Morning News Denies Its Own Sorry History in Price-Inland Port Story

Categories: Schutze

I vant to do a little planning, my dear, like planning to bite you in the neck.

Oh, I swore I wasn't going to respond to the stuff yesterday by Tod Robberson on The Dallas Morning News opinion blog yesterday, but now "Wylie H Dallas," the scarily well-informed omnipresent pseudonymous blog commenter, has got me all stirred up. This morning he posted an old Steve Blow column from the News in 2009 accusing me of being a tin-foil hat, and that got my juices flowing again.

Damn! I was trying to go for dignity, but once again I fail. Thanks a lot, Wyle H!

This is all about the recent indictment of Dallas County Commissioner John Wylie Price on bribery and tax charges. In the indictment filed last week and made public, Price's role in sabotaging a big rail and warehousing project in his own district, called the Inland Port, is discussed in some detail. The Wylie H Facebook post this morning reminds us that the Dallas Observer was reporting that plot five years ago, two years before the FBI raided Price's home and office for records.

Blow's column, published March 8, 2009 (reproduced below), was part of a drumroll of articles and editorial in The Dallas Morning News insisting that Commissioner Price's call for a de novo planning effort for the Inland Port was perfectly reasonable. They said over and over again that people like Richard Allen, the main developer who claimed Price was sandbagging the development, and me, who reported what Allen said, were a bunch of nutcases.

The recent indictment of Price and three others was the work product of a three-year FBI probe. It argues that Allen's claims were on target.

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Breast Cancer Rates Are Higher In Flower Mound, but Officials Have No Idea Why

Categories: Healthcare

Roger Mommaerts
Women in Flower Mound may be more susceptible to breast cancer than in other areas.
A state study released yesterday found that from 2002 to 2011, the female breast cancer rate for Flower Mound residents was significantly higher than surrounding areas.Even better? Officials have no idea why.

Last April, after allegations of a faulty previous study, the Department of State Health Services agreed to conduct an analysis of cancer clusters around the state, with a focus on Flower Mound. The Department had concluded in 2010, despite suspicions of increased cancer rates in the area, that there were no cancer clusters in Flower Mound. But the University of Texas published a report in April that criticized the methods of the 2010 study.

In the results of this latest study, the DSHS did not seek to find a cause but only to document local and statewide cancer incidence rates. The study found that several other cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma, had comparatively normal rates. The study zeroed in on zip codes 75022 and 75028, which had the highest rates of female breast cancer.

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Three Years After City's $850K, Lancaster Corridor Apartments Still Abandoned, Choked With Weeds

Categories: Housing

The Oakglen Apartments circa 2011, when the City Council chipped in $850,000 toward a proposed redevelopment. It looks much the same now.
The Oakglen Apartments are, for lack of a better term, a craphole. Long-abandoned with boarded-up windows and, unless City Hall made good on its promise to mow the city-owned property on Wednesday after WFAA ran a story about neighbors' complaints, completely choked with brush and weeds.

It's not supposed to be like this. We don't mean in the abstract sense that apartments are built to be inhabited or that property owners, city of Dallas included, are supposed to keep their properties up to code. We mean there were concrete plans, and that those plans were funded with $850,000 in the city's HUD money. Today, the 64-unit Oakglen Apartments are supposed to look something more like this:

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Dallas' Animal Shelter Is Chock Full of Really Cute Animals, and That's the Problem

Categories: Animal Welfare

Emily Mathis
This kitten is wearing a sparkled bow tie, for pete's sake. You know you want him.
The first sight at the Dallas Animal Services shelter is a group of kittens tumbling on each other as they play in a plate glass cage. Beyond that, and closest to the entrance, are the young, healthy, friendly, especially cute and wide-eyed cats and dogs. Parents with young kids peruse the rows of cages. Some animals reach through the bars of their cage to playfully bat at passerby, while others make their best please-love-me eyes.

But while families casually walk past the rows of animals, Dallas Animal Services workers quietly cross their fingers that the pets will each be adopted as quickly as possible -- especially the older, less cute ones. Because as Unfair Park recently detailed, DAS is currently stressed with near unbearable numbers of animal surrenders and strays.

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Last Night's Pitch Invasion at the Cotton Bowl Was an Embarrassment to Dallas

Categories: Sports

Pictured: Idiot with $30m asset. Also pictured: indifferent policing.

