Archive for September, 2007

Rufus Shaw Talks to James Fantroy

September 30, 2007

Rufus Shaw of Dallas Blog sat down and talked with former Councilman James Fantroy for two hours this weekend. Read his article here. I can’t wait to see the list of “material witnesses.” It will tell the community a lot.

American Inn in South Dallas is Finally being Demolished

September 28, 2007

I know a lot of people that work for the City and County read this blog. I thank you as always for the well wishes and words of encouragement. Your mentorship and time you’ve spent with me will always be valued.

I wanted to take this time to say thank you to the City employees that helped show Dwaine Caraway and me the way when we were trying to close motels back in 2005. Dwaine started it with the Interstate Motel (still holding on because of legal appeals and delays) – on that one I came in on the late end. Seeing Dwaine work on that motel really opened my eyes with respect to what he was trying to accomplish. The American Inn got closed, and the Townview Motel and Sunset are trying to abuse the legal system to hang on.

Also thanks to Scott Goldstein of the Dallas Morning News and Brad Watson of Channel 8, who covered our motel stories when no one else would touch us.

But the American Inn is the motel that put our efforts on the map. It’s now been closed for more than a year.

I want to thank Chris Bowers, Shareen El-Domeiri, and Chris Caso as I have previously on this blog for sticking by us and making sure Dwaine and I understood the process of closing motels. I wouldn’t have even known how to fill out the forms for the American Inn hearings if it wasn’t for you all.

But there is one unsung person in this whole process, and you know who you are.

You shall remain nameless because I want you to stay employed (lol). But to that special City employee that came from behind the scenes and showed us the ropes and where to go and what to avoid, you are an angel.

I’ve seen you around City Hall and personally thanked you. As I’ve mentioned before, there is a whole neighborhood and City that owes you a debt of gratitude.

When that ungodly motel falls on Sunday, I will think of you.

Sheriff Candidate needs a Mapsco

September 26, 2007

Charlie Richmond, a candidate for Dallas County Sheriff, is having his first fund raiser. Except it’s not in Dallas County. It’s here, in Plano.

Richmond has enlisted Tim O’Hare from Farmers Branch to run this shindig. See for yourself. Is that the way you want to run a campaign?

I didn’t know that “family values” was a campaign strategy for a county sheriff’s race, but Richmond thinks so. Time will tell if he ends up being the Dan Wyde of this election, and we all know how that turned out.

Missing Woman in Chicago: Nailah Franklin

September 24, 2007

Some things are more important than politics. Like life.

This story really hit me hard and bothers me to my core, so I wanted to write about it even though it’s not based in Dallas.

Nailah Franklin is a Chicago resident and is now missing. Three days after she was reported missing, her car was found on September 22nd in Hammond, Indiana (20 miles south of her Chicago home). Nailah Franklin is 5′2″ and weighs about 115 lbs. Pictures of her can be found at crimeblog.us, which is linked below.

Various news outlets have stated that Nailah was threatened by an acquaintance before she disappeared. Computers were also taken from her residence.

If you have any information about the case, police ask that you call Chicago Police at (312) 746-9259.

CNN coverage: link

Continuous Updates from Crimeblog.us: link

UPDATE: On Friday, September 29th, a body found in Calumet City, IL was positively identified to be Nailah’s. We pray that the family can get closure by having the killer be arrested and prosecuted.

Apartment Safety in Dallas

September 18, 2007

Now that the City Council Committees are underway, I’ve been checking out the briefings with a particular focus on those related to Public Safety.

Apartment complex crime is a major issue. To me, it’s the number one reason our crime rate is so high. In many cases, out-of-state (and out-of-country) landlords are to blame.

The DPD gets blamed for having a high crime rate and for not being everywhere all of the time, but there’s a flip side to that coin. The other side of that argument, which to me is more relevant, is that large apartment operators are making “grand theft money” by not hiring real security patrols.

Shocking stats after the jump.

Owners of large complexes need to step it up with respect to their security. Many of the apartment developers, especially in the southern sector, are getting by using something called a “courtesy officer.” A courtesy officer is someone that is usually in their own apartment and comes out only if someone makes a phone call.

Most of these courtesy officers don’t drive around and they don’t walk and patrol the property. It’s a marketing tool to make potential renters feel safe while providing zilch in the process. When you need a place to stay and you hear the words “we have courtesy officers on the property,” it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling as you commit the next 12+ months of your life to a complex while unwittingly putting your family’s safety in jeopardy.

According to the most recent briefings, an astonishing 41% of Dallas’ auto thefts occur in apartment complexes. Compare that to 16% at residences and 17% on public streets. When you have the third highest auto theft rate among major cities (population of 1 million+) that’s a major factor (link).

Apartments also make up 31% of the BMV (Burglary of Motor Vehicle) numbers. Compare that to 1% for shopping malls, 12% for residences, and 17% for public streets (link).

If the City requires clubs to hire x amount of security guards per x hundred square feet of space when they get specific use permits (SUPs), then large apartment operators should be held to the same standard. It’s only fair.

Most apartment crime can be prevented by having a visible security patrol. A lot of crimes in complexes are attributed to hanging out in breezeways and parking lots for hours on end; this is explicitly prohibited in most standard apartment leases. Such minor things go unchecked and it becomes dangerous over time.

