A Daily Conversation About Dallas

Local News

Mayoral Hopefuls Debated at Northaven United Methodist

| 1 day ago

Fissures are beginning to show between Dallas’ mayoral candidates.

At a forum on Thursday night in North Dallas, six of the nine got a little over an hour to share their visions for the city. Many of the candidates, in interviews following their initial announcements, spoke generally about addressing the city’s most pressing issues, which include a shortage of police and fire fighters, fixing potholes and the city’s broken infrastructure, and building affordable housing. Now we’re hearing more specifics: whether we should stand up to the Legislature’s attempts to cap property tax rates or collaborate with state lawmakers, whether we should pursue charter schools or invest in our improving school district, and how to use the 1,500 properties sitting idly in our frozen land bank program.

The organizer was the group Women of Dallas United for Action, and the event sold out 250 seats at the Northaven United Methodist Church, off Preston Road. Lucy Billingsley, the co-founder and partner of Billingsley Co., moderated. Participating were Scott Griggs, the North Oak Cliff councilman; Eric Johnson, a Democratic state representative; Lynn McBee, the volunteer, civic leader, and CEO of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network; Regina Montoya, the attorney and civic leader; Miguel Solis, the Dallas ISD trustee; and Jason Villalba, a former Republican state representative. Developer Mike Ablon was on the lineup but was traveling.

Billingsley opened by asking how the candidates would navigate the city’s strong city manager/weak mayor form of government, which means the top position will need to build consensus around priority topics. Each then gave a brief biography and spoke of the need to bring people together in various ways, mostly to help create an equitable city where opportunity isn’t out of reach for so many. Nothing you haven’t heard before if you’ve been following the race.

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Poll: Pick Your Favorite 1970s Dallas Haircut

| 1 day ago

You might’ve heard about the current mission of SMU’s G. William Jones Film and Video Collection by now. Over the last two-ish years, a couple people have been working through a stock of old WFAA footage, putting it into digital format and sharing clips along the way. Much of it is illuminating. Some of it is sort of beautiful. I pulled some highlights here.

What nobody has done yet though is given us a compilation of the many, many splendiferous haircuts inside these hours of footage from 1970s Dallas. Or even better, tried to pick the greatest haircut of all. Let’s give that a shot.

Here are some of the most stylish, out-there, purely ’70s cuts in the selection. Pay attention to the accompanying letters, and then help us pick a winner at the end. Your choices:

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Politics & Government

Paul Sims Drops out of District 9 City Council Race

| 1 day ago
Sims’ stache

Paul Sims has not responded to texts or phone calls, but D Magazine (or Tim Rogers) can confirm that he is no longer a candidate to replace Mark Clayton on the City Council. People in his (an my) district say that Sims has called them to convey the news.

This leaves Paula Blackmon, Sarah Lamb, Erin Moore, Tamara Brown, and Jacinto Valdespino looking to rep the district that includes Lakewood and other parts of East Dallas. Here’s where you can go to see how many folks are running in your district. May is going to be crazy, folks. Get educated and get to the polls.

UPDATE: Just got an email from the Sims campaign. It reads:

Today I withdrew my name from consideration as a candidate for Dallas City Council. Unfortunately, the timing isn’t right for our family.

I plan to remain actively involved in our community and will continue to advocate for parks and open spaces, the protection of White Rock Lake, and strong, safe neighborhoods.

For the past four years, we’ve been fortunate to have Mark Clayton as our councilmember. Mark changed the way our district was represented and made sure every neighborhood — especially neighborhoods on the east side of the Lake that had long been neglected — finally had a voice at City Hall. His commonsense, collaborative approach to local governance will be sorely missed. I hope the remaining candidates will live up to his service.

I am deeply appreciative of the support I received over the last month from neighbors across District 9. All contributions will be returned. Thank you again to everyone who walked with me on this journey.

Here’s what I’d like to ask Sims, if he’d stop texting me one-word, unhelpful responses and talk on the phone:

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Tales From the Dallas History Archives: A Dive Through the Work of a Dallas Express Editor

| 2 days ago

The history of Dallas is incomplete without the images, stories, and original artifacts that document the lives of African Americans in Dallas. In these final days of Black History Month, take note of an important figure in African-American life in Dallas: the late Lee Marion Butts, Sr., who lived from 1924 to 2002. Butts was a commercial photographer and editor of the Dallas Express newspaper, who recorded events and community life in Dallas during a career that spanned the last half of the twentieth century.

