Archive for the ‘Dallas’ Category

Stop the Violence Press Conference

May 5, 2010

Please join me, Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, Rickey Smiley, Tom Joyner, District Attorney Craig Watkins, and local religious and community leaders today for a Stop the Violence press conference.  We are trying to shed light on a continuing problem in Dallas, and an announcement will be made towards that goal.

Date: TODAY
Time: 2pm
Location: Dallas City Hall, 6th Floor Flag Room

We hope to see you there.

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A Good Cause for the Next Generation

April 29, 2010

Some of my friends work with the Marcus Graham Project. My friends in MGP are very dedicated to mentoring the next generation of media professionals. My friends get involved, and there is a whole crew of us moving in this great city.

Their next event is on Saturday, May 1st. They need support to mentor the younger people they’re taking on. Read below, and support where you can.

(after the video, their full press release is here)

Our mission is to identify, expose, mentor and train ethnically diverse men between the ages of 16 and 34 in all aspects of the media industry, including advertising, entertainment and marketing.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a Supply Drive + Fundraiser for The Marcus Graham Projects (MGP) Summer Bootcamp, iCR8.

Saturday May 1, 2010
The Tastemakers Suite

1409 S. Lamar #111
Dallas, TX 75215

9am to 6pm

We are collecting the following items for our summer bootcamp:

CREATE * Three (3) Laptops (New, Gently Used or Refurbished) * Notebooks/ Sketchpads/Pens * HD Video Camera/ Digital SLR Camera (Canon 5D preferred) * Software (Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Pro)

LIVE * Eight (8) Travel Scholarships ($250 Each 5 Roundtrip flights, 3 gift cards for Gas) * Gift Cards for Meals (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner) for 12 * Gift Cards to Wal-Mart or Target for Toiletry Items for 9 * Beds, Cots, Futons, Air Mattresses for 9 * Bedding (Sheets, Comfortable) for 9 * Bottled Water, Fans (Items to help with the TX Heat) * Dressers or Storage Containers * Bath Towels for 9 * 12 DART (Public Transportation) Monthly Passes * Kitchen Supplies (dishes, cooking utensils, pots/pans) * Sofas/Futons/Chairs (3)

*many of these items can be found at Wal-Mart & Target, however we will accept used items

THINK * Books (including: Emotional Branding, How Brands Gain the Irrational Edge by Darryl Travis; Truth, Lies & Advertising by Jon Steel; Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Advertising by Luke Sullivan (Third Edition); or other books that could benefit their learning * Informative marketing case studies, presentations, decks * DVDs/Links to relevant documentaries, speeches or presentations

Schedule of Events in the Gifting Lounge
9AM 11:00AM SOUL
Join us in for a fellowship breakfast as we prayer for our next generation of leaders, as well as the success of programs build to develop youth and young adults. This event will focus on fellowship and collective prayer led By Larry L . Yarrell, Sedderick Raphiel, & JD Garza. Breakfast will be served pot luck style at 10AM. Please bring muffins, juice, fruit, yogurt or other items. We will host a special edition of our On Line Radio show, where we will be joined by several of the young leaders that we have selected for The Marcus Graham Project boot camp and join with them in prayer & fellowship for their successful arrival to Dallas. Music to get your soul right provided by DJ Frances Jaye

12PM 3PM – BODY
Rejuvenate your body and unwind to simply good music provided by DJ M*Knight and massage provided by Massage4U. RSVP for your massage by emailing your First & Last Name, as well as info@marcusgrahamproject.org

4PM- 6PM – MIND
Enjoy a stimulating conversation and cocktail, as DJ Jay Clipp spins some true school tunes. The topic of conversation is progress, and we invite each of you to share on camera, how you are making progress in the world and how young people can continue to strive forward and accomplish their dreams.

Congrats to New Dallas Police Chief David Brown

April 28, 2010

I am so proud of Chief Brown as he has been named Dallas’ Chief of Police. He really cares about neighborhoods and getting rid of crime. I have always looked up to him and admired his courage. He does not play. Congrats and much love to the new Chief!

In addition to being a graduate of product of South Oak Cliff High School, he also has an MBA. He worked his way through the police ranks in Dallas.

Chief Brown also requested his new First Assistant Chief Charlie Cato get the chance to work in City Hall, as Chief Brown did as an Assistant City Manager. Chief Brown is already mentoring and setting up the future; THAT’S a leader!

I wish Chief Brown the best as he becomes Dallas’ top cop. The appointment is well deserved.

