A Daily Conversation About Dallas

Real Estate

A Deep-Dive Analysis of the Marketing Blurb for The Stack in Deep Ellum

| 39 mins ago

I fear for Deep Ellum. The neighborhood of old, low-slung brick buildings is attracting a lot of development, much of it committed by Westdale, whose aesthetic and literary choices make me want to pluck out my eyeballs and give them to Tim Headington so that he can use them as the centerpiece for a tiny downtown park. I already told you what I think of the giant robot Westdale painted on its Case Building. Nothing against robots, but this one looks silly. I realize not everyone (maybe no one) shares my opinion. In the comments to that post, I was invited to never return to Deep Ellum, which hurt my feelings.

Well, now I’ve got another criticism of Westdale’s work. Perhaps this take will prove more popular. I hereby assert that the 72-word marketing blurb for Westdale’s next planned Deep Ellum office building — called The Stack, pictured above — is the most ding-a-lingest thing that has ever been written in Dallas. For your consideration:

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Local News

Leading Off (1/22/20)

| 7 hours ago

UNT Student Killed By Police After Pulling Meat Cleaver and Frying Pan. Witnesses say he’d been banging on doors and smashing out lights at an apartment complex in Denton. Once police were on scene and questioning witnesses, he came back out of an apartment, according to police. Officers apparently tried to tase him, it didn’t work, and the man charged, stabbing one of them in the shoulder. He was shot and killed. The officer is expected to recover.

18 DFW Companies Earn Perfect Scores For LGBTQ Inclusivity. That’s according to the annual Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. North Texas had 11 perfect scores last year. I point you to D CEO’s excellent package called, “The Business of Pride,” which digs into the steps some of these companies have taken.

Adelfa Callejo Sculpture Will Go in Main Street Gardens. Callejo, a civil rights advocate, was Dallas’ first practicing Latina lawyer and will now represent the city’s first sculpture of a Latina.

Norma Hunt Has Been to Every Super Bowl. She’s the only woman who can say that. Now, for the first time in half a century, she will go with a chance to watch her team win it. I promise this bullet point is only 30 percent, maybe 40 percent, about me wanting to remind you that team is my team, the Kansas City football Chiefs. I mean, definitely no more than 50 percent. 60 or 70 percent, absolute tops. Chiefs Owner Clark Hunt is a Dallas guy! This is basically a Dallas story. Seriously, 80 percent at most.

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So Where Does DART’s D2 Subway Line Stand?

| 21 hours ago

You wouldn’t necessarily know it by listening to DART President Gary Thomas, but a dozen years since the idea for D2 first came about, many mission-critical questions remain about the city’s planned subway system. Chief among them is whether DART could come up with $300 million, should it miss out on federal grant dollars.

D2 is a massive undertaking. Its current iteration runs from near Victory Park and follows Field southbound to Commerce. From there, it heads east through downtown, cutting under 345 onto northbound Good Latimer. It is expected to cost $1.4 billion.

On Tuesday, Thomas went before the City Council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to update them on D2’s progress. His presentation put a hefty focus on incorporating train stations into the fabric of the city—one concept integrates a station into a reimagined Pegasus Plaza.

But more critical is the degree to which DART will have to acquire public property, whether D2 can play nice with TxDOT’s eventual plans for 345, and, of course, the money.

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Local News

Fire Guts the Run-Down, Historic Igloo Building Near Lake Cliff Park

| 1 day ago

So long to the funky igloo building on Zang: it was destroyed in a fire last week, freeing the way for more apartments on land belonging to the restaurant group that owns El Fenix. The former home of the Polar Bear Ice Cream Company has been on Preservation Dallas’ list of the city’s most endangered buildings since 2016. It’s stood there, just south of Colorado, since the 1930s, when it was a hole-in-the-wall burger joint targeted at Lake Cliff Park back when it was a busy amusement park. Since 2014, when the Tex-Mex restaurant that called it home shuttered, it has looked as if it’s been slowly sinking into the earth.

It was wind-damaged and covered in graffiti. Last Thursday night, a fire gutted most of the inside and spat flames out of its roof and ventilation ducts. Jason Evans, a Dallas Fire Rescue spokesman says it took fire fighters about 30 minutes to get the flames under control.

