Archive for June, 2007

June 29, 2007

TrinityVote = On!

As you may have heard, we got our signatures. We needed 48,000 and got 80,000! That’s not a typo. Apparently, most all of the sigs have been verified before being turned in to City Hall.

It’s tough, because in this process I disagree with some people that I really like and hold a high level of regard. But this is about safety and carrying out the will of the people.

Angela is amazing. And so are all of the people that volunteered and did way more than me in this effort to bring the matter in front of the voters. Once again, she stated the voting for TrinityVote would not endanger any of the plans for the Trinity River Project.

Again, I am not opposed to the project but I am opposed to a high-speed tollroad going through the middle of the park. I am more worried about people that live in South Dallas, Cadillac Heights, Oak Cliff, West Dallas, and Pleasant Grove being losing their homes and dying. If we have 80,000 then hopefully we’ll have 80,000 people show up at the polls in November.

June 27, 2007

New Councilmembers Get Down to Business

To me, today was the first real council meeting of this session since Monday’s was solely to vote on the Mayor Pro Tem and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem.

I watched the first half of the today’s council meeting and listened to the rest on the radio. I came away impressed…and I told y’all that the meeting would start on time, contrary to a former mayor’s doubts.

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway put City Hall on notice, letting them know that he is about “moving the clock forward” and being no-nonsense when it comes to neighborhoods with no sidewalks, public safety, and other issues.

Carolyn Davis made great statements regarding the South Dallas/Fair Park Trust Fund, the minor home repair program, and job opportunities in the southern sector. Mitch Rasansky and others thanked her for her statements.

Dave Neumann asked pointed budget questions and spoke up for West Dallas and Oak Cliff, particularly in the areas of crime and equity of public libraries. To some the questions seemed basic but it’s better to ask and vote properly than not. That’s why the City Manager and staff are at the meeting.

I was troubled by the comments on another blog by a defeated council candidate, which stated that the new councilmember in his/her district wasn’t up to par and “probably didn’t read the council packet.” Rather than fan the flames I’ll just say that we don’t need that kind of hating on the first day. It comes off like sour grapes for a person that couldn’t muster enough votes to make the runoff.

This day was about progress. I saw a lot of north-south partnering and collaborative support for everyone’s goals. I liked what I saw.

June 26, 2007

The Inauguration Recap

It was a great day.

First, my wife and I hit the Meyerson for the inauguration breakfast. There, former (!) Mayor Laura Miller read proclamations to the outgoing council members and presented plaques to the new members as well.

After breakfast, we went into the main auditorium for the official inauguration ceremony. Dr. Sheron Patterson emceed the festivities, and the one and only Bishop Larry McGriff of the Church of the Living God closed out the ceremony. From North Dallas to South Oak Cliff, the festivities were truly diverse.

I’m really excited about this new council. I think the combination of a Mayor like Tom Leppert with folks like Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, Angela Hunt, Dave Neumann, Carolyn Davis, Steve Salazar and others will signal a new era of cooperation and progress.

I bumped into Tom in the Mayor/Pro tem suite yesterday and one of the things he said was “I’m coachable.” I think that’s one of the qualities that was missing from the other candidate and the former Mayor. Nobody has all of the answers, but I think he is a person that will give the council members the opportunity to succeed.

Although the month-long council break starts after Wednesday’s council meeting, you can rest assured that many council members will be hard at work in their communities.

Some pics from inauguration day…

Mike D & Deputy Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway (District 4)

MD & Angela Hunt (District 14)

Mike D & Mayor Tom Leppert

MD and Dave Neumann (District 3)

Bishop McGriff giving the benediction – Dallas Inauguration 2007

The full slideshow

June 26, 2007

Thoughts from Yesterday

It was a great day, ushering a new era of leadership and potential progress at City Hall. I’ll have more to say later in the day.

June 24, 2007

Congresswoman Johnson Congratulates District 30’s Latest Grant Winners

District groups won grants for scientific research and community policing

Washington, DC (June 22, 2007) – Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson extended congratulations this week to several recipients of federal grants.

Two researchers at University of Texas Southwestern and the Pleasant Grove Weed and Seed’s Mission Possible program were selected to receive grants from the departments of health and justice respectively.

“I am delighted that the research money keeps flowing to worthy projects from UT Southwestern and that programs such as Weed and Seed will have the funds to make our communities safer,” said Congresswoman Johnson.

The first UT Southwestern Medical Center grant provides more than $1 million over five years for the continuation of a postdoctoral training program in kidney research. Under the leadership of Dr. Peter Igarashi, the program trains physician-scientists who investigate kidney biology and disease and translate this knowledge into improvements in patient care.

The second research grant was awarded to Dr. Estelle Sontag. Dr. Sontag’s one-year grant of more than $400,000 will allow her to study the effects of certain brain chemicals in causing Alzheimer’s disease.

Finally, the Pleasant Grove Weed and Seed group of Dallas received nearly $200,000 to focus on reducing the number of firearms, establishing after school programs, providing job training and engaging in neighborhood revitalization projects. The bulk of the money will go to community policing efforts.

“I’m very pleased to see Dallas communities forming partnerships with law enforcement to improve the quality of life around our city,” said Congresswoman Johnson.

