Archive for the ‘Lancaster Road’ Category

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.

We Have Motels to Knock Down

October 2, 2008

The infamous Sunset Motel and Southern Comfort Motels are being demolished today! These are the ones that Dwaine Caraway and I worked to close along with community leaders. Then Chris Bowers and other city attorneys made sure they stayed closed.

These are the motels across from the VA hospital.

Location: 4300 block of Lancaster Road ; Dallas 75216

Date: Thursday, October 2nd

Time: 2PM

Come out and join us for this glorious event!

Lancaster Road Motels Officially Sold

August 6, 2008

What started as a grassroots effort more than a year ago has now come to fruition.

As of last week, the motels across from the VA Hospital have now been sold. Demolition will begin next month, and a job center along with commercial space will be built in its place.

I appreciate those that were on the front line along with me and Dwaine. Bishop Larry McGriff, Dr. Beverly Mitchell-Brooks, ACORN, and all of the church leaders that rallied when some said it couldn’t be done…we did it! Thanks also to the Dallas City Attorneys who vigorously defended the ridiculous lawsuits filed by the motel owners. It’s a lot harder to be out front on something like this, and your help and support is appreciated.

This was the goal all along – to rid the community of problem places so that new development can take place. There are several projects now moving forward on Lancaster, and not too long ago the corridor was not a even a focal point for the city. This is what “One Block at a Time” is all about.

There is No Profit in Getting Along…for some

August 2, 2008

For some, there is no profit in getting along. For some, the fact that the Mayor has a great relationship with Dwaine is eating them alive. Some blogs and “news” outlets have a major problem with people getting along and our neighborhoods cleaning up and creating opportunities. They can’t profit when we are getting along.

A paper like the Dallas Observer serves this function. They can’t stand that the Mayor gets along with Dwaine and the majority of the council. They loved it when Laura Miller and Maxine Reese were clawing at each other up at the horseshoe. They didn’t care that the hood got worse and worse because nothing could get done at City Council. They still won’t let Lynn and Rufus rest in peace.

I remember when Observer called me for the Royce West cover story that came out last year, looking for dirt. I guess my quote was too positive, because it was never printed.

I remember when they called me 2-3 times about the story about Pastor Freddie Haynes a couple of months ago. There’s no need for me to call back, because I already know the play. I know people in the community that did return the Observer’s calls and talked at length about the Pastor Haynes story, and I told them that their comments would never make print. I was right.

It was just like when the Observer went out of their way to praise Guardian Management about how great they were, and how they were good Samaritans for using millions in tax credits to buy apartment complexes in Pleasant Grove. This is the company that owns Grove Village Apartments (just east of Loop 12 and Jim Miller) and Pleasant Village Apartments (just north of Loop 12 on Jim Miller). They also tried to say I was wrong when I called them out about the story. I’ve walked the streets of the Grove, and knocked on doors in that area. Everybody who knows anything about those two places knows that they don’t care one lick about their tenants. Every summer they’re on TV because their tenants haven’t had A/C for weeks. Both complexes cater to thugs which hold good tenants hostage, and do nothing about it. You see, that’s what happens when you drop in to do a quick story and don’t return. When you don’t know about the hood and don’t really want to be there to find out what’s happening, you write half-baked stories about it. And it shows.

I personally was glad for Dwaine to get the Observer cover story out of the way in March. I tried to be me, and have a good attitude about it, but I knew what the end result would be. Almost every positive thing written was tainted with skepticism or a “what’s in it for him” tone.

No one at the Observer, Jim Schutze in particular, can just believe that the Mayor and Dwaine don’t want to clean up the hood because it’s the right thing to do. They don’t believe that a southern Dallas councilperson can have an opinion about a major city project, especially one located downtown, without it having to be someone following what the business establishment or some powerful group wants to do. Maybe they just have the same opinion about things…imagine that. No, that would make too much sense. You need the manufactured conspiracy, supported by people’s ideals about what went on in Dallas way back in the day. In the Observer’s eyes, a southern Dallas councilperson can’t think for themselves. Notice I said southern Dallas councilpeople, not African-American. Our councilpeople south of I-30 include many races, and the Observer approaches them all in the same fashion (unless they support their side of an issue).

