09/17/03 All the news Belo
thinks you need to know.
It's that special time of the year when the
council looks at our limited resources and decides how to spend our money.
You would barely know it from the coverage in the town's only daily. Apparently, Belo has not only moved their print operations to Plano but their
staff and focus.
Did you catch Sarah Dodd's Ch. 11 story about Beat that Indictment Fantroy
receiving $160,000 worth of contracts from a developer trying to get city,
state and federal funds for a huge apartment complex in District 8?
you seen a word about it the DMN? What about The
Dallas Observer? Nope! This link should take you to
the video of Conflict of
Interest? Councilman Fantroy's Development Projects
on Ch. 11's
website. They don't print the text and the website is awful, but the
reporters at Ch. 11 are just rocking the house. If you don't know about
Fantroy's under the table deal, you probably are not watching Ch.
I called reporters at both DMN and The Dallas Observer to
see why neither were covering Fantroy's crooked deal. Excuses from both were
terribly lame. I got the impression only a couple of DMN reporters
are assigned to Dallas City Hall now. Since one is Go-fer Jeffers, that
means only one DMN reporter covers City Hall and she's been tied
up with Ted and Terrell. Except, this is Thursday, that was
Monday. Still, no Fantroy story in either DMN and The
So, what is the DMN covering besides Ted
Well, there's a DMN
story about the additional tax money it's going to take to do the Trinity
Boondoggle. I'm going South on this deal. I have come
full circle on the Trinity Boondoggle, opposing it originally because we didn't have enough information and what we had
sounded impractical and potentially dangerous. One presentation of this new
group showed more park, less pavement, more protection of the hardwood forest in the River area, and I was willing to
believe it might work. Turned out to be wishful thinking.
park price swells;
told greenbelt's water flow to cost extra $12 million
CDT on Thursday, September 18, 2003
many greenbacks does it take to make a greenbelt?
. . . Complete estimates won't be forthcoming until November, but some
outlines began to emerge at a council briefing Wednesday.
It would cost about $12 million, council members were told,
to pump enough treated wastewater upstream to create the flow necessary
for a full complement of "water features." That's $12 million in
addition to the $31 million voters approved to build a park and lake in
the 1998 Trinity bond election.
"The operative word here is we 'desire' it,' " said
Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan. "We can't really afford it in
this first phase."
Unless, she added, the city can come up with the extra money.
. . . "It may be worth $12 million," said council member
Sandy Greyson, one of the few members to voice an opinion before the
council hurried on to matters related to next week's vote on the 2004 city
. . . One consequence of shifting the lakes from the center to the
east side is that storm water entering the floodway from downtown can't
flow naturally into the river ? the lakes get in the way. The city would
have to build three concrete culverts beneath the lake, at an estimated
cost of $9.4 million, to get the runoff into the river. . .
This new plan will not work anymore than the first joke. It is an
environmental nightmare waiting to happen. Ned Fritz may be old and he may
take too long to explain his concerns for some people, but he has been right on
this thing from the get-go.
||You can't force the river into troughs and
consider that flood control.
It has not worked anywhere else the Engineer
Corps has put rivers into concrete shoots. That technique only causes
flood water to run faster and harder and cause more destruction.
Those lakes are problem. Under the old and new plans, if the river
floods and contaminates the lake(s), the lakes must be drained and refilled with
clean water. It is assumed the river will flood frequently. We
don't have this kind of money!
Let's leave the
river alone and spend our money on more police officers and
firefighters and squad cars and fire trucks.
Even if we found the
money to do the project, how can we keep the park area safe? We are going
to delay the pay raise for our police and firefighters, but there's money for an
Let them cake -- and
for Dallas arts center unveiled
PM CDT on Wednesday, September 17, 2003
is on the verge of investing $250 million in the arts over the next
. . . "When all of this is finished, what we want to do is break down
the barriers - the cultural buildings, the outdoor spaces - to make it a
place for everybody to come to," said master planner Spencer de Grey.
. . . "It's very, very hot; it's humid; and the weather is quite
extreme," said de Grey.
New trees and water features are designed to bring people
downtown and attract more families and companies to North Texas. The Asian
Festival in May already draws 15,000 people each day to Annette Strauss
"This is one of the first master plans that's addressed
the climate issue in a positive manner," said Les Tanaka of the
Greater Dallas Asian-American Chamber. . . .
