A Daily Conversation
About Dallas

Politics & Government

Suggested New Names for Oak Lawn Park

| 11 hours ago

As Alex says, Lee Park is no longer. We await a more permanent name (well, as permanent as such things can be). Doyle Rader had some thoughts yesterday on what we should do with the statue-less plinth that now stands in Oak Lawn Park. His idea is way smarter than my first idea, which was to buy the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and mount that sucker up there. Or how about the Nasher asks Theaster Gates to create a sculpture and time its installation with the month-long celebration, in March, of his Nasher Prize? Not enough time? Too costly? Come on, people. Big things happen here, I’m told.

Meanwhile, let’s do the name thing. Here are some suggestions for the task force to consider:

Read More

Local News

Lee Park Will Be Oak Lawn Park, For Now

| 12 hours ago

The city’s Park and Recreation Board voted unanimously this morning to temporarily rename Lee Park, a little more than a week after the statue of the Confederate general that gave the park its name was removed.

Oak Lawn Park, the park’s original name until 1936, will serve as a placeholder title pending the recommendations of the city’s task force on Confederate monuments, and whatever the city decides to do with those recommendations. A permanent name change must also apparently await a new city policy on renaming parks, per Park Board President Bobby Abtahi at this morning’s meeting. Meanwhile, the park board approved spending about $40,000 to remove any “Lee Park” signage at Oak Lawn Park.

The city’s task force on Confederate monuments is set to meet later today to discuss changing Dallas streets named for Confederate figures, including prominent thoroughfares like Lemmon and Gaston.

Read More

Leading Off

Leading Off (9/22/17)

| 16 hours ago

Rangers Show Off Renderings for Globe Life Field. Workers will break ground on the $1.1 billion stadium, which is expected to be ready in time for the 2020 season, next week in Arlington. Unofficial Twitter consensus, subsequently canonized by the Morning News, seems to be that it will resemble a cross between Minute Maid Park in Houston and Safeco Field in Seattle. Looks like a ballpark, all right.

J.J. Barea Raising Money for Puerto Rico. The Mavericks guard is from and has family on the island, which is shattered in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Little (Lakewood) Park on the (Blackland) Prairie. Dallas will uproot up to 19 trees at the park to help preserve the blackland prairie ecosystem they’re planted in, to the consternation of some of the well-intentioned neighbors who planted them in the first place.

Get Used to Seeing These Pumpkins. The DMA recently acquired the exceedingly Instagrammable All The Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, one of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s popular Infinity Mirror Rooms. While the exhibit doesn’t open to the public until Oct. 1, museum members and press are currently getting a sneak peek, and your social media feeds should begin filling up with images of the the polka-dotted outer-space pumpkin patch right about now. That will continue until at least Feb. 25, much longer than the 45 seconds guests are allotted to step into the mirror room itself.

Read More


BraBurner Podcast: Brenda Gomez and Tammy Theis on Discovering Sara Grace Wallerstedt

| 1 day ago

Wallflower Management may be smaller than most, but it is no shrinking violet. Founded in 2009 by Tammy Theis, a former fashion reporter and stylist for the Dallas Morning News, and Brenda Gomez, formerly of Neiman Marcus and Page Parks, the modeling agency now counts a Vogue cover model and rising international star, Sara Grace Wallerstedt, among its ranks. After Holland Murphy spent the day with the Bedford teen as she prepared for prom, the details of which are included in her excellent profile in the September issue, we wanted to know more about her discovery. So we sat down with Theis and Gomez on the velour sofas in the back of Shoals Sound & Service and talked about what it was like to spot the freckled phenom from on high, how they convinced her to sign on the dotted line, and how to keep your cool when you find It. Streaming player and show notes for your pleasure:

Read More

Local News

Q&A: Exploring Refugee Resettlement in Dallas With the International Rescue Committee

| 1 day ago

In the past two years, Texas’ cities and its statehouse have been at odds about what to do with refugees seeking safe haven here. The state’s largest municipalities have welcomed them with open arms. Houston has resettled more refugees than anywhere in the world. Dallas’ city and county leaders have made remarkably public statements of support—County Judge Clay Jenkins declaring that Dallas would house 2,000 refugees fleeing violence in Central America if needed, Mayor Mike Rawlings declaring it “the spirit of Dallas” to resettle the Syrian refugees who Gov. Greg Abbott had attempted to bar from entering the state.

The politics eat up the headlines, but there are groups on the ground in Dallas doing the work to help those who have been certified by the United Nations refugee agency. Fewer than 1 percent of the world’s 20 million refugees get the OK, and they must be placed in a city where relatives live or where there exists a community that shares a common language and culture. The International Rescue Committee helps build those communities like Vickery Meadow, which has been referred to in these pages as “Dallas’ own United Nations.” Its members greet refugees at the airport, provide them a furnished place to stay, and help connect them with jobs and basic services like healthcare. Two years ago marked the beginning of the GenR—Generation Rescue—chapter of the IRC here in Dallas, a volunteer organization made up of young professionals who help provide those services to the people being resettled. There are about a dozen chapters across the country.

