Billy Reid dresses up North Park, a local company brings electronic voting to the masses, Deep Ellum faces a sober reality, and more.

Have Fashion, Will Travel

When the Billy Reid store opens in NorthPark this month, those who are unfamiliar with the designer’s work will think the shop came from nowhere.
Hardly. More like, the shop came from everywhere.

First, there’s Amite, Louisiana. That’s where the 40-year-old was born and raised. It’s also where his mother ran a women’s specialty store. In 1984 he moved to Dallas and worked at Saks Fifth Avenue for four years. Then it was on to LA, where Reid focused on acting and songwriting. “I ran out of money,” he says, “because there’s no money in being a free spirit.”

Stops in New York and Boston followed before he returned to Dallas, where he did some freelance design before starting his own label in 1997. In June 2001, he beat out Sean “P. Diddy” Combs for the Perry Ellis Award for Menswear. Reid’s star was rising, but his first major show after the award was September 10, 2001. After the towers came down, he lost 75 appointments. Reid had to start over.

He has. With the help of Gadzooks alums Katy McNeill, her husband K.P., and Jake Szczepanski, Reid has new life. The line has a “broken-in luxury,” as Reid says, and a breadth of everything from tailored clothes to jeans and t-shirts. Now Reid and his partners, whose headquarters are in Deep Ellum, finally have a store that was years in the making. “If you ask any of us how we’re going to celebrate, it would be sleep and relaxation of any kind,” he says. —Adam McGill


Rock the E-vote
A local company brings electronic voting to the masses, but is it the best candidate?
by Brian D. Sweany

It seems like only yesterday—or, more precisely, October 2000—when casting a vote seemed as foolproof as ordering a combo meal at McDonald’s. That’s before people knew that a “butterfly” was a type of ballot, that chads could be hanging or dimpled, and that Katherine Harris needed a makeover.

Yet the reforms that followed the 2000 election have been good business for Diebold Election Systems, a company based in McKinney. Diebold sells touch-screen voting equipment, the technology designed to assure voter intent. (Is that a vote for Gore or Buchanan?) The machines also assist individuals with disabilities or voters who speak languages other than English. Diebold’s products, which are similar to ATMs, can be found from California to Maryland. Closer to home, all of Collin County’s estimated 215,000 voters will use the company’s touch-screen machines this November. “We’re the only local county who bit off the whole enchilada,” says Patty Seals, the county’s deputy election administrator. “It is very expensive to go all the way and buy these machines for the entire county.” In fact, the county paid $3.7 million to purchase 1,000 AccuVote TS machines, which have been used in 27 elections since September 2003. “We’re elated at their accuracy,” Seals says.

But others aren’t as thrilled. Opponents have organized “Computer Ate My Vote Days,” fearing that system crashes or lapses in security could affect an election’s outcome. In April, California temporarily banned Diebold’s machines after problems arose in the October 2003 recall and this year’s primaries. The state reinstated the machines in August after they met a series of increased security measures, but a newer model, the AccuVote TSx, was barred from this November’s election. “It’s important to remember that the problems were associated with equipment other than the actual voting machines,” says David Bear, a Diebold spokesman. “At no time were incorrect vote totals released.” But that didn’t keep California from filing an $11 million suit against the company to recoup some of its losses.

So how will we know if a problem exists in Collin County? If John Kerry gets more than 25 percent of the vote, someone should ask for a recount.


Shame, Shame, Shame
These yahoos are part of the reason Texas spends approximately $32 million a year to clean up its roads. You can report litterbugs at www.dontmesswithtexas.org.

Apparently Penn State doesn’t make you smarter. Why? Because a Saturn Ion with an “Alumni Penn State” license-plate frame was recently spotted at a store on the corner of Wycliff and Lemmon. The car is registered to Erica Grow, but a young man was driving. Just as he shut his door, he flicked a half-smoked cigarette to the ground. For shame! But when his female companion—Erica, was that you?—ran back inside, the young man opened his door and picked up the butt. Did he have a change of heart? Did he dispose of the cigarette correctly? No, he started puffing away until his friend reemerged. Then he pitched it to the ground. Again. That’s not just a shame. That’s shame2!

As a lovely weekend drew to a close recently, a 2000 Volkswagen Bug registered to Kathi Chandler zipped along Central Expressway and headed west on Woodall Rogers. Yes, it was dark. No, we didn’t see the driver. But it was hard to miss the butt that came flying out of the driver’s window and sailed into our windshield. That’s unheard of. That’s unacceptable. That’s worthy of an extra dose of shame.



