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Politics & Government

Two Things Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings Has Actually Said

| 10 hours ago

In light of the LGC news, let’s look at two quotes from the mayor. Here’s from the DMN today, regarding the Trinity park:

“You can’t build something this big or this quick with that sort of restraint on you. I’m just very excited about this. We’re going to get this park done. We’ve got the organization in place. Everybody wants the park. Let’s just kind of grab each other’s arms and let’s get it done.”

And then there’s this from the DMN, from back in 2014:

“I was having a meeting the other day, and people were telling me that my position has not been clear. And I was very offended about that because I thought I was always clear. But I want to make myself terrifically clear. … The more I get challenged on the parkway, and the more I study it, the firmer my feet get in the concrete about this being an important thing for the city of Dallas.”

What am I implying by juxtaposing these two quotes? Nothing. Not yet. I’m just thinking about them. As you should.

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Urbanism

Deep Ellum, Texas Doughnuts, and the Challenges of Urban Renewal

| 12 hours ago

There’s an interesting read over on newgeography.com by John Sanphillippo, a San Francisco-based writer and developer who visited Dallas a few years ago for what sounds like the Congress for the New Urbanism, though I could be wrong. He writes about the challenges of urban renewal in places like Deep Ellum – places that, on the surface, seem primed for the kind of small-scale, mom-and-pop, “placemaking” developments that make cities feel welcoming and vibrant. In Deep Ellum, Sanphillippo discovered more than the average amount of opportunity. Not only are there historical, human-scale buildings and pedestrian-friendly streetscapes, but the effort to tear down the elevated highway — I-345 — that ravaged the neighborhood and disconnected it from downtown when it was constructed in 1973 holds the potential of unleashing lots of land and economic potentiality for large-scale urban redevelopment.

If only urban renewal were so easy. The problems start, Sanphillippo argues, when you start running the numbers on the land and creating projects that are marketable in a car-driven society:

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Politics

Gov. Abbott Not Meeting with Mayor Mike Rawlings

| 15 hours ago

The mayors of Dallas and Fort Worth, along with the mayors of Texas’ three other largest cities, are conspicuously absent from a list of city leaders meeting with Gov. Greg Abbott this week, the Austin-American Statesman reports.

Mike Rawlings and Betsy Price were among the 18 mayors to sign a letter last week asking to meet with the governor, “whose specific concerns with Texas cities” have been characterized as a war on local control. More than a few issues on the agenda for this special legislative session, including proposed caps on municipal spending and other bills aimed at local ordinances, have pitted leaders in Texas’ blue cities against conservative state lawmakers.

Abbot, however, will not snub every mayor who requested a meeting. He’s set to speak with the mayors of Galveston, Corpus Christi, and San Marcos today, Lubbock, Amarillo, and El Paso on Thursday. Next week Abbott will sit down with the mayors of Arlington, Frisco, McKinney, and Irving. Maybe they can put in a good word for their neighbors in Dallas.

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Local News

Leading Off (7/26/17)

| 17 hours ago

The Latest and Greatest Bathroom Bill Passes the Texas Senate. And by “greatest” I mean “even more pointless than ever before.” The most important thing to tell your trans child on the first day of school is that he will not be arrested for using the bathroom of his choice, but, and you can leave this part out while kissing him on the forehead and helping him with his new Pikachu backpack, Ken Paxton can sue his public school if it tries to adopt a formal trans-friendly bathroom policy. It should be no surprise that Texas law enforcement and school districts are speaking out against the bill, and it’s expected to have a hard time getting through the House.

More Bad News for Carrollton’s Spa Castle. The owners were arrested for tax fraud in March, then several women accused the mega-spa’s employees of being peeping toms, and now, reports are coming out about an incident involving feces in a women’s pool, which was spot-cleaned with bleach, but not drained and thoroughly sanitized.

Did You Watch Yesterday’s Cowboys Press Conference? Don’t. It was a bit of a beating for everyone. All questions revolved around Lucky Whitehead, and Jason Garrett was not willing to stray from a PR-ordained “we stand by our decision” mantra. But my favorite moment of the 56 seconds I watched before I just couldn’t take anymore, was when Dale Hansen asked, “Do you have some people working for the Dallas Cowboys who are just too stupid to be working for this team?” For a good summary of yesterday’s events, read this. And I will echo Tyrone Crawford’s hope that Lucky Whitehead will find a team with which to play and “ball out.”

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Nature & Environment

A First Look at The Proposed Trinity River Local Government Corporation

| 1 day ago

Here we go again.

Yesterday on Facebook, Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs shared drafts of the documents that would establish the Local Government Corporation (LGC) to take control of the Trinity River Project. The council will be briefed on the documents on August 2, but this is the first look at the legal structure and authority that the new entity may  have. I’ve uploaded the three documents for your perusal (the Term Sheet, Bylaws, and Certificate of Formation), and I would suggest looking at them in detail. I’ve spent the morning attempting a close read, and I’m left with a few questions.