People may get mad for me telling it like it is but know I’m telling the truth. This is how it goes down:

A lot of times a group of thugs knows one person in a complex and he/she brings a bunch of friends to turn your parking lot into a party zone. People hang out (usually 25 or under). They often drink and some use drugs. They block traffic and throw footballs around in the street. They all hang around while one of them fixes a car.

They clog up breezeways and turn up their car stereos to 10 and sit around with their cars idling and headlights on so they can keep the party going past dark. One of these degenerates objects to having to move so people that pay rent to live there can get to their home. A fight jumps off which often results in the person who pays rent to live there getting hurt. Another statistic. Or this group hits somebody’s car with a football and dents the hood, but when the person who pays rent to live there comes out to find the culprit nobody knows what happened.

Or, people who hang out are watching your every move so they can break into your car or outright steal your vehicle.

Violence also occurs because your complex having the rep as being “the spot to hang out” or a place to score drugs will attract rival groups of thugs which will turn your complex into a free-fire zone or a multifamily fight-fest on the regular. Through August 2007, 31 murders have occurred in apartments and 23 have occurred in their parking lots (38% of the total). More info on murders is here.

There are lots of easy targets because apartments are often populated by single females and young families. And the thugs know it. Now how in the world is any of this the fault of the Dallas Police Department?

The crime rate will remain steady unless the City starts to require large apartment complexes to have visible, active, on-the-ground patrols (not “courtesy patrols”) in their complexes and enforces that requirement. If not, expect more of the same.

Reward for Slain Grocer

September 17, 2007

The DMN reports that the family of Alemu Abebe, a convenience store owner killed by three men in a fatal robbery at 825 S. Carroll Ave in September 2004, is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment in the case.

The paper says that anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 214-373-8477 or the Dallas police homicide unit at 214-671-3661.

Many of these grocery store murders go unsolved due to the lack of witnesses, clear videotapes, and information.

  • The murder of the grocer at Samuell & Hunnicut in Buckner Terrace from last summer is still unsolved.
  • The murder of the grocer on Hall Street near Roseland Homes this past July is still unsolved.
  • The murder of the grocer across from Chi’s Grocery at Denley & Morrell in Oak Cliff from June 2006 is still unsolved.

None of these three stores mentioned have reopened, which hurts the community in multiple ways. I’ve written about this several times in the past.

There are many others which I cannot recall, and the sheer number is disheartening. However, we must continue to fight in our communities the best we can.

New Blood on the Way

September 17, 2007

I wanted to say congratulations to my buddy Tiffinni Young who will be representing District Four on the Park Board. She’s under 30 years old. Also, I will be representing District Four on the City Plan Commission. Mentorship and opening up opportunities is very important if this City is to grow and develop; thanks to Dwaine Caraway for seeing the value in such a practice. Former Councilman James Fantroy and Council Assistant Mary Hasan gave me my first shot at Dallas board leadership years ago, and I will always appreciate that.

Thank you to all of the City of Dallas employees and City Council members that have wished me well and offered advice and encouragement.

You see, a lot of the people that you see hating in Black Dallas have no youth in their corner. I may be in my 30s but in the political arena I am one of the younger active people on the scene.

They are more interested in doing what I call “passing the torch sideways” to each other instead of mentoring and training new leaders and exposing them to what really happens in the political and business worlds. They have found themselves on the outside looking in, so they have no choice but to throw stones hoping that someone hears their catcalls. They don’t represent the Black community they represent their little clique, and with the progress going on (without them) people are becoming wiser. The clique cannot control the message that comes out of the community anymore, for there are now multiple voices with theirs taking a backseat. Maybe they should grab the key of the torch they’ve had handcuffed to their arm for decades, and pass that torch to someone else.

I have also talked to some elected officials and other leaders that are trying to find some young people to groom. That is commendable as well. Lead by actions, and let the chips fall where they may. If it doesn’t go your way, remain classy.

The world is turning, and people are seeing what’s going on. They don’t believe you anymore.

Daiquiri Dump Closing

September 16, 2007

I got an e-mail from my people at PartyChaser saying that the Daiquiri Dump is closing. They’ve been open about a year and a half and it has been a great spot. You never heard about any crime coming out of there and it was owned and frequented by young Black & Hispanic professionals. And yes, they played hip-hip music too (take that, Steve Blow).

They may have been a victim of the SUP mess in Deep Ellum. It seems like they are looking to relocate.

I look for my people Rob & Ron at PartyChaser to figure out a way to keep the parties going on Friday nights. When I hear about their next move, I’ll let you know.

South Dallas Cultural Center Reopening

September 14, 2007

The South Dallas Cultural Center will have its Grand Reopening during the first weekend in November. This info comes from the City Manager. Glad to hear that this project will be wrapping up and the people of South Dallas will have another positive outlet for their community.

Slumlords

September 12, 2007

The City is working on an ordinance to have single-family rent houses inspected and registered with the City.

I sympathize with the landlords that are doing the best the can with limited resources. Good landlords have nothing to worry about. But slumlords best get ready for a day of reckoning. We have long seen these property owners take advantage of the poor while they live in multi-million dollar mansions. People like the Topletz family and George Works (aka G.W. Works) come to mind.