A Daily Conversation
About Dallas


How a Dallas-Based Drug Operation Led to a Massacre in Mexico

| 14 hours ago

ProPublica, in collaboration with National Geographic, published a story last week by Ginger Thompson about the massacre in Allende, Mexico, that occurred in March 2011. Gunmen from the Zetas cartel launched an attack on the quiet ranching town, a 40-minute drive from Eagle Pass, Texas, in retribution for a DEA operation. That operation was based on intel, specifically trackable cell phone PIN numbers, provided by a high-level Zetas operative from Dallas. But then the DEA shared the information they gathered on two of the cartel’s most wanted kingpins with the Mexican federal police, knowing the agency’s history with leaks. And the unthinkable happened.

Read this. You can even listen to the interviews. And then read Thompson’s article published Monday about the DEA’s accountability, or lack thereof. She raises some good questions about the costs of war.

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Creative Time

Finalists Named for Dallas Police Chief

| 16 hours ago

City Manager T.C. Broadnax has himself eight finalists for the job of top cop. They are:

  • Grand Prairie Police Department Chief Steve Dye
  • Dallas Police Department Assistant Chief Chief Gary Tittle
  • Dallas Police Department Deputy Chief Rick Watson
  • Dallas Police Department Deputy Chief Malik Aziz
  • Seattle Police Department Deputy Chief Carmen Best
  • Detroit Police Department Deputy Chief U. Renee Hall
  • Los Angeles Police Department First Assistant Chief Michel Moore
  • Montgomery County (Maryland) Police Department Assistant Chief Luther Reynolds

I am pulling hard for Gary Tittle, and here is why. I hope he gets the job. I hope the Dallas Police Department is embroiled in another fake drug scandal that draws him into its web of deceit. I hope he then flips on his fellow cops and has to testify in court against them. Because then I will write the following headline:

“Tittle Tattles at Talcum Trial”

I apologize for wasting your time.

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Leading Off

Leading Off (6/21/17)

| 20 hours ago

Affluenza Teen’s Mom Might be Jailed Again. Tonya Couch, Ethan’s mother, awaits trial for charges of helping Ethan flee to Mexico to evade arrest. She has been on bond but was caught drinking alcohol Friday, violating the conditions of her bond, which Tarrant County authorities are trying to revoke.

Person of Interest Identified in Deep Ellum Sexual Assault. The assault was reported Sunday near a DART station on the east edge of Deep Ellum. The person of interest is described as a 5-foot-6 Hispanic man with glasses and tattoos on both arms. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward if someone gives police information that leads to an arrest.

Dallas School Bus Board Votes to Investigate Finances. Yesterday the board approved $90,000 for an independent audit that will look into business deals and finances to find out the source of the agency’s financial troubles. The board hopes the investigation will be done in time for voters to take notice this fall when they decide the fate of the agency. “Until we know what went wrong, there’s no way we can fix it. We have to get to the bottom of this,” said DCS board president Gloria Tercero Levario.

Baby Giraffe Tsavo Will Meet the Public Today at Dallas Zoo. The calf—who was the long-awaited result of giraffe Katie’s live-streamed pregnancy—was born last month but will be introduced to the public today in the giraffe feeding yard. After that he’ll be making regular appearances outdoors.

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Good Public Transit

Cotton Belt Debt Issuance Fails to Pass DART Board

| 2 days ago

After a long, grueling, frank, and often contentious meeting of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit board this morning, a resolution that would have seen the agency take out $1 billion in low-interest, federally backed loans to pay for the Cotton Belt light rail extension failed to receive the two-thirds majority support necessary for approval.

The vote leaves in doubt the future of the long-awaited light rail line, which would extend east from Plano, through the northern suburbs and parts of Dallas, toward DFW Airport. Cities such as Addison have been pushing for the rail line to be built for decades, but critics argue it would not produce ridership sufficient to justify its costs and would direct resources away from fixing DART’s inefficient transit system.

Today’s meeting was specially called to reconsider the motion that failed to pass at the last DART board meeting. The meeting also came a day before the Dallas City Council is set to vote to replace upwards of seven of its representatives on the DART board, potentially remaking the character of the body that governs the region’s public transportation system.

Suburban DART members openly expressed their fears at today’s meeting that new Dallas representation would no longer be committed to pursuing their priority projects, like the Cotton Belt. 