We've written elsewhere about what transpired at the Cotton Bowl last night. In short, at some point during a pre-season exhibition game that was charging $50 a head and up, one fan decided to charge the pitch.

This happens a lot in sporting events around the world. People run onto the pitch. They are pursued by authorities and caught, then hauled from the field to what I assume is a jail cell much like the one Homer Simpson ends up in in the episode where he goes to the Super Bowl.

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Dallas Mosquito Spray Sites Moving Closer and Closer to Our Favorite Fetid Pool

Google Maps
Maps don't lie.

We'd be remiss if we didn't start this post by saying that Unfair Park is not an entomologist. Not even close. That being said, looking at the address of locations being sprayed to combat West Nile, we think we've noticed a pattern.

Mosquito control measures this year had focused on North Central Dallas until the announcement of today's and tomorrow's sprayings in North Oak Cliff -- for an "abundance of mosquitoes," not necessarily West Nile, according to the city's notice.

Now, as you can see from the map above, the mosquitoes have begun a march to the southwest. To what end, we can't say for certain. That doesn't mean we don't have our suspicions.

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Bored Dallas Soccer Fans Staged a Pitch Invasion at Real Madrid versus Roma Last Night

Categories: Sports

Jorge Corona
A Palestine supporter on the field, wrapping himself in the flag as he was handcuffed and led away.
The Cotton Bowl was filled with 57,000-plus soccer fans last night, there to see some of the world's greatest footballers do some very mediocre footballing.

It was slow and scoreless for the first hour or so, until Roma's Francesco Totti scored at the 58-minute mark. Fans were irritated and bored by then, though, and disappointed that Ronaldo spent the game in his sweatpants on the Real Madrid bench.

With just three minutes left on the clock, several fans had had enough: One young guy ran on the field toward Ronaldo. After he was given just a rough shove and wag of the finger, many were encouraged by the lack of punishment. Altogether, around 20 fans, mostly young men, stormed the field.

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Bribe-Payers, Bribe-Takers, Who Walks and Who Gets Slammed

Categories: Schutze

Don Hill got 18 years. HIll's wife got nine. The guy who paid him bribes got 14 months. His wife got probation. Do the math.

This is an addendum to a thing I wrote yesterday about the recent indictment of Dallas' most powerful county officials on bribery and tax charges. One thing we all have to do in order to figure this out is the math.

We can talk all day about collective guilt -- I think I just did -- but we also need to keep one eye on the way of the world and how these things actually work.

Yes, we do seem to go through this Groundhog Day syndrome in Dallas in which the rich white guys who pay the bribes get something between a slap on the wrist and a peck on the cheek from the feds, while the black officials who take the bribes get penalties just short of death. No, it's not right, and, sure, we would be unfeeling lumps if our consciences were not stirred.

But one reason for the Groundhog Day syndrome is a lesson unlearned. The guy who spelled the lesson out for me five years ago after the last of these trials was Billy Ravkind, who is now representing Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price at the center of today's drama. I cannot find my way back to the exact quote, but I well remember the gist of what Ravkind told me.

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Citizen Journalist Riles DFW Government Agencies and Contractor With "First Amendment Fridays"

Categories: Media

The DEA got this close to Brett Sanders.

Armed with at least his press pass and his smartphone camera, Frisco resident Brett Sanders is staging a one-man crusade for the Bill of Rights.

For each of the last three Fridays, Sanders, who says he is also involved in the Open Carry movement, has filmed a different entity from public sidewalks. July 11 it was federal contractor Raytheon. July 18 it was the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region VI office. Last week he took to the area outside the Drug Enforcement Administration's Dallas office. In each instance Sanders is told to stop filming and a confrontation of varying level of intensity ensues.

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The Companies Whose Fertilizer Blew Up West Say West Should Share in the Blame

Categories: Legal Battles

Francisco Antonio Ceron Garcia
Fifteen people were killed in the April 2013 West fertilizer plant explosion. A report by the state, and two fertilizer suppliers, say that could have been prevented.
In the year-plus since the West fertilizer plant explosion, the tragedy has made its way to where it was always destined: the courts. Around 200 plaintiffs, mostly people who had family members killed or property destroyed, have filed suits.

El Dorado Chemical Company and CF Industries are two fertilizer suppliers that have been hit with a barrage of lawsuits alleging their malfeasance, with victims arguing that the suppliers provided fertilizer chemicals that were unnecessarily dangerous. But the two companies are now fighting back.

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