And that’s the rub. There’s no story in that; there’s no profit in people getting along and working together for the improvement of the community. Councilpeople and Mayors all over the country work together for that specific cause.

Just like the haters in the black community, which profited from the hood being in despair so they could get contracts and campaign for “a brighter day” that never came, they hate the way things are going right now. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get a contract to grow your business. But don’t hide under the guise of community service to get one and then let the community service disappear. Most of the attacks they made are baseless, because they aren’t even in the mix to know what’s going on.

But just like TMZ, there’s plenty of profit in manufacturing nonsense and keeping people at odds.

A sidenote: some of the haters have suggested that my enmity is because I wasn’t selected to work on a particular campaign. That’s pure foolishness. First, I’ve known the candidate involved for years, long before that person decided to run. He’s a great guy. Second, when it comes to campaigns I have a short memory. Third, I think my track record on campaigns is pretty good the past few years…basically everybody I helped in the last 2-3 years vs. the haters are in office except for one person. For them? Not so much. Most campaigns I work on I volunteer, so we can get good people in office. As a prominent Dallas leader told me a few months back, “we don’t need any more political consultants, we need leaders.”

I look at how many positive articles or blurbs have been written in the Observer recently about people that are trying to make a difference in southern Dallas, elected and unelected. There aren’t many.

It’s not about being sensitive to criticism or anything like that; it goes with the territory. I have been around politics all of my life, whether living in Dallas or somewhere else. But I can tell the difference between those that want to have an educated discourse or disagreement about real issues and those that simply want to stir up drama to keep us fighting with each other.

And there are people in the Black community that like to stir up nonsense as well. They have their own reasons, I guess, but most of it is because the hood is improving and they aren’t part of it. As I have written before, some people like to profit from pain.

It’s not an age thing either. I have plenty of people in the community to whom I listen that are 60, 70, 80-plus years old; it’s just not them. I know the difference between a hater and a mentor. A lot of the haters don’t have many young people around them. They avoided their chance to mentor the next generation so they could hold on to whatever power they had.

Notice when finding someone to talk bad about Dwaine, the Observer can never find a District Four resident to do it. That’s because the residents love what we’re doing. Come to our town hall meetings. You’ll see a few agitators, and we still work with them to get them help if we can. But most of the people are happy and are excited about the progress being made. Ask any of the major non-profits if they like what we’re doing in District Four. Ask residents if they get code and police response like never before. Or, put on your tin-foil hat and let the Observer keep you confused and running in circles.

The Observer never asks the haters, “what’s in it for them?” As one famous person once said, “we don’t believe you – you need more people.” I’ll take the community over a couple of rock throwers any day of the week.

The funny thing is that most of the big groups in north Dallas have volunteers that come to our communities and help clean up, and donate their time to worthy causes. We have people from all over DFW, that see us in action and know what we’re about. So they laugh when they see these stories, because they’re in our neighborhoods and see the improvement for themselves.

The haters find safe haven when talking to the Observer, but ask those haters when was the last time they were even in District Four doing anything of note. In the last year, have they ever knocked on the door of a drug house? Have they ever talked to the thugs on the corner and try to encourage them to start a new life? Have they taken bus loads of kids out of the hood to expose them to positive things? Have they been to one funeral of a kid claimed by teen violence, to try to promote peace? The answer is: NO.

If you watch the movie Street Fight which talked about Cory Booker going up against the “establishment” in Newark you’ll draw a lot of parallels to Dwaine’s fight to get in office. Just like Cory, Dwaine broke through after some defeats and things are looking up.

