My Response to Jim Schutze’s Post on May 10th

May 11, 2010

While the response below was included in the following blog posts (post one, post two),  in a issue so serious I felt the need to respond in a separate post. The answer to a question that he poses to me personally is also included.


Notice that even in Jim Schutze’s response dated Monday, May 10th he still hasn’t read the minutes that mentioned people opposed or the fact Oak Cliff Metals has illegally using land for years, nor why he bemoans the supposed fiefdoms of 14-1 except for this issue.  


It’s much more convenient when Schutze tries to make it a conspiracy headed by the Dallas Morning News.  The attempt to cloud the real issues with childish name calling is something I would expect from a high-school newspaper.  And if the best he can do is refer to me as a “little hench guy,” then I’ll just keep responding with facts.  For a so-called investigative reporter to use such a tone in such a serious issue makes him seem irrational and ridiculous.  It’s par for the course; the bully can’t take a punch back.  He’s done it before, and will again. 


Schutze only got involved after he thought he had a scoop on Mayor Pro Tem Caraway and figured he could use it to further his vendetta. As I mentioned before, no one at the Observer wrote about the issue on that day or in the days after, despite it being a contentious and contested vote at the City Plan Commission.



To claim that a council member can’t meet with a business owner “outside of the process” is one of the most ignorant comments I have heard about the zoning process.  So businesses should just apply for zoning and never meet with council members?  Such a process doesn’t happen in his district or others. Ask your councilperson if they’ve ever met with a business owner before the case got voted on.  In fact, Schutze should ask his own councilperson that question.  And in cases where a business lies near multiple district boundaries (Caraway’s council district is three streets down), the business will take the time to meet with all of them.  It’s perfectly acceptable and passes any ethics sniff test. Caraway was with the council member from that district at the time he was in front of Oak Cliff Metals, which was written by Schutze himself in his own article. 


What also is blatantly clear is that for someone that writes a political column as if he is a zoning expert, Jim Schutze has little actual knowledge of actual city zoning rules.  Regardless of what citations Oak Cliff Metals does or doesn’t have, the fact remains that they are operating illegally and are too close to residential zoning to get a Specific Use Permit.  This map proves it. The pictures show it. The City’s zoning rules do not allow it. Period. End of story.  I guess this means he’ll finally attend one of the hearings involving this case, since he hasn’t been at any to date.  

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Stop the Violence Press Conference

May 5, 2010

Please join me, Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, Rickey Smiley, Tom Joyner, District Attorney Craig Watkins, and local religious and community leaders today for a Stop the Violence press conference.  We are trying to shed light on a continuing problem in Dallas, and an announcement will be made towards that goal.

Date: TODAY
Time: 2pm
Location: Dallas City Hall, 6th Floor Flag Room

We hope to see you there.

Oak Cliff Metals: More Ignored Facts

May 2, 2010

Tod Robberson on the Dallas Morning News checks in twice regarding the Oak Cliff Metals situation.

As he accurately reports:

They are seeking a re-zoning of part of their property, which they have been using without permission for industrial purposes even though it is currently zoned for retail use only.

 My hope would be that reporters like Schutze would more accurately reflect the situation instead of massaging stories and half-reporting for their own benefit.  But it hasn’t happened in two years, so I won’t hold my breath.  We will, however, continue to refute the lies that are reported by that paper.

A Good Cause for the Next Generation

April 29, 2010

Some of my friends work with the Marcus Graham Project. My friends in MGP are very dedicated to mentoring the next generation of media professionals. My friends get involved, and there is a whole crew of us moving in this great city.

Their next event is on Saturday, May 1st. They need support to mentor the younger people they’re taking on. Read below, and support where you can.

(after the video, their full press release is here)

Our mission is to identify, expose, mentor and train ethnically diverse men between the ages of 16 and 34 in all aspects of the media industry, including advertising, entertainment and marketing.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a Supply Drive + Fundraiser for The Marcus Graham Projects (MGP) Summer Bootcamp, iCR8.