It’s grown to include close to 100 members, and tonight marks its second annual Force For Change dinner and fundraiser. It’s sponsored by Slow Bone, AirBnb, Samuel Adams, TripAdvisor, and more. I caught up with Michele Villarreal, the head of GenR and the IRC’s development and external relations coordinator. It’s been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Read More


Frisco Pitches Itself to Amazon With Snappy Little Video

| 2 days ago

When asked earlier this month whether Frisco would join the scramble of Collin County cities vying for Amazon’s affections, a spokeswoman for the city said she could neither “confirm or deny any level of involvement in any potential economic development projects.”

A cute new video hosted on the city’s social media pages seems to dispel that mystery. Over highlights of the Cowboys’ flashy new home base and Jamba Juice, Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney works to charm Amazon into building its second headquarters in the North Texas boomtown, where people “live, work, and play by our motto [hands up, all together now]: progress in motion.”

We’re left with a few questions, and a comment:

Read More

Local News

Leading Off (9/21/17)

| 2 days ago

About 100 Harvey Victims Making Dallas Home. The Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund, now up to $1.2 million after a surge of donations, will help cover the cost of everything from bus fares to kitchen supplies so those who lost everything can start a new life here. If you’d like to help replenish the fund, click here.

Jason Lowe Found Guilty of Girlfriend’s Death. The gruesome details and tall tales were shocking, the jury’s decision is not.

John Battaglia Deemed Mentally Well Enough to Die. Battagilia likely faked or exaggerated mental problems to avoid execution (he said “the KKK, child molesters, and homosexual lawyers” were conspiring against him). The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld his sentence. A new execution date will be set for the Deep Ellum resident who shot his young daughters as they were on the phone with their mother in 2001.

Sexual Predator Accidentally Set Free in Tarrant County. Due to a bureaucratic error, the Tarrant County jail mistakenly freed a man recently convicted of sexually assaulting a child. The victim’s mother received messages about his release via a phone app and quickly alerted authorities. He turned himself in to Johnson County and all is well, but good grief let’s not do that again.

Frisco Heritage Kids Take Cute Pics, Go Viral. The group of friends enlisted a mom to take their homecoming pictures inside Ikea and the internet is loving it.

Read More

Politics & Government

Dwaine Caraway Is ‘Pissed’ at Philip Kingston, Threatens to Derail His Mayoral Run

| 2 days ago

Back in May, when Philip Kingston won reelection and Dwaine Caraway returned to the Council, the two appeared on Inside Texas Politics. It was a love fest. If the segment had gone just three minutes longer, I think Kingston would have sat in Caraway’s lap.

Something has happened since then. The first sign of trouble that I saw was on August 9, when Kingston suggested on Facebook that Caraway was the mayor’s puppet. He wrote: “Video of the LGC debate is up! Check out Dwaine Caraway looking to the mayor every time he has to decide whether to amend his motion. Do you think his butt hurts from having a hand up it?” Kingston quickly took down the post, but here’s a screen grab. I talked to Kingston at the time, and he swore it was no big deal. He and Caraway were just fine.

But now comes today, and I do not believe the two councilmen are fine. At today’s briefing, Kingston made a motion to take $65,000 away from the Youth Commission, something Caraway is passionate about. So passionate that he slammed his fist on his desk, said repeatedly that he was “pissed” (as the mayor tried to calm him), and then swore to take every District 14 item off future consent agendas so that he could debate the items and keep money from flowing into Kingston’s district. It was really quite something.

Here’s the video. It starts with Kingston’s motion and then Caraway erupts:

Read More

Video Games

Dallas Gets a Sports Team for Nerds

| 2 days ago

Dallas is getting a new sports franchise, albeit one whose star players look more like the members of a high school AV club than superstar athletes.

Team Envy is a leader in Overwatch, an online multiplayer video game from Blizzard Entertainment. In the game, fast-fingered players control a variety of characters on opposing teams, combatants in a sci-fi world of colorful mayhem and bloodless PG-13 gun violence. How the playing of a video game has escaped the domain of living room tournaments with friends and entered the realm of multimillion-dollar franchise deals remains a bit of a head-scratcher for those stuck on the image of basement-dwelling Dungeons and Dragons types firing up an Atari. But in short: a lot of people play video games, and a lot of people like to watch other people play video games. “Nerdy” is cool, video games are mainstream, down is up, cats and dogs are living together.

That’s how some top-ranked eSports players pull in salaries big enough to make me wish I’d spent even more time in college playing video games, and it’s why Kenneth Hersh and his Hersh Interactive Group bought a significant piece of Team Envy, precipitating the gamers’ upcoming move from Charlotte to Dallas. The team will play in the new Overwatch League, which counts New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft among its investors and recently announced franchises in Houston and Philadelphia.

Why would a Dallas oilman send a rumored $35 million toward a bunch of joystick jockeys? It’s possible that Hersh, a director of the Texas Rangers and longtime George W. Bush satellite who now leads the former president’s center at SMU, is a hardcore gaming enthusiast, someone who spends his free time watching Twitch streams and flexing his fingers to work on his APM. It’s more likely that Hersh has a good nose for investments, and eSports absolutely reeks of money — Goldman Sachs valued the industry at $500 million last year, a number projected to increase over the next few years.

Read More