Archive for July, 2007

July 31, 2007

Another Neighborhood in Pain

Another life is lost to senseless violence.

Last night, the Quick Safe Food Mart near Roseland (map) was robbed and the store clerk was killed. Now, the neighborhood surrounding Roseland Homes was robbed of their only grocery store.

Just hearing people talk at the gas station a few blocks away let me know that Quick Safe Food Mart is a place where they worked with the community and treated people well. Now, all of that is lost.

This happens in neighborhoods all over Dallas. When money is tight, sometimes residents depend on a little help from their neighborhood store to get the items they need. People in the neighborhood can get store credit. Then a murder occurs and the store closes. What will those residents do now? Everyone can’t go to Wal-Mart across 75 to shop.

The clerk (“Shorty”) leaves behind a pregnant wife, all because of a couple of thugs that don’t value life. What kind of world do we live in?

Video:

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July 30, 2007

Of Course

Last night, it was made official. TrinityVote has enough signatures to move forward with the petition to change the tollroad.

Rather than pontificate on the outcome of the election (we have 3 months for that), as usual I want to talk about something else.

I really don’t appreciate some of the comments directed towards our City Secretary, Deborah Watkins. What’s the problem with making sure that the signatures are OK?

To her credit, Angela never once said anything as stupid as half of these columnists. The detractors keep talking about having their “patience exhausted.” Get over yourselves! The purpose of the City Secretary’s office is to get it right not to please all of you that need to know everything to meet your news deadline. The City Secretary’s office is way better since she took over and you know it. The truth is, most of you need her to give you something to write about when you aren’t busy copying off of blogs and claiming you break new stories.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…vote on.

July 29, 2007

History was Made at City Hall – The Kids Came First

On Saturday, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway and I Won’t Complain Ministries made history. Over 150 kids and parents packed City Hall (on a Saturday) to kick off Dwaine’s Community Teen Summit Series. It’s really about expanding the worlds of young people and catching them before they make bad choices that result in death or the jail system. On top of that, we want to give them real chances to succeed. This is all part of Dwaine’s 20-point plan on which he based his City Council Campaign.

This is the first in a series of summits. We will have a forum almost every month, ten within the next year.

Dwaine has had this on his heart for the entire time I’ve known him. He’s always said that he wanted to bring neighborhood youth to City Hall and expose them to another outlet and venue for opportunity. Then, right after he was elected, he met Tyrone, Aaron, and Takela Jackson with I Won’t Complain Ministries. The Jacksons (founders of the ministry) have all been incarcerated at some point in their lives and told powerful stories of despair, hope, and redemption to the crowd.

Bishop Larry McGriff started us off with prayer. From that point the Ordered Steps and Angel Faces youth dance group performed, members of DPD talked about the dangers of drugs (not just how bad the drugs are to use but the life/death risks of selling drugs), and community leaders gave advice and answered questions on a panel. Breakfast and lunch were provided, and the kids were able to take pictures with various Councilpeople and the Mayor. Thanks to Allyn & Company for their sponsorship.

For the record, the entire crowd followed the lead of Ms. Jill Beam of the Park Dept in doing the Cupid Shuffle on the floor of the Council Chambers. You have never seen kids so excited to be in City Hall.

The mission is to create leaders and show kids another avenue to pursue when shooting for their dreams, and to have goals in general. Some of these kids have never been outside of their own neighborhoods. We will be contacting and following up on these kids as time progresses.

I would personally like to thank Dwaine and I Won’t Complain Ministries for having the vision for such an event. It exceeded everyone’s expectations. In addition, I want to thank all of the volunteers that worked hard. The event was well attended by several councilpeople and the Mayor.

Once again, Dwaine is leading the way and changing the game at City Hall. In future sessions we will have focus groups and even more ways to expose the kids to different environments and opportunities.

News coverage is below:

Fox 4 Coverage:

NBC5 Coverage:

DMN Coverage (link)

July 27, 2007

We’ll Miss Sarah Dodd

Yesterday, Robert at Unfair Park reported that Sarah Dodd was leaving Ch. 11 for parts unknown. It’s possible that she is done with journalism. That’s a shame; I always thought she’d be around for the next 20 years.

Sarah seemed to go the extra mile when it came to reporting the story. If it was a suspect public project, she had the blueprints. She had a flair for the dramatic at times, but she usually had the facts as well.

I met Sarah a little more than two years ago through a friend of mine when we were kicking off Vote No (Anti-Strong Mayor #1). She’ll be missed.

Sarah was charming when she needed to be and a determined fireball when necessary. You could not back her down, and she broke more stories than a few. Sarah had a style all her own, and I think people will appreciate her more now that she’s gone.

