City Officials Work Hard and Editor doesn’t Notice

Over the weekend, a writer at the Dallas Morning News wrote an editorial titled Life at Pleasant Grove complex is only barely so. It talked about the Barclay Square apartments in Pleasant Grove and suggests that no one has lifted a finger to help the residents that have suffered from air conditioning issues over the summer.

The real title of this blog post should be entitled No one cares, or No One cares to do Research.

This phrase, written by the editor, was quite interesting:

Even worse, your kids are so miserable they can’t sleep, the refrigerator keeps nothing cool, and all you get are wish-we-could-helps from the state, the city and your friends living somewhere the power actually works.

I don’t know if the writer of this of this editorial has read his own paper, or maybe has access to this interesting search engine called Google (all the cool people are using it). A cursory search on would find that city officials have been intensively involved in addressing the needs of the tenants in that complex.

This issue was on everyone’s mind before it made the news, though most of the coverage was appreciated. Assistant City Manager Forest Turner, Code Compliance Director Joey Zapata, Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, and many others have put countless days into this issue. In fact, after personally inspecting the complex Forest and Joey ordered every unit be inspected for the appropriate temperature. Think about the number of inspectors that have to be involved to check the air and safety in 141 units in one morning. Joey, Forest, and other city employees were at the complex every single day over the course of weeks. This information could have been uncovered with one phone call. In fact, the writer of the editorial wouldn’t even have to dial 9, since it had been covered extensively by the Morning News’ own writers.

While it wasn’t highly publicized and only one news outlet covered the story, Caraway called a town hall meeting with translators to provide an outlet for residents to air grievances. When have you ever heard an elected official getting involved in such as issue, to the point where he or she made the management face the residents?

The tough part is that it can be days or weeks before anyone contacts the city about such issues. Many tenants don’t know that such complaints can be anonymously filed, or are scared to report such issues. I have suggested that apartment complex owners be required to post the city contact numbers so these issues can be addressed as soon as they arise.

For air conditioning issues, Dallas citizens should call 311 which will create the request and route it to city code inspectors. The city responds within 24 hours to air conditioning issues.

That being said, I have no love for the landlord of Barclay Square. Readers of Dallas Progress know that I have been writing about slumlord apartment owners since this blog began publishing. I think the owners realized that the issues must be fixed or the heat was going to be turned up in the form of more fines and a city lawsuit.

Per city ordinance, units that are eighty-five degrees or hotter must have a temporary air conditioning unit installed. Such action was required at Barclay Square, and from what I heard this was not welcomed by the owners of the complex.

While the Barclay Square tenants did not win in court, their lawyer was pleased that the issues were being addressed by city officials.

The DMN has been the source of some fine writing the past couple of years, especially some of the coverage within the North/South Project. Everyone’s bound to miss the mark every now and then, even yours truly as we write and search for the truth. But this story was everywhere. You would have to be under a rock or totally detached from the news cycle to not know that many people were working on this issue.

We don’t expect every news article to have a city-approved number of attaboys, but I would ask that some level of research be undertaken before the assigned editor throws everyone under the bus.

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One Response to “City Officials Work Hard and Editor doesn’t Notice”

  1. Ms. BettyCulbreath Says:

    My pet name for the DMN Editorial Board is the "Palin" group.They write,but they have no clue what is really going on. They need to come of their offices are get new informants.

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