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A Daily Conversation
About Dallas

Urbanism

Is the Urban Renaissance a Myth?

| 18 hours ago

Over the past decade, the rapid pace of development in Uptown, the rebound of downtown Dallas, the spread of infill development in near-center neighborhoods, and the popularity of spots like Bishop Arts and Trinity Groves have projected the impression that Dallas is experiencing a urban boon.

It is a pattern of growth that is familiar throughout the country. We have read about how millennials want to live in cities, and how urban, walking places tend to attract younger generations, who are driving less. The cities of the future will have to become more dense and walkable to compete in the future, professional urban boosters tell us. And as a result, the New York Times reports, housing prices are climbing faster in urban neighborhoods than in the suburbs, and those neighborhoods are younger and richer than they have ever been, with residents who are more educated and earn higher wages.

But do these trends indicate a resurgence in America’s urban cities? Or, are they indicative of an altogether different trend, one that doesn’t fit neatly into the popular narrative of the slow march of re-urbanization and the abandonment of the 20th century sprawl model of development?

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Television

Why Won’t Dallas’ TV Meteorologists Talk About Climate Change?

| 20 hours ago

The scientific consensus is overwhelming and unambiguous: The planet is getting hotter, faster, and it’s mostly our fault. While scientists are often reluctant to editorialize, the consensus also leans toward this being very bad news for life on Earth.

Public opinion is more divided, with only about half of American adults saying they believe climate change is caused by human activity. The other 50 percent are presumably either unfamiliar with climate scientists’ findings, or otherwise disdainful of the research. Certainly very few people are digging through the 169 pages of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2014 Synthesis Report, even if details on the “likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems” do make for juicy reading.

Almost all of us, however, are regularly getting weather forecasts. For many people, the television weather forecaster may be their primary, if not their only, source of news on the climate. That news will be scarce. Dallas television meteorologists often seem tight-lipped or playfully evasive about the subject, to the extent that, a few weeks ago, I couldn’t have told you whether any of them had ever actually heard of climate change.

With that in mind, I emailed the chief meteorologists at the big four Dallas-Fort Worth news stations a set of questions. The informal survey, loosely based on a 2016 George Mason University survey of American Meteorological Society members, asked for each recipient’s thoughts on climate change, as well as their willingness to address the subject on air, among other things.

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Education

More Questions Are Raised About $25M DSC Land Deal

| 20 hours ago

Dallas County Schools is in trouble. After the agency responsible for busing 75,000 students in 12 North Texas school districts lost millions on a stop-arm camera program (What do you mean people don’t pay tickets?), the Texas House Committee on Public Education voted to dissolve it. Meanwhile, a $25 million sale-leaseback of land used to park buses is expected to cost Dallas County taxpayers millions more in the long run. Then DCS Board President Larry Duncan stepped down amid allegations that his campaign profited from the land deal. Tonight, NBC 5 will air a 30-minute investigative report at 6:30 p.m. schooling us on who orchestrated the deal, who profited from it, and how much more it will cost taxpayers.

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Local News

Leading Off (5/24/17)

| 22 hours ago

The Bathroom Bill Drama Continues. The bill’s author is not willing to compromise. Expect shenanigans up until the legislative session ends this coming Monday.

DPD Points to Social Media Rap Battles for Spike in Violence. Crime stats are showing that sexual assaults are down and murder is holding steady, but violent crime has spiked. There have been 300 more aggravated assaults so far this year compared to the same time last year. DPD’s take: It has to do with gang wars and drive-bys fueled by rap songs posted on social media. I’m not sure how this can be blamed for a spike, however, considering rap wars are not necessarily anything new nor unique to Dallas, and local gangs surely knew about YouTube and Facebook all the way back in 2016.

Arlington Will Pay $850,000 to Family of 19-Year-Old Killed by Policeman. Rookie officer Brad Miller was responding to a burglary call at a car dealership in August of 2015. Christian Taylor was an unarmed black 19-year-old college student getting into some trouble. Miller shot Taylor dead that night. Officer Miller was fired days later, but the grand jury didn’t indict. Yesterday, the Arlington city council approved a $850,000 settlement in response to a claim filed by the Taylor family. Taylor’s parents hope to build a community center in their son’s name.

