They Call Me Shoots: Blasting Away at Winfrey Point Crapola and Cops on the Katy Trail

Categories: Schutze

SHZ_GetOffMyLawn_TitleImageV2.jpg
Tried to get past these two very irritating issues but couldn't pull it off. Woke up in middle of night last night reaching for the shotgun. Please indulge. Eye and ear protection recommended.

First clay pigeon I'd like to try a couple 12-gauge shells on: a throw-away line in an editorial last Sunday in The Dallas Morning News dealing with the concept of paving over open space at White Rock Lake to accommodate the metastasizing parking needs of the Dallas Arboretum, a pricey private botanical park at the Garland Road (southern) end of the lake.

In its best school-marm voice, the editorial board of the News told us to grow up and get on with it: "There are more than 300 acres of grassland around the lake, and it is unreasonable to expect every blade to be protected in perpetuity given the urban nature of this public park. The arboretum's needs are significant, and addressing them is a priority -- it is, after all, one of the city's jewels."

What a load of unadulterated, in-our-face, utter and brazen, bald-faced, preposterous, infuriatingly galling bullshit.

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Hey, lady, don't let your nature stand in the way of our parking. You ever think of that? Huh? Did ya?
In a column to be published in this week's Dallas Observer, I interview some of the people who have fought for decades to protect every single blade of grass in the fragile necklace of open land around the lake, one of whom makes the point that White Rock Lake really is the city's Central Park. He suggests it's a serious dereliction of duty for any elected official or hired city staffer to start parlaying away any portion of the land around the lake without a full public address of the question.

White Rock is governed by official city policy dating to 1939 by which it is to be preserved as a natural area, not a son-of-a-bitching parking lot for people who want to sell more tickets.

I happen to know that Mary Brinegar, director of the arboretum, met with the editorial board of the News last week, even though she was unable to chat on the phone with me. And, hey. There's an obvious reason people like Brinegar will talk to the News and not the Observer. It's because the News is what we call in the journalism business a "lay-down."

Confronted with pearls and Louboutin shoes, they can't say no. If this were a child custody dispute, they would give Brinegar the little girl from the waist up, only they would mean it.
It's no more "unreasonable to expect every blade to be protected in perpetuity" than it is to expect the kid to be left in one piece. What's unreasonable and downright loony is just giving away the hard-fought protections that have bequeathed us this treasure after Brinegar makes one lousy visit to the editorial board.

And it came right after the paper had devoted endless barrels of ink to bragging about the downtown park their own boss endowed.

I don't know why they always have to play the Vichy in these things.

Second clay dinner plate I'd like to take a crack at quickly: the assertion by the Dallas police department that they were sitting on the Katy Trail armed-robbery story as part of a Sherlock Holmes strategy to catch the bad guys. In a statement released yesterday the PR cops at the Dallas Police Department said,

"The Police Department must continually balance the need to inform the public against releasing information that could jeopardize the investigation and potential suspect identification."
So we have this picture in our minds of the bad guys holed up in an old hotel downtown, sending the bell boy out every 20 minutes for hot new street editions of the paper to see if their mugs are on Page One yet. Or maybe listening to Walter Winchell on the radio. What is this, a Jimmy Cagney movie?

Sure, maybe. But I have another scenario I'd like to suggest: the bad guys are cruising around in the same get-away car they've been using for a month shooting junk in their arms, going to the bathroom in the back seat and drooling snot on their laps until they start to come down and need more money, so they just haven't had time really to keep up with local news coverage. Journalism really isn't a part of their culture, if you know what I mean.

So what's the real reason the Public Information Office cops wouldn't comment on this when reporters confronted them over the weekend?

It was the weekend. Come on, man, you expect the Dallas Police PIO to give up its weekend and go look shit up and make calls to get information for reporters? I sure don't. Plus, you know, it's negative. They know they're just going to get crap from City Hall for letting out a bad story. So why not take the safe route and do nothing?

All right, that's it. Kaboom-kaboom. I don't know what I hit. Man, I should have checked to see there weren't any orphanages in the way. Next time, a full night's sleep and more gun safety, definitely, I promise.