Full Press Conference Video from CBS 11

Central Market: Service from a Bygone Era

April 19, 2010

As my friends know, I love to cook and I love to eat.  Like many self-proclaimed foodies, I shop at Central Market on Lovers Lane.  On Sunday I bought a package of ground beef at CM that didn’t seem fresh once I opened it.  I saved it and took it back to the store on Monday morining.

After the explaining the situation to Jocelyn, the customer service attendant, she apologized countless times and gave me a refund.  At my request she called for someone in the meat department, who also apologized upon inspecting the package.

A special thanks to Eric in CM’s meat department.  Not only was my money refunded, but at my request he opened another package of ground beef that I randomly picked as we discussed the situation.  Then insisted on giving me not one, but two free pacakges of ground beef (shown here on my stove).  Keep in mind that this was after my money was refunded.  Now that’s service!

There are always lots of complaint-related blog posts out there regarding poor service or bad food experiences, so I thought I would share one that has a good ending. Kudos to Central Market and two special employees for their great handling of an unfortunate situation.

Community Gardens – Just a Thought

March 26, 2010
There are a lot of different articles and blog posts out right now with respect to community gardens.

I saw a comment on one post suggesting the city sell some of its vacant land to various neighborhood groups, and those groups could use it as a garden. Then the parcel would be considered private land. I’m sure Dallas is spending a fortune on mowing city-owned land parcels, so maybe this would help.

Thoughts?

DMN Editorial: HUD props up an apartment complex failing its tenants

March 17, 2010
The following editorial follows up on an article written by the Dallas Morning News on Sunday.  I also wrote about the same article. This is such an important issue, I am going to print the entire editorial in its entirety. 
The one thing I question is if any landlord has ever “walked away” from a building because of the pressure from HUD or any other public entity. I am very curious to know the answer.
Next, the editorial.
Editorial: HUD props up an apartment complex failing its tenants
  Dallas Morning News 06:24 PM CDT on Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Harvard-educated Rene Campos Jr. made a fortune by buying, rehabilitating and reselling distressed private apartment properties. Today, at 46, he lives in a million-dollar University Park home, owns a $4 million vacation property in Hawaii, plays polo, rides a custom motorcycle and drives a Land Rover.
Nothing wrong with being wealthy.

The problem is whether Campos and his investment company, Eureka Holdings, are living up to his self-described “mantra”: “We provide clean, safe, affordable housing for people.”

Eureka’s tenants at the Ridgecrest Terrace apartments in west Oak Cliff might beg to differ. Despite a constant stream of federal rent subsidies to the complex – including $1.5 million from the latest stimulus package – they describe a hellish swirl of drug activity, mold and mildew simply painted over, carpet so filthy it causes blackened feet and rashes, water-leak stains on walls.

Our issue isn’t just with Campos, a guy apparently more concerned with maximizing income by holding down expenses than with fulfilling housing commitments. It’s also with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which lets him get away with it.

Campos’ stimulus windfall was part of a $2 billion HUD effort to ensure that HUD-contracted landlords received a full year of rent subsidy payments. Ridgecrest Terrace was one of 14 Dallas County properties – nine in southern Dallas – to benefit. This, despite a record of failed HUD property inspections (later overturned on appeal), a city lawsuit to force repairs of substandard conditions (later settled) and the property’s failure to file audited financial statements on time (leading to a $3,000 fine).

If Campos is a slumlord, he’s giving other slumlords a bad name. HUD’s inability to separate worthy property owners from the chaff confirms criticisms of the $787 billion stimulus as larded with fraud and waste.

HUD’s response to this newspaper’s Steve McGonigle, whose research and reporting produced the Ridgecrest Terrace revelations, was dispiriting. A spokesman in Washington tried to explain the “delicate balance” between holding landlords accountable and making sure even the poor had decent housing. HUD supervisors locally and in Washington chose to not respond.

Campos tried to explain his side by blaming city vendettas for many of his problems at Ridgecrest Terrace.

Caught in the middle, of course, are the tenants, who just want that “clean, safe, affordable housing.” Landlords have the ultimate hammer, which is walking away if HUD leans on them too hard. With so much of southern Dallas’ housing stock tied up in complexes like Ridgecrest Terrace, tossing families into the street is a black eye HUD and the city don’t need.

Neither is looking away while people with few other options live in squalor.