Maybe I’m helping the Observer and the haters, because then they’ll link to this story and probably publish an article about it. Whatever.

But I want people that don’t come to the hood and think that they are getting an accurate picture of what’s going on to know what’s really happening. There’s a difference between being anti-establishment and trying to stir up a bunch of drama and hate to keep us running in circles. The Observer is mostly about the latter.

The haters? They hate everything we are trying to do. If they hate everything we do, do they like motels, crack houses, and crime? Do they hate seniors being able to sit on the front porch without getting hit in the head? Do they hate the fact that the motels are being torn down across from the VA Hospital with job training centers being built where the motels once stood, and that the VA may expand with positive residential development?

I guess you can’t please everyone, but all this does is take the focus off of what’s important. This is like the John McCain/Britney Spears ad; with all of the real issues going on THIS is what we’re talking about? This is what happens when we start focusing inward instead of thinking about how the community can improve, even if we’re not part of everything that goes down.

Click on the any of the tags that you see below this post, you’ll see what’s happening in District Four.

Bottom line: we have love where it counts…on the streets and at polls. The haters can’t do anything about it.

Hate that.

Some Great Things Happened at City Hall Yesterday

May 29, 2008

As you’ve probably heard, yesterday’s City Hall meeting went into the evening. However, a lot of things happened yesterday.

The hot-sheet motels across from Veterans Hospital will be torn down and a job training center with office space will be built in its place. The Urban League and City Wide CDC are partnering up to bring this great development to South Oak Cliff. When Dwaine Caraway, Bishop McGriff and the Church of the Living God, the Urban League, and I worked to close the Sunset Motel and the Southern Comfort motel, this was what we had in mind. The goal was to rid the community of blight and crime havens and to have positive things in its place. As you know, the first motel the Dwaine and I helped to shut down in South Dallas has been demolished and a community/health center is being built. Thank you to the Mayor and City Council for making this a unanimous vote.

People that are stopped for traffic violations and do not have insurance will be towed. This is a significant step in Dallas, and this has already happened in other major cities. In this issue, I look at it as protecting the single Mom with kids that has her car totaled when she’s hit by an uninsured driver. There are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, but as it has in other large cities this will be proven to be a good thing as time goes on. Even though I’m on the younger side, our liability insurance costs $220 for 6 months, which is $36-37 per month (about $1.20 per day). That’s much cheaper than the ticket.

The towing vote was 10-5 as follows:

Voting for it: Mayor Tom Leppert, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway and council members Sheffie Kadane, Linda Koop, Mitchell Rasansky, Carolyn Davis, Ron Natinsky, Dave Neumann, Angela Hunt and Jerry Allen.

Voting against: Mayor Pro Tem Garcia, and council members Salazar, Medrano, Atkins, and Hill

Larry James, John Greenan, and CDM got more funding for their Citywalk project. I have written about this project in the past, and it will be a great step in ending chronic homelessness in Dallas.

Dallas’ scrap metal ordinances were strengthened yesterday. We must combat this plague and place as many roadblocks as we can in this insidious practice that is severely impacting our neighborhoods, and we don’t need to wait for other cities or counties to toughen up to do so.

The St. Regis hotel/condo project was approved. This $200 million+ development (with no tax abatements) will add needed property taxes to the city once its completed.

All in all, it was a great day at City Hall and a great day for Dallas.

July 17, 2007

Following Through on Campaign Promises

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway has embarked on a mission to improve southern sector development. Instead of just talking about it, Dwaine has started the Lancaster Road Initiative. It’s a mission to clean up Lancaster Road in South Oak Cliff and then bring much needed development along one of southern Dallas’ busiest corridors. This is another part of the 20-point plan which was the basis of Dwaine’s “One Block at a Time” Campaign.

You will hear more about this effort in the future. This clip from Channel 8 highlights the disparity of investment between DART stations in North Dallas and those south of I-30.