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Blb_sa
Blb_sa

The fight over Winfrey Point is far from over. The latestdocuments discovered by Hal Barker leave a bad taste in our mouths, and reminds us of MaoZedong’s slogan: "Man must conquer Nature." Read the latest here, andbrowse the new documentation just released: http://white-rock-lake.blogspo... 

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Jim what should DPD do? Every time someone on Katy Trail is robbed drop every thing else sat up Mobil command station with 24 hour coverage.

concerned citizen
concerned citizen

DMN is disappointing. Their idea of reporting is twisting the story to benefit their hob-nob buddies and return the money favor.  Listening to people who consider the DMN as real news.  It certainly warrents reading if you live and work in Dallas, but it is hard to see through the smoke and mirrors. The DMN is NOT reporting for the benefit of the community, it is reporting to benefit the rich white powerful that rule this city.  If you look at any community fight right now......it is all the same response from the DMN. Futhermore, it is clear that our City Council is out of touch and clueless to what is really happening. Or, they are too concerned with personal agenda and forgot about the citizens, neighborhood associations and communities who put them in office.  

JimShitzeWhiteGuilt
JimShitzeWhiteGuilt

Hey libtard!

You are always going on and on about how you want Dallas to be more like Detroit, the city you fled in a white-flight because you are so fucking "progressive"!

Well now your wish is coming true!  Black criminals, bad cops, black buffoons on the city council and county governments.  Way to go, libtard!  Why are you homesick for Detroit again?Way to go, libtard! Everything you have wasted your life "advocating" for is coming true!

freddy
freddy

Ha..well did you see this letter to the editor in The News on Sunday?

For some, parking necessary

I can understand the pushback regarding a permanent garage, but I don't believe the park or the Arboretum is intended only for those who can walk to them. The rest of us need parking.Cartier Snyder, Allen

Phil
Phil

1. Park and walk.  Plently of parking if you're willing to walk aways.2. Get there early enough to find parking.3. Take a bus.  There are several stops within easy walking distance.

But thanks for your suggestion from Collin Co that we destroy one of our parks so you can park your car.

RTGolden
RTGolden

People who use actual firearms the way JimS uses his metaphorical journalistic street sweeper are why we have to have some form of gun control.  Fairly close to right in half his article, closing his eyes and firing away at noises in the dark on the other half.  Not an example of responsible gun ownership or journalism.

Observist
Observist

Hmm.  Single-day admission to the arboretum for family of 4, with kids 3 and 5 = $48, plus $10 parking = $58.  That really is like a crown jewel - sacrifice public assets for the benefit of a wealthy, exclusive minority.

Plantlover
Plantlover

$58 for a family of four for all-day entertainment is a bargain. And you can bring your own food. Going to the movies costs the same thing, and you pay $20 for soda and popcorn.

Observist
Observist

No, a bargain is taking your kids to the public park where they can play with other kids, feed the ducks, ride their bikes, etc - for free.  And you can bring your own food.  There's a just a danger that they might rub elbows with non-wealthy, or possibly even non-white kids when not sequestered behind the arboretum paywall. 

Phil
Phil

Agree on bargain, but the Arboretum's clientle is neither mostly wealthy nor mostly white.

Joe Tex
Joe Tex

Winfreygate : Mary Vinegar thought she could pave Winfrey Point covertly. . . 

Park some buses on wildflowers to go look at glass flowers

Almost pulled it off . . . 

Mazungu
Mazungu

It's not over yet, Joe Tex.  A luta continua!

Tedbarker
Tedbarker

So, you really are related to Hunter Thompson

Donna Harris
Donna Harris

If they can move Yankee Stadium or Cowboy Stadium, then if push comes to shove, they can dang sure move the Arboretum to the Fair Park area or the Trinity River area.

We might just be at a point in our city's planned growth pattern, where building something more economically profitable to the city coffers and that benefits the lake users and neighborhoods surrounding the lake, might be better. 

The Yankees and the Cowboys moved because their old locations no longer adequately supported growth. No doubt, it was painful.  In my professional opinion, if the Arboretum's "30 year-old parking crisis" is really a "crisis", as they say, we are putting off talking about the inevitable.

