A Daily Conversation About Dallas

Local News

Leading Off (2/19/19)

| 53 mins ago

Phillip Jones and VisitDallas Face Day of Reckoning. He and his crew will appear today before the Council’s Government Performance and Financial Management Committee, which is chaired by Jennifer Gates, who is also the vice chair of the VisitDallas board. They’ll be talking about all this stuff. Get your popcorn ready.

Tony Romo Will Play in the Byron Nelson. He got himself a sponsor’s exemption to play in the tournament, which runs May 9-12. This development also might call for some popcorn.

The Grape Kills Brunch. This weekend will be the last brunch at the venerable 50-year-old restaurant. No need for popcorn.

Uptown Thieves Snatch Electronics out of People’s Hands. Keep your head on a swivel, people. Bad guys are doing bad stuff

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EarBurner’s 100th Podcast: Mark Cuban at the Old Monk

| 17 hours ago

Tim and Zac spent, oh, I don’t know, two days tossing around ideas about a guest for the podcast’s 100th episode. Tim fired off an email to Mark Cuban early on. They went back and forth. We thought about asking Wick on, but Pastor George Mason beat us to it. And then Mark emailed back, agreeing to sit down before the All Star break. We were hoping he’d agree to allow us to fly to Charlotte on his jet with Dirk and Luka for the All Star Game; it is 100, after all. Instead we settled on the Old Monk. Then last week, in he walked—no security, no assistants, no Dirk, just Mark Cuban in jeans and sneakers and a long-sleeved shirt. He drank club soda with lime. Tim had six beers.

I’ll spare you the traditional biographical details. You know who Mark Cuban is. He bought the Mavericks in 2000 after selling to Yahoo. He’s a star on Shark Tank. (We didn’t talk about the show at all, but we have written about it.) And we thank him for sitting down with the Best Little Podcast in Dallas, which has somehow recorded 100 episodes. You can listen to them all right here. And yes, this gets settled. You’ll just have to listen.

Show notes after the jump.

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Local News

Leading Off (02/18/19)

| 1 day ago

The Body of Alfonso Rodriguez Found at White Rock Lake. The 28-year-old disappeared from Grand Prairie on February 5, along with his estranged girlfriend, Weltzin Mireles. A dive team and Grand Prairie police are still searching for Mireles, 26, who had obtained a protective order against Rodriguez about a week prior. They had a 3-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter.

Luka Doncic Has Delightful All-Star Weekend. I don’t know what Dallas did to deserve possibly getting two decades of this basketball angel. We have basically gone from Dirk Nowitzki, the most likable European player ever, to the guy who looks like he will challenge Dirk, the most likable European player ever, for the title of most likable European player ever. It’s amazing that we have been blessed with my Slovenian son, and very convenient for me, his father. Wait …

Could Dirk Come Back for a 22nd Season? According to his press conference, maybe!

Are You Running for Dallas Mayor? Better check this to make sure. As for me, I am not running but I did reconsider that stance for a few minutes last week, with the short-lived idea being that I would get the signatures (honestly, that wouldn’t have been a sure thing for me, given what happened last time) and file the paperwork and then do pretty much nothing else at all after that. No mayoral forums or debates, no yard signs, maybe a website if I could get my domain back from the guy in Brazil. I wouldn’t even really tweet about it. But then I thought better of it. Guys, I’m growing up. Maybe I’m grown up?

Here is a Full Recap of the Brittany Dawn Saga. I had never heard of the local fitness influencer until maybe three days ago and I will probably forget in three days, but right now I — and I think at least a few people — are right in the sweet spot of being interested in her story. If anyone wants an accountability coach or daily workout motivation or whatever, I’ll send you an email every day for free. Just hit me up at [email protected] and we will get started.

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Politics & Government

Laura Miller Explains Why She Decided to Run for Dallas City Council

| 3 days ago

This morning, Laura Miller’s voicemail box was full. No surprise. After D Magazine broke the news last night that the former Dallas mayor was running to unseat District 13’s representative, Jennifer Gates, more than a few people were calling to get comment.