Goat Yoga is Coming to Dallas. It’s already sold out though, so forget I said anything. And speaking of ridiculous things on the internet, the DMN published a decisively negative opinion on the Romphim. Never say never, boys! Man trends are only one Leo DiCap paparazzi pic away, after all. Same goes for the onesie.

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Media

Peter Simek Wins Major Award

| 2 days ago
Peter has more hair now.

The day after last year’s shooting in downtown Dallas, Peter Simek posted this thoughtful essay on FrontBurner. It’s a great piece of writing, especially when you consider how quickly he put it together and that it was posted without an edit. For that essay and several other posts, Peter last night won the best online column category at the City and Regional Magazine Association’s annual convention, beating out writers from Los Angeles Magazine, Seattle Met, Pittsburgh Magazine, and Yankee Magazine. You can find the full list of winners here.

Congrats, Peter. Now send me the story I’m waiting on. You’re late.

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Local News

Leading Off (5/23/17)

| 2 days ago

22 Cats Rescued From Arlington House Fire. If you like kittens, this will make you happy. If you’re more of a dog person, I don’t have any news for you.

‘Bathroom Bill’ Won’t Keep Transgender Kids out of Restrooms. That’s what school groups say. What does Bedford’s representative think? Jonathan Stickland said the following: “It’s a big nothing burger.” Think about that for a minute.

Woman Caught With 63 Edible Bird Nests at DFW Airport. The nests are made of hardened swiftlet saliva and are used to make soup. But they can carry avian flu. So when they were found in a woman’s luggage, she got fined $300.

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Media

A Discussion About Barbecue Covers

| 3 days ago

As I pointed out earlier, Texas Monthly has a new barbecue list that strikes me as controversial for the sake of being controversial (a point proven by this post?). But let us focus on the cover itself. Here’s a comparison of TxMo’s last barbecue cover, from 2013 (far left), with the current cover and D Magazine’s cover from last year. Who wore it best? (I’ll tip my hand by saying that the cover in the middle is a crime against meat and that its author should be ground up, mixed with peppery seasoning, and stuffed into lamb intestines).

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Local News

What Do Downtown Dallas’ Sidewalks Mean?

| 3 days ago

A few weeks back, a co-worker — who, like me, favors perambulating around the downtown area during her lunch break — posted a photo on Instagram of one of the many geometric murals embedded into the sidewalks around here. She asked if anyone could give her more information about them. As someone who has walked every block in that particular area, I’ve often wondered the same thing and previous googling has only led me — who is really pretty outstanding at googling things — to this Huffington Post piece which actually maybe made me dumber about the subject.

Not knowing has only made me want to know more. I’m frustrated. More so than usual. But no more: today, I’ve decided to open the floor, crowd-source this thing like a modern industry disruptor.

Who designed them? What’s the unifying theory? How long have they been there? Let’s hear some chatter.

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Arts & Entertainment

Jake Heggie Wants to Get the Arts Back into Public Schools

| 3 days ago

I was in Rochester, New York, yesterday to see my sister graduate from the Eastman School of Music with a master of music degree in vocal performance. I was already plenty excited to be at the ceremony—to see her walk across the stage, accept her diploma, enter the world of opera hopefuls. But when I was scanning the printed program before it began, I saw that the commencement speaker was a name I recognized: Jake Heggie.

One of the American composer’s operas, Moby-Dick, had premiered at The Dallas Opera a few years back. Another, Great Scott, debuted at the Winspear in the fall of 2015. He’s sort of an anomaly in the modern opera scene, in that he is successful as a classical composer in 2017. That’s pretty much unheard of. Peter Simek wrote about his rise to fame for the magazine two years ago.

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Food and Drink

Texas Monthly Barbecue List Snubs Pecan Lodge, Ranks Cattleack Higher

| 3 days ago

Texas Monthly just released its list of the 50 best barbecue joints in the state. The top 10 are ranked, with the other 40 merely listed by city, even though each place gets a numerical score on a 5-point scale. It’s confusing. Maybe in print it makes more sense. Anyway, Cattleack Barbeque, Lockhart Smokehouse, and Pecan Lodge are the three Dallas places on the list. Cattleack comes in at No. 3 overall and scores 4.75. Pecan gets 4.25. Lockhart gets 4. Is it time to fight?

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