Archive for the ‘Chaney’ Category

May 23, 2007

Turner Courts – Unsung Heroes and Hope

Last Friday, I was invited to attend the Central Dallas Ministries After School Academy (ASA) Art Show. Dr Janet Morrison (blog link) runs the program, along with a lot of residents that give their time to this cause. The art show, which consists of a silent auction of photos and drawings, raises money for the ASA Program and was held at the South Side on Lamar.

This program is based in Turner Courts. Turner Courts is in the far end of South Dallas, south of the intersection of 175 & 310 (map).

View more about the art show here, on the ASA Blog.

I got to meet a lot of the volunteers like Wyshina and others, the children, and Dr. Morrison. These children are special! They are congenial, talented, and intelligent. The Kashias and Danyelles and Dariuses of the world need support to fully blossom. They represent hope and the future, and the possibilities of achieving against all odds. Dr. Morrison told me about the kids from that area that became college students. Unfortunately, these folks are on their own.

I learned that the children of Turner Courts and Rochester Park have no library, not even a kiosk! The closest library is the MLK Branch, some three miles away. Yet, the area has two council members since it is part of District 4 and District 7 (both of which have been in office since 1999). How can you encourage kids to read, when they have nowhere to pick up a book?

We’ve heard the unctuous grandstanding by current City Council Members about places like Turner Courts when they are in a tight spot about some other issue. What I learned is that nothing has been done for these people or these programs. They received some lip service years ago, and they are all hanging on by a thread. Maybe, with the upcoming change in representation in this area we can help these people that are obviously trying to help themselves.

These people do not want to be portrayed as victims. What they need is support for the things they are trying to do in this community.

When I said that we are going to change the game in this City, I meant it. The lip service and pandering and using poor Black children as martyrs must stop!

I intend to keep in touch with Dr. Morrison and the ASA. The children and parents of this community are isolated from resources and opportunity. This must change.

February 15, 2007

Where’s the Money???

A reporter at the DMN and Robert Wilonsky at the Observer both report that the construction of the South Dallas Cultural Center will move forward with a new contractor.

I’m glad to see them moving forward on the SDDC, but two questions remain:

Where’s the $600K the first contractor received?! Surety bonds are great, but shouldn’t the message be sent that you can’t rip off the City and get away with it? Someone please prove me wrong.


Robert also mentions the still-closed Fair Park Motorsports Museum. I bet if you ask about the Auto Museum, you’ll get an answer like “it’ll be ready by Christmas this year.” The same answer we got each of the last two years.

I can’t wait until May 2007.

December 11, 2006

The Little People Get the Shaft Once Again

I just got a press release and letter from the folks at Ash Creek Mobile Home Park. These are the folks near I-30 and Ferguson in the shadows of Tenison park (map)

In fairness to Mike Orren at Pegasus, he has at least given them an outlet to post their side of the story including photos, legal docs, and video. Too bad Chaney never even met with them. Surprised much?

I still believe that the owner could’ve done more to make sure they have a safe environment. Steve Crossett (said owner) did nothing to help these people until the City came down on him for various violations. A good landlord fixes problems to be a good landlord, and he failed miserably.

This is an unfortunate situation on all sides.

I have to decided to print following their e-mail to me, unedited and in its entirety:



In light of Dallas City Councilmember Leo V. Chaney’s, public claim of “helping” the residents of Ash Creek Mobile Home Park;

Save Ash Creek HOMES wishes to share an open letter to Leo Chaney that was written (but not made public; until now) before we received our “termination date.”

Although, we have already received our “termination date” of 5:00 p.m., February 9, 2006, the letter below may illuminate the “help”
Mister Chaney has offered so far.

This open letter to Mister Chaney, was on-hold, pending approval from SACH members.

Open letter to Dallas City Council Member, Leo V. Chaney, Jr.:
from SaveAshCreek Homes – Nov. 25, 2006

Hello Mister Chaney,

You know who we are.
We are the residents of Ash Creek Mobile Home Park.

We are primarily a Latino family park with many children.

You are a champion of the downtrodden, the oppressed, the poor.
We wonder, why does your compassion, for those suffering social injustice, not extend to the residents of Ash Creek Mobile Home Park?

You are our city council member. We live in your district and most of us, voted for you.

We have reached out, in various ways, for a dialog.

You do not respond.

We were able to arrange contact with you, on two occasions.

