and its leadership plans to take its time before throwing its support behind a mayoral candidate. “While we are perceived as backing Annette Strauss, we’re interested in all of the candidates,” says CRG president Jim Rogers. “Some memhers of our executive board have indicated we might like Fred Meyer.” One of those board members is a powerful Democrat who has some very kind words to say about Meyer, the former chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party organization. “Meyer impressed a lot of people while he was the Republican chair with his receptivity to those of us who are interested in women’s issues,” says the source.
The Dallas City Council’s selection of Richard Knight Jr. as city manager was not the only item of interest and pride to the black community that took place on December 16, While the council was behind closed doors that evening, some prominent citizens were gathering at the Gran’ Crystal Palace on the fringes of downtown in the Deep Ellum area to celebrate the reopening of that facility as a supper club, Housed in a converted dinner theater, the club is the project of four businessmen, two of whom are black. Led by former KKDA radio personality Dwaine Caraway and caterer Herman Godfrey, the partners hope to break into the lucrative mainstream nightclub business, with the attraction being big-name entertainment. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, this is the first black-owned club of any size to be located outside of South Dallas since the heyday of Deep Ellum. It’s certainly not the last of its type, either- businessman Comer Cottrell opened an upscale club of his own a few weeks later, the Renaissance on Bachman Drive.
Anyone remember RAILTRAN? The joint rail transit venture by the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth is a little more than three years old now and it’s been quietly producing about $1.5 million a year in revenue. RAILTRAN purchased a thirty-four-mile stretch of tracks, rights-of-way, and easements in January 1984 from the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company, part of the Rock Island Line that went bankrupt in 1975. The line runs from Union Station in downtown Dallas past the University of Texas Medical Center and Markel Center area through Irving and past Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to the Santa Fe Station in Fort Worth.
According to RAILTRAN property management super-visor Gay DeHoff, the MKT agreement-along with several right-of-way leases for individuals and private companies to use storage areas along the tracks-produces the revenues, which the federal Urban Mass Transportation Administration stipulates must be used for mass transit. UMTA is in the deal as provider of ail 80 percent match. The state put up 13 percent, allowing Dallas and Fort Worth to do the deal with $1,190,000 each. Part of the state government’s interest in the deal was RAILTRAN’s potential as a segment of the Texas Triangle-an on-again, off-again plan for high-speed rail transit service between Houston. San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas/Fort Worth.