The Arboretum leaders have been offered many excellent suggestions in all of the blogs by concerned citizens and yet, because they are too mired in antiquated management ideals to act on any of them quickly, that tells me this is a bigger issue than just parking!

And what do we get from the owners of the DMN who do not live in Dallas?  A "screw you lake lovers and Dallas residents" editorial. Nice, it's no wonder we only read you if you happen to run across our Facebook page. 

Donna Harris
Donna Harris

 A friend suggested the above comment might sound a little preachy and I told him, that was the point. The DMN is not looking out for the best interest of the public and their professional opinion on the subject is far less than professional.

JimS
JimS

Preach on, Donna!

Eric Hilton
Eric Hilton

I was hoping there might actually be some insight about the whole katy trail thing. I use it often. While I don't take valuables with my whilst I am on it, the news of what is happening is alarming. I suppose you never fail to do you job though Jim. I hate just about everything you write and that's why I read it. *tips his cap*

Guest
Guest

So what you're saying is that they're trying to take all the tress and put them in a tree museum and charge the people a dollar and a half to see them?

Paul
Paul

Don't it always seem to go

That you don't know what you've got til it's gone

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

billmarvel
billmarvel

Not exactly. The trees would be animatronic....

Erich S.
Erich S.

It's sorta like Silent Running with Mary Brinegar as the Bruce Dern character and no cool robots.

mark zero (Jason)
mark zero (Jason)

I stopped enjoying much of the Arboretum once I got old enough to realize that the fun displays my parents would take me to see would be ripped out within a couple days or weeks of my visit.

The mission statement of the Arboretum seems to confirm it's all about exhibition, not preservation:

The mission of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is to build and maintain a public venue that promotes the art, enjoyment and knowledge of horticulture, while providing opportunities for education and research. We are committed to excellence, good management and fiscal responsibility.

If you want to see what "good management" of resources means to them, look at the Arboretum using this Google Maps link. Now zoom in just one more click.

Observist
Observist

That's hilarious.  The "arboretum" tore out what looks to be a couple acres of trees to replace them with yet more water-hungry manicured lawns.  It's like a golf course, only without all the action and excitement.

Plantlover
Plantlover

Those look like greenhouses and temporary garden beds. Also, employee parking. I think that area is now being developed for the children's garden, which is 7 acres.

mark zero (Jason)
mark zero (Jason)

I read about the new kids' thing in the comments in response to another article and thought it might be connected, but I thought it was to be some kind of playground. If it's an actual permanent garden, I'm not so upset about the loss of the trees.

Paul
Paul

 This is interesting:

No results found for "dallas arboretum and botanical society" +("IRS Form 990").

The results of a google search for DABS's Form 990

And this can be interesting:

http://www.charitynavigator.or...

Just like in Chinatown, follow the money Jake.

Winfrey Point Rebellion
Winfrey Point Rebellion

The IRS 990's are on Guidestar.org. It takes a few moments to log in and view the files. Free of charge.

Interesting thing. They have non-voting membership in one location and members vote for Directors in another location.

I talked to a number of members who have never received voting proxies or annual reports. In the 2010 IRS 990 they list 69 officers and directors. Guess how they get their positions? 

mark zero (Jason)
mark zero (Jason)

What's with all these charities that don't put their financials online, or even state whether they are 501(c)3? Just checked the Fort Worth Botanic Garden's site, and they don't post that info, either.

Mike75201
Mike75201

Jim, I hope to see you at the City Council briefing tomorrow when our illustrious officials will be clued in on the recommendations made by the Natural Gas Drilling Task Force. If the council adopts the recommendations in toto then paving Winfrey Point will be the least of our worries. If anyone is interested the council is supposed to be briefed on these recommendations at around 1:30 pm Wednesday the 16th. The more people that turn out to hear these recommendations the more pressure is put on the council to do the right thing.

