Archive for the ‘Dwaine Caraway’ Category

My Response to Jim Schutze’s Post on May 10th

May 11, 2010

While the response below was included in the following blog posts (post one, post two),  in a issue so serious I felt the need to respond in a separate post. The answer to a question that he poses to me personally is also included.


Notice that even in Jim Schutze’s response dated Monday, May 10th he still hasn’t read the minutes that mentioned people opposed or the fact Oak Cliff Metals has illegally using land for years, nor why he bemoans the supposed fiefdoms of 14-1 except for this issue.  


It’s much more convenient when Schutze tries to make it a conspiracy headed by the Dallas Morning News.  The attempt to cloud the real issues with childish name calling is something I would expect from a high-school newspaper.  And if the best he can do is refer to me as a “little hench guy,” then I’ll just keep responding with facts.  For a so-called investigative reporter to use such a tone in such a serious issue makes him seem irrational and ridiculous.  It’s par for the course; the bully can’t take a punch back.  He’s done it before, and will again. 


Schutze only got involved after he thought he had a scoop on Mayor Pro Tem Caraway and figured he could use it to further his vendetta. As I mentioned before, no one at the Observer wrote about the issue on that day or in the days after, despite it being a contentious and contested vote at the City Plan Commission.



To claim that a council member can’t meet with a business owner “outside of the process” is one of the most ignorant comments I have heard about the zoning process.  So businesses should just apply for zoning and never meet with council members?  Such a process doesn’t happen in his district or others. Ask your councilperson if they’ve ever met with a business owner before the case got voted on.  In fact, Schutze should ask his own councilperson that question.  And in cases where a business lies near multiple district boundaries (Caraway’s council district is three streets down), the business will take the time to meet with all of them.  It’s perfectly acceptable and passes any ethics sniff test. Caraway was with the council member from that district at the time he was in front of Oak Cliff Metals, which was written by Schutze himself in his own article. 


What also is blatantly clear is that for someone that writes a political column as if he is a zoning expert, Jim Schutze has little actual knowledge of actual city zoning rules.  Regardless of what citations Oak Cliff Metals does or doesn’t have, the fact remains that they are operating illegally and are too close to residential zoning to get a Specific Use Permit.  This map proves it. The pictures show it. The City’s zoning rules do not allow it. Period. End of story.  I guess this means he’ll finally attend one of the hearings involving this case, since he hasn’t been at any to date.  

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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.

Oak Cliff Metals: More Ignored Facts

May 2, 2010

Tod Robberson on the Dallas Morning News checks in twice regarding the Oak Cliff Metals situation.

As he accurately reports:

They are seeking a re-zoning of part of their property, which they have been using without permission for industrial purposes even though it is currently zoned for retail use only.

 My hope would be that reporters like Schutze would more accurately reflect the situation instead of massaging stories and half-reporting for their own benefit.  But it hasn’t happened in two years, so I won’t hold my breath.  We will, however, continue to refute the lies that are reported by that paper.

Oak Cliff Metals: Half the Facts, and it never Mattered Anyway

April 28, 2010

(UPDATE: more on this situation in this newer post. Notice that even in Schutze’s response dated Monday, May 10th he still hasn’t read the minutes that mentioned people opposed or the fact Oak Cliff Metals has illegally using land for years, nor why he bemoans the supposed fiefdoms of 14-1 except for this issue.  It’s much more convenient when he tries to make it a conspiracy headed by the Dallas Morning News. And if the best he can do is refer to me as a “little hench guy,” then I’ll just keep responding with facts. Regardless of what citations they do or don’t have, the fact remains that they are operating illegally and are too close to residential zoning to get a Specific Use Permit. This map proves it. The pictures show it. Period. End of story.  I guess this means he’ll finally attend one of the hearings involving this case, since he hasn’t been at any to date.)

So Jim Schutze writes another article with a negative slant about what’s going on in Oak Cliff (He calls the area South Dallas, which it’s not. It’s Oak Cliff, which is inside Southern Dallas. But I digress).  So what else is new? They had a bunch of lead-up blog posts over the last month acting like they had a bombshell on their hands.  Not so much. Maybe he’s auditioning to be in a movie version of the book to the right. Who knows.

