Archive for October, 2009

Bureaucracy Stalls Safety for the Hood

October 27, 2009

I have been following and looking forward to the installation of gunshot detection systems in Dallas. While it was looked at some years ago by DPD, the company that was used produced an inferior product.  A different company is being used in this trial.

So we get to the point where pilot programs take place. One trial is planned for North Oak Cliff and I believe another is set for South Oak Cliff.

According to this DMN article from last week, the installation is being stalled out by Oncor.  Oncor says that they want ShotSpotter (the gunshot detection company) to take responsibility for the utility poles before they allow the system installs.

This is a major mistake by Oncor.  The article says that utility companies in other cities did not require such agreements.  While other cities are experiencing the benefits, Dallas lags behind because of bureaucracy and nonsense and neighborhoods remain at risk of random gunfire.
I also disagree with the whole concept of doing a pilot program, instead of just rolling out the product in a much larger radius. The technology and results of the ShotSpotter system have been proven to be successful nationwide.

Here is an example of the program’s success in San Francisco.  Hopefully, Oncor will wake up and realize how important such a service would be for Dallas’ most crime-ridden neighborhoods and get it together.
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‘GMC Terrain Charity Challenge’ will Raise Funds for Nonprofits

October 27, 2009
Here are excerpts from the press release for the GMC Terrain Charity Challenge.

‘GMC Terrain Charity Challenge’ on Facebook Will Pick 3 DFW Ambassadors and 3 Charities to Compete for $20,000 and Drive GMC Terrains.

Representatives from three Dallas-Fort Worth charities will be selected to drive the all-new 2010 GMC Terrain for a month and compete on Facebook to win cash for their favorite charity during the $20,000 ‘GMC Terrain Charity Challenge.’

“Our local marketing association is continually looking for ways to give back to the community. The launch of the new GMC Terrain provides us an opportunity to not only help designated local charity groups but also showcase the versatility of our new vehicle,” says Carey Williams, President of the Dallas GMC Local Marketing Association. “If you are a DFW-area driver, are passionate about a charity, and are on Facebook, you could be chosen as a GMC Terrain DFW Ambassador and compete in the $20,000 ‘GMC Terrain Charity Challenge.”

Each Dallas-Fort Worth $20,000 ‘GMC Terrain Charity Challenge’ Ambassador will receive a 2010 GMC Terrain crossover SUV for a month, a $400 gas card, and a Flip Video to document their GMC Terrain driving experience as they compete to win cash for their favorite charity. The Ambassadors will also have the opportunity to personally win prizes in the competition.

The $20,000 ‘GMC Terrain Charity Challenge’ Ambassadors will also encourage their Facebook Friends to become a Facebook Fan of GMC DFW (www.Facebook.com/GMCDFW) and vote for the Ambassador’s selected charity. The charity with the most votes wins that percentage of the $20,000. Voting for the charities begins on November 16, 2009.

More info can be found on the $20,000 ‘GMC Terrain Charity Challenge’ info page (link).

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Contact:

Jo Trizila
TrizCom Inc.
jo@TrizCom.com
http://www.TrizCom.com

Video of Lt. Carlton Marshall’s Extreme Makeover

October 19, 2009
The Extreme Makeover episode featuring DPD SWAT Team member Lt. Carlton Marshall aired last night.

Having been to the hospital when a officer is killed, I’m still grateful for the actions of SWAT Team Doctors Dr. Alex Eastman and Dr. Jeff Metzger.  They saved Lt. Marshall’s life when he was shot during a raid.
As you know, Lt. Marshall is now working out of the DPD’s South Central Station.   I couldn’t think of a better person to receive such a blessing. Watch the episode.
Link to video

Fireworks at Dallas Performing Arts Center – Wyly and Winspear Grand Opening

October 19, 2009

Realities and Misconceptions about Downtown

October 13, 2009
There is always a lot of talk about what needs to happen to keep the momentum going in Downtown Dallas. But what you inevitably hear and read are an undercurrent of naysayers bemoaning the same factors for why downtown will never return to its past glory. The homeless. The tunnels. The (fill in the blank).
In my opinion, these are not reasons to ignore downtown.  I don’t see them as barriers to the recovery of downtown Dallas.