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Announcing a Transit Symposium Charting the Future of Dallas Mobility

| 1 day ago

On January 31, a quite interesting discussion around transit will take over the debate chambers at Old Parkland. It’s headlined by Jarrett Walker, the man charged with overhauling the currently inefficient DART bus system. But there are other heavy hitters here: Michael Rogers, the city’s transportation director, joins West Dallas Councilman Omar Narvaez and the city’s deputy resilience officer, Genesis Gavino, to discuss the forthcoming mobility and climate action plans.

DART Board Member Patrick Kennedy will moderate a panel on how to fund transit projects, which includes assistant city manager Majed Al Ghafry, former TxDOT Commissioner Victor Vandergriff, and McKinsey senior partner Steffen Fuchs. Finally, you’ll hear from folks who actually ride DART, like D contributor Doyle Rader; other DART board members, like Dominique Torres and Jon-Betrell Killen; and another expert who helps visualize data, friend-of-the-magazine Robert Mundinger.

The event, the Death and Life of Dallas Transit, is organized by the Coalition for a New Dallas. That’s the super PAC co-founded by D founder Wick Allison. (D and the Coalition are separate entities.) Learn more about the panels below, and register here. The symposium begins at 8 a.m. on the 31st and runs past lunch.

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Local News

Leading Off (1/21/20)

| 1 day ago

Trump Puts Former North Texas Federal Prosecutor on Defense Team. When the impeachment trial kicks into gear this week, congressman John Ratcliffe will be there to defend the president. Ratcliffe got his law degree at SMU, was the mayor of Heath, and served as a U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.

Man and 15-year-old Boy Injured in South Dallas Shooting. They were standing on a street corner when people in a passing car opened fire on them, blatantly ignoring the mayor’s proclamation that 2020 is a year of non-violence, just like the guy who shot a 9-year-old girl on I-35E in a road rage incident earlier in the day.

Price Cut on T. Boone Pickens’ Ranch. The 65,000-acre Mesa Vista spread in the Panhandle was put on the market in 2017 for $250 million. Brokers have cut the price to $220 million and said that the buyer can keep the washer and dryer combo, too.

DART to Present New Plans for Silver Line. Far North Dallas residents are cheesed at how the trains will cut through their neighborhood, so DART will propose elevating the tracks at some busy intersections. Except that goes against an earlier resolution that the trains and cars will remain at or below grade.

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Local News

Leading Off (01/20/20)

| 2 days ago

18-Year-Old Dies After Being Shot at South Oak Cliff-Kimball Basketball Game. The kid I mentioned last week that had been shot and wounded at the SOC-Kimball game? His name was Marc Strickland, and he passed away Saturday after being taken off life support. The 15-year-old who turned himself in for the shooting now faces a murder charge.

Women’s March Honors 100th Anniversary of 19th Amendment. But, of course, it also had more than a little to do with the President.

Here is the Winner of the 28th Annual MLK Jr. Oratory Competition. His name is Colin Harris, he’s a fifth grader at J.P. Starks Math, Science and Technology Vanguard, and he is fantastic.

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Politics & Government

Dallas County Republicans Step on the Fundraising Gas in 2020 Fend-Off Efforts

| 5 days ago

We have a quick campaign finance update for you on this foggy Friday. Democrats are pushing to flip the Texas House blue in 2020, but so far, financing is largely favoring incumbents, the Texas Tribune reports. That holds true for the two remaining Dallas County Republicans who currently have seats in the House.

In the closely watched race for Texas House District 108, which runs from downtown and east Dallas through the Park Cities and North Dallas, Rep. Morgan Meyer pulled in $322,000. That’s a chunk. Democrats are licking their chops in that race after Meyer squeaked out a victory by 200 votes in 2018. Based on funding, his likely 2020 challenger (primaries are in March) is Shawn Terry, of Uptown, who might’ve stirred some donors into action with $236,000 last period. Terry put together $153,000 this go around.

