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Politics

Tonight: Laura Miller and Jennifer Staubach Gates Will Debate D13 After All

| 1 day ago

Preston Hollow People will get its District 13 council debate between Laura Miller and Jennifer Staubach Gates after all. D editor Tim Rogers is dressed up in his finest moderator clothes today. And all things are set: 7:30 p.m. tonight inside the Terry Center at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas.  

Only problem being, it’s sold out. But our sister paper will be streaming it from Preston Hollow People’s Facebook page, so you can go ahead and bookmark it. You’ll recall that Gates backed out of the previous debate last month, saying that the 250 tickets had sold out so fast because people from outside the district scooped them up. (People’s William Taylor found only 12 non-district attendees register out of the 174 who provided their addresses.) Miller said Gates was dodging her.

The two eventually debated at Maggiano’s in NorthPark during a Dallas Builders Association meeting, but only about 50 attended. Tonight, the community will get to see the two square off on Preston Center, infrastructure, public safety, and more.

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Politics

Dallas Mayoral Poll Week Seven: Mailers, TV Spots, and Spicy Interviews

| 1 week ago

It’s our first week since we got a look at mayoral campaign finance reports, which means we’re about three weeks away from Election Day. We get to see how candidates are spending the money they’ve raised, and it’s also about the time some big endorsements come down the pike. Both of those happened this week, plus at least one candidate got a little punchy on our podcast EarBurner. All that and more, rounded up in our poll. Let’s do it.

The poll has ended.

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Politics

Gov. Greg Abbott Does Not Appear To Be Happy with DA John Creuzot’s Reforms

| 1 week ago

Last week, our Shawn Shinneman wrote about a memo that serves as the first official look at what the district attorney’s office will look like under John Creuzot. First time marijuana cases will be dismissed, as will prosecutions for theft of personal items less than $750 “committed out of necessity.” That got the attention of the Dallas Morning News’ editorial board, which wrote that this “has the potential to send the wrong message about our tolerance for any crime in this county.”

Here’s where we tag in Abbott:

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Trinity River

The Trinity Park Conservancy Is Officially on Notice

| 2 weeks ago

Is the Harold Simmons Park officially a “no-go?”

Like all things with the Trinity River, the answer depends on whom you ask. Earlier this week, we reported on the fallout of a March meeting between the Trinity River Limited Government Corporation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and staff of the Trinity Park Conservancy, the nonprofit tasked with building the new park in the Trinity floodway. We don’t know exactly what happened at that meeting, but we do know that it shocked LGC board members. At their next meeting, one board member reported that, to his ears, it sounded like the Corps said the new park design didn’t meet federally approved criteria for building a park in the floodway. They characterized the Corps’ feedback as declaring the new park a “no-go.”

The board has since backed off on that assessment and have aligned more closely with what Brent Brown, CEO of the Trinity Park Conservancy, assured them in the public meeting. The Corps didn’t say “no-go.” They said something closer to “not there yet.” Brown promised the LGC board that he and his team of well-trained, highly respected consultants, designers, hydrologists, engineers, and architects will head back to the drawing board and re-jigger the plans for the park so that they fit the Corps’ expectations. Those plans—the so-called 35 percent design—have been promised by August.

And that’s where we sit. Four months to get the thing right, or—well, or what?

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Arts & Entertainment

Mayor Takes His Own Curtain Call With Final Arts Month Conversation

| 2 weeks ago

Last night was all about Dirk. But on Monday, Mayor Mike Rawlings took his own curtain call of sorts at the Moody Performance Hall, where he hosted his last panel discussion to kick-off Dallas Arts Month.

It is a tradition that dates to 2013, when the city coined what was then “Dallas Arts Week,” an effort to focus attention on the ferment of cultural activity that clusters around dates in April (when Dallas weather is at its best). As I write in the April edition of D Magazine, this enthusiastic attempt to brand Dallas as a cultural destination corresponded with a period of local cultural history characterized by peaks and valleys, highs and lows.

