Archive for the ‘Motels’ Category

Bishop Larry McGriff – Funeral Information

February 23, 2010
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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.

The Hood: 5 – Motel Slumlords: 0

January 28, 2009

Today the City Council followed the City Plan Commission recommendation to close the Colonial Motel in South Dallas. The Colonial Motel has been on the chopping block for a little more than a year.

The Colonial Motel owners lost their case in federal court to stay open. They have since closed, and now they will not get a specific use permit. Keep in mind they should’ve applied for the permit more than ten years ago. Kudos to the parents and administrators of St. Philips School for bringing this issue to City Hall and following through with their goal of shutting this place down.

This piece of garbage can now hit the bricks along with the others:

Motel Three (South Oak Cliff)
Southern Comfort Motel (South Oak Cliff)
Sunset Motel (South Oak Cliff)
American Inn (South Dallas)

Two more motels are on the chopping block. They will be announced in the coming weeks.

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.

Goodbye Hot-Sheet Motels, Hello to Real Development

May 30, 2008

Here is more coverage on the transformation of the Lancaster Road Corridor from a blighted area to a jewel of the community. Again, when we sought to shut down the side-by-side hot-sheet motels this is what we envisioned; that another group would pick up the baton and bring something positive to the community.

I remember when Dwaine Caraway and I went to City Hall over two years ago and spoke about these motels. The only person that spoke up in support from our own community was former councilman James Fantroy. A lot of people did a lot of work to make this happen. Thanks again to the city attorneys that fought the false allegations brought on by these slum owners in court. Thanks to Bishop Larry McGriff and the Church of the Living God along with the other pastors that supported him, and thanks to Dr. Beverly Mitchell Brooks of the Urban League. Back by prayer and determination, all of these people stood up to the plagues of the community. Unlike a lot of talk that you hear about who’s doing what, these people stepped up.

Brad from Channel 8, as he has done from the beginning from this fight, does a great news piece. Check it out here.

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.

Motel Three will be closing in one month

March 24, 2008

The Motel Three at 3705 Bonnie View in South Oak Cliff (map) has been ordered to close on April 19th, 2008. It has been the site of multiple murders, aggravated assaults, and other violent crimes.

This has been long overdue. Thanks again to Pastors Tommy Brown of Ervay Cedar Baptist Church and Steven Sims of Greater Ideal Baptist Church for stepping up and out to effect change in their community. It takes real guts to address these places, and we are grateful to these two individuals. Dwaine and I cannot do it all on our own; we need continued community support to keep this effort moving forward.

As Deputy Chief Sherryl Scott and others work hard to reduce crime in this area, we as city officials must do our best to eradicate the areas of crime magnets such as hotel-sheet motels, drug houses, and car washes at which more crack rocks are sold than cars cleaned. Together, as we said during the campaign, we will take back District Four one block at a time.

Other motel stories can be found by clicking the motels label at the bottom of this post.