Miller hasn’t spoken to any media until now, here, in this post. Unless that’s not true, which it might not be. It’s Friday night. I just finished coaching seventh-grade basketball. I have no patience for googling around to back up my claim.

Anyway, in a super exclusive scoop that you’ll find only on FrontBurner, Miller deeply confided that her decision to run against Gates is nothing personal. “I do not hate Jennifer Gates,” she said when I asked if she hated Jennifer Gates. “I like her.” Though she did say: “I’ve spent thousands of hours trying to figure out why our council member does what she does, and no one can figure it out.”

Part of Miller’s motivation is certainly the direction of Preston Center, she said. But she’s focused on smart development all across the district. She has worked with her campaign treasurer Doug Deason, she said, for three years on the St. Michael’s zoning case.

Miller said she didn’t broach the subject of running for Council to her kids — ages 28, 26, 23 — until last weekend. Her daughters (the two eldest) laughed. Miller said she didn’t decide to make the move until yesterday at noon, when she was at her hair salon.

I asked Miller how, if she is elected, she would get along with certain members of Council, like, oh, say, Philip Kingston. “I am a very mellow 60-year-old,” she said. “I have a narrow focus. It is on neighborhoods.”

People in neighborhoods, get your popcorn ready.

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Politics & Government

Introducing the 2019 Dallas Mayoral Candidates

| 4 days ago

Today was the deadline to file to run for office in the May municipal elections. We’ll have a 12-headed mayoral race, almost certainly leading to a runoff between the top two vote getters. Election Day is May 4. You should register. You should vote. Here are the candidates, listed in order of the date they filed to run.

(Note: We rounded these up throughout the day on Friday, and in the wee hours before the 5 p.m. deadline, two more names popped up: Miguel Patino and Heriberto Ortiz. We’ll look into these two. In the meantime, here’s Ortiz’s campaign Facebook page.)

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Local Brewers React to News They Might Soon Be Able to Sell Beer To-Go

| 4 days ago

This week, people who like beer got good news. A long-running disagreement that had held up Texans’ ability to buy beer straight from the source has ended. The headline of the truce is that both sides—distributors and the breweries themselves—are OK with customers walking out of tap rooms with as much as 576 ounces to go. That is 48 beers. That is two cases. That is a solid amount of hooch.

The truce doesn’t mean much yet, though. Not, at least, until our legislators heed the call of the people to pass it into law. As currently crafted, proposed legislation would allow brewers that make fewer than 225,000 barrels a year to sell it to-go. That was the same level put into place in 2013, allowing beer makers that fell under it to open taprooms. (According to this list from the Dallas Business Journal, none of our local breweries were close to the 225,000-barrel level in 2017. The highest during that year was Deep Ellum Brewing, with about 44,000 barrels.)

Under the agreement, sales of beer bought from taprooms—whether it’s consumed there or taken with you—is not to exceed 5,000 barrels. Both sides agreed to wait at least a dozen years to lobby the legislature to change that number one way or the other. Finally, breweries would report their to-go sales to the state each month.

I rapid-fired some emails out to DFW brewers for feedback on the truce and pending legislation. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

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Politics & Government

Update—Laura Miller: Indeed, Back to the Future on Dallas City Council

| 4 days ago

Update at 3 p.m.: She’s running. Dave Tarrant of The Dallas Morning News spotted her at City Hall filing to run. She had until 5 p.m. to do so. Here is her treasurer appointment form. The billionaire and noted Republican donor Doug Deason is her treasurer. His father, Darwin, lives behind the proposed development at St. Michael & All Angels Church, which is opposed by Miller. Buckle up.