Portrait of Marion Butts taken at Bishop College., circa 1948. PA2005-4/6.1, from the Marion Butts Collection, Dallas Public Library

The Dallas Express was a weekly African-American newspaper founded by W.E. King. It was published from 1893 to 1970, and provided coverage not often found in the Dallas Times Herald or Dallas Morning News of the time.

The Marion Butts Photograph Collection is part of the Dallas Public Library’s Dallas History & Archives Division.  The collection includes a number of historic photographs, some of which are available to view in the library’s online catalog.  For those interested in reading issues of the Dallas Express, the Archives Division has the newspaper on microfilm with dates ranging from 1919 to 1928, 1934 to 1963, and 1965 to 1970.

Butts’ body of work documents not only segregation and civil rights, but also business, civic, religious, educational, and social life, as well as visits by famous leaders and celebrity entertainers.

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Dallas: The City That Hates Pedestrians, Pt. 20

| 2 days ago

A pedestrian sent over the below photo, which he snapped on his way to lunch in the Farmer’s Market at the intersection of Wood and Jackson-Pearl.

Come on.

He writes: “I’ve been commuting daily on foot across downtown to what is now the East Quarter for about four years and regularly run in and around downtown. The construction has been driving me absolutely crazy and your series has at least given me a sense that I’m not alone.” 

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Local News

Leading Off (2/22/19)

| 2 days ago

Another Rough Day For Southwest. First it was the weather. Then it was a fight with the mechanics’ union. Next it was both of those together. Now, a computer problem forced the Federal Aviation Agency to issue a ground-stop for all of Southwest’s flights for an hour early this morning. The problem has since been fixed.

Defense, Prosecution Lay Out Their Forest Park Case. One of the largest healthcare fraud trials in Dallas history started this week. On Thursday, the prosecution explained what they believe was a widespread kickback scheme involving at least 21 people, with doctors being paid up to $6 million each for patient referrals to the state-of-the art hospitals. The now-defunct chain used exorbitant out-of-network procedure fees to get more money out of private insurance. It’s believed to be the first time the feds have brought a bribery case in charges to private insurers. Usually these cases involve gaming Medicare or Medicaid, not Blue Cross Blue Shield and United. Defense attorneys say their clients were acting upon advice from healthcare attorneys, who advised that such arrangements were actually perfectly legal. I’m going to once again hype a feature I wrote in 2015 about this, if this sounds interesting to you.

Dallas Police Won’t Release Tobolowsky Documents, Despite Judge’s Order. Speaking of stories we’ve written about, the son of prominent Dallas lawyer Ira Tobolowsky has asked a judge to force the police department to release a bunch of documents related to his father’s brutal murder. Michael Tobolowsky says the case has gone cold and releasing the information—the investigative file, forensic reports, interview transcripts, and more—would help him examine it further. The city has until April to protest the release; investigators say it will spike any chance the department has to corroborate witness statements in the future.

You’re Looking At Another Wet Day. It’s going to rain much of the late morning into the early afternoon. The high is 54. Bring an umbrella, maybe wear a sweater. 

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Details for Your 40th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade Have Arrived

| 2 days ago

For 39 years Dallas has staggered out to Greenville Avenue, the air thick with Guinness and Jell-O and good cheer, to catch a glimpse of the passing floats. This year, the parade topples over the hill, and the organizers have decided to pay tribute.

The 40th rendition of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade—excuse me, the Dallas Mavs St. Patrick’s Parade & Festival presented by the Dallas Mavericks—is set for Saturday, March 16, at 11 a.m. Mayor Mike Rawlings will serve as Grand Marshal. The parade route, which starts at Blackwell Street and goes to SMU Boulevard, is below this post.

Ghosts of parade’s past will float on by. In the precession will be the parade’s founder (one of D’s earliest staff writers and current contributor) Tom Stephenson, who founded the thing in 1979 as a way to get people into his bar, the Greenville Avenue Country Club. He ran it until 1987. You’ll have Amanda Ahern Terilli standing in for her dad, John Ahern, who founded the Greenville Avenue Area Business Association and presided over the parade from 1988 to 1990. Valerie Barrett (1991-1997), Jorge Levy (1998-2013), and Kevin Vela (current president) will also slide through.

