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Business

Dallas Execs Blame Each Other for U.S. Hispanic Chamber Controversy

| 2 days ago

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has named an interim president and CEO after Javier Palomarez of Dallas exited the top post on Feb. 13. But it’s unclear whether the battle between Palomarez and chamber chairman emeritus Nina Vaca of Dallas will be settled anytime soon.

Palomarez, who served as the national organization’s president and CEO for nearly 11 years, was accused of financial impropriety and sexual harassment by members of the chamber late last year. According to a petition filed in Dallas County district court, Palomarez was “terminated … following a board presentation by Vaca.” The petition says Vaca alleged “overcompensation” by Palomarez of as much as $1.5 million. Since then, the chamber’s outside counsel said an investigation had determined that “the salary paid was appropriate, and that the board [would not take any] further action against Mr. Palomarez.” The chamber has yet to respond to a request for comment on the sexual harassment allegations.

Palomarez, however, denies any wrongdoing during his time at the chamber, saying that the allegations stem from an affair gone sour with Vaca, the CEO of Dallas’s Pinnacle Group, who found the alleged financial impropriety as she was reviewing Palomarez’s contract for renewal.

“About two years ago, I broke off the relationship,” Palomarez told D CEO magazine, claiming the “intimate relationship” began in 2010. “I said … ‘I love you dearly and have all the respect for you in the world, but I’m not marrying you and I’m not going to leave my wife.’ [Nina] wouldn’t have it … One argument led to another to another to another.”

Vaca’s lawyer vigorously denies Palomarez’s claim. “Mr. Palomarez has mischaracterized their friendship in a way designed to deflect attention and get retribution against Nina for raising the original financial concerns,” Charla Aldous of Aldous\Walker LLP said. “It’s been reported that the chamber ultimately acted to remove Mr. Palomarez from his role, so they at least saw past the deflection and attempted bullying.”

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Politics & Government

Here Is Where Your Dallas Politicians Stand on the NRA

| 3 days ago

On Thursday, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said he was writing a letter to Texas’ two U.S. senators and Dallas-area representatives to the U.S. House, urging them to take action against the epidemic of mass shootings. Rawlings was careful to cast it as a nonpartisan issue, citing both “mental health,” a common Republican talking point in the wake of gun massacres, and “gun control,” Democrats’ preferred option, as potential causes of the violence.

Any action that Congress does take will, of course, be a political issue. Even if, as the mayor suggests, they assemble a nonpartisan commission to address gun violence. These are politicians. And as politicians, they are dependent on campaign donations.

The website Open Secrets has a handy spreadsheet tracking donations the National Rifle Association has made to support various Congress members over the course of their respective political careers. It counts both spending on the candidate and against that candidate’s opponents in a given campaign to come up with a grand total of NRA funding supporting each elected official. Senator John Cornyn, for example, has received more than $59,000 in NRA money. Ted Cruz, $77,000.

Here are the NRA contributions sent to Dallas’ national representatives, the leaders that Rawlings is asking to address gun violence. Unsurprisingly, they break down along partisan lines — Neither of North Texas’ Democratic U.S. House reps, Eddie Bernice Johnson and Marc Veasey, have accepted money from the NRA.

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Urbanism

Dallas: The City That Hates Pedestrians, Pt. 2

| 3 days ago

This is near the intersection of Harwood and Ross downtown, where the Trammel Crow Center is renovating and, across the street, building a hotel, apartments, and assorted amenities. Workers were kind enough to build a scaffolding-and-plywood passage over the sidewalk, something lacking in last week’s edition of “Dallas: The City That Hates Pedestrians.” Puzzlingly, there is a “sidewalk closed” sign, as well as red caution tape suggesting that pedestrians should not make use of said tunnel. Progress?

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Local News

Dale Hansen Talks About School Shootings

| 3 days ago

Channel 8 sports broadcaster Dale Hansen, a recurring viral sensation for his forceful and surprising takes on social topics, delivered from a perspective that could perhaps best be described as “woke old white guy,” addressed school shootings Thursday night.

A quote, and the clip itself, below.

If it was a Muslim or a Mexican doing the shootings how much money would we spend then to stop the madness? But since it’s almost always a white kid, there’s just nothing we can do. America has 5 percent of the world’s population and yet 31 percent of the world’s mass shootings. We’re worried about people coming to this country. They should be worried about us coming to theirs.

For further reading, a 1997 D Magazine story in which Hansen describes how he got fired from the Cowboys.

