A Daily Conversation About Dallas

Politics & Government

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

| 4 hours 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

| 6 hours 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

| 10 hours 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

| 11 hours 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

| 12 hours 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

| 13 hours 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)

| 17 hours 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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Local News

Is Former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller Eyeing a Late City Council Run?

| 1 day ago
Former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller.

After months of sniping and outright confrontation with District 13 Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates, Laura Miller may be deciding at the 11th hour to run for Dallas City Council. She has until 5 p.m. Friday to file, so she’s certainly cutting it close. Miller needs just 25 signatures on that petition to get on the ballot. As of Thursday, she had not filed the required campaign treasurer appointment form. However, on Thursday afternoon, the president of the Athena condos in Preston Hollow emailed the message below soliciting signatures:

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Politics & Government

Heavy Hitters Solicit Cash for Mayoral Candidate Eric Johnson

| 1 day ago

Wylie H. Dallas tweeted yesterday a partial picture of a fundraiser mailing in support of State Rep. Eric Johnson, who is running for mayor. It was signed by some big names: Peter Beck, Richard Collins, Doug Deason, Forrest Hoglund, Ray Hunt, Maggie Murchison, Mike Myers, Jeanne Phillips, George Seay III, and Randall Stephenson. (I’m not giving you links for each of those names because I respect you too much to do that.) Here’s the text of the letter, followed by a few thoughts from yours truly:

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Classical Music

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Changes Its Logo (Again)

| 1 day ago

Without making a big deal about it, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra has gone and changed its logo. With the announcement of the new season, they rolled out this baby:

Which replaced this guy:

Which, of course, had replaced this sucker:

This might be me just reacting to someone moving my cheese, but the new wavy “D” logo looks to me like someone opened an aquarium in Dallas. Share your thoughts in the comments. (Engagement!)

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Valentine's Day

What Does My Pregnant Valentine Really Want?

| 2 days ago

As a partner-in-pregnancy, you may be feeling uncertain this Valentine’s Day. So, as a mom who is currently giving the magnificent science experiment of reproduction a second whirl, let me offer some words of wisdom. First, let me dissuade you from gifting your lover any baby gear. Though she may not realize it yet, your partner is slowly losing her own identity and will soon be known, for the most part, as Some Kid’s Mom. She will be reaching for convo topics other than feeding schedules and her Spotify Top Songs list will consist of selections from the Captain Underpants soundtrack and that Kanye poop song. All that to say, give her something for her, not the life-sucking miracle growing within.

Let’s consider the usuals:

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