Archive for February, 2009

More Tax-Credit Apartments?

February 16, 2009

Now that the moratorium has been lifted on tax-credit applications in Dallas, the floodgates are starting to open. The City Council is now considering applications for 13 such complexes.

I know there are different types of units; I do support single room occupancy (SRO) units in moderation as a part of the solution to address homelessness in Dallas. I also generally support senior housing units as long as services for the residents are being provided.

I have the biggest problem with tax-credit apartments that are not focused on a specific niche of residents. Some are even marketed as single-family home rental developments.

The oldest tax-credit apartment complexes have created a glut of units in some neighborhoods. On top of that, many of the newer tax-credit (non-senior) complexes have occupancy rates of 90% or less. That should tell you that we have enough units in certain areas.

I hope that any tax-credit projects that get approved have comprehensive security plans in place. In addition, new tax-credit complexes should be based on tearing down old units and replacing them with new units, and weeding out the thugs as residents are transitioned to newer places.

Some of the highest numbers of crime in Dallas can be found in the oldest tax-credit complexes. It’s not because DPD isn’t working as hard as they can; it’s because a lot of the owners are comfortable with taking their guaranteed rent and not investing in their property in terms of physical structure or safety.

Here are some examples of the oldest tax-credit complexes in Dallas, based on when the complexes joined the tax-credit system.

Apartment Complex Name – Address – (date joined system / date built)
Red Bird Trails 3636 W. Red Bird Lane (1992 / 1985)
Woodhollow 4424 Woodhollow Drive (1992 / 1970)
Surrey Row 7272 Marvin D Love Freeway (1989 / 1988 )
Diamond Creek – 3402 S. Buckner ( 1992 / 1985)
Crestridge Apartments – 6417 Ridgecrest Road ( 1991 / 1985)
Manor on the Park – 3122 Park Lane (1990 / 1965 )

If apartments are to be built in southern Dallas, they should be market-rate apartment complexes. As I talk to developers within my role as a plan commissioner, I try to hammer this point home. Living in such a complex, I can tell you that our complex is fairly safe but we are held hostage in some ways by the other complexes in the area. We are looked at as good pickings because we are perceived as being more affluent than other people in the area.

I understand that some complexes may have a percentage of lower-income units, and I have no problem with that as long as it’s part of a bigger plan. But I do not support arbitrarily dropping hundreds more units into areas that are already saturated with such complexes. Enough is enough.


Dallas or New York’s "Right to Vote?"

February 13, 2009

I saw the petition carriers yesterday. How could I miss them – these people had no respect for walking right through the middle of our meeting yesterday while we were trying to conduct city business. Same for whomever took the pictures of them walking through our meeting.

When you look at the financial reports, this effort is funded by a group based in New York that paid people to fly down and get signatures. Some of the people that are on the original petition request have barely voted themselves.

Now the reports come out that they were holding these signed petitions for weeks to get leverage against the City for hotel business. What a joke.

There are other unions in town that support the hotel, like SEIU and others.

I’m not anti-union. My Mother was in a union, the Communication Workers of America (CWA). When strikes came down, we had to go without. Sometimes the strikes went for a long time, but we made it.

However, this effort is something I cannot support. There’s a right way and a wrong ray to conduct business. And by the way they have conducted themselves so far, we can see where this is going.

I hope the majority of Dallas voters see it the same way.

Murderer of Oak Cliff Woman gets Life

February 12, 2009

A little more than a year ago, I wrote about the disappearance of Lakendra Lawrence.

The DMN had a write-up that said that her killer was convicted and got life in prison this past week.

Lakendra’s case was on The First 48 last week and it was really upsetting to me. It reminded me how I felt when I was following her family’s ordeal.

This could’ve been my sister, my cousin, my friend. It could’ve been someone in your family. The family is left with nothing but memories.

Thanks to Lt. Craig Miller and the rest of his homicide unit at DPD for helping to give this family closure.

Sometimes, these things are hard to release from my mind. I still have one of Wyshina‘s pictures that I have to give back to her family. I keep a picture of Juanita Payne posted on my wall to remind me why I got into public service in the first place.

All of these beautiful young women killed before they had a chance to live out their lives and dreams. Think about that for a while.

Flea Market Faker

February 10, 2009

Thanks to Granny Geek, for she has outed a fake garage sale operator in the Cliff.

This was happening last summer, but Granny says they’re back with a new and improved setup. The quote and pic is from her blog.

Well, there’s a new and bigger van making the rounds of the neighborhood this year. You’ll notice that this van has a roof rack, so that it can transport even MORE goods. Note the rug.

