Tuesday, April 23, 2024 Apr 23, 2024
71° F Dallas, TX


The Dallas Central Appraisal District bungles yet another case, the Mini car you want but cannot have, the coolest road in Dallas (that isn’t in Dallas), fact-checking with Maryln Schwartz, Paige Davis of Trading Spaces, and more.

In Other News …

Not For Sale
Why Dallasites are driving thousands of miles to buy a Mini.


The sticker price of the new Mini Cooper S. But, with demand outpacing production, no one’s paying sticker.

Joseph Stefanchik really wanted a
new Mini Cooper. “I’ve always been a fan of cute, small cars,” he says.
But the 29-year-old freelance photographer had one small problem: you
can’t buy a Mini in Dallas. First there was a snag with Mini’s getting
a dealership license in Texas. When the retro-styled anti-SUVs started
arriving on these shores in March, BMW of North America (Mini is a
division of BMW) and the Motor Vehicle Division of the Texas Department
of Transportation were still mired in a dispute over application for
licenses. Then, in June, when Mini finally got right with the state, it
sought and was granted a license for only one dealership—in San Antonio.

For Stefanchik, and
other impatient drivers, distance didn’t matter as much as time. The
San Antonio store isn’t expected to sell its first Mini until early
next year. Some low-mileage Minis in Dallas are already selling for
$10,000 over sticker, but Charles Suvannunt, an IT worker in his 30s,
lucked out with a waiting list and recently picked up his Mini from a
dealer in Baton Rouge. Stefanchik, less of a do-it-yourselfer, hired a
car broker who was asking $3,000 over sticker for a “true silver” Mini
in Williamsville, New York. There was only one thing for him to do:
road trip.

“I’d do it again right now,” Stefanchik says. “Someone offered me $27,000 for it just today.”
—Adam McGill

Photo Courtesy of BMW

a kid, when no one was watching, PAIGE DAVIS would sing and dance for
hours in her basement, playing the lead role in her own production of
West Side Story. “I’m never happier than when I’m dancing,” says the
31-year-old SMU grad. But Davis has had precious little time to
practice her fan kick since becoming the host of Trading Spaces, The
Learning Channel’s most popular series. When she’s not mediating
between neighbors who’ve redecorated each other’s houses, Davis relaxes
at home in New York by indulging in her favorite snack. “I love to eat
canned vegetables,” she says. “Give me a can of green beans and creamed
corn, and I’m good.”
—Kristie Ramirez

Photo Courtesy of TLC

How to Build a Better Road
Step one: find rich people. Step two: don’t let engineers run amok. Step three: plant wildflowers.

When the city of Allen wanted to build a road on land that had been in the Williams’ family
for five generations, Philip and his sister Amy took it personally.
Their family donated 72 acres north of Dallas to establish Connemara, a
nature preserve. So the Williams did something about the city’s
four-lane, 1.23-mile connection between Bethany and Alma roads. They
offered to build the road themselves—only bigger and better than the
city planned.

When the road is
completed at the end of this year, it will mark the end of a long,
arduous process. “You can’t hurry an artist,” Philip Williams says.
“Just like you can’t hurry a government.” So Williams and his sister
Amy Williams Monier spent half a year and half a million dollars on
Bethany Road’s collaboration phase alone. Williams Monier rounded up a
group of artists and engineers to brainstorm over every element of the
project, and, after about a dozen meetings, they came up with a doozy
of a thoroughfare, aesthetically pleasing and environmentally sound.

“It is
going to be the least-polluting road in Texas,” Williams promises. To
deal with runoff, the storm water system has oversized catchment tanks
that will filter out the heavy metals from oil, rubber, and gas.
Twenty-four-foot xeriscaped berms will take the heat and air pollution
up and away from the surrounding area. Williams says the roadside will
be mowed once a year, just so the perennial wildflowers will bloom.
Plus, they’re planting 600 native, drought-resistant trees.

The city paid $5
million and Philip Williams’ company, Emerson Partners, chipped in $4
million, enough “to take away the financial pressure of delivery,”
Williams says.

City officials hope
the road is more than just a way for people to get through the city;
they hope it’s a reason for people to move there in the first place.
“It’s going to be an attraction for future residential development in
the area,” says Allen city manager Peter Vargas. “It’s not totally
altruistic. There’s some commercialism involved.”

Those in
Dallas following the contentious planning of a certain project south of
downtown Dallas might remember Vargas from a previous job, as the
director of the Trinity River Project. Bethany Road is obviously
different. “I’ll actually see this one in my lifetime,” he says.
—Adam McGill

A New School Board: Vote Saturday, July 27

the desperation (and corruption) of the Dallas School Board that has
hired and fired eight superintendents in 10 years needed one more
example, this is a good one: scheduling its once-every-decade full
board election for the absolute nadir of summer. Here are the
challengers who promise to support Mike Moses, restore professionalism
to the board, and restore excellence to Dallas public schools. With
incumbents Ken Zornes, George Williams, Lew Blackburn, and Rafael
Anchia, this could be the highest quality school board Dallas has seen
in decades. But only if Dallas votes.

District 2
Jack Lowe

He runs a company voted among the best to work for in America. A longtime civic leader, he knows how to get things done.

District 8
Mike Martinez

The director of training for Brinker International, he knows what students need to learn to achieve in the workplace.

District 3
Joe Mir

A longtime PTA volunteer, he is intimately familiar with the workings of the district. He knows where reform is needed.

District 9
Brent Brown

an architect, he’s concerned not only about board practices, but also
about how the system manages its projects and its money.

District 6
Betty Culbreath-Lister

straightened up the county’s welfare department and served with
distinction on the DFW Airport board. She believes a dysfunctional
board is the biggest obstacle to reform.

To locate your election district, visit www.dallasisd.org/inside_disd/board/board_elections.htm


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