Archive for February, 2010

Wet-Dry Petition

February 24, 2010

Right now I am not writing any posts as I mentioned before.  I just wanted to say that I have nothing to do with the forthcoming wet/dry area petition – it is oddly named as a variation of the name of this blog.  I do have some concerns which I will outline at a later date.

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Bishop Larry McGriff – Funeral Information

February 23, 2010

RIP Bishop Larry D. McGriff

February 18, 2010

For those that have not heard, Bishop Larry McGriff had a brain aneurysm and stroke overnight and passed away this morning. He was recently married to Dr. Karen Hollie, the pastor of Lifeway Church and a columnist at the Elite News.

I still can’t believe Bishop McGriff is gone. He was a great pastor and love to sing with the choir, but he truly loved doing God’s work “outside the walls.”
From toy giveaways to helping people get jobs, he did so much that people will never know. He was a driving force in rallying the community to help us close multiple hot-sheet hotels, and he brought teens to City Hall to participate in Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway’s Teen Summits.
If you rode anywhere with him and he hopped out of his car, especially at a store or somewhere like that, people would run up to the car to say hello or ask for some help. It didn’t matter if you were homeless, formerly incarcerated, or just down on your luck, you had a friend in Bishop McGriff.
I always jokingly called him my “surrogate uncle” because he treated me so well and I looked up to him a lot. He never asked me for anything, other than to keep him abreast of what we were trying to clean up in the community.
When you drive down Lancaster and look across from the VA Hospital, you can see Bishop’s work. Those motels are dust! Ironically, today, I saw the 3-D model for the development that will go on the land where the Sunset Motel and Southern Comfort Motel once stood and plagued the community.
Notice that the news heading in one of the videos below says “into the sunset.” How appropriate.
For the most part no more stories will be done on this blog for a while. I can’t imagine anything meaning more than this right now.
RIP Bishop McGriff. Thank you for everything. I would not be where I am without him. To a pastor that had the guts to step out on behalf of the community, you are already missed.
I’m glad I got to say goodbye. I found a few videos of him and I wanted to share them with you. Please pray for him and his family.

If you ever went to Church of the Living God, you heard this song:

Sunset Motel will be Closed – May 2007 (closed and demolished)

Southern Comfort Motel is on Notice – July 2007 (closed and demolished)

UPDATE: Frisco City Council Approves Affordable Housing Support

February 17, 2010

Last night, Frisco City Council voted 4-1 to support developer applications for affordable housing within the city.  This is a follow-up to the story I wrote about a few days ago.

The projects still have be be approved for tax-credits by the State’s housing agency.

NBA All-Star Weekend had Dallas Rocking

February 15, 2010

The headline to this post says it all.  More than 108,000 people attended the game.  Even more importantly,  the game brought approximately $150 million into the area.

Arlington may have hosted the game, but Dallas owned the weekend.  Despite the weather, the crowds hit the streets of Downtown and other areas.

On Saturday night, the city center was jam packed from 8pm on.  Downtown Dallas was rocking.

Even farther north there were many events filled to capacity.  Kenichi, Trece, Go Fish, and Hibashi had daytime events and a couple were closed off by the fire marshal because they were so packed. You heard right, daytime parties.  They started at 12, ended around 6pm.

The Erykah Badu/Jamie Foxx concert at the Palladium on Saturday? Filled to capacity.

Northpark was packed like it was Christmas Eve for four days straight. Ditto Galleria.

There was some traffic-related frustration, and yes a couple of Dallas’ finest could’ve been more polite with their requests to our visitors but overall they did a great job. Dallas has never hosted an event like this. Texas-OU and other major events don’t compare to All-Star weekend.

By 4am, the streets were clear except for a traffic accident near the Farmers’ Market on Saturday.

Everybody was spending money. This is what All-Star Weekend was about. And all of those who predicted Armageddon because it was an urban event, I am more that happy to say you’ve been disappointed.

I just hope we don’t have to wait 24 years to host our next All-Star game.