July 26, 2007

Fred Thompson Campaign Blows off Blogger

Blogger Alex Muse of Big in Japan has an account of how blogs still aren’t recognized by all campaigns as “Real news”…Despite the fact that major news outlets continually poach our stories, like the DMN followed Unfair Park and Dallas Progress when it came to County sheriff campaign updates (among other issues). Shouts to my buddy Mike Orren at Pegasusnews for uncovering this story.

July 24, 2007

What’s Up with the Sheriff and County Judge?

From time to time I like to bring you a quick recap of recent happenings. But unfortunately most of them involve our Dallas County Sheriff and County Judge.

Most of the recent articles I’ve read on our Sheriff and County Judge Jim Foster have come from the Dallas Morning News.

Sometimes, I like to look at these types of issues two ways. The reason for that is more often than not, the Dallas Morning News (our only daily) writes stories about elected officials with a political agenda. Just like the hack on the DMN Editorial Board that openly complained about Dwaine Caraway handily winning his District Four Council Race, they sometimes ignore all of the facts and instead question the wisdom of the public.

That being said…

In the last several weeks, several troubling items have come out of the Sheriff’s and County Judge’s Offices.

  • The Sheriff hired a grant writer that submitted one, maybe two grant proposals in a year. One of them was turned in late to the funding agency. According to the DMN, Sheriff Valdez was the driving force for the grant writer. Therefore, you have to make sure the grant writer does a good job or else you have a situation like this.
  • The Dallas Police Department is being hamstrung by an intake process which ties them up at the jail for hours in some cases. Austin and Travis County have the same setup without the backups. Part of the problem is jail funding. County Judge Jim Foster promised a meeting with Sheriff Valdez and Chief David Kunkle to address this issue. Did the meeting happen? And what were the results?
  • The County Judge called in sick instead of voting against his buddy, the now-disgraced former constable Mike Dupree. However, he did find the time to have someone take down an exhibit in the Old Red Courthouse that displayed his predecessor.

We need proactive leadership, instead of one that changes policies after the newspapers write about an issue. And we need County Commissioners that provide the necessary funding for all of the processes to work.

To the Sheriff’s credit, jailers are being added at a fast rate. But to truly improve we need the aspects of the entire jail process to be assessed and addressed so that the system works for the entire county, not just to comply with Federal standards.

Most of this could be resolved by either having regular press conferences or by having the Sheriff and County Judge be more accessible to the public and the media. The public deserves to know what’s going on.

July 20, 2007


Dallas Progress Awarded Best of Big D Award

D Magazine has given me the Best of Big D award, recognizing yours truly as one of Dallas’ “10 New Media Stars.” The others include my buddy Allen Gwinn of Dallas.org, Matt Pulle from the Observer, and Jennifer Floyd Engel of ESPN 103.3 radio.

I feel humbled for the recognition of my little blog. The Best of Big D party is always a blast. It was good to bring my wife to meet all of the people in our media world. On top of that, there’s not many places where you can listen to a great cover band and eat food from Perry’s, Texas de Brazil, Palomino, Nicola’s, Asian Mint, Go Fish, etc.

In addition to seeing old friends like Allen Gwinn, Paul Kix & Trey Garrison, I made a lot of new friends as well. Jennifer Floyd Engel, who is somehow called the Little Ball of Hate, is one of the coolest people I met.

As usual, my wife made me look good by being gorgeous, witty, and smart. The first lady held it down for me last night.

As the article says, ten years from now I’ll lose my edge so I guess I better get back to blogging.

Click the picture to see the full page.

July 19, 2007

Getting Good Retail and Keeping It

Jeff at the Lakewood Advocate has a great read about the difficulties of leasing neighborhood retail space. Check it out.

July 17, 2007

Following Through on Campaign Promises

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway has embarked on a mission to improve southern sector development. Instead of just talking about it, Dwaine has started the Lancaster Road Initiative. It’s a mission to clean up Lancaster Road in South Oak Cliff and then bring much needed development along one of southern Dallas’ busiest corridors. This is another part of the 20-point plan which was the basis of Dwaine’s “One Block at a Time” Campaign.

You will hear more about this effort in the future. This clip from Channel 8 highlights the disparity of investment between DART stations in North Dallas and those south of I-30.

July 17, 2007

PegasusNews has been Sold

Local media site PegasusNews has been sold to Seattle-based media company Fisher Communications.

Congrats to Mike Orren, Alan Cohen, and everyone else over there.

I’ve only known these gents for about a year, but we hit it off immediately.

I remember when they were showing me a beta site way back when, which focused on their “Daily You” concept. It was different from anything the DFW had seen in relation to news and media. I knew these folks would hit it big, and they didn’t sacrifice their vision to do it.

PegasusNews is an example of holding tight to your dream and making it happen by all means legal. Everyone at that company was starving in the pursuit of doing their business, their way.

When you’re not rich and you don’t have a trust fund, the road to success is a lot different. You find yourself being very creative in your survival methods because you know that you have the right idea and one day you will succeed. And they did.

Hats off, folks. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.