1) Barbara Cline, resident of Ash Creek Mobile Home Park, was in attendance at a meeting, but her identity was unknown to you; until she asked you about the Park. It was the only way we could talk to you.

You told Barbara that you would tour the Park: Anonymously.


Why? Are you a spy or something? We are honest people, expecting a fair shake from the city. So far, we haven’t gotten, it.

Members of the Dallas City Plan Commission, came to the park and spoke with us. They toured the park. They gave us a chance.

Do you think we will all get it together, tidy-up things and try and fool you? If it were only that easy.

We are who we are, but we do not deserve the “trailer park” genocide being waged against us by the Ferguson Road Initiative (FRI).

One definition of “genocide” is “deliberate and systematic extermination of a cultural group.”


If there was ever a unique culture group; it’s us.

We have been good stewards of the land for 57 years. We have dealt with copperhead snakes, possums and reports of 50 pound, hybrid coyotes roaming Ash Creek.

We have lived in peace until your organization, the FRI, sent provocateurs after us (albeit, inept provocateurs; at least on the ‘legal’ end of things) .

2) The Second time we were able to make contact with you, was when Park resident Jack Lougheed, (although you kept calling him Tracy) called-in to your radio show on KNON, 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., Thursday mornings. He asked a question about the Park and you eventually cut him off.

You are correct that the issue may never come before the city council but you are “our” City Council member.

Please speak with us about the deeply disturbing issues that concern the ambiance of the White Rock Lake areas. Once again, please speak with us. It’s your job.

Onslaught: three-story, big matchbox homes (we watch them as they are being built) forced on the White Rock area.

There are only so many huge, magnificent trees in our neighborhood.
Once they are bulldozed by big home builders, our area will never totally recover, ecologically.

Mister Chaney, how often do you drive on Ferguson Road and through the pleasing adjacent residential neighborhoods?

Why have you failed to respond to our communications?

Does it have anything to do with our ethnic make-up at Ash Creek Mobile Home Park?

Or might it be a preconception and type casting of people who live in a “trailer park.” You may not know that WE are nurses, school crossing guards, construction workers, domestic workers, artists, musicians, veterans, gourmet cooks, gardeners and retired seniors, mothers, fathers, and children attending nearby schools.

Have you and others determined that we do not count, that we are simply insignificant members of your District?

We are “seriously” starting to wonder about all of this.

It’s not like we are a bunch of troublemakers (as we have been “SO” incorrectly portrayed). Does that inaccurate portrayal, makes us, “less?”

We are your constituents.

We will call your office soon to try again to make a time to meet with you. Please meet with us; we need your help, advice and “City Councilman” expertise regarding our future at Ash Creek Mobile Home Park.


Save Ash Creek HOMES

Never mind, Mister Chaney… never mind…

August 17, 2006

Fantroy saves Pleasant Grove from Unwanted Club!

Last week I wrote a teaser about a potential zoning fiasco that was going down at City Hall.

On Wednesday August 9th in case number Z056-231, the owners of What’s Hot Fun World (a roller skating rink) were applying for a specific use permit (SUP) that would allow the establishment to turn into a liquor-serving club. This area, near CF Hawn Freeway & Buckner (map), is already overcrowded with clubs, liquor stores, and other problem businesses. This area is in District 5, represented by Don Hill. What’s Hot Fun World is owned by Robert Milligan.

The majority of the neighbors (including those from Pleasant Grove ACORN and others) did not want this business to become a club, citing problems with crimes and other quality of life issues. Some said that it doesn’t “lend to the quality of life in Pleasant Grove,” and “they ought to have representatives that respect the desires (of constituents) in that area.”

Almost all of the applicant’s supporters spoke about the man himself, but not to the project.

Councilman Hill moved to approve the permit, saying something like (paraphrased) “young couples need some place to go and have a drink.” Maxine Reese also supported the permit, stating that since the skating rink was losing money we should let him change the business. Reese tried to call this club “economic development.”

What Mr. Milligan needs is a business consultant, not a favor from the City of Dallas. Actually, he already got a favor from the City of Dallas in the form of a tax abatement to open the skating rink.

Then Councilman Fantroy came to the rescue.

Councilman Fantroy said it best when he said that (paraphrased) “often the applicants win because they are more smooth and composed” and that’s why they often get what they want.