Les Tanaka is right to be pleased when any
big name architects would actually come to Dallas before designing something we
will have to live with after we pay for it. We have two of I.M. Pei
not-right-for-Dallas buildings, each of which would be more appropriate for some other city
or facing different directions in this city, but both cost us a lot of money
because the architect ignored our climate.
This Downtown Park might be great, but we can't afford it. We can't afford
to build it, we can't afford to maintain it and we can't afford to protect
We can't afford
the Meyerson, and we can't afford to close it. We can't afford the
maintenance on any of these art houses. We can't afford the police
personnel we need to protect what we have, and we continue to add to our
At a recent Bachman/NW community meeting, Tim Dickey and others talked about
having their cars broken into while they were out jogging or walking around
Bachman Lake. About the only advice the police officers could give would
be to lock their stuff in their trunks. Tough to do if you drive an SUV.
Our police officers can barely keep up with emergency calls, park patrol is not
very high on their priorities.
Most, if not all, of our existing parks are not safe during the day if you are
alone. Only a fool would go to a park alone or even with a couple of
others after dark.
It's not just Bachman Lake or residual problems left from the sex clubs,
it's any park in any part of town from Casie Pierce's neighborhood park
in District 7 to White Rock Lake in ritzy District 9.
You've uncovered Dallas biggest little crime
"secret". BMV (burglary of motor vehicles) aka
"smash and grab" is now the second most popular activity at
Bachman and White Rock Lakes, along with every other
neighborhood. Our crime rate took a team
effort to achieve.
Did you see this letter to the DMN Editors?
CDT on Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Troubles growing at White Rock Lake
are losing White Rock Lake to the bad guys.
. . . Given recent
efforts, it is now somewhat cleaner, but White Rock Lake is no longer a
safe place to visit.
Just recently, my walking partner's car was broken into and
vandalized as we strolled. This year, each of our cars has been broken
into while parked in broad daylight in front of the Dallas Boat Club ramp
at White Rock Lake.
I've lived in the Lake Highlands area for almost 40 years
with no problems until recently. Now, my 10-year-old car has been broken
into three times during the past 18 months (at White Rock Lake, at home
and at the retail area at Northwest Highway and Ferndale ? parked next
to a police car while I grabbed a take-home sandwich). The criminals are
obviously not very afraid of me or the police or the judge or the prisons.
. . . In general, crime in Lake Highlands is a growing,
serious problem that every authority acknowledges but does little to
lessen. It's slowly but surely ruining what was a wonderful neighborhood.
Looks hopeless given the absence of effective counter-crime efforts.
. . . the variety of problems at White Rock Lake are something
else. It's a smaller place and more contained, somewhere serious attention
can be focused on behalf of the entire city of Dallas. . . . Dan
Well, that's the issue. We are living
in crime ridden city and we desperately need more police officers to make the
city safer. What we are getting instead are more parks and performance
Wasn't it Nero who fiddled
while Rome burned?
Our Downtown Betters and apparently most of our council and our Mayor think we
can ignore our crime problems because those are immediate, mundane
problems. They are looking at the big picture -- their political
legacies. Lakes on a river. Downtown parks and performance halls and
Belo is back doing Happy Talk after weeks of Terrell Bolton's vaudeville
Now, that Bolton has had his 30 minutes of whatever that was, we will only get positive pieces about parks and big ticket
projects from The Dallas Managed News. They are not about to cover
a story about another crooked
councilman who happens to be Black. Thanks to Bolton's firing, two
Housewife Extraordinares felt the pain of "the community" and voted to
put a confessed and convicted bribe-taker on the Police Review Board.
Thanks to Bolton's theatrics, the DMN is afraid to do an expos?on Fantroy's
$200,000 contract with that developer in District 8.
I don't believe the ODB or Belo think $200,000 is insignificant. They just
don't want us to know about it.
The Mayor may have strayed from the nuts and bolts we thought would be her
she is not ignoring this clear conflict of interest on Fantroy's
part. I want the Mayor to get off these big ticket deals and re-focus on the little
stuff that makes our city livable. That's not likely to happen.
Still, I am proud of her for standing up to Fantroy. She could pull a Lill or
Finkelman stunt and ignore what Fantroy has been doing. Neither The Dallas Observer or
The Dallas Managed News think it's newsworthy, or at least
news that you and I need to know.
That's called managing the news. There's a new group, Texas Media Watch,
which is headed up by Sherry Sylvester. Hopefully, this Fantroy
cover-up will get her attention. Check out their website, TexasMediaWatch.com.