FrontBurner

A Daily Conversation About Dallas

Media

Who Will Buy Texas Monthly? A Special D Magazine Guesstigation.

| 17 hours ago

News broke this morning that Paul Hobby, with the help of Goldman Sachs, is exploring a sale of Texas Monthly, which he bought three years ago for $25 million. Who is the most likely buyer? An extensive and exhaustive and intensive coffee-fueled bull session this morning at the D Magazine studios has produced the following uninformed, expert prediction: Ray Washburne will buy Texas Monthly.

As was revealed in our 2010 profile of Washburne, he has had an interest in the publishing business since he was about 10 years old. He later launched the short-lived Texas Business and owned a scrappy, award-winning, groundbreaking alternative magapaper called The Met (full disclosure: I worked there at the time). So he’s got the bug. That’s a hard thing to shake.

In recent years, the M Crowd restaurateur and Highland Park Village co-owner has gotten more involved in politics. After Washburne served as vice chair of the 2016 Trump Victory Committee, the president put him in charge of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Politics and publishing can be complementary endeavors.

Then there’s Washburne’s recent $28 million acquisition of the Dallas Morning News’ former downtown headquarters. Known as the Rock of Truth, the old building could use a high-profile, head-turning tenant.

Connect the dots, people. Washburne will buy Texas Monthly and move it to Dallas. None of the hippie Austin liberals who currently edit and design the magazine will want to make the move north. Washburne will staff it up with his own hand-picked, more conservative crew. He’ll use the publication to amplify the already-powerful Texas voices in D.C. The magazine’s slogan — “the national magazine of Texas” — will be changed to “the national magazine from Texas.” He will, in short, make the magazine great again.

If Hobby paid $25 million for the thing, Washburne will get it for $10 million, $2 million of which will be paid in Mi Cocina gift cards.

You heard it here first.

Read More

Local News

Another Weekend in Dallas Marred by Murders

| 17 hours ago

Six days ago, the Dallas Police Department published a blog and a Facebook post with this message: “12 consecutive days without a murder in Dallas.” The following days seemingly treated this as a challenge.

There was a man found dead in his apartment on Lucas Drive, near Oak Lawn, which police are investigating as a homicide. A 26-year-old was gunned down off Scyene Road in Pleasant Grove, apparently the outcome of a shootout. There was the killing of a couple in their Lakewood home. The alleged shooter had come back for his ex. A 17-year-old honked his horn at another driver in Pleasant Grove; the driver answered by shooting into the kid’s truck, killing him. Early Saturday morning, a 28-year-old man was found shot and killed in a Deep Ellum parking lot. Early Sunday morning, another man was shot and killed outside the La Zona Rosa strip club off Stemmons. And last night, a 54-year-old man was found shot and killed in the 1100 block of East Hobson, about five blocks south of Illinois Ave. in southern Dallas.

We’re now above 100 murders on the year; my tally after the weekend puts us at 105. Through May, there had been 48 arrests on 97 murders. Police department higher-ups have been predicting this sort of a spike in crime for years. We’re down 700 officers compared to staffing levels in 2011, despite having added another 100,000 residents in that time. There is a brain drain in the department. Officers are leaving for safer suburban jobs that for years paid beginners more. We’re out from under the pension collapse, but that mess left a stain on the department too.

In 2017, before Chief U. Reneé Hall began, I sat down with Mike Mata and Fred Frazier of the Dallas Police Association. Mata had an interesting point.

“This is one thing that the public doesn’t understand. Before, we were just losing the five to seven year officer. That was bad enough, okay? Or the officer that just came out of the academy and is getting hired to go somewhere else. Now, with this pension problem, now you’re losing your 20-plus. Your 20-plus are your most seasoned veteran investigators. Those are the ones that you want investigating the homicides. When your father, your mother, your sister, or brother are killed, you don’t want a seven-year cop. You want the 25-year cop, who’s got skins on the wall and knows how to do it.”