I know people from the city read this blog, so be on the lookout.

Morehouse Information Session – TONIGHT!

February 10, 2009
The Office of Admission and Recruitment at Morehouse College invites you, your parents and friends to an information session.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Dallas Marriott-Las Colinas
223 West Las Colinas Blvd
Irving, TX 75039 (map)

You will have the opportunity to speak with Kory Hawkins, Assistant Dean of Admission and Recruitment about admission requirements, housing, financial aid, scholarships, and student life.

City Council Campaigns

February 9, 2009

Today is the first day that petitions for City Council can be turned in. Each District has a specific number of signatures that you need to enter your Council race.

This should be interesting. There’s a big difference between filing for a campaign treasurer and actually running.

There is still no opponent for Dwaine Caraway in District Four, and frankly I would be shocked if there is one. However, we remain ready.

If you’re an incumbent, your campaign is based on what you’ve actually done while in office. Nobody really listens to “your plan” anymore unless you have proven results; it’s about achievement. Some people run for the right reasons, and some don’t.

It’s on.

Significant Southern Dallas Blogs

February 5, 2009

Around the time when I started Dallas Progress, there wasn’t much in the blogosphere that focused on Southern Dallas other than blogs operated by print media. Shawn Williams started Dallas South Blog in the same month, and we often joke about how folks thought we might be at odds or in competition. In reality, we have cheered on each other from Day One and have always hoped to see more blogs that focus on our part of town.

Shawn has covered prestigious events such as the Democratic Presidential Debate in Austin, the Democratic Convention, and others. I’ve been blessed to be a member of President Obama’s National Urban Policy Committee, and serve on various boards and commissions (although I was doing that before I started writing). The best part: the great people with whom I have been able to interact as the readership has grown.

What can’t be disputed is that we started this thing in our part of the city.

One thing that Shawn and I have in common is that we chose to live in Southern Dallas. In the 2 1/2-plus years since we started, several significant blogs have popped up from Southern Dallas residents. Here are a few:

Rufus Shaw (RIP) was the first blogger based in southern Dallas. He wrote for DallasBlog “the way he saw it, South of the Trinity.”

Change the Wind: Written by Rev. Gerald Britt of Central Dallas Ministries.

Janet Morrison’s Community Dialogue: Janet Morrison of Central Dallas Ministries has devoted her life to the education of underprivileged youth in South Dallas and Roseland Homes. Without Janet I never would have met Wyshina Harris (RIP) and Sylvia Harris, for which I am eternally grateful. Their energy and determination have kept me going.

Let’s Go to Work: Tiffinni Young is a lifelong southern Dallas resident, former Dallas Park board Member, and a candidate for Dallas City Council District Five.

Making South Dallas Home: Written anonymously by “Camron’s Mom,” a resident in South Dallas. I’ll keep her real name to myself, but I see her as one of the future leaders in that area.

Ms. Betty Politic: Betty Culbreath is the only African-American to have chaired the DFW Airport Board, the City Plan Commission (twice), and the Dallas Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. Her activism in this city is legendary.

Our ASA Family’s Meaningful Relationships – Written by participants of the Turner Courts/Roseland After-School Academy that is operated by Janet Morrison of Central Dallas Ministries. Whenever I think of slowing down, one visit to the ASA gives me all the motivation I need.

Thoughts of an ADHD Drama Queen: A look at being newly married, pop culture, and life in general. She will someday write a book or movie script based on this blog and her life, and we will love it.

It’s Lunch Time, Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

February 2, 2009

I’m glad the juvenile curfew ordinance is being reviewed by City Council’s Public Safety Committee and will likely be strengthened. According to news reports, juveniles made up more than 20% of the burglary arrests in Dallas last year.

Here are the facts:

  • 2008 Juvenile Arrests for Burglary: 187.
  • 2008 Adult Arrests for Burglary: 868.
  • Juveniles made up 22% of all Burglary arrests in the city in 2008.
  • Of those 187 arrests, 63% occurred during school hours during the week.

Juvenile curfew needs to be strengthened and enforced. While some parents aren’t aware of their kids activities, some parents need to shake the “it’s not my baby” syndrome and face facts. Well, your baby is breaking into houses and acting up while you’re at work.

It’s just like the voice-over insert that Dwaine helped to bring back to Channel 8 news when they say, “it’s 10 o’clock, do you know where your children are?” Maybe for some parents, they should ask themselves that same question at 10 AM as well.

It may sound harsh, but the responsibility for the delinquents needs to be shifted back to the parents instead of society. It’s a small percentage of kids, but they’re causing a good share of the crime during the day.