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Southwest Airlines Has a Union Fight on its Hands

| 3 days ago

Reports rang out yesterday that Southwest Airlines was experiencing a heavy volume of delays and cancellations. No wonder: the weather was pretty fierce, especially on the east coast, and flights were grounded not only by Southwest but across the air travel spectrum. But if you’ve been paying attention, there’s another layer to the friendly, Dallas-based airline’s issues: Southwest finds itself locked in a struggle with the union representing its mechanics. Tensions have been growing, and service appears to be suffering. Whose fault that is depends on who you ask.

The dispute stems from the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association’s outcry that its members are facing increasing pressure to turn the other cheek when it comes to possible safety issues. That came to light in this February 4 national story from CBS News. It features mechanics saying colleagues have been suspended for a month or more for things like pointing out issues that were outside the scope of what they were working on. The seven-minute spot has Southwest looking like a high-pressure operator, with mechanics told to keep their heads down, fix what they’re fixing, and get the planes back up in the air. Southwest, of course, says it takes any maintenance issues brought to its attention seriously.

It’s important to note here a couple things.

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Local News

If You’re Interested in the VisitDallas Mess, Read This Morning News Editorial From a Former City Attorney

| 3 days ago

Art Hudman is a retired Dallas assistant city attorney, which, of course, gives him a special sort of insight into the VisitDallas kerfuffle. To catch you up: a city audit found that the nonprofit agency that the city contracts to promote it may have been violating state law in how it kept track of its public funds, didn’t have clear indices in place to gauge whether it was spending its money effectively, and had been spending above its own policies regarding expenses. There were some other things, too. But that’s the boilerplate.

Earlier this week, a City Council committee declined to recommend the termination of its contract, pending it fixes some of the things that the audit called out. Today, The Dallas Morning News published a piece written by Hudman. He does not paint a pretty picture of the operations inside City Hall over his 18 year career.

VisitDallas presents a glaring example of what happens when we overlook oversight. Yes, the City Auditor’s Office uncovered problems. Unfortunately, that is like an oncologist reporting inoperable colorectal cancer to a patient who has gone decades without a colonoscopy or prostate exam.


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Commercial Real Estate

Details Emerge on Keurig Dr Pepper’s New Frisco HQ

| 3 days ago

The ink has dried on Keurig Dr Pepper’s big deal for a 350,000 square-foot build-to-suit at The Star, a 91-acre mixed-use campus anchored by the Dallas Cowboys’ world headquarters and training facility in Frisco.

Bob Gamgort, chairman and CEO of Keurig Dr Pepper, said the new facility represents an exciting upgrade for its Lone Star seat of power. “The new location at The Star in Frisco will provide a state-of the-art work environment and exciting amenities that will energize our employees and enable us to attract top talent in the area,” he said.

Keurig and Dr Pepper merged operations in 2018. The $11 billion company has a second headquarters in Burlington, Massachusetts, and employs more than 25,000 in 120 offices, manufacturing plants, warehouses, and distribution centers across North America.

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Leading Off

Leading Off (2/21/19)

| 3 days ago

Richardson Bribery Trial Continues with More Testimony. Mark Jordan’s ex-partner, Sarah Catherine Norris, testified that he was just using Richardson mayor Laura Maczka to get what he wanted instead of being in love with her. There were lots of unsettling details. Norris’s testimony continues today.

Southwest Cancels and Delays Tons of Flights. Yesterday, Southwest Airlines cancelled 440 flights and delayed 522—due to an East Coast storm as well as a tiff between the airline and its mechanics union. The disruptions totaled more than those of any other airline. And it seems as though passenger safety may be at risk if they can’t work out the mechanical issues.

Arrests Made Following Sex Trafficking Reports. DPD officers arrested four suspects yesterday after being notified of sex trafficking allegations at three northwest Dallas massage parlors. City officials also shut down the parlors.

The Star in Frisco Will Get New Office Building. The $190 million, 300,000-square-foot project was approved by the Frisco City Council. It will supposedly house Keurig Dr Pepper, moving from Plano, and be finished in 2021.

Get Ready for Some Serious Wildflowers. This past fall was Dallas-Fort Worth’s wettest on record, setting the stage for a particularly pretty wildflower season soon. Ennis and Cedar Hill will likely be the best places to get an eyeful of bluebonnets.

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