Read More

News

Somebody Parked a Truck in the Wrong Downtown Spot This Morning

| 20 hours ago

Coworkers stuck on the Zang Bridge this morning are texting to find out what’s going on in downtown. The streets are open now, but they were closed for a time because someone had parked a “suspicious vehicle” near the Earle Cabell Federal Building. When only a week has passed since a gunman shot up the building, folks are going to be cautious. Let’s all take a deep breath (while we keep our heads on a swivel).

Update: The Dallas Police Department says this is now taken care of. They didn’t find any suspicious device, and the streets are reopening.

Read More

Local News

Leading Off (06/24/19)

| 23 hours ago

It Rained Again. It will never stop. It will never start stopping. It will never stop never stopping.

Suspect Arrested in Double Homicide Had Protective Order Against Him. Police say Leo Pintor shot and killed Urania De Jesus and Fredi Mercado at the Coronado Apartments on Grand Avenue. De Jesus was in the process of divorcing Pintor, and had a protective order against him, and why does this happen like this so much?

Man Electrocuted While Trying to Steal Copper From Transformer. I’m honestly surprised this doesn’t happen more. Also, I guess I’m surprised — or maybe I shouldn’t be and I’m just a naive little bear cub — that you could steal copper and then exchange it for money at a business and that business doesn’t get shut down (word to Kenny Powers) on the reg.

Neiman Marcus Tells SEC It’s ‘Going Dark.’ Apparently, the retailer has satisfied enough of its debt obligations that it no longer has to file public reports with the SEC. This is good, yes? Or no? It seems good-ish, or maybe better.

Read More

Housing

USA Today Illuminates the Impact of Reverse Mortgage Foreclosures on Southern Dallas

| 4 days ago

Hundreds of reverse mortgages taken out in southern Dallas over the last decade ended in foreclosure, the result of a nationwide trend in which lenders targeted sales pitches to low-income, predominately black neighborhoods, says a new investigation by USA Today.

The loans are designed to allow seniors to benefit from their home’s equity sooner than they’d otherwise be able. The Department of Housing and Urban Development cracked down on reverse mortgage lending five years ago, but USA Today reveals “a generation or families fell through the cracks and continue to suffer from reverse mortgage loans written a decade ago.”

These elderly homeowners were wooed into borrowing money through the special program by attractive sales pitches or a dire need for cash – or both. When they missed a paperwork deadline or fell behind on taxes or insurance, lenders moved swiftly to foreclose on the home. Those foreclosures wiped out hard-earned generational wealth built in the decades since the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Read More

Architecture & Design

An Unlikely Building is Brought Back to Life in Vickery Place

| 4 days ago

You might not know “Bella Villa” by name, but if you’ve spent any time around the M Streets, you’ll likely recognize the palm tree-flanked building on the corner of Miller and McMillan Avenues. For years, it’s stood out not just for its striking Italianate-style architecture (and, y’know, the palm trees), but its tragically derelict state. Several of the windows were blown out, and anyone hoping to get a peek inside would have been thwarted by a wall of wooden boards. Delicate lettering spelled “Bella Villa” (meaning “Beautiful Villa” in Italian) above the entryway, somewhat ironically. But the building had clearly been something grand, and possibly had the potential to be so once again.

Thankfully, someone noticed. Two someones, actually. In 2017, Landmark Commission members Mike Berrer and Daron Tapscott took to City Hall to make the case for the nearly century-old Bella Villa, once a swanky apartment building for young professionals along the Vickery Place electric streetcar line in the ’20s and ’30s, to be named and protected as an official Dallas landmark. They won their case, convincing the commission that the building has served as a symbol of Vickery Place.

Read More

Local News

Leading Off (6/21/19)

| 4 days ago

Suspect Arrested in Transgender Woman’s Death. Chynal Lindsey’s body was found in White Rock Lake on June 1. There was evidence of “obvious signs of homicidal violence.” This week, 22-year-old Ruben Alvarado was brought in for questioning. He refused to answer questions about Lindsey’s murder and was booked into Lew Sterrett. Beyond that, police haven’t released much information. Lindsey was the second transgender woman killed in the last two months, and the fifth in a little over a year. The alleged killer of Muhlaysia Booker, the 22-year-old who was found shot to death in Old East Dallas, is Kendrell Lavar Lyles. Police said he had her cell phone around the time she was killed. Lyles was a person of interest in Lindsey’s death, but police now believe he was not responsible.

