Dallas Executive's Neighbors Say City Hall Broke Federal Rules in Airport-Expansion Push

Categories: City Hall

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Neighbors of Dallas Executive Airport
An artist's rendering of Raymond Crawford's nightmares.
If there was one thing Dallas City Hall would have been wise to take away from the fracking debate, it's that you shouldn't mess with Raymond Crawford. He's the slight, balding, professional needlepointing David to your Goliath.

City Hall, however, isn't so good with lessons, which is why Crawford has another stone in his sling.

The issue this time around is Dallas Executive Airport, the small, city-owned airfield in the Red Bird area of Southwest Dallas. For the past three years, the city has been drawing up a new master plan for the airport and is set to begin a runway renovation and expansion.

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Hundreds of Thousands of Dallas Pets Are Living in the City Illegally

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Cameron K. Lewis
How many dogs and cats are there in Dallas? It's a hard, maybe impossible figure to nail down with any certainty, but extrapolating from the Humane Society's U.S. pet-ownership statistics, the number is just north of 600,000. The American Veterinary Medical Association's pet-ownership calculator gives a slightly smaller but comparable figure of 583,000. That's not counting the hundreds of thousands of stray dogs and cats the city estimates are prowling around.

The number of dogs and cats that are actually registered with the city, as required by law: about 53,000. The compliance rate is in the single digits.

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Help Settle a Bet: Which Recent Dallas City Hall Screw Up Was Worse?

Categories: City Hall

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The Horse Park/goat killing ground/boondoggle.
Editor's note: Recently, our Eric Nicholson reported on the goat skulls and carcasses that await visitors of the new Texas Horse Park, one of Dallas City Hall's bizarre attempts to develop southern Dallas. Together with Eric's previous scoop about the park being entrusted to an accused horse abuser, the story had some in the newsroom talking as if this horse-park fiasco was the city's worst screw up in recent years.

That didn't sit well with Chief Screw-Up Correspondent Jim Schutze, and he told Eric so. We've obtained a copy of that exchange.

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Dallas PD Wants to Use the Feds' Cache of Private Financial Info to Take Down Drug Dealers

Categories: City Hall, Crime

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Dallas Police Chief David Brown didn't think his proposal to secure access to a federal database of private banking and financial information would be controversial. It sailed through the City Council's Public Safety Committee unopposed last week. Then again, that committee didn't have City Councilman Lee Kleinman.

"'The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,'" Kleinman began, reading from a copy of the U.S. Constitution at this morning's meeting of the City Council.

"I feel very strongly that this item is a violation of that," Kleinman continued. "I'm not in favor of having a law enforcement authority searching through financial records."

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Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings Now an Award-Winning Journalist, UNT's Mayborn School Says

Categories: City Hall

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Bob Daemmrich
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings wears many hats. He's a "man's man," a pizza lover, a terrible actor, the titular head of a major American city.

He is also, you might be surprised to learn, a distinguished journalist. So says the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. It has named him to the "C.E. Shuford Hall of Honor," where his name will hang alongside local reporting legends like Bill Moyers, Bert Shipp (father of Brett), John McCaa, and the Star-Telegram's Bob Ray Sanders, among other industry veterans with "lifetime achievement and distinguished contributions to the journalism profession."

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Dallas Is Making It Harder to Dodge Traffic Tickets

Categories: City Hall

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Flickr user Phillip Winn
Remember that story a couple of weeks back about how Dallas was sitting on 25,000 municipal court warrants? And how you were probably safe ignoring your traffic citation with impunity? That was caused by a technical glitch, and technical glitches get fixed. The reprieve was temporary.

The broader trend is that the city's municipal courts are getting much, much better. If they're not yet a well-oiled model of efficiency, they are at least an increasingly effective means of squeezing fines out of traffic violators.

Take a look at the numbers. Before, those who challenged their citations had a better-than-even shot at a dismissal; ; only the foolish and the tragically civic-minded paid their fines up front. That's changed. The overall number of dismissals is down 28 percent over last year there.

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Large Portion of Hutchins City Government Indicted on Corruption Charges

Categories: City Hall, Crime

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Artis Johnson
The town of Hutchins doesn't have a whole lot going for it. There's Hutchins State Jail, the town's second-largest employer, and new intermodal facilities centered on the Union Pacific train tracks and I-20 (this presumably explains how the population doubled between 2000 and 2010, to 5,338), but it has otherwise missed out on the growth enjoyed by neighboring Dallas and Lancaster.

Even when it comes to corruption, Hutchins is something of a backwater. News broke Monday afternoon that 10 current and former city officials -- including Mayor Artis Johnson -- have been indicted on charges stemming primarily from alleged scrap-metal theft.

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At the Center of Valley View Redevelopment, a 20-Acre, $100 Million Park

Categories: Biz, City Hall

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Via the City of Dallas
Transforming Valley View Center from a dystopian wasteland into Dallas Midtown, a mammoth, 450-acre complex of restaurants and offices and stores and apartments and retail, won't be cheap. More than $10 billion was the figure floated when developer Scott Beck first went public with the idea last year.

Most of that will come from the private sector -- but not quite all. The Dallas City Council is set to chip in $360 million in the form of reimbursements through a newly created TIF district.

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At Dallas' Horse Park, Beware of Goat Carcasses

Categories: City Hall

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Sedalco, via the Trinity River Corridor Project
Texas Horse Park, circa February 2014
You needn't stray far from where where the Texas Horse Park's barn and activity building are going up off Pemberton Hill Road to start finding goat skulls. A couple of feet into the mesquite trees should do; the bleached white bone is impossible to miss against the underbrush.

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Dallas Is Sitting On Hundreds of Tax-Foreclosed Properties, Almost All in Southern Dallas

Categories: City Hall, Housing

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City of Dallas
The city's stock of tax-foreclosed properties is clustered heavily in neighborhoods in South and West Dallas and Oak Cliff. See the end of the post for the entire map.
It used to be that, four or five times a year, Dallas would have an auction and sell its tax-foreclosed properties to the highest bidder. The last one happened on June 13, 2013, two weeks before the City Council complained that the houses were falling into the hands of slum lords and shady boarding-home operators.

Since then, Dallas has been sitting on the properties it owns -- about 400 parcels in all -- while it figures out a way to keep them from dragging down surrounding neighborhoods. And by "surrounding neighborhoods," we mean West Dallas, South Dallas and Oak Cliff, which, with a few exceptions, is where the tax-foreclosed properties sit.

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