Marc
Marc

We expect a large crowd today. Several of us have open mic speaker slots at 9 am, and then we are returing for the afternoon session on gas drilling followed by several others of us who have afternoon speaker slots. Our task farce was a scam, and Lois proved that she came into the role as chairwoman with an agenda that was probably coached by the leaders from the Dallas Citizens Council..

Hannibal Lecter
Hannibal Lecter

OK, I'm confused. Last week the Trinity was our Central Park. The week before the Woodall Rodgers deck park was our Central Park. Now this week White Rock Lake is our Central Park. 

If we're taking a vote, I think The Lodge should be our Central Park.

trannyntraining
trannyntraining

Also, if we incorporate all those areas(as a Central Park) we can put on our tourism brochures, and those "you plus Dallas videos", that we've got the largest Central Park in the U.S. Score one for the home team....hooray!

trannyntraining
trannyntraining

"Dallas, it's the Central Park of Texas!". Has kind of a nice ring to it....don't ya think?

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

I too thought that editoral counter-intuitive, absurd and extraordinarily arrogant.  With that bit of reasoning, why have parks at all?

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

My vote is to push back, not settle for no parking garage, but a written AGREEMENT/Easement that the land will never be built on. I love visiting the Arboretum. But unless we see some real assurances about Winfrey Point, I won't be rejoining. 

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Better yet, a contract with a liquidated damages clause of millions if they show up in the middle of the night with bulldozers and gravel. 

CityHallJunkie
CityHallJunkie

Been there.  Done that.  Got the T-shirt.  In 1987, the Arboretum agreed in writing that all off-site parking would be on commercially-zoned land (which Winfrey Point is not!).  The problem is that written agreements aren't worth the paper they're written on where Dallas City Hall or its beautiful-people friends areconcerned.

trannyntraining
trannyntraining

I thought parking lots, were, a natural part of Dallas' landscape. Am I missing something here? Shouldn't "they" be protected, too?

CityHallJunkie
CityHallJunkie

In the mid-1980s, the Director of Planning for the Park & Recreation Department told me with a straight face that it was ok to use open-space money to pave a rec center parking lot, because it was "open space."

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Solution to both issues: Fire Mary Suhm.

Bob
Bob

Um, no, dude. Firing Mary will not solve the issues. Our city's tax base and political influence is driven by commercial construction and investment. Everything else - political appointments, politics, misleading news stories - follows.

Marc
Marc

Um, no, dude! Firing Mary Suhm would solve a LOT of problems!

billmarvel
billmarvel

By the way, Jim, what's really going on at White Rock is a Disneyfication, quietly being promoted by the city and its parks department and the usual gang of moneybags who see the lake and its environs as an opportunity to draw big crowds and make big bucks.Whattaya wanna bet that somewhere in the parks department, in some desk drawer or spread out on some table there is a blueprint for food kiosks, restaurants, "attractions" of various sorts, all to turn green space into "people space"?   

Kelly Cotten
Kelly Cotten

Bill is right! Bill is right! Bill is right! It's not that I'm forming a Marvel Fan Club; it's just that I tend to agree with people that say what I'm already thinking.

billmarvel
billmarvel

Bill's only right when he disagrees with JimS. Otherwise his batting average is around .300. 

billmarvel
billmarvel

Right on the Arboretum, dubious at best on the cops.How long did you spend covering the police beat, anyway? Maybe police are different in Dallas from police in Denver, but I doubt it. Maybe they work differently here, or are more lazy, but I doubt it.During several years covering night cops and day cops, I encountered investigations that were under wraps because the police didn't want to tip their hand and alert the perp. My interest as a reporter was in getting the information out, but in at least one case, the editor agreed with the police higher-ups to hold the story for a week to give a police task force a chance to catch their man -- in this case a serial rapist. They had the area where he was working blanketed with night patrols. He was caught that weekend.My point is not that the police were right. My point is that the police for the most part were just doing what they saw as their job, catching bad guys. And we were doing ours, which was to inform the public. Sometimes the two jobs come into conflict.How about next time looking first, then shooting?

Observist
Observist

To paraphrase the police:  SSSHHHHHHH!  We're using the uninformed public as bait so it's easier for us to catch the perps.

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