If You Don’t Give Eric Johnson a Chance, I have No Words for You

March 16, 2010
Anyone with a pulse can read this interview with incoming District 100 State Representative Eric Johnson and see that he has something special going for him. 
I guess where I differ than some is that I feel Eric would’ve won regardless of any indictment looming over the incumbent. I believe he would’ve won anyway.  
Eric was willing to work for your vote.  He and his wife were everywhere…from the MLK DART station, to East and Southeast Dallas, to West Dallas and beyond.  It will be good to see if he actually owns any clothing other than suits or campaign shirts, since that’s what it seems like he’s been wearing for the last nine months.
Equally important, when he spoke or wrote, he had ideas. He didn’t hide when questioned about his campaign, he admitted mistakes, and he kept working.  The voters of his district took notice; and that’s why he won.
This race speaks to one of the core issues in Dallas, and probably in other impoverished neighborhoods nationwide.  To me, there is a general lack of political mentorship in southern Dallas, of which the end result is incumbents who win time and again based on the fact that “they’re there” so to speak.  
What also results is entire neighborhoods that exist in a virtual tailspin of mediocrity, hamstrung by the lack of original ideas and political will to change things.  It’s almost like some entrenched politicians avoid new ideas as if it’s an indictment of their leadership.  It’s not.  That’s the equivalent of sticking with Windows Me when Vista has been around for years and Windows 7 has been released.
There are some exceptions, but for the most part I am correct. There are some political leaders that will shrug off what I wrote, and that’s fine.  There are exceptions in Dallas to what I’ve written in this piece. However, if it makes you upset, take someone under your wing and prove me wrong. We need positive, encouraging guidance to continue improving our communities in the future.  
Go forth Eric, do your best to bring your ideas to fruition and uplift District 100.

The Six Finalists for the Next Dallas Chief of Police

March 8, 2010
H/t to Rudy Bush from the DMN on this one:
The finalists for chief are:
Art Acevedo, Austin chief of police
David O. Brown, Dallas first assistant chief
Robert L. Davis, San Jose, CA chief of police
Daniel V. Garcia, Dallas assistant chief
Floyd D. Simpson, Dallas assistant chief
Robert Crump White, Louisville, KY police chief

Farewell Lt. Carlton Marshall

January 4, 2010

Tomorrow, DPD Lt. Carlton Marshall is retiring from the Police Department.  His story has been chronicled     on this blog as well as all over the country.   Here is a Channel 8 story covering the LT’s retirement.  We thank you for your service and dedication, and for your wife who has stood by you every step of the way.

Smashburger: One of the Best

November 17, 2009
It has been known for some time that Smashburger is coming to Dallas. Everybody that knows me knows that I search high and low for the best burgers in Dallas. With that in mind, I got an invite to the pre-opening for Smashburger.
Leonard Davis and Marc Columbo of the Dallas Cowboys are among the investors. That alone gave me high hopes, because offensive lineman know about good food.
Ever since my beloved Chips on Cole Avenue closed (the building is STILL empty, by the way) I have been on a mission to find the best burgers in Dallas. To me, the best doesn’t mean it has to cost more than $15 and claim it’s gourmet.
(full disclosure per this new rule: I ate for free…and ate WELL for free)
Most places claim to have great burgers, and fail to live up to the hype. Other places have great burgers and terrible fries or vice versa. However, Smashburger has done a good job with all aspects.
Keep in mind that the burger is not expensive; the 1/3 lb ranges from $4.99-5.99, and the ½ lb goes for $5.99-6.99. A full meal will run about $10-12, which is not bad for fast-casual.
The restaurant’s name comes from the way they cook their beef, according to their website:

We start with 100% Angus Beef, smashed, seared and seasoned on the grill, placed on a butter-toasted artisan bun and topped with the highest-quality cheeses, freshest produce and condiments.

I would agree. I got the BBQ, bacon, and cheese smashburger with smashfries (tossed with rosemary, garlic, and olive oil). The fries are excellent, on par with the truffle fries at AMPM restaurant downtown (one of my faves for fries).
After my initial meal was served (you take a number like at Village Burger and they bring it to the table), they showed much love to yours truly by bringing two milkshakes: one vanilla and one lime (yes, lime).  The lime one was interesting; almost like key lime pie but not as overpowering as to go well with the food.  There were also fried pickles and chili cheese fries topped with jalapenos.   I found out they also have chicken sandwiches too. I’ll save that for a future trip (maybe – I’ll most likely try another burger).
Here’s their menu. I say it’s worth the trip, although word is they will open multiple franchises in DFW. For what I consider real burger prices, Smashburger ranks among the best in Dallas.

location (map):
4980 Belt Line
Addison, TX 75254