Yes, there are homeless people in Downtown Dallas. Unfortunately, there are going to be homeless people in every downtown in every major city. A good friend of mine in real estate made an interesting statement about the homeless, which was “if you had more people downtown, you wouldn’t notice the homeless because they would blend in with everyone else.”  When you compare Dallas to other cities, there are not a lot of homeless people.  I have seen cities with a much higher population of homeless revitalize their downtown. What city lets 10-15 people walking around during the day asking for change affect what is going to happen in a given part of town? See how much sense that makes? The people that don’t travel downtown because of the homeless folks probably will never come downtown anyway.
There is a need for improved lighting, but that will come with time. Also, applications are starting to arrive for video boards, which will provide a little flash to the major downtown streets.
What I really here are a bunch of excuses.
These are really excuses for people that wouldn’t invest, shop, or live downtown in the first place. Yet, some business owners have built downtown to great success.
7-Eleven opened at Commerce & Field. They didn’t say they couldn’t be successful because of the tunnels or anything else.  Try going in the store anytime during the day; there’s always several people in line or moving about the store. I would guess that it’s one of their more successful stores in Dallas.
The Joule Hotel is right in the middle of Main Street. They didn’t say that you couldn’t have a high-end hotel because a few homeless people are walking by the building. It’s a successful place.
Another reality: we’re stuck with the tunnels.  Most of the stores in the tunnels provide basic retail functions. They are a cash generator for the building owners and it’s probably too cost prohibitive to close the tunnels.  Philadelphia has an entire network of tunnels full of similar retail shops; so does Houston. In fact, in Houston the tunnels are marketed as an amenity, and some of them are open at night.
I have a different take on the tunnels than most.  We should look at the tunnels more as an asset and part of the overall strategy. Attract higher-level retail at the street level and leave the rest in the tunnels.  I’m sure the tunnels have lower rent costs, which would allow an aspiring business owner to strike out on his own and move to a street-level space once they have enough business.
I also disagree with the current alignment of the downtown streetcar. In my opinion, the route completely cuts off Deep Ellum from the rest of downtown. It’s a great route for the Arts district, but not for anywhere else.
I know that Deep Ellum is listed as a “potential extension,” but there are great businesses there now.  The main streets have multiple lanes that would be conducive to a streetcar.  How cool would it be to leave your office during lunch, hop the streetcar down to Twisted Root or Lemongrass or St. Pete’s, and get lunch? It also would show out-of-town Arts District patrons about this great alternative retail and restaurant scene right in the middle of our city.  Maybe just throw Deep Ellum a bone by having the train stretch to Good Latimer and Commerce,  circle back to Main and then continue north at Harwood Street.
If it’s impossible to build this route, then they should simultaneously look at a route for Deep Ellum.
The other funny thing is the people that are worried about driving on the streetcar tracks. Do you know how to drive? Seriously. As with a lot of things in Dallas, we want the amenities without any hassle. Well, the real world (which includes the cities to which we compare ourselves) works a little bit different.
It’s all about how you look at the situation.  Dallas has certain realities that must be dealt with downtown, but we should look at them more as opportunities than excuses not to invest, to shop, and to live.

Lt. Regina Smith – Pure Inspiration

October 12, 2009
I waited through the evening to watch the news tonight on CBS 11.
The lead story focused on DPD Lt. Regina Smith, wife of slain officer Senior Corporal Norm Smith.  She had a comfortable position working in Chief Kunkle’s office, but she has made a change.  Lt. Smith has gone back to patrol in Southeast division, on the same streets where you could often find Norm Smith.
The story also said that she is trying to collect $3,000 to buy the gang unit a ballistic shield. These are the shields you often see in raids that protect officers from shots from handguns, shotguns, and machine guns.  Maybe there’s a good Samaritan out there that will donate the funds; just a thought. A Level IV shield would work just fine.

If she can continue the fight, so can we.

The Downtown Dallas Forum is Today

October 12, 2009
Today at 4pm, the Downtown Dallas 360 Community Forum will take place at the Convention Center.  The purpose is to hear more about the plans for downtown and participate in an interactive discussion focused on our priorities for future Downtown development.
The presentation and discussion will focus on linking The Dallas Farmers Market, the Arts District, the Cedars, Deep Ellum, and The Main Street District as well as future developments.  Hope to see you there!