The owner’s representative claimed that if an establishment becomes a nuisance the SUP can be revoked. Fantroy called up City Planner David Cossum and asked how many SUPs have been revoked in his memory. Cossum said that he, “isn’t aware of any SUP that has been cancelled.” And that’s the point; once these permits are approved the neighborhood is essentially stuck with these changes.

Councilman Fantroy said he wouldn’t go back on his word to bring anymore alcohol-related businesses into Pleasant Grove when he co-chaired the SE Dallas Land Use Study.

Councilman Rasansky came out against it. He stated that he rarely votes against the wishes of councilmembers in other districts except in cases like these. Under Rasansky’s questioning, Cossum agreed that it does not meet any of the standards that are required to get an SUP, in terms of it being adjacent to residential property.

Councilmen Blaydes and Chaney also came out strongly against the club, citing problems in their own districts with similar clubs. Blaydes stated correctly that “the city put $200,000 in tax abatements into a roller skating rink, not a bar.”

I have had meetings with several of the current Deputy Police Chiefs about various crime issues. They all seem to agree that these types of establishments are a problem, especially in areas in which there is a preponderance of such clubs.

Proposals like this case, although somewhat under the radar, are the ones that destroy the fabric of neighborhoods and areas that are already under duress. Usually, these establishments suddenly appear and the neighborhood is left wondering how a particular business got approved. But not this time.

The motion FAILED 8-6 (Miller absent).

Pleasant Grove won, for once. The rich folks won’t get richer at the expense of the safety of the people.

August 2, 2006

Primer on Bama Pie by Dallas Progress

Robert Wilonsky just wrote a fabulous follow-up article on the Bama Pie Fiasco (link). Robert even talked to the man in charge of project, Derrick Mitchem.

The City should give him a medal for all the legwork that Robert did for this piece; this is investigative journalism. Kudos to the City Officials that are concerned about what happens to our tax dollars.

Here is my articles on the subject… including the infamous pictures in question.

“Bama Pie Building Still not Open – Chaney Promised Holiday 2005 opening” (link). Check out the comments below the article as well.

And for the record, no one said Mitchem stole the money. We just want an accounting of what was spent. And how could Chaney promise that is would be “Done by Christmas (2005!)” when clearly the guy is having some issues.

My goal was to have it heard at the Council level and to make people accountable for our City’s money – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

August 2, 2006

Dallas Progress Review of City Secretary Plan to Upgrade Office Quality

I have reviewed the plan put forth by Ms. Deborah Watkins, recently appointed Dallas City Secretary.

I have to say that I am very impressed with the plan.

Among the highlights of the plan:

*Making Campaign Finance information more searchable will allow less campaigns donors to hide and bring all contributors to light.

She is also going to upgrade the systems used to verify a candidate’s ability to run for office or serve on a city board or commission.

Such a system would have prevented Leo Chaney and Maxine Thornton Reese from being eligible to run for office in 2005 due to having tax liens on property because the City of Dallas had to mow high weeds and clean property that they owned.

*Another highlight is an improvement of the voter registration verification process. Anyone that has ever applied to a board or commission knows that it can be a tedious process to get approved. We now learn that it was because the Secretary staff had to drive to the county to verify information. Not anymore, under the new plan.

Now, if only the County would have such a plan. Campaign finance records for Dallas County candidates are still not available online (If I’m wrong on this, please reply to this article).

According to Dave Levinthal of the Dallas Morning News, she wants to have video streams of the Council Meetings. Do you realize how much fun Dallas Progress is going to be once we get videos of some of these meetings?!

* Cross-training of City Secretary staff. Another great idea, which will allow employees to be knowledgeable about several different jobs within that office.

And she’s doesn’t just want City money, it appears that she also wants to seek grants (!) to supplement the City’s funding to complete the project.

If Ms. Watkins plan is approved and put into place, the City Secretary’s staff will have the technology and support that they need to support the hard work that they do on a daily basis.

Some things are right with the City of Dallas, and this plan is one of them.

Ms. Watkins is proving to be a person that is not going to sit back and rest because she’s finally “made it” to the top spot. She is moving forward and putting forth a true PLAN to make Dallas a better city.

A copy of the plan (in PDF format) is available here.

July 20, 2006

Bama Pie building Still not Open – Chaney Promised Holiday 2005 Opening

This is NOT an article about the trust fund. This is an article about how city money gets given away to cronies, the work never gets done, and no one goes to recover the money. Doesn’t anyone care about your tax dollars?