Saturday May 1, 2010
The Tastemakers Suite

1409 S. Lamar #111
Dallas, TX 75215

9am to 6pm

We are collecting the following items for our summer bootcamp:

CREATE * Three (3) Laptops (New, Gently Used or Refurbished) * Notebooks/ Sketchpads/Pens * HD Video Camera/ Digital SLR Camera (Canon 5D preferred) * Software (Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Pro)

LIVE * Eight (8) Travel Scholarships ($250 Each 5 Roundtrip flights, 3 gift cards for Gas) * Gift Cards for Meals (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner) for 12 * Gift Cards to Wal-Mart or Target for Toiletry Items for 9 * Beds, Cots, Futons, Air Mattresses for 9 * Bedding (Sheets, Comfortable) for 9 * Bottled Water, Fans (Items to help with the TX Heat) * Dressers or Storage Containers * Bath Towels for 9 * 12 DART (Public Transportation) Monthly Passes * Kitchen Supplies (dishes, cooking utensils, pots/pans) * Sofas/Futons/Chairs (3)

*many of these items can be found at Wal-Mart & Target, however we will accept used items

THINK * Books (including: Emotional Branding, How Brands Gain the Irrational Edge by Darryl Travis; Truth, Lies & Advertising by Jon Steel; Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Advertising by Luke Sullivan (Third Edition); or other books that could benefit their learning * Informative marketing case studies, presentations, decks * DVDs/Links to relevant documentaries, speeches or presentations

Schedule of Events in the Gifting Lounge
9AM 11:00AM SOUL
Join us in for a fellowship breakfast as we prayer for our next generation of leaders, as well as the success of programs build to develop youth and young adults. This event will focus on fellowship and collective prayer led By Larry L . Yarrell, Sedderick Raphiel, & JD Garza. Breakfast will be served pot luck style at 10AM. Please bring muffins, juice, fruit, yogurt or other items. We will host a special edition of our On Line Radio show, where we will be joined by several of the young leaders that we have selected for The Marcus Graham Project boot camp and join with them in prayer & fellowship for their successful arrival to Dallas. Music to get your soul right provided by DJ Frances Jaye

12PM 3PM – BODY
Rejuvenate your body and unwind to simply good music provided by DJ M*Knight and massage provided by Massage4U. RSVP for your massage by emailing your First & Last Name, as well as info@marcusgrahamproject.org

4PM- 6PM – MIND
Enjoy a stimulating conversation and cocktail, as DJ Jay Clipp spins some true school tunes. The topic of conversation is progress, and we invite each of you to share on camera, how you are making progress in the world and how young people can continue to strive forward and accomplish their dreams.

Congrats to New Dallas Police Chief David Brown

April 28, 2010

I am so proud of Chief Brown as he has been named Dallas’ Chief of Police. He really cares about neighborhoods and getting rid of crime. I have always looked up to him and admired his courage. He does not play. Congrats and much love to the new Chief!

In addition to being a graduate of product of South Oak Cliff High School, he also has an MBA. He worked his way through the police ranks in Dallas.

Chief Brown also requested his new First Assistant Chief Charlie Cato get the chance to work in City Hall, as Chief Brown did as an Assistant City Manager. Chief Brown is already mentoring and setting up the future; THAT’S a leader!

I wish Chief Brown the best as he becomes Dallas’ top cop. The appointment is well deserved.

Full Press Conference Video from CBS 11

Oak Cliff Metals: Half the Facts, and it never Mattered Anyway

April 28, 2010

(UPDATE: more on this situation in this newer post. Notice that even in Schutze’s response dated Monday, May 10th he still hasn’t read the minutes that mentioned people opposed or the fact Oak Cliff Metals has illegally using land for years, nor why he bemoans the supposed fiefdoms of 14-1 except for this issue.  It’s much more convenient when he tries to make it a conspiracy headed by the Dallas Morning News. And if the best he can do is refer to me as a “little hench guy,” then I’ll just keep responding with facts. Regardless of what citations they do or don’t have, the fact remains that they are operating illegally and are too close to residential zoning to get a Specific Use Permit. This map proves it. The pictures show it. Period. End of story.  I guess this means he’ll finally attend one of the hearings involving this case, since he hasn’t been at any to date.)

So Jim Schutze writes another article with a negative slant about what’s going on in Oak Cliff (He calls the area South Dallas, which it’s not. It’s Oak Cliff, which is inside Southern Dallas. But I digress).  So what else is new? They had a bunch of lead-up blog posts over the last month acting like they had a bombshell on their hands.  Not so much. Maybe he’s auditioning to be in a movie version of the book to the right. Who knows.

