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Local News

Leading Off (4/26/17)

| 5 hours ago

John Wiley Price Jury Deadlocked. Price is up against 11 counts (bribery, mail fraud, income tax evasion, more on that here). After five days of deliberations, the jury told Judge Lynn that they can’t agree on a verdict for all 11. It could be one count in question, it could be several. It could be one juror deadlocked, it could be several. All we know is the jury was sent back to their rooms at about 3:30 pm yesterday afternoon with the instructions to watch mindless television. If they can’t come to an agreement in the next few days, it’s possible that a mistrial will be declared on the deadlocked counts, and the state will have to decide whether to try Price again.

A Happy Doc Tale. Lately there’s been Dr. Death, the alleged orthopedic groper, Wee Wee and her booty injections—not to mention this horrifying story about a bad batch of eye medicine  causing indefinite blindness—so it’s pretty refreshing to see some smiling faces and successful surgeries attached to a medical story. Godspeed, Marcos and Tamirat.

Which North Texas Schools Shame Kids in the Lunch Line? Denton, Fort Worth, Richardson, and Irving ISDs all have practices that shame students who don’t have money in their cafeteria accounts. On Thursday, a bill introduced by DeSoto state Rep. Helen Giddings to give kids a two-week grace period will go up before a committee. However, one Texas teacher, who took on the cause after watching a cashier dump a broke 4-year-old’s lunch in the trash, says two weeks isn’t enough. So, I don’t know, when exactly is it appropriate to trash a kid’s lunch—perhaps their only warm meal of the day—in front of all their friends?

Pooches Now Welcome on McKinney Patios. A city variance was passed last week giving McKinney restaurants the option to allow pets on patios. An incident involving an illegal dog’s birthday party at Dempsey’s Place got the ball rolling.

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Business

Go Inside Dallas’ Most Exclusive Museum, Housed at Perot’s Headquarters

| 20 hours ago

We’re told that Ross Perot Sr. is on a call, but suddenly there he is, bounding out of his office with the shrunken ceiling, shaking all of our hands as we stand in some sort of room that doubles as a museum entrance and secretary’s office.

“It’s sure nice of you to come by, thank you!” he says, introducing himself by his full name to all seven of us. Perot is 86 now, and he still makes his way to the office around 8 a.m. and does rounds, bathing in all the sunlight that pours into the new Perot headquarters. And despite these shiny Turtle Creek digs—a three-story marvel of glass and natural light that houses all of the Perot Co.’s business excursions, from real estate to energy to investments and acquisitions—the elder Perot wanted his office the same as it was in Plano. Exactly. Which meant the ceilings had to be dropped.

“It’s identical to what he had,” says his son and Hillwood CEO, H. Ross Perot Jr.

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Politics

Dallas Politics and the ‘Culture of Nice’

| 1 day ago

You hear it said all the time by people visiting our fair burg. “People in Dallas are so nice.” It is an impression that follows a cliche: the hospitality of the south, the politeness of Texas. Other characteristics we export to fuel the preconceptions of visitors: life is easy here, the cost of living is low, the weather is great, opportunity abounds. As I heard a local city leader say recently, “If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere — but if you can’t make it in Dallas, you can’t make it anywhere.”

It’s a good line. But then what do you say to the thousands of our neighbors who are stuck in endemic poverty? Or is it too impolite to mention them?

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Politics & Government

Dallas Has the Worst Voters in the Entire Country

| 1 day ago

For the first time in the city’s history, not a single council member will be term-limited out in an election. On May 6, 11 of the seats will be contested. But will anyone vote? Even in a state that’s never prided itself on electoral turnout, Dallas’ aversion toward the voting booth is exceptional.

In the city’s last municipal election in 2015, only 6.1 percent of eligible voters showed up at the polls. A Portland State University study of the most recent mayoral contests in the country’s 30 largest cities found that turnout was low almost everywhere, and that Dallas had the lowest rate of voter participation in the U.S. Fort Worth, tagging along to the bottom of a deep gorge of electoral apathy, was second worst, with 6.5 percent. (Turnout, as it does elsewhere, increases for presidential elections; about 60 percent of registered Dallas voters cast ballots in 2016.)

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Local News

Leading Off (4/25/17)

| 1 day ago

DMN Launches Ambitious Multipart Crime Story. The first installment of “My Aryan Princess” published today. It’s about an undercover agent who helped bust a bunch of the top brass in the Aryan Brotherhood. I’ve been told this thing has been years in the works. The first chapter is a little over 3,000 words. I read only the first few hundred. I’m hooked.

John Wiley Price Jury Enters Fifth Day of Deliberations. No verdict yesterday. Will today be the day?

Dallas Zoo Expecting Baby Giraffe. Katie is pregnant and expected to deliver sometime in May. This birth won’t be on live TV, if you were wondering.

Person Killed in Crane Accident. Remember when a crane fell into the Dallas Museum of Art? Yesterday afternoon, just down the street, a boom truck crane fell over and killed someone. Watch out for cranes, people.

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Good Public Transit

Would Free Fares Drive More People to Use Public Transit?

| 2 days ago

James Ragland has a column over on the Dallas Morning News today that offers two suggestions to tackle Dallas’ inequality issues. His first solution is something of a no-brainier: better public schools. The second suggestion, however, wades into a more complicated topic. What if, Ragland asks, public transit in Dallas was free?

As it stands, Dallas Area Rapid Transit is by no means the most expensive public transit system in the country, and fares don’t cover what it costs to move each individual rider through the system. In other words, every ride on public transit is already heavily subsidized. But what if you went all the way and made it free? Ragland cites an article by Matt Hoffman, the vice president of Innovation for Enterprise Community Partners Inc., who advocates for making transit free to ride as one of his “7 Ways Cities Can Become More Equitable, Vibrant and Affordable.” Here’s a quote from Hoffman:

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Media

Two Stories You Should Read Today

| 2 days ago

If you’ve been paying attention, you know the name Rod Dreher. The conservative writer once sat on the Dallas Morning News’ editorial board. He wrote the books Crunchy Cons and The Little Way of Ruthie Leming. Last month, he published The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, which the Times has called “the most discussed and most important religious book of the decade.” The New Yorker just put up a 7,500-word profile of Dreher. You might need to save that one for tonight.

For a quicker read, go check out this piece by Jim Schutze, wherein all his conspiracy theories about Mayor Mike Rawlings and the West Dallas land grab are proven true. Those (like me) who enjoy a good media fight will love the smackdown that Schutze puts on his former colleague Robert Wilonsky. Good stuff.

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Media

KERA Secretly Launches a New Podcast

| 2 days ago

There are podcasts, and then there are podcasts. We produce a little thing you might be familiar with called EarBurner. Part of the reason we record it in a bar is because we promised ourselves when we started the podcast that we wouldn’t bog down with editing. The ambient noise of the Old Monk makes editing pretty impossible. If someone says something reprehensible or just plain stupid, it stays in the show. Well, except for that one time when the comedian Paul Varghese was a guest. Things got a little out of hand. Mistakes were made. Editing became necessary.

Anyway, there’s the way we do it, and then there’s this new KERA podcast with Seema Yasmin and Lauren Silverman. It is being tested for a possible national rollout by National Public Radio. The first episode of the unnamed show is about the Chicago Tylenol murders of 1982. The women did a lot of reporting for this thing. And the production is topnotch. I can only imagine how many hours of editing went into it.

It’s worth a listen. And every spin will help convince NPR that the show deserves to be picked up.

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