Dallas to Continue Adding Fluoride to Its Water

Sheffie Kadane's quest to get the city to stop fluoridating its drinking water is over. For months, the Dallas City Council member, aided by the likes of DogsAgainstFluoridation.com, has warned of the dangers of continuing to do something that Dallas dentists say has strengthened local kids teeth for almost 50 years.

"It would be a tremendous disservice to the citizens of Dallas, especially our children, if we stop this public health service," Lawrence Wolinsky, the dean of Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry, said at Wednesday's council meeting.

Another dentist, who described his family's more than 150 years in the teeth business, spoke about the differences he saw in kids mouths after the city introduced fluoride into the water supply in the 1960s

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Dallas Anti-Fluoride Cause Now Supported by Web-Savvy Dogs

Schutze is getting some high-powered allies.
The latest salvo in the war to get the city of Dallas to stop adding fluoride to the city's water supply comes from the canines behind dogsagainstfluoridation.com, who are urging the City Council to follow council member Sheffie Kadane's lead on January 28 and vote to end the vicious commie plot.

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Plano Lawmakers Aim to Kill Equal Rights Ordinances for LGBTQ People

City of Plano
Proponent of small government Matt Shaheen.
Not content after losing a local battle against Plano's LGBTQ equal rights ordinance, a group of four local state representatives plan to introduce legislation that would nullify any municipal equal rights ordinances passed anywhere in the state, including Dallas' March 2014 ordinance.

See also: Plano Ignores Cries of Hometown Liberty Institute, Passes LGBT Equal Rights Ordinance

"There is legislation that's being worked on. Jeff Leach who's also a state representative, he actually, he and I represent the majority of Plano, he's actually leading an effort to nullify these types of ordinances statewide. There's actually four state representatives that represent Plano, all of us will be joint authors of that legislation, but Representative Leach will actually lead that effort," state Representative Matt Shaheen told a group of pastors gathered at Prestonwood Baptist Church in mid-December in a recording obtained by the Texas Observer.

(At this point we want to take an aside to congratulate Toyota North America on its upcoming ceremonial groundbreaking for its new corporate headquarters in Plano. The event is Tuesday, and let's hope that North Texans of all stripes can let Toyota know just what sort of welcoming place their new home is.)

Now, back to the bigots.

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Dallas Set to Approve $200K Payout for Unarmed Man Shot by Cops in 2012

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Dallas County
Donnell Collins, not Randolph Glenn
Randolph Glenn is about to get at least a little of what he deserves for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Glenn was shot by Dallas Police Officer Bunthavuth Te after failing to remove his hands from his pockets while Te and other officers looked for Donnell Charles Collins, who'd allegedly just committed a robbery and carjacking.

On February 2, 2012, Dallas police responded to a report of two armed robberies on Grand Avenue in East Dallas. After flagging police down, one of the victims pointed the cops to a blue van down the street that was being carjacked by Collins. Officers Thomas Hughes and Joshua Shipp approached the vehicle, and when they asked Collins to show his hands, the cops said he reached for a black object they thought was gun (it was a BB gun). As Shipp tried to get the owner of the van out of the vehicle, Collins hit the gas, according to police records.

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City Says Chances for Big Earthquake Are Small

City of Dallas
Not scary. Probably not meaningful, either.
The city of Dallas got in on the earthquake hysteria Monday. The takeaways: Chances of a significant (5.0 or higher on the Richter scale) quake are small, but we all need to start putting together our emergency kits -- the city recommends we stock them with bottled water, several days' worth of food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, pet food and a battery powered radio -- and begin exercising our long unused duck-and-cover skills, just in case. Oh, and there will be, of course, a task force made up of Dallas and Irving city officials.

How small? According to the USGS, the chances of a 5.0 earthquake hitting North Texas in the next 50 years is about 1-in-400, with even lower likelihoods for bigger rumbles.

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In Search of Wylie H: Either the Trail Is Getting Warmer or I'm Getting Crazier

Categories: City Hall

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Stephen Young
I moved into a new apartment on New Year's Day. Wednesday, as I was making my way down the stairs, I saw the door you see in the photo.

It stopped me cold. "Surely, it couldn't be this easy," I thought. Had Wylie H. been hiding in plain sight -- with an admittedly slightly altered spelling -- for all these years?

H., for the uninitiated, is the "city's smartest, best informed and most mysterious commenter," according the Observer's Jim Schutze. Outing him or her is one of Schutze's many white whales, so I figured I'd help him out a bit. Plus, seeing as H. is perhaps the most universally respected figure in Dallas politics, knowing what his or her opinions are based on has value.

See also: Help Me Out Commenter Wylie H., and I Swear I Won't Pay You $100,000

Thursday night, I knocked on the door. No answer. Noticing there was a second door connected to the apartment now inhabiting the original Wiley H's office, I knocked on it, too. Still, no answer. I went down to the lobby and looked through the buzzer box directory for clues. Nothing.

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In the Hours After Ebola Landed in Dallas, No One Knew Who Was In Charge

Dallas Observer
All of Vanity Fair reporter Bryan Burrough's portrait of Dallas in the hours, days and weeks after the arrival of Thomas Eric Duncan is worth reading, but we thought it'd be worthwhile to highlight some of the most interesting stuff in his piece for those who can't afford to read 9,000-plus words in the middle of the workday.

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Historic Buildings Task Force Will Tear into Dallas Demolition Rules

A. Vandalay/Flickr
Worth saving, or at least looking at saving.
Acknowledging that maybe the tear down first, ask questions later policy with regard to old buildings that aren't protected landmarks might not be the best thing, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and District 14 City Council member Philip Kingston have teamed up to form the most Dallas of all pseudo-governmental units. A task force.

The unit, lead by current Landmark Commission chair Katherine D. Seale, will "look at the current programs and policies of the city's historic preservation program and evaluate them for their effectiveness to protect Dallas' heritage while encouraging the management and growth of downtown and surrounding areas," says a press release announcing the task force.

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2014 Was a Good Year for LGBTQ Rights in Dallas

Categories: City Hall

Starting with the adoption of a an equality resolution by the City Council in March, 2014 saw the city of Dallas continue to inch its way to becoming one of the most inclusive municipalities in the country. The city added health benefits for transgender city employees, made it possible for city employees to use the Family Medical Leave Act to care for same-sex partners and approved a legislative program for the upcoming session that includes recommendations from the newly created LGBT task force.

As a result, the city improved its score on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index from 81 to 91, placing Dallas in the upper echelon of scores from cities in states that do not have LGBTQ inclusive laws.

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Facing Record Drought, Dallas to Enact Tougher Water Restrictions April 1

City of Dallas
Water levels are down across the board.
A little less than a year ago, the city of Dallas adopted a drought contingency plan to mitigate damage from increasingly low water levels at the city's lakes and reservoirs. The first stage of that plan kicks in when levels are down 35 percent. In December that line was crossed; as of January 2, Dallas water supplies are 35.36 percent depleted.

Because residents and businesses use less water in the winter, the new measures won't take effect until April 1. At that point, in addition to the two-day a week watering restrictions that've been used in years past, the city will implement civil enforcement of those restrictions, a partial ban on washing one's own car and a ban on using water for recreational purposes if those purposes cause any runoff (a Slip 'N Slide provision, if you will).

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