For whatever reason, Jim Schutze has had an agenda regarding Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway for the last two years or so.  I have talked about it from time to time this blog.  He claims to be even-handed, but the truth is the last decent story he wrote involving the Caraways was in March of 2006.  I only bring up this fact because he did.  Moving on.

A lot of things are left out of this week’s article in his paper, most of which is either by convenience, lack of investigation or both.

The truth is that Oak Cliff Metals is three blocks from the boundaries of District Four along Cedar Crest.  District Four residents are the ones that drive by these properties every day.

While Schutze was busy interviewing the security guard for Oak Cliff Metals, did he cross the street and ask the owner of the barber shop about Oak Cliff Metals?  No.  Did he interview the pastor of the church directly across the street? No. They would’ve told you about Oak Cliff Metals being a bad neighbor for as long as they can remember.In fact, they were at the City Plan Commission hearing.

While he claims this is Dwaine’s one-man crusade against the “fantastic” business that is Oak Cliff Metals, did he look at the minutes of the City Plan Commission during which multiple residents and business owners said that they were against the zoning application? No. Did he even attend the meeting that day? No.  Did anyone at the Observer write about the issue on that day, despite it being a contentious and contested vote at the City Plan Commission? No.

Did he writer ever have a problem with council members in North of East Dallas rezoning entire areas or streets? No.

Did he miss the entire process undertaken by the City Council more than two years ago against metal theft and metal salvage yards, on which Dwaine was the lead?  How many times was Oak Cliff Metals mentioned during that process as one of the most egregious of violators? Countless.

Even the owners of Gold Metals on South Lamar are willing to talk to the press about their business. Why does Oak Cliff Metals continue to hide?

Here are some facts about zoning in Dallas: A metal salvage facility must have a Specific Use Permit to operate (zoning rules), and even at that point can only have such a permit on land zoned Industrial Manufacturing.  Such a business cannot exist 500 feet from residentially-zoned land.  Oak Cliff Metals is less than 500 feet from such property. By that definition alone, the permit should not be granted.

Did Schutze mention anything about the fact that Oak Cliff Metals skirted the law by getting a CO for outside storage instead of their true use which is metal salvage? Did he mention that they currently do not have the Specific Use Permit needed to legally operate? Nope.

As mentioned by the Dallas Morning News two weeks ago:

City code enforcers warned Falcon Transit’s owner about several potential infractions last year. “Violation confirmed” and “illegal land use” appear on one Sept. 27 code-enforcement report. A separate notice of violation, addressed to Mr. Smith, lists an invalid certificate of operation.

Did Schutze mention that in addition to their application for a Specific Use Permit, Oak Cliff Metals wants to take land zoned Community Retail along Cedar Crest and zone it Industrial Manufacturing? No.  Then his story would be that much more meaningless.  All facts conveniently left out of his article.

I openly wonder how Schutze writes articles bemoaning “ward politics,” and then write an article about a councilman that has the supposed nerve of speaking out against a problem business that is blocks from his council district.  So which one is it?  Are you for or against so-called ward politics? You can’t have it both ways.

Schutze mentions that he doesn’t live on land zoned for industrial uses.  Of course he doesn’t; he lives in East Dallas where no such zoning exists on main corridors. Let’s see how his neighbors feel if someone wants to take some of their best land on Live Oak or Gaston near his house that’s zoned retail and make it industrial.

Why most of land that is zoned industrial is south of I-30 and not in his high-income neighborhood is a discussion for another day.

As I have mentioned before, they resent the fact that we are as educated about the process of improving our neighborhoods as any other area, and that we address problems. Oak Cliff Metals, Texas-by-Products, and others are on a long list of bad actors.  Clean up takes time.

They use their paper for undercover political motives as well.  I can’t respect writers like Schutze because they have no goal; it’s all about burning people with no real positive goal to bolster their efforts, while hiding behind the cloak of “good reporting.”

Keep writing, keep lying, and keep hating. We’ll keep cleaning up our neighborhoods.

Central Market: Service from a Bygone Era

April 19, 2010

As my friends know, I love to cook and I love to eat.  Like many self-proclaimed foodies, I shop at Central Market on Lovers Lane.  On Sunday I bought a package of ground beef at CM that didn’t seem fresh once I opened it.  I saved it and took it back to the store on Monday morining.

