Follow the Money Split Between Trinity Toll Road Camps in May's Council Elections

Categories: Politics

401(K) 2012
Thursday marked the 30-day deadline before Dallas' May 9 municipal election. That means a couple of things: First, it's too late to register to vote in the election if you haven't already, and second, candidates had to file their latest campaign finance report. A couple of weeks ago, we told you about the races that represent a potential path to an eight-vote majority of candidates against the Trinity toll road on the City Council. Let's take a look at where the money's headed in those races.

See also: Anti-Toll Road Dallas Green Alliance PAC Rolls Out City Council Endorsements, Strategy

District 3
Casey Thomas has raised only $3,650 so far in 2015 despite being endorsed by term-limited District 3 incumbent Vonciel Jones Hill. B.D. Howard, Gerald Britt, Joe Tave and Wini Cannon all raised more money than Thomas, the only pro-toll road candidate in District 3. Tave, who's been endorsed by Scott Griggs, Adam Medrano and Philip Kingston raised $5,701 in the first quarter of 2015. Cannon, who's been endorsed by the Dallas Green Alliance, raised $3,963. Britt, the vice president of external affairs at CitySquare, led the field by raising $9,335.

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Further Proof of the Economic Recovery: Ted Cruz Has Raised $4 Million in a Week

Categories: Politics

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Gage Skidmore
People have given this man $4 million in eight days.
In the surest sign yet that the United States is in the midst of a dramatic economic recovery, Americans have seen fit to set fire to more $4 million by giving it to Ted Cruz's nascent presidential campaign. Not that we're prejudging.

"This constitutional conservative campaign has raised more in the first week than any Republican nominee in modern times," Cruz told a Cedar Falls, Iowa crowd Thursday. "We raised more in the first week of the campaign than Romney did in 2012 ... [or] McCain in 2008."

According to his campaign, 95 percent of the donations have come from people giving less than $100. That means that, like Barack Obama in 2008, Cruz will have a long list of donors who haven't yet given him the maximum allowed by law as he heads into the early primaries.

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Mayor Mike Solves the Trinity Toll Road Conundrum Once and For All

Categories: Politics

Dallas Observer
We're sorry for not getting it the first time, Mr. Mayor
As it does before every election, The Dallas Morning News has published a series of candidate questionnaires probing hopefuls for their views on a number of city topics.

To the DMN's credit, the survey's question about the proposed Trinity toll road is both thorough and specific.

"Do you support any roadway inside the Trinity River levees including alternative 3C or a smaller road as described by the mayor's 'dream team?' Please be specific."

The 3C option is the big, honkin' road that supporters really want.

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Texas House Strips $3 Mil From HIV Prevention to Promote Abstinence, Is Incredibly Dumb

Stuart Spitzer, via Facebook
State Representative Stuart Spitzer, right, shortly before his 29-year drought came to an end. (When you post your wedding photo on your campaign Facebook account shortly before taking the House floor to brag about your abstinence, you're asking for it.)
At the end of 2013, there were just over 76,600 Texans living with HIV, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. That's a lot. A decade ago, the figure was about 50,000. Texas ranks fourth among states in total HIV cases and 11th in HIV cases per capita, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. A disproportionate share of those cases are in urban areas like Dallas County, which has more AIDS patients per capita than anywhere else in the state.

On the bright side, new diagnoses are flat; the numerical increase in total HIV cases is due to more effective treatments that keep patients from dying. On the brighter side, programs aimed at preventing, detecting and treating HIV have had a major impact. Without them, state health officials estimate there would be 20,000 additional cases costing an extra $1.6 billion in treatment expenses.

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Texas Senate Passes Infectious Disease Bill That Would've Been Really Helpful Six Months Ago

Categories: Politics

Patrick Michels
Honestly, we were all thinking the same thing.
"Who's in charge?" It was a question that everyone seemed to have in early October last year. Thomas Eric Duncan had just become the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States and no one, it seemed, knew what to do, as documented in February's Vanity Fair.

The Texas governor, Rick Perry, held a press conference at Presby Wednesday afternoon. At meetings before and after, local officials tried to understand what was expected of them; at least initially, that was far from clear. Most of the Dallas politicians, including Mayor Mike Rawlings, an avuncular former Pizza Hut C.E.O., had assumed that the C.D.C. was taking over, but what little they were hearing from the C.D.C. suggested that wasn't in the cards. "It was obvious to me and the mayor there was broad confusion over who was in charge and what would happen next," recalls Judge Jenkins, a steely Democrat whose job essentially makes him the mayor of Dallas County. "Mike came up to me at one point and said, 'I am freaking out here.' I told him, 'I'll get this fixed by dark.' "

Late that afternoon Jenkins and the Texas health commissioner, Dr. David Lakey, repaired to a Presby conference room to teleconference with Tom Frieden and other C.D.C. officials. This was the meeting where Jenkins had assumed Frieden would take charge. Instead, Lakey urged they adopt an "incident command structure," or I.C.S., which would place a single local official at the helm of the entire crisis.