DART Plans and Security Plans for All-Star Weekend

February 12, 2010
I hope everyone has a great time in Dallas for NBA All-Star weekend and our city shines like we know it can.  I wanted to pass along some items which may be of interest regarding street operations downtown and DART Rail service.
Street Restrictions and Operations
All parking meters on Main Street will be hooded and no meter parking will be allowed through Sunday.
On Friday night from 6pm-3am, access to Main Street will be restricted to residents needing access to their homes, limos, and taxi drivers. Drivers may be asked to show IDs or resident parking passes.
There will be no parking allowed on Main St. Please use Elm or Commerce.
DPD is prepared to shut down Main Street as needed over the weekend. It is recommended that you avoid Main Street if at all possible.
DART and All-Star Weekend Train Service
(link to DART’s All-Star Weekend info)

I’m sure I wasn’t the only person working on this issue, but from the media exposure, concerned council people and others DART will be run trains from downtown until 3am-325am depending on the line. A week ago they were going to stop at 12:30am, which would have caused headaches for Downtown Dallas.
A lot of progress was made and now we have a more reasonable service plan for this weekend.
A special shout goes to Councilwoman Linda Koop, the head of the City Council’s Transportation Committee for her assistance, as well as various officials at DART.
As I mentioned to fellow city officials and other interested parties, we also need things to run smoothly for reasons larger than this event. As Dallas is trying to attract larger events, good PR from our train service would go a long way. Conversely, no one wants the opposite to happen. The eyes of the tourism and business worlds will all be on Dallas for a weekend, and we all want to see the city shine like we know it can and will with everyone’s help.

Low-Income People can Live in Frisco, too

February 12, 2010

The fantastic Candy Evans at D Magazine’s Dallas Dirt brings us a story about opposition to a mixed-income housing development in Frisco because some of the residents will use Section 8 vouchers.

Like Candy writes, “working folks need to live somewhere and Frisco businesses complain they can’t find enough employees who want to drive in from more affordable areas.”   Stacy Brown (Frisco’s Housing and Grants administrator) states in the clip, “to grow with our businesses, we need those workers. We need them to be able to come here. Otherwise, we can’t staff our restaurants, hotels, retail.”

I couldn’t agree with them more.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcdfw.com/video.

In addition, it’s not a low-income housing community.  It’s mixed income with some of the residents using Section 8 vouchers. 

For the gentleman in opposition in the news clip: the people that you’re so scared of are already in the city.  There the ones working in the Target and other stores near Stonebriar. Keep worrying about pre-conceived fears you’ve read about, your precious suburb will be just fine.  However, I think this might be more of a threat to your property values in Frisco.

Snowball Fight – Thanksgiving Square- NOW

February 11, 2010

Need I say more..as seen from the KPMG building

Towing & Booting Revisions are a Good Idea

February 10, 2010

Today the City Council voted, by an 11-4 margin, to change the ordinance involving booting of cars in parking lots.

While the previous ordinance was only in effect in Deep Ellum (downtown lot operators had another six months), today’s vote expanded the rule citywide that prohibits booting of vehicles in parking lots that do not provide drivers a receipt.  In addition, it also eliminated video audits as an alternative to providing parking fee receipts.

Because of the way parking lot operators and tow truck companies have been running their businesses, I have started a practice of only parking at meters.  As much as I dislike nighttime parking meters, at least I know that I won’t return to my car with a boot on it (or towed and missing altogether). 

In my opinion, this should have been done the first time; I didn’t see the reason for changing the law in Deep Ellum and giving Downtown lot owners an additional six months.  It didn’t take too much deductive reasoning to figure out that the next move would be to take the shady practices a few blocks west of Deep Ellum, a practice which was outlined extensively in recent weeks.

Apparently, the owner of Hawkeye Towing came to speak at City Council.  He claimed that his business would be in jeopardy and that he’s a good operator; in my opinion what he calls a business should be in jeopardy. Fortunately his crocodile tears didn’t sway anyone.  Here’s their BBB listing (h/t to Travis from Pegasus). I didn’t see the video, so I can’t confirm if it was this this guy from Hawkeye or not. 

I’ve been in lots “attended to” by Hawkeye Towing.  After a friend’s car was booted after a show in Deep Ellum we decided to turn the tables on this company.  The boot guy tried to talk tough in the beginning, but once a couple of us whipped out our cell phone cameras and recorded the shady event everything got real polite and calm.  The boot was removed from my friend’s car.

To this day, I haven’t figured out why lots in the West End have receipt machines but it is oh-so-difficult for these same owners to install such machines downtown and in Deep Ellum. But that’s an argument for another day.

Today was a victory for businesses and patrons, and a tear jerker for the ripoff artists.  We must continue to stay vigilant and keep a watchful eye out for and shady practices.  Keep those cell phone cameras charged.  On to the next one.