The city of Dallas got a credit downgrade, which is not good news. But chin up: There's a new candidate running for Dallas City Council who's a familiar face to CultureMap readers. These are the top stories in Dallas news this week:
Pension fund woes
The crisis surrounding the Dallas Police and Fire Pension fund had new twists, including a downgrade in the city's credit, and an attempt by the board to manage withdrawals from its member retirees.
According to a release from the city, the S&P Global Ratings agency lowered the rating on the city's general obligation bonds from AA to AA-, with a negative outlook. The S&P also downgraded the Dallas Convention Hotel Development Corporations bonds from A to A-, with a negative outlook. Everything's so negative.
The pension board held a meeting on January 12 to go over the possible restructuring of its loan with Bank of America, and to devise a plan to manage withdrawals from the fund. Members want to be able to make withdrawals, but that could endanger the survival of the fund altogether. A judge will rule on the withdrawal outcome on January 17.
Red Bird back
The Southwest Center Mall is going its original name back and there are plans for new businesses, shared by mall owner Peter Brodsky, who met with the community on January 7, after the news that Macy's department store will close in the spring.
The mall's original name, Red Bird Mall, has a lot of nostalgic attachment, so Brodsky is bringing it back. New businesses in the works include apartments, a Marriott Courtyard hotel, and a business incubator in partnership with the Dallas Entrepreneur Center. Brodsky said at the meeting that he was uncertain about where the funding would come from; he's already received a $2.4 million grant from the city.
Candy for president
Candace Evans, founder of Dallas real estate blog CandysDirt.com and a CultureMap Dallas contributor, is running for Dallas City Council. She's just like Jimmy Stewart in the old Frank Capra movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. She's running for the District 11 seat in North Dallas which has been occupied by Lee Kleinman for the past four years. Evans told the Dallas Observer that, Kleinman is a good neighbor and a good guy, she feels like their district needs a change in leadership.
Evans moves on
Ryan Evans, First Assistant City manager for Dallas, retired after 32 years, stating that he did his best to take care of Dallas. City Council member Philip Kingston said some nice words: "Ryan accomplished every major challenge I gave him. I have been privileged to work with many capable and skilled city employees. Ryan is high on that list."