The mayor’s annual conversation has served as a forum to highlight the local arts scene’s successes and air some of those grievances. Occasionally this occurred involuntarily, as was the case in the first year when the mayor’s panel was called out for featuring five white men talking about how to make the city possible for artists. The mayor has learned a lot over the years, not just in terms of diversifying the conversation he hosts each April, but also in focusing the content of the conversation. While the panel discussions have often displayed this city’s penchant for endlessly mulling over its own cultural import and ambition, they have also attempted to narrow in on important topics, like arts education or drafting cultural policy.

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Politics

Dallas Mayoral Poll Week Six: Let’s Dig Through All of the Max Campaign Donors

| 2 weeks ago

This week, we got a look at the money, the duckets, the shekels, the cheese fueling this mayoral race.

Eric Johnson raised a half a million dollars in two and a half months. Lynn McBee is up to almost two-thirds of a million. We’ve topped $2 million collectively. Here’s our simple breakdown of all the numbers from last week.

After we got the campaign finance reports late Thursday afternoon, the Dallas Morning News’ data team went to work, churning out a helpful visualization of the donations. We get a revealing picture of what parts of the city candidates are putting in their asks. The accompanying story notes that many of the donors use business rather than home addresses, however, which does skew the data a bit.

Our addition below: to pick through each report to get a sense of candidates’ max donors. The most an individual can hand a candidate is $5,000. Johnson received 63 donations of that size. Max donations for the rest:

Miguel Solis—33
Lynn McBee—31
Regina Montoya—24
Mike Ablon—22
Scott Griggs—16
Albert Black—3
Jason Villalba—3
Alyson Kennedy—?

As always, the results of last week’s poll are listed below. Don’t you dare forget to vote. Less than a month until the election. Week six, y’all. Here we go.

The poll has ended.

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Politics

Dallas Mayoral Poll Week Five: This Week, Everyone Opens Up Their Wallets

| 3 weeks ago

There is a narrative out there that it is difficult to tell who’s in the lead for the crowded mayoral race. Gromer Jeffers actually wrote about that very thing last week in the Dallas Morning News. Very few have major name recognition. And our voter turnout resembles, to be polite, something between a fire raging inside a metal garbage can and the trash island floating in the Pacific. (Just 6 percent of you voted in the last mayoral election; this week is the final week to register, so do that if you haven’t.)

Most of the polling we’ve heard about pits six or seven of the candidates very tightly together before a steep drop off, but we haven’t seen any of these beyond second and third-hand conversation. So what other ways can we gauge who is leading the pack? Yard signs? Mike Ablon seems to have found every fence in Dallas. I see a lot of Lynn McBee around Oak Lawn. Jim Schutze is speaking Scott Griggs’ lead into existence.

On April 5, we’ll get our first look at something that usually puts these things into context: campaign donations. That’s when the first filing reports since January—when not all were even in the race—will be made public. But first, as noted last week, we received some self-reported clues courtesy The Dallas Morning News’ voter guide. Ablon has apparently raised $600,000.

Jason Villalba, however, has not. He has raised about $50,000. But he won our poll this week. So he has that. Onto week five!

The poll has ended.

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Local News

The Majority of Registrants for Canceled District 13 Debate Were From … District 13

| 4 weeks ago

William Taylor, who works upstairs at our sister paper, Preston Hollow People, helped go through the addresses of many of those who registered to attend the debate between former Mayor Laura Miller and Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates. Miller is challenging Gates for her council seat. The paper organized it, and D editor Tim Rogers was all set to moderate. But then Gates pulled out late last week, raising concerns that the event had sold out so quickly because it was being flooded with people who don’t live in the district. The 250 tickets were indeed gone within 48 hours—but it appears that happened because there is intense attention being paid to the race by people who are eligible to vote in it.

William reports that of the 250 people who registered to attend, 174 gave their addresses. And of those, just 12 were from outside District 13.