Robert Wilonsky of the Dallas Observer has been all over the Leo Chaney Bama Pie fiasco. The owner of this building, Derrick Mitchem has received over $360,000 for the renovation of this building from the City of Dallas. The funds were to be reportedly used to make it into an Automobile Museum. The museum is located in South Dallas, one block south of Fair Park on Pennsylvania Avenue (map).

When Robert did his story in November, the owner of the building put some windows in to make it look like progress was being made. Robert wrote a follow up in March.

In November of 2005, Wilonsky wrote that “Mitchem couldn’t be reached on his cell or home numbers, but Chaney insists it will be open by the holidays.”

8 months later.. the building is exactly the same. The guy is four years behind on the payments, with no real progress to show for your $364,000. But Mr. Mitchem still can’t be reached. Let me see… if I were the City, and someone owed me $364K… I would hire a private detective or someone (cost? under $1,000) and serve the guy with some papers or something. Or at least hire that crazy guy from Cheaters… he seems to be good at finding people.
It’s one thing if it was almost complete…but this is ridiculous.

I took some pictures myself. Not surprisingly, it looks the same as it has for years. The illegal dumping in the first picture is a nice touch.

Did Chaney mean the holidays of 2006?

Mr. Mitchem bought the building in 1997, so some work should have been done on the inside right? OK, maybe not.

According to Dallas city records, the only work done on the building was a $1,500 paving job in early April 2006 (completed). Let me repeat that – the City records show that the only work shown for the City’s $360K+ investment is a driveway paving. That $360,000 includes $290,000 of Community Development Block Grant money. That’s where the city gets its money for Minor Home Repair for seniors and low-income people, and other community programs. Do you know how many home repairs could have been funded with $290,000? Close to 100! The pictures speak for themselves.

Here are the pictures, taken by yours truly in the past week (click pic to enlarge):

June 15, 2006

Leo Chaney Lies about Closing Down the American Inn Motel

Chaney is the Councilperson for Dallas’ District 7, which includes most of South Dallas and parts of East Dallas and Oak Cliff. It is an absurdly drawn district which likely reflects desires to create a district safe from electoral competition. (see map here)

The American Inn is located at 4538 Scyene, less than 1 mile east of the Fair Park main entrance. (see location here)

Here are some excerpts of an article I wrote for another blog earlier this spring. In light of Chaney’s claims that “he has been working on closing the American Inn since 1999” on his radio show, I decided to republish some of my article here:

Leo Chaney is the same guy who sat in on our Board of Adjustment meeting Wednesday, April 19th and tried to make some tired speech in front of the cameras like he had some part in getting the American Inn (hot sheet motel) closed.

I walked out. I don’t have to listen to that crap, and neither does the community.

The fact is the community turned to us because Councilman Chaney had done nothing about it. Chaney didn’t even have the graciousness to thank Dwaine Caraway and me for doing a lot of the heavy lifting on the American Inn. But, I don’t seek public acclaim. I seek to make a difference.

The community is much smarter than Chaney thinks.

The neighborhood had to raise $1,000 to file the application with the Board of Adjustment close the motel. Council members can order the hearing for FREE.

Chaney’s been at City Hall 7 years and done NOTHING about the motels! That’s not surprising because he’s has done NOTHING about many things in District 7.

Most readers may not know there is one corner along MLK (west of I-45) that has 6 liquor stores. There are more liquor stores than corners at that intersection. (4 corners…6 liquor stores)

A guy like Chaney is the reason South Dallas looks the way it does right now.

MLK Boulevard? Second Avenue? Malcolm X Boulevard? What could he have possibly done?

Chaney better not EVER try to run for ANYTHING else. If he does, I have a slogan for him. Ineffective…Incompetent… and Invisible… The I’s have it”.

Chaney’s realizes the tide is changing. All he can do is try to bully people and use his little clique to make his detractors’ names bad, but I don’t care one bit.

If you’re like him, and you value high school prom queen gossiping and your little “in” crowd more than the community’s best interests then the “Shakedown” nickname is well deserved.

I challenge him to produce a timeline backed by information that he had anything to do with closing the American Inn motel.

He can’t, and he won’t. THAT is the essence of Chaney’s tenure on Dallas City Council.

Links to Motel Articles, none of which show Chaney doing anything:

American Inn Background

Channel 8 Story on American Inn Motel

Dallas Morning News Article on American Inn

DallasArena – January 9th, 2006

DallasArena – March 22nd, 2006

DallasArena – April 21, 2006