Archive for December, 2007

Planning for the New Year

December 27, 2007

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Caraway and I are planning several initiatives for the coming year that will improve our Council District and hopefully the City of Dallas. Hence, the lack of posting this week. One thing I can assure you – the last six months will have nothing on the next six months. Stay tuned.

10 Drops in the Bucket – A Visual Take

December 23, 2007

Last week, the Dallas Morning News had an editorial called 10 Drops in the Bucket (link). The focus are ten places in southern Dallas that need fixing, cleaning up, or closing. The editors said that they would focus on these ten issues, follow up, and then find another ten things to talk about (pdf map).

I figured I would take it to the next level by offering you the visual of what they are writing about, courtesy of Google Street View. You can zoom in on each picture by clicking ‘full screen’ once you get to Google.

This is the type of thing that all papers should be doing. I thank them for using their voice to try to effect change.

More after the jump. Let’s go:

(Right click to view in a separate window)

1. The house near Imperial and Montie streets cries out for code compliance – or any other inspector the city might have handy. The three tiny plywood shacks in the back yard – each reportedly rents for about $400 per month – are straight out of a Third World country. And the old toilets and trash covering nearby lots also soil the landscape (pic).

2. The pile of police reports detailing incidents at the Southern Comfort Motel stands half a foot high. Assaults, robberies, car jackings, unexplained deaths, prostitution and drug sales have been reported at the business on Lancaster Road. Neighbors and city staff members already have launched proceedings that ultimately could shutter Southern Comfort. But with an elementary school two blocks away, the resolution can’t come soon enough (pic). Note: The City Plan Commission, of which I am a member, voted to deny the Specific Use Permit for this motel to operate. They are on their last leg and fighting on multiple fronts to stay open. They have likely spent more on lawyers than cleaning up this filthy place.

3. Abandoned lots and buildings in the 5800 block of South Lamar have become makeshift parking lots and open-air markets. For sale: cinderblocks and dirty mattresses, among other things. Lack of code enforcement may have been good for business – but lousy for the neighborhood (pic).


4. The Dallas Zoo is an attraction that should lure visitors from across North Texas to the southern part of the city. But for families exiting Interstate 35E one of the first businesses they’ll see is the ramshackle Dallas Inn. One look at the broken windows and the bombed-out-looking building, and zoo-goers might be tempted to turn around and head home (pic).

5. You can’t pull up a chair and enjoy your Frosty in the Wendy’s at Lancaster Road and Kiest Boulevard. The drive-through-only restaurant wants your money but won’t allow you to take a seat, leaving pedestrian patrons to eat on the sidewalk. In the future, the city should take a hard look at requests to build eating establishments that lack tables and chairs (pic).

6. The Bishop Arts District is a bright spot in north Oak Cliff, but it’s a pretty small spot. The boundaries seem to be marked by the absence of curbs and sidewalks on surrounding streets. With the addition of basic infrastructure, Madison Avenue could offer spillover parking for the district; right now, it’s a muddy, weedy mess (pic).

7. The intersection of Hampton Road and Ledbetter Drive has become a popular destination with a Fiesta supermarket, a Subway sandwich shop and an assortment of specialty stores. But the surrounding landscape is littered with old-fashioned telephone poles and exposed lines. These relics of the past are a rare sight on the north side of town. This busy corner and plenty of other southern Dallas neighborhoods would benefit from having the lines buried (pic).

8. The car wash near Sunnyvale Street and Ledbetter Drive has become a big draw – for people who arrive on foot. Neighbors report seeing open drug use and constant loitering. But despite their complaints, the car wash continues to draw a crowd (pic).

9. The low-powered street lights along Jefferson Boulevard make this marketplace a not-so-inviting place once the sun sets. Some additional wattage could go a long way toward attracting shoppers and diners. Surely buying some brighter bulbs would not be too much to ask (pic).

10. At the original Rosemont Elementary School campus, the recreational amenities consist of a rutted asphalt patch surrounded by a rusty chain-link fence near Mary Cliff Road and Ranier Street. Replacing the asphalt with a small expanse of grass – or perhaps some playground equipment – would make this neighborhood a more kid-friendly place (pic).

Parents to Colonial House Motel: You’re Next!

December 22, 2007

Parents at the St. Philips School in South Dallas have raised the $1,000 to file the application with the city to close the Colonial House Motel (map).

The owner of the motel does the usual “no crime here” bit. Funny how they always want to be off camera if it’s such a great business, huh?

However, check out Brad Watson’s story and witness the woman flagging cars down in front of the motel. Plus, anyone who’s in the area knows that prostitutes are out there on a regular basis.

