Vonciel Hill's Loony Memo to Scott Griggs Versus the Facts on the Ground

Categories: Schutze

Thumbnail image for TrinityDrainingSavePembertonSpring.jpg
Vonciel Hill can snap her fingers and make all this go away? What would that make her?

Here's a nice little moment when the truth comes home to roost: Yesterday Stephen Young shared with you here a memo sent to Dallas City Council member Scott Griggs by council member Vonciel Hill in which Hill basically called a Griggs a liar.

Hill accused Griggs of distorting the facts when Griggs complained that a city contractor had despoiled a pond in the Great Trinity Forest by draining it for cheap construction water. So one elected official calls another one a liar. Big so-what? The thing about a charge like that, however, is that it doesn't just paint Griggs as a liar but also the people who alerted Griggs to the destruction in the first place.

See also: Dallas Councilwoman Vonciel Hill Is Really Mad at Scott Griggs for Doing His Job

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Big Old Grain of Salt on all Those Dallas Morning News DISD Stories

Categories: Schutze

Houston Press
Scott Hochberg
Monday, I look at The Dallas Morning News, and I see a headline, "Dallas ISD likely breaking attendance law, former lawmaker says." So immediately right there in the same headline I see a lawmaker and a lawbreaker. I've already got a mental image of somebody at school headquarters in cuffs with his coat over his head getting pushed into a van.

The story says Dallas has been allowing kids to graduate from high school who may not have met school attendance requirements in state law. The former lawmaker they quote, Scott Hochberg, a Democrat of Houston who retired last year, is the person who wrote the relevant law.

He's quoted in the story saying, "They [Dallas schools) are violating the law. To me, that's no different than to just give credit if the student never showed up."

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Highland Park Presbyterian Is Back in the Gay News Again, Surely Not for the Last Time

Categories: Schutze

Theologically, can one church have gay pews, non-gay pews and pews for people who have been cured of being gay? Or just forget it?

The saga of Highland Park Presbyterian Church and gaydom reached another milestone last week when the church agreed to pay its too-gay national church body $7.8 million in order to break away and join a new no-gay version of Presbyterianism, a Protestant denomination which traces its name from the Greek, presbuteros.

HPPC must pony up the nearly eight million dollars as payment for church property that the national body, called PCUSA, claims is its own. Once that's done HPPC can join a new Presbyterian outfit called ECO, which unlike PCUSA, does not allow gay clergy.

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Two Legislative Hacks Are Bragging They Will Scare Off Witnesses in UT Law School Probe

Categories: Schutze

This is state Representative Trey Fischer sitting across the table from you when the detective asks you if Trey Fischer ever put the arm on you. What a smile, eh?

You have to take a deep breath first. Anchor yourself. Pinch your nose. Then you might be ready to contemplate the sheer unadorned shamelessness of the Texas Legislature in its confrontation with University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall of Dallas.

See also: Wallace Hall Was Right.

Back story: After an abortive in-house cover-up, the emergence of an insider whistle-blower and a series of sudden top-level resignations, the university system was forced to bring in a private company to look into reports by independent journalists that the UT Law School was providing student admissions to influential Texas legislators in return for favors.

Latest unbelievable instance of shamelessness: Two legislators, Democrat Trey Fischer and Republican Lyle Larson, both of San Antonio, are insisting that they be allowed to sit on all interviews of potential witnesses by Kroll, an international risk assessment investigations company headquartered in New York. What's more, they have served notice that they themselves are talking to potential witnesses before Kroll can get to them.

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DMN Says Fired School Sleuth Didn't Break Rules. Maybe They Should Read DISD's Report.

Categories: Schutze

Wow, I am having major cognitive dissonance problems with a story in The Dallas Morning News today under the headline, "Breaking news: Report on fired Dallas ISD investigator Jeremy Liebbe does not find he violated laws or policies."

The first paragraph says, "A report on fired Dallas ISD investigator Jeremy Liebbe is critical of various decisions he made, including looking into his boss' criminal history, but it does not state that he violated any laws or policies."

