Archive for August, 2007

Breaking News Ch. 11 Fires News Director

August 31, 2007

This just in…

Robert at the Observer says that Channel 11 gave the boot to Regent Ducas, the now-former News Director. Ducas lasted all of five months.

This is great news! I know of multiple community groups that have been disappointed because Ch. 11 reporters have not been allowed to cover community stories since he got here. I also got a lot of behind the scenes dish over the last few months of newsroom and staffing changes which weren’t well received. The first five minutes idea was flat-out awful. Ed Bark says that the general manager ordered it stopped earlier this week.

Scott Diener is now the News Director, and we wish him good luck. I look forward to having Channel 11 return to the community to highlight positive events.

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Grand Hotel to be Restored

August 31, 2007

Randall Turner of Harvard Companies reports that the old Grand Hotel, which has been shuttered for years, has a buyer. The site is located at Commerce and St. Paul (map). With companies like Comerica moving to downtown Dallas, this is good news for a downtown that is working its way back to prominence.

Does Minyard’s Care about the Community?

August 30, 2007

The Minyard’s Food Store at Marsalis & Illinois (map) was robbed at gunpoint at closing time on Tuesday night.

It would seem that Minyard’s would have armed security or off-duty police officers available at closing time to make sure their employees are safe. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Then again, when you look at the quality of the food at the Marsalis store compared to the Minyard’s-owned Carnival at Westmoreland & Illinois you can see how much the care about the neighborhood. It seems like every other Minyard’s or Carnival except for this store has been redone in the past few years.

According to records, this Minyard’s was built in 1967. City records show that only $23,825 in work has been done to the store since 1976, and $15,000 of that was to put in a refrigerated case was back in 1993! In other words, no cosmetic work or updating has ever been done to the store. For those of you that haven’t seen the store, have a look.

I know of many seniors that will not shop at Minyard’s. I wish they would sell the store to a chain that will care more about its customers and the neighborhood.

UPDATE: Apparently there have been other issues with security at other stores Minyard’s. Check this article from the Observer in 2005 courtesy of Zac at D Magazine. It focuses on the now-closed Lakewood market.

Dallas South Sports Open for Biz

August 28, 2007

Shawn Williams of Dallas South has a new sports blog that is now up and running. Check out Dallas South Sports when you get time. Shawn is focusing on local sport events like the Oak Cliff Super Bowl that’s coming this weekend. Great stuff!

Dallas County Commissioners Restore Tax Breaks

August 28, 2007

Today, Dallas County Commissioners reinstated the over-65 property tax exemptions for seniors. What caused the sudden change of heart?

I think a lot of the credit can be attributed to Sharon Boyd of DallasArena. Right when it happened, she implored the citizens to really examine this fiasco. And once Sharon’s army gets going with their calls, faxes, and e-mail, it’s on. Even the DMN attributed the commissioners’ change of heart to “commissioners (being) inundated with e-mails and phone calls from angry seniors.”

Once the deluge started, something was going to be done. You could feel it. I was thrilled to get the e-mail from Sharon saying that the Commissioners’ changed their minds.

Seniors don’t get many breaks. Most seniors live on a fixed income while property taxes and appraisals continue to skyrocket. I’m glad they still have a gift coming from the County.

For Users of Feedreaders

August 26, 2007

For people that use feedreaders and other website aggregators, you probably have been looking for Dallas Progress and drawing a blank.

The kinks have been fixed. You should delete your old feed and re-subscribe.

This can be done by clicking the feedburner icon in this post and resubscribing to the Dallas Progress feed.

Also, you can get on the e-mail list by entering your E-mail in the box below and clicking the subscribe button.

Thanks for your patience.

RSS Feeds

August 25, 2007

RSS Feeds

We are experiencing technical difficulties with our RSS & Atom feeds. It should be cleared up in a few days.

My Annual Rant about Southwest Center Mall

August 24, 2007

My Annual Rant about Southwest Center Mall

Why has SW Center Mall (aka Red Bird Mall) continued to fall off? Not much has changed since last year’s post.

Three reasons:

  • Store quality
  • The lack of upgrades in the common areas (the mall looks tired). You may also need a front-end alignment after driving through the parking lot.
  • The perception of safety. I know Northpark technically has more crime but would you let your wife go to Red Bird at night? The lighting is terrible. The drive-by shooting at the Whataburger and the everyday nonsense at the Shell station at 67 & Camp Wisdom doesn’t help either.

The funny thing about Northpark is that I always see my Oak Cliff neighbors at the mall. Why? They have the stores, and it’s a pleasant place to shop. True to their roots, the owners of SW Center Mall have continued the mall’s descent to a bazaar-like operation.

I remember that a couple of years ago I was in a meeting with some community development folks and I said that they should demolish the mall and build a lifestyle-type center. They laughed.

Now, what is Uptown Village?…a lifestyle mall being built in Cedar Hill.

When Dillard’s & Macy’s move to Cedar Hill’s Uptown Village, the mall is done. The SuperTarget is going in at Wheatland & I-20, so that opportunity has passed.

They should run it over and start new. Last year, only two new closed-in malls (like SW Center Mall) were built in the US. It’s a dinosaur.

It’s going to be a tough job to change the perception and bring a good shopping venue into the community.

Does Carona Have Competition?

August 23, 2007

Does Carona Have Competition?

I’ve been hearing that Texas Senator John Carona will have a serious Democrat challenger in next year’s Senate Race for District 16 (map).

The only Democrat challenger he’s faced since he became senator in 1996 was the late Jan Erik Frederiksen in 2002, who pulled 34% of the vote in the general election.

John Carona has a ton of money, both personally and in the election coffers. Running as a Democrat in a district that includes the Park Cities and most of North Dallas will be a challenge for anyone, so I remain skeptical. Drop me a line or post a comment if you know of any rumored challengers to the throne.

Kirk-Ching! Former Dallas Mayor Tops TXU money List

August 23, 2007

Kirk-Ching! Former Dallas Mayor Tops TXU money List

As I have mentioned before in this column, Ron Kirk was a major lobbyist during the TXU merger buyout saga. Well now it turns out that he was the top money-getter for pushing this deal, earning over $350,000 for his efforts (link).

I’m not naive enough to think that employing lobbyists isn’t a part of politics. But it rubs me the wrong way when you see a name like Kirk’s at the top of the list, at the same time that he thinks that we will believe him regarding the Trinity Project.

It’s never about the people with him…it’s about the money. But how much is enough? At what point does greed not take over at the expense of the common good? And if you’re in it for the money, admit it and move on. But don’t change sides when it’s convenient.

What did he do for African-American communities as Mayor of Dallas? I can’t tell. Maybe someone can clue me in at a later date. Last week on DallasBlog, Rufus Shaw noted a glaring fact:

Former Mayor Kirk will assuredly find himself defending his own record regarding southern sector economic development.

and

However, every mayoral candidate in the recent mayoral election touted southern sector economic development as one of their top priorities. So why didn’t one of the major mayoral candidates ever reference Ron Kirk or his administration as a symbol of southern sector economic success?

The cat is out of the bag. That dog will not hunt this time around.