Here’s the Channel 8 story (link). I’m glad the parents are taking a stand.

Lancaster Students Say "Respect Yourself"

December 21, 2007

Lancaster,TX students created an anti-sag video. It’s titled “What Not to Wear.” These students were inspired by Dallas Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway’s campaign to increase pride among youth and sent this video to his City Council office.

More videos and info can be found at www.dwainecaraway.com

Pastors want Motel Three Closed

December 21, 2007

As you may have heard two pastors in South Oak Cliff have filed to closed the Motel Three at 3705 Bonnie View Road (Google street view map).

Pastor Steven Sims of Greater Ideal Baptist Church and Pastor Tommy Brown of Ervay Cedar Baptist Church will have their case heard in January. There have been multiple violent crimes at the motel, and it is also a haven for drugs and prostitution. Here are the news clips from a couple of weeks ago.

Channel 8 reporting:

Fox 4 News reporting:

NBC5 reporting:

Big T Bazaar Safety Plan

December 18, 2007

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway has been working on a new safety plan for Big T Bazaar (map) since the murder of college student Jonathon Hopkins at the center in November. It did not happen overnight. This effort is the difference between making speeches about crime and violence and doing something about it.

Having Big T purchase the DPD Sky Camera is the first in a series of steps that the owners of Big T will implement. Increased lighting, security, and other improvements will also take place in the coming weeks and months.

I am also concerned with working with retailers to change some of the clothing that they sell which glorifies drug dealing and violence. But first, overall safety must be addressed.

No taxpayer money is involved. Thanks to the Mayor, Chief Kunkle, Deputy Chief Scott, Councilman Sheffie Kadane, Councilwoman Pauline Medrano, other city officials, and neighbors for giving their support to Caraway’s plan. Kudos go out to the organizers of this event.

Thanks to Mr. Lee and the other operators and owners of Big T for realizing that more needed to be done to create a safe shopping environment. The owners of Big T Bazaar do not own the entire Village Fair Shopping Center Complex.

Thanks to the news outlets that covered this story. Bill Blair and Jordan Blair of The Elite News were on hand, so look for the new paper coming out this Friday.

Fox 4 News – Clip 1

Fox 4 News – Clip 2

Channel 8 News

Bring on the Convention Center Hotel

December 17, 2007

Shawn Williams of Dallas South Blog says just that in his Dallas Morning News op-ed this morning.

Shawn is a noted young African-American blogger that lives in Oak Cliff. He has decided, unlike many people, to raise his young family in Oak Cliff and to make a difference. I value his opinion highly.

I’m Proud of the Deep Ellum Group

December 13, 2007

A little more than a month ago, I tried to encourage the people that support the Deep Ellum bars and clubs to continue their civic involvement. I was so proud of y’all when I saw the news clips and saw that you packed the City Council chambers once again to make your feelings known.

The Council meeting may have seen long and drawn out, but that’s because the council was trying to give each club the benefit of the doubt. In the end, the clubs did very well when it came to getting permits.

Club One and Club Uropa made it very hard on themselves. In terms of Club One, you can’t act like violence doesn’t occur inside the club. Unlike the false argument made by an owner of Club One, it wasn’t racially motivated. I’m Black and I too voted to close Club One at the City Plan Commission level. Violence is violence, and they have a crime problem inside the club.

The owner of Uropa may not have known about his website (maybe someone younger created it and didn’t tell him what was on there?), but it is common knowledge that Uropa throws those kind of parties (which may cause you to need special licensing as a sexually oriented business). Uropa’s website has been that way for some time. As councilman Dave Neumann correctly stated, getting an SUP is a privilege and not a right. As you all heard again, both clubs have had serious crime issues.

I guess I’m torn on the issues surrounding the clubs. I appreciate what people like Barry Annino and others are trying to do. At the same time, the bad clubs need to go – they only make it harder for the area to be a safe destination for all people.

I just wanted to once again thank all of you for participating, and encourage all of you to keep up on city issues and stay involved.

The Old Hard Rock Cafe..for Lease?

December 12, 2007

It’s true. The building is located at McKinney & Routh in Uptown Dallas. I may be late on this one, but this property is now for lease. Here’s the flyer. After all of the back and forth on it, it seems that they are back at square one. Interesting.

Congrats to C.W. Whitaker

December 10, 2007

C.W. is now the Chair of the South Dallas/Fair Park Trust Fund Board. He served for eight years on the Park Board and was the President for some time.

Everybody knows C.W. Why? It’s because C.W. is a guy that tries to help everyone, and does a whole lot behind the scenes for everyday people in the city of Dallas. He’s always made time for me when I had a question or needed a little help in the right direction. It’s good to have people like that in your corner.