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Local News

Dallas’ Mayoral Candidates Begin Self-Reporting Fundraising Numbers

| 4 weeks ago

The Dallas Morning News this morning published its voter guide, which includes plenty of interesting information about the municipal races. Want to see Councilman Philip Kingston excoriate the mayor’s tenure? Here you are. Want to see how masterful Laura Miller is at sidestepping questions about the performance of the mayor, city manager, and police chief? Right here. Curious about the differences between Giovanni Valderas, Chad West, and Sylvana Alonzo, who are running to replace term-limited Scott Griggs in District 1? Here’s Valderashere’s West, here’s Alonzo.

A cursory read-through shows that the Morning News did a good job of tailoring questions for each of the districts. The guide gives the candidates the opportunity to explain themselves about their varying priorities. Also interesting—it’s a sneak peek of next week’s first campaign finance report in the mayor’s race. Developer Mike Ablon is leading the self-reporting pack with about $600,000. Albert Black, Regina Montoya, and Miguel Solis all report bringing in about $400,000 or more.

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Politics & Government

Mayoral Candidates Discuss the Future of the Arts in Dallas

| 4 weeks ago

Yesterday afternoon in the Nasher Sculpture Center, seven Dallas mayoral candidates said they supported increasing arts funding during the next fiscal year to implement the recently adopted Cultural Plan. That plan, which counts among its priorities the need to send more money to small and mid-size organizations and individuals instead of large institutions, was adopted by the City Council late last year. It was at the center of Monday’s debate.

All of the mayoral candidates were there, sans state Rep. Eric Johnson, who was in Austin fulfilling legislative duties, and the socialist candidate Alyson Kennedy, who was apparently out of the country. The forum is the only one currently planned for the sole purpose of discussing arts and culture. It was moderated by Chris Heinbaugh, a vice president of external affairs at the AT&T Performing Arts Center and a former journalist.

Within the arts community, many are watching the race to see who would support the Cultural Plan’s request to increase the amount of hotel occupancy taxes that go to arts funding from 2.6 percent to 13 percent. That move would put Dallas in line with other large cities in Texas. Currently, a majority of the tax goes to the beleaguered VisitDallas, the city’s convention and visitor’s promotion arm that recently came under fire for lacking accountability on how it spent its money. We aren’t talking about small change, either: 2.6 percent is $1.7 million. Jumping to 13 percent would mean $8.5 million.

North Oak Cliff Councilman Scott Griggs, who was in the minority in supporting canceling the contract with VisitDallas, said he would support sending the state-allowed maximum of 15 percent to cultural causes. He said he trusted the arts community to be better stewards of the money than VisitDallas. He added that the $22 million allocated to the Office of Cultural Affairs isn’t enough to grow the arts in the city. He said he’s tired of seeing small art organizations claw for relatively small amounts of funding.

“$22 million going to the Office of Cultural Affairs isn’t enough to implement this plan, and we can implement this plan—all it comes down to is money and our priorities” Griggs said.

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Local News

Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates Pulls Out of Debate With Laura Miller

| 4 weeks ago

There will be no March 28 debate between District 13 Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates and her challenger, former mayor Laura Miller. Gates late last week backed out, saying that the event sold out before she could notify her constituents. Preston Hollow People, our sister paper that organized the event, reported that the 250 seats at Preston Hollow United Methodist were booked almost immediately. Eighty people were on a waiting list. I’d waited a couple days to put this here in case they found a bigger venue, but that doesn’t appear in the cards.

I do have quotes from Gates’ campaign staffer, Adrian Bakke, who left a voicemail with publisher Pat Martin: “I’m afraid we are going to have to withdraw. Jennifer was looking forward to it, but the way it kind of ended up, we didn’t feel like it was going to fulfill the purpose of the forum.” They were concerned about capacity. Preston Hollow People and D Magazine were planning on streaming the debate on Facebook the paper had allowed anyone with a ticket to submit a question of their own for consideration.

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