Original: In 1997, Laura Miller announced her run for City Council on the cover the Dallas Observer. And so:

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Luka Doncic, Zac Crain’s Eldest Son, Is Good at Basketball, Pt. 343,421

| 4 days ago

Tim just DM’d me the above tweet and demanded I put it on FrontBurner. So here we are. This is coming two days after Dwyane Wade proclaimed that Zac Crain’s Slovenian Son was “LeBron James-like” in his passing and court vision. And now he’s in Charlotte for the All Star Game, shooting jumpers from half-court. I like two things especially about this video—that he shoots this like he’s on top of the three-point line, not heaving his whole body forward, and then how excited he gets to win a crisp hundred. That’s probably about equal to me winning one American dollar in a dice game. I promise to get as hyped as Luka from this point forward.

And while we’re on this subject, I also really enjoy this Luka video.

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Politics & Government

The 86th Texas Legislature Is Underway. Here’s What Your Elected Officials Are Prioritizing

| 4 days ago

Now that the 86th Texas Legislature is in full swing, our Texas representatives and senators are working on turning their priorities for the session into reality. And at least when it comes to areas of focus, it seems a lot of them are on the same page. In our conversations with Dallas-area state reps, it became clear that infrastructure and criminal justice reform are top of mind.

But, without question, public school budget reform is receiving the most attention. And Dallas could have a large influence over how that plays out, considering the success of innovative reforms within Dallas ISD.

Many reps discussed a need to alleviate school districts’ growing local property tax burden by allocating more state funds, while another groundswell is pointed toward ensuring there are enough counselors to adequately address student mental health. Our elected officials say Texas’ public school system needs to improve.

And the governor has a like mind. Gov. Greg Abbott’s third State of the State address pushed an agenda aimed at “targeted” improvement of schools. He also pointed out the issue has a unified front. “Rarely has Texas witnessed such bipartisan, bicameral support for an issue this substantial this early in a session,” Abbott said during his speech.

Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas, echoes the governor’s optimistic outlook.

“It is fantastic to see that public education and our schoolchildren are going to be our top priority,” says Meyer.

In the Governor’s Budget for 2020-2021, Abbott emphasizes the critical impact that these reforms could have on Texas children.

“Comprehensive school finance and property tax reform are needed this session to ensure Texas’ continued cultural and economic vibrancy,” the report reads. “Without both, 20 years from now, today’s pre-kindergarteners will not be able to afford to live in this state they call home because they will not be college- or career-ready, and because property taxes will put homeownership out of reach. The time is ripe for reform.”

To get a sense of our region’s priorities this session, which runs through May 27, we talked to representatives and senators who have a portion of their district touching the city of Dallas. Education is a common thread, but each official is bringing to the table issues unique to their district, reflecting the wide variety of concerns that are prepped to be addressed this legislative session.

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Local News

Leading Off (2/15/19)

| 4 days ago

An El Niño Has Formed in the Pacific. These come every two to seven years, and they often mean a wetter spring. But this one’s fairly weak, which could impact how much rain we get. That means nothing for today, which should be beautiful and in the 60s.

Councilman Kevin Felder Denies Hit and Run. We’ll have more on this today once Felder’s attorney, Pete Schulte, returns our phone calls from yesterday. But his client says a person riding a scooter was zig-zagging in the road near his office in South Dallas, and the two got into a bit of a kerfuffle. The damage was already on his car, they allege.

Another Big Verdict Over Seatbelts. You may recall Shawn Shinneman’s feature from earlier this year about a $242 million verdict, related to the seats of a Lexus. Now it’s Honda’s turn to fork over $37 million, after a woman who was riding in the third row’s middle seat with her belt on was hurt when her driver ran a red light and was struck by a pickup truck. Her attorneys alleged that her injuries—she’s now a quadriplegic—were worse because of the poor seatbelt design. A jury agreed.

Ex-Wife of Man In Richardson Mayor Sex, Bribery Scandal Testifies. This is the one the News called “steamy” earlier this week, in case you forgot. The man was a developer. The mayor who he was sleeping with had the power to OK his apartment projects, which she had publicly opposed. The FBI says this amounts to bribery, to paying for votes. In the end, the developer received $45 million in incentives and gave the mayor—his mistress—a job she wasn’t qualified for. Yesterday, his ex-wife testified about the texts she found that pointed to the affair, among other things. 

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