For whatever reason, Jim Schutze has had an agenda regarding Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway for the last two years or so.  I have talked about it from time to time this blog.  He claims to be even-handed, but the truth is the last decent story he wrote involving the Caraways was in March of 2006.  I only bring up this fact because he did.  Moving on.

A lot of things are left out of this week’s article in his paper, most of which is either by convenience, lack of investigation or both.

The truth is that Oak Cliff Metals is three blocks from the boundaries of District Four along Cedar Crest.  District Four residents are the ones that drive by these properties every day.

While Schutze was busy interviewing the security guard for Oak Cliff Metals, did he cross the street and ask the owner of the barber shop about Oak Cliff Metals?  No.  Did he interview the pastor of the church directly across the street? No. They would’ve told you about Oak Cliff Metals being a bad neighbor for as long as they can remember.In fact, they were at the City Plan Commission hearing.

While he claims this is Dwaine’s one-man crusade against the “fantastic” business that is Oak Cliff Metals, did he look at the minutes of the City Plan Commission during which multiple residents and business owners said that they were against the zoning application? No. Did he even attend the meeting that day? No.  Did anyone at the Observer write about the issue on that day, despite it being a contentious and contested vote at the City Plan Commission? No.

Did he writer ever have a problem with council members in North of East Dallas rezoning entire areas or streets? No.

Did he miss the entire process undertaken by the City Council more than two years ago against metal theft and metal salvage yards, on which Dwaine was the lead?  How many times was Oak Cliff Metals mentioned during that process as one of the most egregious of violators? Countless.

Even the owners of Gold Metals on South Lamar are willing to talk to the press about their business. Why does Oak Cliff Metals continue to hide?

Here are some facts about zoning in Dallas: A metal salvage facility must have a Specific Use Permit to operate (zoning rules), and even at that point can only have such a permit on land zoned Industrial Manufacturing.  Such a business cannot exist 500 feet from residentially-zoned land.  Oak Cliff Metals is less than 500 feet from such property. By that definition alone, the permit should not be granted.

Did Schutze mention anything about the fact that Oak Cliff Metals skirted the law by getting a CO for outside storage instead of their true use which is metal salvage? Did he mention that they currently do not have the Specific Use Permit needed to legally operate? Nope.

As mentioned by the Dallas Morning News two weeks ago:

City code enforcers warned Falcon Transit’s owner about several potential infractions last year. “Violation confirmed” and “illegal land use” appear on one Sept. 27 code-enforcement report. A separate notice of violation, addressed to Mr. Smith, lists an invalid certificate of operation.

Did Schutze mention that in addition to their application for a Specific Use Permit, Oak Cliff Metals wants to take land zoned Community Retail along Cedar Crest and zone it Industrial Manufacturing? No.  Then his story would be that much more meaningless.  All facts conveniently left out of his article.

I openly wonder how Schutze writes articles bemoaning “ward politics,” and then write an article about a councilman that has the supposed nerve of speaking out against a problem business that is blocks from his council district.  So which one is it?  Are you for or against so-called ward politics? You can’t have it both ways.

Schutze mentions that he doesn’t live on land zoned for industrial uses.  Of course he doesn’t; he lives in East Dallas where no such zoning exists on main corridors. Let’s see how his neighbors feel if someone wants to take some of their best land on Live Oak or Gaston near his house that’s zoned retail and make it industrial.

Why most of land that is zoned industrial is south of I-30 and not in his high-income neighborhood is a discussion for another day.

As I have mentioned before, they resent the fact that we are as educated about the process of improving our neighborhoods as any other area, and that we address problems. Oak Cliff Metals, Texas-by-Products, and others are on a long list of bad actors.  Clean up takes time.

They use their paper for undercover political motives as well.  I can’t respect writers like Schutze because they have no goal; it’s all about burning people with no real positive goal to bolster their efforts, while hiding behind the cloak of “good reporting.”

Keep writing, keep lying, and keep hating. We’ll keep cleaning up our neighborhoods.