And There Were Even More Murders. Rebecca Lopez, WFAA’s ace crime reporter, says there were two people found murdered in a Far East Dallas apartment this morning. Two days ago, a 17-year-old was shot and killed in Pleasant Grove after he honked at another driver. That driver opened fire. It was the first murder in 12 days. That streak would not continue. We are now above 100 murders on the year.

The Weather Will Still Suck Today. The nice weather we had after those storms two weeks ago is long gone. Temperatures will be in the high 90s today, but they’ll feel like, oh 105 or so. That will continue through the weekend, until possible storms bring the temperatures down on Sunday.

FBI Got a Tip About Federal Courthouse Shooter in 2016. The tipster said that Brian Clyde was suicidal and obsessed with guns. But because the call didn’t include information about a specific threat, the FBI never investigated or forwarded it along.

Read More

Media

D Magazine Is Hiring a Data Entry Specialist

| 5 days ago

Do you thrive on data accuracy and keeping meticulous records? Do you dream in process improvement and exceeding expectations? Do you have a passion for helping others and solving problems? Then we have a job for you!

As D Magazine’s Data Entry Specialist, you will work with our editorial, audience development, and sales teams to help coordinate, update, and manage our online directories and HubSpot records for our Medical Directory and professional Best programs (Best Dentists, Best Lawyers, Best Doctors and Pediatric Specialists, and more). As a vital member of our team, you will be tasked with receiving, sorting, and uploading or exporting records from multiple platforms across multiple departments.

You’ll know you’re the right person for this job if you are:

  • Extremely organized and detail-oriented, to an almost (or actual) obsessive extent
  • Able to multitask and juggle multiple programs and deadlines
  • Able to work both independently and with multiple departments
  • Able to learn quickly and willing to learn new systems
  • Good with people, even when they occasionally get fussy
  • So proficient in Excel that you’re the Excel go-to person for all the other Excel people
  • Experienced with HubSpot (or a similar customer relationship management system)
  • Experienced with WordPress (or a similar content management platform)

The icing on top:

  • Company benefits include medical, dental insurance, disability, retirement savings, holidays, and personal days.

Can’t wait to get started? Email a cover letter and your résumé to: [email protected]

Read More

Housing

HUD Recommends the City of Dallas Pay Back up to $6.6 Million in Misused Housing Funds

| 5 days ago

When it came to doling out federal dollars for an affordable housing program known colloquially as CHODOs, the feds say the city of Dallas skipped key steps and is asking to return more than $6 million. According to an audit by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city didn’t follow the program’s environmental requirements and failed to keep proper environmental records. The audit says the city didn’t do its due diligence in ensuring that affordable units were being built in a timely manner. It also says the city simply did not properly administer the program. The OIG says Dallas misspent more than $6.6 million and it wants it back.

The OIG recommends the Fort Worth Office of Community Planning and Development—the HUD office that administers the program in DFW—orders Dallas repay $2.4 million. That’s the sum of projects the city approved without undergoing an environmental review or receiving proper HUD approval.

But the damage doesn’t stop there. HUD wants the city on the hook to “support or repay” the additional $4.4 million. Those numbers could change as the city responds (protocol dictates that the Fort Worth office will soon issue it a timeframe for turning around that response). In some cases, reductions to the fines can occur when the city agrees to corrective action.

Read More

Politics & Government

Lynn McBee Becomes Co-Chair of Coalition for a New Dallas

| 5 days ago

Here’s how these things happen, just so you know. The Coalition for a New Dallas, the super PAC co-founded by Wick Allison, chairman of D Magazine Partners, makes a big move. Does Wick walk down the hall and give me the heads-up, let me know what’s going on in the city we cover, perhaps tell me I should schedule a post for a certain time and date? No. I get the same press release everyone else receives. Today I got one saying that Lynn McBee, the former mayoral candidate, is now the co-chair (alongside Wick) of CND. I’ll give you some of the press release. Then I’ll share some thoughts about McBee. I’ll wrap up with some advice for her.

Read More