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Politics & Government

Wayne LaPierre, Tomi Lahren, and a Rally Cry From Young Conservative Women

| 2 days ago

When I saw that the schedule promised an appearance by NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre and a pajama party, I knew I had to check it out.

The Young Women’s Leadership Summit, put on this year in Dallas by right-leaning nonprofit Turning Point USA, brings together high school- and college-aged conservative women from all over the country. This year, the invite-only conference drew more than 1,000 to the Hyatt Regency near DFW International Airport.

It’s an interesting time to be a conservative young woman. I wondered who they followed on Twitter (spoiler: Ben Shapiro). I wanted to see what kind of young person would choose to spend a summer weekend in a hotel talking about politics. I wondered how they felt about supporting a president who’d been criticized for being anti-women, who had once bragged about sexual assault. I wondered how they felt about the Women’s March, and whether they worried about things like the gender wage gap and restricted abortion access. Most of all, I was curious if being a conservative woman meant ignoring women’s issues.

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Local News

Leading Off (6/20/17)

| 2 days ago

Cop Who Killed Jordan Edwards to Face Grand Jury on Unrelated Gun Matter. Roy Oliver was arrested in April on a murder charge for killing 15-year-old Edwards. But two weeks prior to that, a woman claims, Oliver pulled his gun on her after she rear-ended his truck. A grand jury will decide tomorrow whether Oliver should be charged with assault.

Dallas County Comes up $13 Million Short on Tax Revenue. Dallas County overestimated how much money it will get from property taxes. Now budgeting is going to be tricky. Today the commissioners will discuss Judge Clay Jenkins’ idea to cut the tax rate, a move that suddenly looks a whole lot less likely.

Rep. Victoria Neave Was Pretty Lit. She crashed into a tree on June 6, but her blood test results just came out. She had a BAC of .15, nearly twice the legal limit of .08. 

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Good Public Transit

DART Needs a Plan B for Funding a Downtown Subway Before Board Approves Cotton Belt Debt

| 3 days ago

As was suggested last week, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit board has called a special meeting tomorrow so that it can approve the issuance of debt to fund the Cotton Belt light rail extension. Over the weekend, former Addison city manager wrote in the Dallas Morning News about the importance of the Cotton Belt line for the regional system. He framed the issue, as well as Dallas City Council’s pending appointment of new DART board members, as yet another urban vs. suburban fight over the future of DART.

It is not. I will try to explain why.

Oddly, the Dallas Morning News has not reported about the special meeting scheduled just days before the Dallas City Council is set to completely revamp its representation on the DART board, even though the op-ed clearly reflected what is at stake in the naming of new DART board members. A major shift in policy towards how the city governs the region’s public transit system — and the transit system board and staff’s response to such a change — is part of a story that has been developing since last fall, when the city council kicked-off one of its members after he refused to follow the city’s resolution to prioritize the D2 subway line over and above the construction of the Cotton Belt. Now, that same board is poised to lock DART into a situation in which it has no choice but to build the Cotton Belt even though funding for the D2 line looks increasingly in jeopardy.

Regardless, here’s where we are:

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Local News

‘Don’t Let Anyone Tell You That Marching Is Passé’

| 3 days ago

• Saturday’s march — organized by Mothers Against Police Brutality and Faith Forward Dallas, among others — began at St. Paul UMC in the Design District and wound about a mile through Uptown, before ending at Pike Park.

• Or the park formerly known as Pike Park: as the Rev. Dr. Michael Waters said once the marchers arrived, “We’re taking the park back today.” Activist John Fullinwider — who said the quote in the headline of this post — rededicated it  as Santos Rodriguez Park, named for the 12-year-old boy killed by Dallas police officer Darrell Cain in 1973, not far away from there. The rededication was unofficial, but I don’t seen any reason why the city shouldn’t make it permanent.

• It was the morning after Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted in the killing of Philando Castile and the second anniversary of the shooting at Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church. But timing-wise, the more important date was Father’s Day. “This Father’s Day is really hard for me,”said Odell Edwards, the father of Jordan Edwards, the unarmed 15-year-old killed by Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver on April 29. “Every time I look at my kids and my family, I see the hurt in their eyes and I try to be strong for them.” He said he can’t sleep.

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