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)

Two More Southern Dallas Motels Set to Close

January 15, 2010
In Council District Four, two more hot-sheet motels are set to close. Both are in the Piedmont neighborhood in Dallas. The motels are:
Sundial Motel at Buckner & Ricardo (map)
Luxury Inn Motel near Buckner & Scyene (map) – pictured below
Both motels were magnets for prostitution and other crimes.
The motels are set to close in January 2011.  In addition, regulations requiring landscaping and displays to be much closer to the storefronts (e.g. racks of tires and rims) and not along the streets and sidewalks.
Other motels will be announced in the coming months.

City Officials Work Hard and Editor doesn’t Notice

August 3, 2009

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.

Dwaine Caraway Elected Mayor Pro Tem

June 22, 2009


The 2009-2011 City Council has now been seated and sworn in, and as you can see there are a couple of changes in the Mayor’s Office.

Dwaine Caraway is now the Mayor Pro Tem, and Pauline Medrano is now the Deputy Mayor Pro Tem.

A big welcome goes out to new Councilwomen Delia Jasso (District 1) and Ann Margolin (District 13).

Deion Sanders Prime Time Sports Center is Moving Forward

June 19, 2009

City Council just approved the Prime Time Association football park sponsored by Deion Sanders and led at the city by Dwaine Caraway.

This is a brand new football facility coming to Oak Cliff! This is the same center that I wrote about a few months back. One block at a time, this city will be transformed.

More than A Grocery Store in Oak Cliff (with Video)

June 10, 2009

Yesterday was a great day in Oak Cliff. The Save A Lot grocery store had its official ribbon cutting for the brand new Save-a-Lot store at the Crest Shopping Center in the 2600 Block of Lancaster (map). Note: the Google street view also shows how it looked before the renovation.

Dwaine and I, along with the Mayor, city staff, neighbors, and the shopping center developer have been working on this for nearly two years. We were first looking at putting the store across the street from its current location. Everyone settled on keeping the store in the shopping center. The neighbors’ input was used in creating the store, from the items stocked on the shelves and beyond.

Save A Lot is an important part of this community. In these times, Save A Lot provides the opportunity for a family to get a healthy, balanced meal for $5. Compared to buying fast food every night for dinner because it’s cheap, a void is being filled in this neighborhood. People couldn’t wait to get into the store, as you can see people pushing carts by us even as the press conference progressed.

One major bonus: Save A Lot donated 5,000 pounds of food to the North Texas Food Bank! According to one of their reps that translates into 100 full carts of groceries for needy families at a time when donations are shrinking.

As I have said from the beginning, this is bigger than just a new grocery store.

In the process, the new store also provided us an opportunity to get rid of the asbestos filled theater that was on the north side of the center. The theater had been vacant for years and could not be rented due to the aforementioned issues. Now there’s a new grocery store in its place.

Mickey’s Catfish, owned by Vincent Hall, has just opened in the last couple of months. The mall and the neighborhood has a lot more energy now vs. before Dwaine took office.

You will also see that the entire mall is undergoing an extensive renovation and repaving, which was spearheaded by everyone working with the owners of the center as part of our Lancaster Road Initiative.

One of the comments that struck me the most were the ones made by Rick Meyer from Save A Lot:

“I’d like to take Dwaine on some road shows with me, (and) teach some folks in other communities what it’s all about to be a good partner.”

A comment like that makes it all worthwhile. When you see the various articles and conferences held with respect to what Southern Dallas needs to bring growth and development, this is what it’s all about. You can say it and claim you’re a leader all day long, but just like a World Series Championship baseball team you need a starter and a closer. We have that in our Mayor and Dwaine. This is one of the reason that I’m glad they’re both in office and in leadership positions on City Council. In his remarks, the Mayor also hinted at another store to be announced for District Four pretty soon!

This store and center will always be special to me. It’s where Dwaine’s campaign office was located when he first took office. The neighborhood was promised that this center would be a catalyst for positive change in that part of Oak Cliff and along Lancaster Road. I can’t count the number of nights we walked the center hoping that we could someday be a part of its turnaround. It’s here, but there’s more to come. The work is not done, but we’re moving in the right direction.

Video is below:

Remarks from from Rick Meyer, Vice President of Save-A-Lot.

Remarks from Vanessa Foster from Save-A-Lot and Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert.

Remarks from Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway.

Remarks from Cathy Misko and Vanessa Foster of Save A Lot and officials from the North Texas Food Bank.