After the explaining the situation to Jocelyn, the customer service attendant, she apologized countless times and gave me a refund.  At my request she called for someone in the meat department, who also apologized upon inspecting the package.

A special thanks to Eric in CM’s meat department.  Not only was my money refunded, but at my request he opened another package of ground beef that I randomly picked as we discussed the situation.  Then insisted on giving me not one, but two free pacakges of ground beef (shown here on my stove).  Keep in mind that this was after my money was refunded.  Now that’s service!

There are always lots of complaint-related blog posts out there regarding poor service or bad food experiences, so I thought I would share one that has a good ending. Kudos to Central Market and two special employees for their great handling of an unfortunate situation.

Dear Dale Hansen…

April 14, 2010

I guess some people enjoyed Dale Hansen’s rant regarding the story about the Jerry Jones video.  I wonder if he had 95% of this speech in the can some time ago.

Here’s one zinger Hansen had last night:

“Our business now, too many times, is a fat kid in a T-shirt in his mother’s basement, eating Cheetos and writing his blogs — and we make it news.”

Oh, those pesky bloggers in Mommy’s basement again. Yeah, we’ve heard that before. Except this blogger and the ones I know wear work clothes and suits, live all over the city, and haven’t lived in Mommy’s basement in many years. We’re also in pretty good shape.  However, some of us do like Cheetos (or so I’ve heard).

OK, Dale, we get it. But when’s the last time you’ve broken a story? (I’ll wait).  When I wanted to find out who signed with my beloved college basketball teams, I turned to (gasp) blogs, Facebook, and Twitter.

There are some newscasters that have embraced Facebook and Twitter.  I read most of my favorite news media folks’ posts and tweets, which include John McCaa, Gloria Campos, and Steve Pickett.  A couple of my favorite sports people that I follow on Facebook are sportscaster Newy Scruggs from NBC5 and Jemele Hill from ESPN.  They’re not afraid to write talk about their opinions and let them stand on their own. Contrast that with Dale, who comes off like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino telling people to get off his lawn. 

Any attempt to marginalize bloggers will be a fail.  We’re not only here, we’re multiplying every day.  Maybe Hansen’s just not aware of the world changing around him.  Then again, you have to be pretty self-absorbed to use your own signature for your name every night.

As someone who has had his personal tweets posted on DMN City Hall blog, I can feel for Jerry Jones a little bit.  It’s still funny, because Jerry Jones is an entertaining guy who likes to have a good time.

Here’s the thing about the Hansen rant. Yeah he went in on the network for better or worse. But a lot of old people at networks always feel like they have to cheapshot us bloggers. Why is that? Do they feel threatened?

Mainstream sports news needs to reinvent itself, but I guess for whatever demographic Hensen serves his shtick plays well.  I also can’t remember the last time anybody under 35 thought Dale Hansen was relevant, so there’s that.

Bill Simmons, Deadspin, Ball Don’t Lie > Dale Hansen any day of the week

Maybe Dale can bring me some Cheetos while I write my next blog post.

Congrats to the Dallas Morning News on their Pulitzer Prize

April 12, 2010

Today, the Dallas Morning News Editorial Team was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. This was based on their writing and coverage on their North-South Project.  

When they first met with a handful of us right before they started this project (either 2006 or 2007), I was very skeptical. But their interest and sincerity in pursuing this endeavor is something I could not ignore.

While I don’t agree with every stance, I cannot contest that they have been open minded and honest in their efforts to expose past wrongs and use their paper as a medium for change in Dallas.

The exposure is appreciated, and I hope the project continues.

Recruiting Companies to Dallas – The One that Got Away

April 10, 2010
In difficult financial times, a city must still remain active and be successful with respect to getting companies to relocate and add dollars to our tax base.
This is one of the primary strengths of our current Mayor, Tom Leppert.  Since he became Mayor, many companies looking to move from various parts of the country now call Dallas home.  Texas has many pluses that make us more attractive when compared to other states (lower cost of living, pro-business attitude, etc), but you still need leadership that can close the deal when it’s on the table (kind of like the fine gent in the picture on the right).
One big fish that got away nearly ten years ago was Boeing. Dallas was a finalist for their relocation, but they ended up in Chicago.  In the following piece on the DMN Frisco blog (h/t Rudy Bush of the DMN), former Boeing CEO Phil Condit talks about many of the factors that cause Dallas to lose out of on a major relocation. Check it out.