Archive for August, 2006

August 30, 2006

Deep Ellum Takes a Hit

Paul Kix at D Magazine says that Tarantino’s in Deep Ellum has closed.
It’s a sad day for that area. From what I’ve heard it was one of the classier establishments in Deep Ellum, and a fine restaurant. I was intrigued by the place, it reminded me of the type of Italian restaurant I would see back home.

Here’s to hoping that the restaurant resurfaces.

August 30, 2006

Oak Cliff Kids Get to Ride the Bus (Again!)

According to Brad Watson at Channel 8 News, the kids that live in the Parkwoods apartments in Oak Cliff will have their school bus service reinstated. I spoke of this travesty last week (link).

I’m glad that the DISD righted a wrong in this case. More importantly, I hope that a little more care is taken to make sure that the children of DISD are safe.

August 29, 2006

It’s Time for Dallas County to Open up the Books

As I walk on this journey of tracking the money behind the message, one thing is strikingly obvious.

Dallas County needs to make its campaign finance reports more accessible. The County needs to follow the lead of the City of Dallas and the State of Texas and put all financial reports online.

So you wonder… how do you make an open records request at the County? Let’s go straight to the source – the Dallas County website. Check out this (link).

So… if you want to request information about a specific elected official, the elected official’s office is responsible for your request.

Why does Dallas County make it difficult to investigate and acquire campaign finance reports? Unlike the City Of Dallas (who recently brought forth a plan to make even more info readily available), the County has no way to search or inspect information online.

You’d think if they could afford to spend $40 million to renovate the George Allen building, they could afford to put a system in place where finance records could be searched in relative anonymity. Having to submit a written request directly to the official’s office puts a bulls-eye on your back.

Since they do have the money, I will surmise that such a task can be completed. But there has to be a push from somewhere. Either from the Dallas County Commissioners or from some other division within the halls of Dallas County.

State Info is available at http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/cesearch.html (link)

Dallas City Info is available at http://www.ci.dallas.tx.us/cso/camp-fin/finreports.shtml (link)

The Dallas city secretary’s office has been posting electronic copies of each council member’s contributions and expenditure reports since January 2000.

How long is it going to take for Dallas County to get on board and make campaign finance info readily available to all citizens?

Dallas County residents deserve to know.

August 25, 2006

UPDATE ON HOT-SHEET MOTELS!

Great news!

The City Attorney’s office served papers on The Interstate Motel at 109 W. Overton. They have been hit with a temporary restraining order, and won’t be able to operate as soon as the papers are handed to the owner. Brad Watson of Channel 8 covered the issue in a lead story on Thursday. The story featured Dwaine Caraway, who is on a mission to close down cheap motels.

The restraining order is due to the fact that they never followed through and appeal the City Plan Commission’s decision to deny their Specific Use Permit (SUP). We reported this on Dallas Progress in July.

In addition, it appears that the American Inn is still shut down!

And more great news! The owner of the Mile High Motel at 2740 Lucky Lane (map) has agreed to demolish the building. The Mile High has been out of operation for some time, but it was still an eyesore after an apparent fire. The HST (Hot-Sheet Terminators) had nothing to do with the Mile High Motel, but are glad that the building will be demolished.

We thought we had a deal in the works to move on the motels next to the Urban League, but the funders of that mission have not moved forward. We are now turning our sights to others including the motel across from Townview High School.

Thanks to Chris Bowers in the Dallas City Attorney’s office for heeding our call and shutting down the Interstate motel.

August 25, 2006

The Dallas Morning News Buyout Saga

No need for me to write a long article about it. All the major blogs have it covered. My favorite is DallasBlog’s ongoing post, which has some great comments. Check it out (link). Classic stuff.

I will make this statement. One of the DBlog posts from an insider mentioned that part of the DMN’s new “plan”is to not give any pub to people who speak to DallasBlog first. Does the DMN really want to go that route? That would mark a new low in pettiness and bad business judgement.
There are a handful of good writers at the DMN and a few really good reporters at Ch. 8. But I’m sure they feel hindered by the corporate monstrosity that signs their paychecks.

Check out the rest of Dallas Progress. We talk about Dallas in a way most are scared to do. (click here)

August 25, 2006

I’m not Giving Up on the School Bus Issue

The kids at JT Brashear STILL need a school bus. And we as responsible citizens have to make sure that children can travel to and from school safely.

Anyone that thinks the kids should walk, should try to travel the route themselves.

I remain optimistic that the issue will be resolved very quickly.

August 23, 2006

We want Real Retail in Southwest Oak Cliff!

That was the message sent loud and clear today at City Council.

I thank all of the Councilpeople that spoke in support of our efforts. Even Councilpeople that I give a hard time to about other issues spoke against granting this permit, and I appreciate the support.

Trey Garrison’s piece on DallasBlog sums it up (link). I don’t like to self-promote; I just want developers to heed our call for real stores on this side of I-30.

August 22, 2006

Will DISD get the Poor Kids a School Bus?

Brad Watson at Channel 8 did a great piece about kids at the new JT Brashear elementary school. (Story and video here)

For those that aren’t familiar with the area, Brashear is next to the brand new Hampton-Illinois Library branch across from Kiest Park.

These kids used to attend Daniel Webster, but when the new Brashear school opened the kids’ bus service got cancelled.

Brad is right – there are many sex offenders along the kids walking routes. The light blue and dark blue illustrate the two possible walking routes. Each dot in this map represents a sex offender. The red ‘X’ is the new school; the star is the Parkwoods apartment complex. (Click to enlarge)

There are also several other large apartments complexes next to Parkwoods.

Since the kids don’t have a school bus, they have to “face it” like one kid said in the news clip.

It’s bad enough that some complex residents were fire victims earlier this year; now they have to worry about their kids making it past a bunch of sex offenders.

If that wasn’t bad enough, some parts of these routes don’t have sidewalks. Exactly how dangerous does a route have to get before somebody does something?!

We just got a new DISD School Board Trustee – here’s hoping she steps up and makes her presence felt in a big way. Dr. Hinojosa talks big – but hopefully he feels as strongly about kids’ safety as he does other issues and finds these kids a bus immediately!

I was not encouraged by the lukewarm answer that Brad got from the DISD:

After News 8 inquired, the Dallas Independent School District said, “The district will review the data and reassess the situation and add a new bus for that route if needed.”

Let’s see what happens.

August 22, 2006

Aggtownz Fights Update

This just in:

The next setting is 9-5-06 at 10:30am in the 396th District Court.

Michael Jackson (the one who allegedly videotaped the fights), was put in jail last Monday at the request of the DA’s office for violation of his bond conditions. Jackson was just released yesterday. Judge George Gallagher put Jackson in jail for a week after evidence was presented that despite being ordered not to participate or promote any videotaped fight sessions (as a condition of his bond), he continued to promote Agg Town Fights via his MySpace page.

August 21, 2006

11,000 Visitors!

In the first two months, Dallas Progress has had more than 11,000 visitors.

I talked with a local assistant editor for a major publication, and he said that Dallas is unique in Texas in that blogs are very prominent and highly visible.

People read the blogs more than they read the newspaper.

The blogs in Dallas often scoop the newspapers for major stories. I predict that trend will continue.

I thank all of you for your continued support. Please keep reading and tell your friends about our little space on the web!