"Well, who's going to be in charge?" Jenkins asked.

"You would be in charge, Clay," Frieden said.

"Well, I'm not a doctor," Jenkins replied. "David, you should be in charge," he said to Lakey. Both of the doctors, however, insisted that Jenkins take charge.

Afterward, talking to Mayor Rawlings, Jenkins tried to explain how the I.C.S. would work. But Rawlings cut him off. "I don't give a fuck about that," he said. "Who's in charge?"

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Anti-Toll Road Dallas Green Alliance PAC Rolls Out City Council Endorsements, Strategy

Categories: Politics

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The Trinity Trust
A rendering of the Trinity toll road.
It's still a long shot for sure, but the Dallas Green Alliance's path to eight votes against the Trinity toll road on the Dallas City Council is coming into focus. The DGA, a pro-environment PAC expressly formed to get toll road opponents elected, announced its endorsements Friday, along with plans to distribute at least $15,000 to their campaigns.

There are four decided votes against the Trinity toll road on the council right now. Scott Griggs (District 1), Adam Medrano (District 2), Sandy Greyson (District 12) and Philip Kingston (District 14). The Dallas Green Alliance has endorsed candidates in what are expected to be the seven most contested council races and the mayoral race. Four of those races are shaping up to be the ground that this election is fought over.

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Dallas Mayoral Candidate Admits Involvement With "666" Graffiti, Still Has Debate Plans

Categories: Politics

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Joe Tone
Thanks for the warning, Richard!
Richard Sheridan, the perennial gadfly candidate accused of painting "666" on a number of local buildings and landmarks, is out of jail. He was released at 7 a.m. Sunday, he says, but not before he was able to persuade 10 people inside to vote for him in May 9's mayoral election if they get out in time.

Twelve buildings, most associated with Dallas' LGBTQ community or the media -- including the Observer -- were tagged with "666" on June 28. Sheridan is the only suspected to have been identified and has been interviewed by the police three times, he says. The last of those interviews, according to Sheridan, happened in August or September last year, so he was surprised when he was arrested and charged with two of the taggings -- of Cathedral of Hope and the "Legacy of Love" monument in Oak Lawn -- on Friday.

"Everything's going good, you know what I'm saying? Then six, six police officers showed up. Six! I got my dirty sweat pants and shirt on, just getting ready to take a shower. I had to go to the bathroom both ways, and six of them are out there. Right away, cuffs. I told [the cops] 'Can't I get dressed or whatever?' 'No.' 'Can't I go to the bathroom, I gotta go both ways, there could be an accident?' 'You have to wait until you get down there.' So they picked me up at one [p.m. on Friday] and I just got out at seven [Sunday morning]."

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Lawyer Who Refused to Give a Client a Refund Says He's Glad Texas State Bar Is Suing Him

Categories: Politics

In 2007, former television journalist and journalism professor Eric Gormly made history at the University of North Texas for suing one of his own students. In the suit, he accused two professors and the student of conspiring to give him a bad performance review that got him fired. School officials said it was the first time they had heard of a UNT professor suing a student. "The university is disappointed that a former faculty member would file a lawsuit against a student who trusted him to do his job and follow university policy with respect to initiating complaints," a UNT official said at the time.

In an interview now, Gormly downplays his lawsuit against a student. "I did not sue a student. My attorney at the time included a student as one of the defendants," he says.

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Dallas City Council District 3 Race Heats Up Thanks to Cyber Pirates

Categories: Politics

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Mark Graham
She's on, presumably.
District 3 might be the most important race in the upcoming Dallas City Council election. Incumbents Scott Griggs and Philip Kingston have taken the rare step of endorsing a candidate outside their own districts, giving their support to high school teacher Joe Tave. Vonciel Jones Hill, who represents District 3 and is term-limited, has endorsed Casey Thomas to be her successor. Wini Cannon, like Tave, is against the Trinity toll road and has been impressive so far in the campaign. The district is one of the easiest pivot points to spot in the insurgent battle to unseat the Dallas old guard. It's all very serious stuff.

The District 3-related web addresses poached by some enterprising anti-Hill/Thomas folks are not. Wednesday, thanks to a tweet from the Morning News' Elizabeth Findell, we were pointed to, which features a big, grinning side-hug between Thomas and Hill along with a plea to vote for "anyone but Casey."

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Texas' Looming Texting-While-Driving Ban Will Only Give Cops Another Excuse to Pull You Over

Lord Jim via Flickr
On Wednesday, the Texas House overwhelmingly approved a statewide ban on texting while driving, the third session in a row where this has happened. In 2013, the measure died in the Senate. In 2011, it was killed by Governor Rick Perry, who vetoed it on the grounds that it was a "government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults." With Greg Abbott now in the Governor's Mansion, it has at least a marginally better shot of being signed into law.

That's too bad, because Texas' proposed texting ban, which would impose up to a $200 fine on repeat offenders, is a mess.

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