And in Garland and Richardson’s District 112, state Rep. Angie Chen Button pulled $275,000 (she also has a pile of $772,000 on hand). She dwarfed the returns of challenging Democrat Brandy Chambers. Chambers, whom Button beat with 51.1 percent of the vote in 2018, hauled in $87,000.

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Local News

Gentry Beach Will Not, In Fact, Get Part of That $91 Million Payout

| 5 days ago

Back in June, Tim told you that noted bear hunter and Donald Trump Jr. buddy Gentry Beach won part of a $90 million payout over bonuses he alleged he was owed while working for a hedge fund. Fast forward to two days ago, and The Wall Street Journal reports that the Highland Park High School grad’s big payout will have to wait. A New York appeals court vacated the judgment, sending it back down for another trial.

The lawsuit was filed back in 2009. The four-judge panel found that a specific defense should have been allowed in the original trial, which that judge had precluded. In doing so, the court ruled that it “deprived them of a fair trial.” Beach and a former colleague allege that they’re owed net profits from a hedge fund where they worked from 2005 to 2008.

They’ll have to try again to prove it.

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Criminal Justice

In Dallas County, Hope For Bail Reform Collapses Into Confusion

| 5 days ago

In 2018, U.S. District Judge David Godbey ruled that the county had to dismantle its assembly-line bail system. He found that poor people accused of committing nonviolent crimes were stuck in jail because they couldn’t afford to post bail. Among criminal justice reformers, hopes were high. But now, a year and a half later, bail reform in Dallas County is murky at best. The court battle is ongoing, and a lack of communication among its major players has spurred confusion and piecemeal adoption across the criminal courts.

The confusion around executing these reforms has even leaked out of the Frank Crowley Courts Building. Just look at the Dallas Morning News’ editorial board. Two Sundays ago, the voice of the paper printed flimsy conclusions based around an opinion piece written by U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox, which was also published by the paper. Nealy Cox lists instances in which offenders with violent histories have been released from jail on bond, only to reoffend. But the edit board paints in broader strokes, claiming that bail reform “drives toward the uncritical release, on outrageously low bonds, of people accused of violent crimes who have a history of violent behavior.” It blames District Attorney John Creuzot, a Democrat who has advocated for reforming the bail system to make it more equitable to the poor.

That editorial is inaccurate. It suggests we have true bail reform in Dallas County. We don’t. It insinuates Creuzot’s wish-list reforms are in place. For the most part, they aren’t. It also conflates a violent offender with the type of defendant bail reform is targeted at: poor people who are accused of a nonviolent offense, whose lives are upended because they don’t have money to post bond.

Arraignments in Dallas County have traditionally worked like this: about 20 defendants sit before a magistrate. Their charges are read one by one, and bail is determined by a schedule that associates a price with the crime. The individual’s ability to pay is not taken into consideration. They have no representation, and because there are no defense attorneys present, prosecutors cannot be either. According to figures provided by the ACLU at the time of the lawsuit, as many as 70 percent of the 5,000 inmates in the Dallas County Jail are only there because they cannot afford to post bail.

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Local News

Leading Off (1/17/20)

| 5 days ago

The Rain Won’t Be So Bad By the Time You Read This. But it’s coming. That’s from WFAA. Be careful clicking that link, the video starts immediately and froze my browser. Also there are some weird ads in the middle of what you want, which is the news: it’s probably going to drizzle today, then it’s going to get colder. So you should wear a jacket and bring a light umbrella just in case. Saturday should be dry and in the mid-50s for most of it.

Joe Biden Came To Dallas. Former Mayor Mike Rawlings hosted a fundraiser for the former vice president, who says he’s the guy to turn Texas blue. Gromer Jeffers reported that about 140 people attended the fundraiser at Rawlings’ home.

Teacher’s Group Sues Over DISD’s Merit-Based System. The Teacher’s Excellence Initiative, or TEI, pays some teachers more than others based on outcomes for state tests. Other teachers say this resulted in a pay cut and is unfair, particularly because of the increase in healthcare costs. The district’s superintendent defends this process, arguing, in part, that no teacher has been paid less.

Apparently There Is More Graffiti? Oh, NBC5 and others, get over it.

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