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Local News

Leading Off (2/16/18)

| 3 days ago

Two Area High School Students Arrested for Bringing Guns to School. A student each at Flower Mound’s Marcus High and Plano West, respectively, were arrested for allegedly having handguns on campus a day after a deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school. Neither student used the weapons.

Climate Change Is Bad News For North Texas. It’s bad news for almost everywhere else, too. But here in Dallas we can expect “longer droughts, heavy rains, and 120-degree temps within 25 years,” plus increases in heat-related deaths, high economic costs, and a less predictable tornado season.

Hope You Enjoyed Thursday’s Balmy Weather. Because a cold front blows through today. What global warming, right? Haha! Thanks Delkus! Have a nice weekend, everybody!

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Dining

PL8: The Worst Name for a Restaurant in the History of Food

| 4 days ago

A co-working FrontBurnervian sent me a press release about a new restaurant that is set to open next month. After careful consideration and data-driven analysis, I have determined that this restaurant, when open at the corner of Routh and McKinney, will have the worst name in Dallas. Yes, it is PL8. Say it out loud! Get it? Actually, the full name is PL8 Bistro & Gallery. According to the press release, PL8 will be a “restaurant-forward concept,” which seems like a wiser choice for a restaurant than a “meat rendering plant-forward concept” or a “sanitarium-forward concept,” so I’ll give them that at least. But if you’ll allow me a few more thoughts:

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Politics & Government

Mayor Mike Rawlings Calls on National Leaders To Act To Stop Gun Violence

| 4 days ago

A day after a mass shooting at a Florida high school became the latest in a distressingly long line of American gun massacres, Mayor Mike Rawlings called for Congressional leaders to form a commission to investigate what’s behind the country’s gun violence epidemic.

Rawlings, speaking to Channel 4, said the latest incident had hit particularly close to home: a close friend of his has a son who attended the school in Parkland, Fla. He said he would write a letter to Texas’ two Republican senators, and to Dallas’ representatives in the U.S. House, urging them to assemble the nation’s “best and brightest” to come up with solutions. Rawlings avoided making any prescriptions of his own.

“Let’s stop fighting over tactics when we don’t understand the root cause,” he said. “There’s mental health, there’s gun control, there’s social media, there’s public safety in schools.”

Rawlings condemned the rhetoric that’s become familiar to many in the wake of mass shootings, and said both Democratic and Republican elected officials have failed to take action. In November, Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives blocked a Democratic bill that would have established a select committee on gun violence similar to what Rawlings is proposing.

“I’m so frustrated with the leadership of this country,” he said. “It’s like every time this happens they’re deer in the headlights, and all they can say is ‘our thoughts and prayers are with people, and this is pure evil.’ I really believe that God wants us to act, and not just talk.”

Rawlings did support one other course of action.

“America needs to be outraged by this. Kids are dying…Don’t elect people that won’t do anything about it.”

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Police

Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall Can Now Wear a Uniform

| 4 days ago

The Dallas Police Department says this morning that Police Chief Renee Hall passed her state law enforcement exam. That study break paid off.

Now that the former Detroit PD officer is certified in Texas, she can wear a uniform, and everybody can chill out about it. Congrats, Chief.

Here’s the new look:

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Animals

Getting to Know My Brother’s Fursona at Texas Furry Fiesta

| 4 days ago

My brother came out to me as a furry about a year ago. Actually, he came out to my sister. He was talking to her on the phone and telling her about a big summer picnic he was going to with friends in Kentucky. “We’ve got all kinds of fun activities planned,” he said. “But it is going to be so dang hot in my fur…” He let the word trail off into a long pause. “In your what?” my sister prompted, knowing that he sometimes stumbles for words. “In my fursuit,” my brother said with an apprehensive sigh. The jig was up.

My sister immediately called me. “Did you know our brother is a furry?” she asked. “His name is Jaru. He’s a dingo.” It was like she was speaking a foreign language. I didn’t really know what to make of any of it until, a few months later, she sent me a photo of Jaru with her two kids. As they wrapped their tiny arms around the giant, floppy-eared Australian canine, the joy on their faces was undeniable. And although I couldn’t see my brother’s face behind the snout, it was clear from his body language that he, too, had never been happier.

I met Jaru for the first time this week. He came to Dallas for Texas Furry Fiesta, one of the largest furry conventions in the world (according to WikiFur, it ranks fifth). He invited me to tag along, so I spent Saturday afternoon at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. This year’s theme was Lone Star Wonderland, and more than 4,000 people attended. Catherine Downes joined me and took some wonderful photos, including this portrait of Jaru with a new friend. I learned a lot. Here are some of the highlights.

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