But a copy of the report is attached to the story. I read the report. Unless the report was written in some kind of new hyper-ironic not-really language, it says plainly that Liebbe, a civil investigator for the district who was sacked and frog-walked out the door last July, violated both laws and policies.

See also: Lots More To Come In Saga of Suspended School District Sleuth

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Dallas City Hall's 10 Best Bads (Not Necessarily in Order of Egregiousness)

Categories: Schutze

Brandon Thibodeaux
Trinity River guide Charles Allen took one look at the city's so-called "white water feature" and knew what it was right away. Bad.

We're busy wrapping up our Best of Dallas 2014 issue, so we're in a stop-and-smell-the-roses state of mind.

No wait. Those aren't roses.

1. Hiring a horse-abuser to run the city's new horse park.

See: The Cruel and Unusual Making of the Texas Horse Park.

2. Sucking all the water out of natural ponds.

See: Dallas Horse Park Tramples Nature.

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The Unifying Theme in Dallas' Fantastically Bad Behavior Is That Stupid Toll Road

Categories: Schutze

Save Pemberton's Big Spring Facebook Page
The draining of this pond, the disgraceful treatment of Southern Dallas residents near the city's new horse park and the deferred maintenance of Fair Park are all symptoms of the same disease.
Please read Eric Nicholson's story this week about the city's incredibly callous treatment of Southern Dallas horse-owners whom City Hall has deemed unworthy of inclusion in that stupid fancy-schmancy run-by-an-alleged-animal-abuser horse park they're building near the river. And even though I hate sending you there, I hope you will also take a look at the lead editorial in this morning's Dallas Morning News decrying the decimation by a city contractor of a beautiful pond in the horse park area.

A single theme unifies Nicholson's story and the editorial in the daily, a theme I would argue (will argue in a column next week) is also present in ongoing deliberations over what to do with Fair Park, the city's 277-acre behemoth exposition park that looks more like bad Miami with every passing year.

The simple version of that theme is the expression often found in social media: WTF.

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Cop Watchers Have to be Cooler than the Cops, or Cop Watching Will Never Be Cool

Categories: Schutze

The Arlington cops in the Youtube video I saw looked like they were not the ones out of control.

I really want to be on the side of the cop watchers. I do. Ferguson makes me think the more eyeballs we can put on police incidents the better. But I watched the YouTube video on the people arrested in Arlington over the weekend, and there's no way they were in the right.

What I saw on the video was a sizeable group of people clustering round the police saying a lot of F-words at them and generally expressing hostility. And by the way, I don't have a big personal problem with F-words or hostility. I don't even mind disrespect for authority. In fact at one point I may even have carried a bumper sticker on my vehicle urging people to do just that.

See also: Three Cop Watchers Get Arrested for Videotaping Arlington Police

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Frisco Cops Need to Release the Dhawan Death Note Now, or We Have to Guess Why

Categories: Schutze

Daniel Fishel

Forgive me if I restate something so obvious you had it figured out days ago without me, but I just want to make sure we all get why the note found by police in the Dhawan case in Frisco is so important. We need to know what the note says about the deaths of Pallavi and Sumeet Dhawan and what it says about the Frisco Police Department.

See also: Ten-year-old Arnav Dhawa's Autopsy Done While Police Sat on His Medical Records

In this situation, the police story has always suffered from a serious case of wobbliness. I told you last March that the autopsy of 10-year-old Arnav Dhawan, whose body was found under ice in a bathtub in the family home, was carried out by a medical examiner who was totally unaware of the boy's long history of life-threatening disease.

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The Search for Mary Suhm Heats Up with Rumors of a Trinity Road Goon Squad

Categories: Schutze

Afterward, members of the AIA were called together for a "little chat" about the Trinity toll road.

Wait. The thing is: I found Mary. I now know where former Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm has been hanging out. It's scary.

But first, the boring news: At the end of last week I covered a deal put on by the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Dallas) where a Harvard guy who helped develop the Trinity River toll road plan over a decade ago came back to town and apologized.

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