Marin Frost Pete Sessions

All Over the Map

You know how tight the congressional race is between Democrat Martin Frost and Republican Pete Sessions. But how much do you know about the 32nd District, which was re-redistricted? Consider the results of the 2002 Senate race between popular former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, a Democrat, and John Cornyn, a Republican. By the way, Cornyn carried the district with 60 percent of the vote.

Frost has pockets of support in Lakewood, M Streets, and Lake Highlands.

Sessions’ core voters. Some precincts here could go as high as 70 percent for the Republican.

Cornyn carried 23 of its 25 precincts.

Though primarily Democratic, the area contains two battleground precincts.

Frost hopes to win some precincts here based on the high number of Jewish residents.

Contains the two highest precincts for Democrats: 1,580 votes to 586 votes. Average turnout: 38.7 percent.
Racial makeup: 72 percent Hispanic.

Though typically Republican, Frost believes these are “angry Republicans” who are concerned about
the high-tech economy and outsourcing. Though he might not expect to win these precincts, he hopes
to take votes away from Sessions.

Contains the two highest precincts for Republicans: 2,871 votes to 774 votes.
Average turnout: 61.8 percent. Racial makeup: 97 percent white.



Ebby Halliday herself related the following story to us at a recent luncheon: when word got out that a tony mansion in Highland Park would soon be on the market, a group manager for her real estate firm contacted Halliday and asked for her help in getting the listing. She graciously agreed and called the lady of the house. Halliday: “May I speak to Mrs. So-and-so.” Voice: “She’s not in. May I have her call you back?”
Halliday: “Yes. Please ask her to call Ebby Halliday.”
Voice: “Who at Ebby Halliday?”
Halliday: “Ebby Halliday.”
Voice: “My goodness. Is she still alive?”


Keeping Tabs
What’s the latest word on the future of Deep Ellum? It’s no happy hour. 
by Sara Kuklenski

It’s an open secret that many Dallasites think Deep Ellum is in deep trouble. Except for a few places, sales are down, crowds are light, and the public is all too aware of an ugly incident that left a man paralyzed in late July. So how did this happen? And what can be done? We asked the owners of some of the area’s most venerable clubs.

Ray Balestri, The Bone
The Problem: “There are other alternatives, like Uptown and the West End. There haven’t been any clubs opening, there’s nothing happening, there’s nothing exciting going on down there.”
The Solution: “In 1998-1999, it was a carnival. It needs a renewed sense of energy.”

Ed Lamonica, Club Clearview and Curtain Club
The Problem: “Perception is worse than what is actually going on down there. If you look at statistics, the crime rate is almost three times worse on Greenville Avenue.”
The Solution: “We have a lot more police support. The Deep Ellum Bar and Restaurant Association is working together. We haven’t eliminated the problem, but we have moved the problem somewhere else.”

Mickey Patterson, Coyote Ugly
The Problem: “I think crime is part of it; I think negative publicity is part of it. There are concerns with the homeless population, but the city really has not promoted Deep Ellum like it has the West End or other areas.”
The Solution: “They need a lot more police, more money to keep the streets well-lit. Dallas is a bunch of bleeding-heart liberals who can’t enforce crime. I don’t know why they can’t stand up to it.”

Monica Greene,  Monica’s Aca y Alla
The Problem: “There are brand-new entertainment districts, and the revitalization of downtown discourages people from heading to Deep Ellum. Deep Ellum has the same problems that Greenville has, that other entertainment districts have, but Deep Ellum’s crime is more publicized.”
The Solution: “We need economic development; we need to diversify our ability to attract businesses. It is a Dallas problem, and we all need to work together to solve it.”

Brandt Wood, Gypsy Tea Room, Trees, and The Green Room
The Problem: “People are looking for new spots, and they go to their favorite spots if it’s safe. Deep Ellum has lost that perception.”
The Solution: “Music venues reinvent themselves every night. You’ve got to evolve. Deep Ellum has all the raw materials, the location, the most diverse history of the whole city, the bones that can build a great structure. It just needs renewal.”

According to the Texas Bar and Restaurant Report, here’s how the clubs stack up in alcohol sales compared with the same month last year.
Figures are based on June 2004, the most recent available.

The Bone-24.1%
2724 Elm St.

Club Clearview-38.8%
2803-05 Main St. 

Curtain Club-15.6%
2800 Main St. 

Coyote Ugly-25.3%
2813 Commerce St. 

Monica’s Aca y Alla-22.4%
2914 Main St. 

The Green RoomN/A
2713-15 Elm St.

Gypsy Tea Room-17.2%
2513 Main St. 

Trees… –22.2%
2709 Elm St.

Photos: Sessions: Michael Ainsworth/Dallas Morning News; Frost: Mei-Chun Jau/Dallas Morning News; Halliday: Courtesy of Ebby Halliday; Deep Ellum: Hannaha Han


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