June 21, 2007

Plea for Help after Random Gunfire Kills Unborn Child

I often talk about crime, prostitution, murders, and the like. This act in particular, has been very hard for me to shake. Maybe it’s because my sister was killed in the crossfire of a gang shootout.

I can’t believe that someone would just ride down the highway and fire randomly into someone’s apartment for their own amusement. Read this news story and watch the video clip as well.

I second the thought of the Dad whose unborn son died in this shooting.

“I hope this is eating away at their soul,” Dexter said. “I really do.”

Rewards totaling at least $20,000 have been offered for information leading to the arrest and indictment of whoever is responsible. Anyone with information can call 214-671-3611, 214-671-3693 or 214-965-9000.

June 18, 2007

My Take on the Mayoral Election

I planned to move on and not weigh in on the Mayor’s race at all, since it became so nasty that I just wanted to win and be done with it. It’s going to take a lot to heal this city but after the council break next month we can get down to business and move forward.

More after the jump.

The most important issue: Tom’s status as the front-runner hurt, allowing Tom to focus on the south in Ed’s backyard and making Ed go negative.

I personally was offended that Oakley’s camp felt it was OK to target senior citizens and minorities with ugly mailers that were full of outright lies that twisted the facts.

The last mailer, which tried to make Laura Miller and Tom Leppert look like best buddies, was flat-out dumb. At the NAACP meeting (which I attended), Tom never said he supported strong Mayor…he said in so many words that “Dallas doesn’t need another city manager, we need a leader.” The video’s been on this site – Tom has said that many times and people knew it. It was quoted as “Dallas doesn’t need a manager” on the flyer…How third-grade class president is that? Also, Ed’s signing the Black Agenda at that meeting looked fake since some of the items are on the Black agenda because Ed killed certain plans and programs at City Hall.

Tom had done a lot of work before the May election, so when he made the run-off and Don Hill came in third much of the foundation was already laid.

In the south, the dirty mailers and the demolition of apartments plan really hurt more than helped. It looked hypocritical that Price backed Max Wells (R) and then tried to make the Mayor’s race Dem vs Republican. His “Ed has been with us for years” radio commercial made no sense. People also have long memories about votes that went against the wishes of the Black community (South Dallas Trust Fund, Block Grant project funding, redistricting).

The support of Dwaine Caraway, Barbara Mallory Caraway, Don Hill, and many well-known community figures gave Tom an additional ground team and presence. Like it or not, it can’t be disputed.

In the end, the partisan mailers made people stay home in the south instead of vote for Oakley. Ed spent more money saying that Tom’s bad than he did promoting his own message. Ed’s finger-pointing never registered because many people had already met Tom in the first go-round. They believed their own eyes instead of fear-mongering commercials.

His orientation hurt him with Blacks that are somewhat conservative in their beliefs, but not as much as the issues. Each time Tom got hit, he hit back but he did it with class.

A lot of people that I know that voted for Coats, Jordan, and Griffith in the north went Leppert because of the land ownership issues around the Trinity, too many tax abatements, and the Hollywood Doors situation. Ed’s conduct and nasty mailers in the last few weeks also hurt him in the north. But Tom’s staying on message and enhancing positivity and civility helped a ton.

The Blaydes & Oakley mailer that got mailed to Lakewood as well was a bad move. Blaydes doesn’t have pull in Lakewood. There also might be the matter of that forever burning LH-Lakewood rivalry, which I know about but can be explained better by my friends that live there.

Even though they both support the Trinity, Ed rubbed a lot of people the wrong way by appearing to not want to deviate at all from the Trinity Plan. At every debate, Ed acted like he knew-it-all and ‘how dare you question my super plans that I’ve put in place.’ Even if you do know all the numbers, people like to feel included.

Deciding to abandon debates in the last few days was the final self-inflicted blow. You never blow off the Ernie & Jay show if you want to get your message out and give your opponent a free ride.

From an issue standpoint, these were things that people really cared about…whether Ed’s supporters refuse to face it or not is up to them. Even in his last interview, Ed only mentioned his orientation as a factor and nothing else. That sounds like sour grapes.

Oakley’s campaign consultants continually misfired, they were his own worst enemy. I hope our opponents continue to hire MurphyTurner in the future!

Early on, I said I would work with whomever became Mayor for the good of the City. Let’s see if the other side shares that same feeling. Right now, most of them seem bitter and unwilling to face facts.

OK, got that out. Now let’s move forward.

June 18, 2007

Potential Zoning Change troubles The Girl Scouts of North Texas

Allen Gwinn of Dallas.org reports that The City of Dallas is considering a zoning change that may put a facility for up to 100 men with “life controlling issues” next door to Dallas’ oldest Girl Scout camp, and a neighboring Boy Scout camp.

Click here to read the full article.

June 17, 2007

7/11 Needs to Get it Together

Shawn Williams of Dallas South reports on the ridiculous store conditions at Kiest & Polk. Quick question, does your 7/11 look like this?

If anyone from 7-Eleven Stores Inc. reads this blog, contact me so we can get this fixed. It’s store #27646 at 1102 W. Kiest.

June 17, 2007

Tom Leppert Acceptance Speech

Video from the DMN