I’m not necessarily opposed to the idea of Local Government Corporation taking over the business of managing, designing, and improving the Trinity River Watershed. That said, in this post back in April, I laid out some considerations and stipulations that would go a long way toward reestablishing public trust around the Trinity River Project by creating an entity that was both transparent and responsive enough to ensure that the public’s — and the Trinity’s — best interests. Does the LGC laid out in these documents meet those expectations? Yes and no. Let’s dig in.

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Sports & Leisure

Lucky Whitehead’s Unfortunate Series of Events

| 2 days ago

Let’s step into Lucky Whitehead’s shoes for a moment.

Your dog gets kidnapped, and you owe its return to a guy named Boogotti Kasino. People on the internet besmirch your abilities as a wide receiver and kick returner. A warrant is issued for your arrest in connection with a shoplifting charge in Virginia. You are cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

And then you learn that Virginia police are dropping the charges. You weren’t even in Virginia. They had the wrong guy. You are compiling a long list of people who owe you an apology.

Sorry, Lucky.

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News

The Boy Scouts of America Is a Non-Partisan Organization

| 2 days ago
From left: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, President Trump, Eagle Scout Rick Perry.

Speaking Monday night to thousands of Boy Scouts at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, President Trump asked early in his remarks: “Who the hell wants to speak about politics in front of Boy Scouts?”

Evidently, Donald Trump does. Flanked by Energy Secretary and Eagle Scout Ricky Perry and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, Trump addressed some of his favorite subjects, including fake news, winning, his 2016 election, and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The atmosphere appeared similar to a vintage Trump campaign rally, complete with an enthusiastic crowd and chants of “USA.” (There was, fortunately, no “lock her up” routine.)

The speech also provoked criticism for bucking the long tradition of U.S. presidents avoiding politics when speaking to Boy Scouts. The Irving-based organization responded this morning with a statement distancing itself from partisan politics.

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Local News

Leading Off (7/25/17)

| 2 days ago

Cowboys Cut Lucky Whitehead. The only thing that makes me sad about this move is that is lessens the chances that we’ll ever again hear from Boogotti Kasino.

Irving Mall Evacuated Because of Fire. The two-alarm blaze was reported about 9:15 p.m. at an Express Electronics. No one was hurt because who the heck would be at Irving Mall at 9 o’clock on a Monday night?

Ballet Dancer’s Murder Still a Mystery. Darrell Cleveland danced with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Early Sunday morning, he lost control of his car downtown and crashed into a parking meter. When cops investigated, they found that Cleveland had been shot in the hip. Police say they still have no leads

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Urban Design

Not Only Are Ugly Buildings Messing Up Dallas, They May Be Ruining Your Health

| 2 days ago

Last week, I wrote about how I believe much of the new construction in Dallas — and particularly multi-family construction — leaves much to be desired, aesthetically speaking. In the combative comments section to that post, I was accused of advancing a subjective value assessment of the current state of Dallas building that naively misunderstood the delicate economics that make new construction possible. But what if the aesthetic quality of a building possesses a value that supersedes financial considerations and conventions of taste? What if ugly buildings were actually bad for your health?

That’s what critic Sarah Williams Goldhagen argues in her new book Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives. Interviewed on CityLab, Goldhagen argues that part of what has led to a glut of ugly building is a split in cities and in the real estate industry between the disciplines of building and architecture:

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Sports & Leisure

Lucky Whitehead Not Really All That Lucky, Arrested on Shoplifting Charge

| 2 days ago
When the Cowboys inevitably cut Whitehead, Blitz may need a new jersey. Photo via Lucky Whitehead’s Instagram, @luck2fast.

In the latest sign that he may be out of (good opportunities), a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Lucky Whitehead, TMZ Sports reports.

The Cowboys wide receiver and kick returner enjoyed a stroke of (fortuitous occurrence) last week when his missing and allegedly kidnapped dog, Blitz, was returned by a rapper named Boogotti Kasino. Fortunes turn quickly, however. Before that, Whitehead was evidently arrested and charged with shoplifting on June 22 in Prince William County, VA. A Virginia court issued a warrant for Whitehead’s arrest after he failed to make a July 6 court date, which seems less like (a bad twist of fate) and more like the result of old-fashioned chuckle-headedness. Failure to appear has been stacked on to the shoplifting charge.

This furthers the case that Whitehead, who has been a nonfactor as a wide receiver and a largely unexceptional kick returner for the Cowboys, may not be long for the Dallas roster. Fourth round draft pick Ryan Switzer is untested in the NFL, but the return specialist from North Carolina is surely thanking his (favored) stars that he’s sitting right behind Whitehead on the depth chart.

It’s more tough news for the Cowboys, who also learned today that their Super Bowl hopes have been jinxed by the August cover of D Magazine. But only if you believe in jinxes, and hexes, and (chance). The Cowboys can still make their own (destiny).

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