Dallas got crazy this week. When it wasn't busy blowing up buildings or mowing down historic trees, there were charrettes to plan, buses to buy and planes to fly. Transportation was a big topic, including a determination on the two finalist sites for a possible high-speed train station in Dallas.
But there's more. Here are the highlights:
The Trinity Commons Foundation, whose goal is to make sure that the Trinity Parkway toll road gets built, released a set of guidelines that emerged from a planning exercise, which they'll use to guide their charrette. Hello, we need a jargon translator.
The planning exercise was carried out by the "dream team" of international experts that the foundation assembled in September. The dream team created an "actionable vision and narrative" for their toll road fluffery, and are getting six more international experts to help them do it.
The new dream teamers are Allan Mountjoy, Ignacio Bunster-Ossa, Timothy Dekker, Zabe Bent, Mark Simmons and Elissa Hoagland Izmailyan. Is 12 enough? On the bright side, now we can call them the "dirty dozen." The team's design charrette will take place in February, and the results will be presented in late spring.
Our big city-of-Dallas election is coming up on May 9, and if you are a candidate such as Marcos Ronquillo running against an incumbent such as Mayor Mike Rawlings, you are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to political contributions.
Dallas' ethics code says the most an individual can contribute to a candidate is $5,000. But sky's the limit if you're already in office; as noted by the Dallas Observer, the $5,000 limit does not apply to incumbents. Contributions go into a totally different "officeholder's account," which is similar to a "campaign account," except different name.
The city issued a memo on February 6 detailing the particulars. But Ronquillo finds it fishy, Dallas City Council member Scott Griggs calls it a "campaign finance law loophole" and muckraker Wylie H. Dallas wonders if anywhere else but Dallas would allow incumbents to get unlimited contributions when challengers are limited to small fixed amounts.
One Love Field
Southwest Airlines has subleased two more gates at Love Field, bringing its total number of gates to 18 out of 20. The good news is that they are adding flights to new cities, with nonstops to Seattle, Milwaukee and Memphis. The bad news is that their subleasing means that United Airlines is no longer flying out of Love Field. Virgin America has the other two gates. Two carriers in 20 gates. That can't be a bad thing.
Bishop Arts joy rides
There's a date set for the opening of the streetcar route from downtown Dallas to Oak Cliff: April 13. The line runs one mile long between Union Station and Methodist Hospital, with extensions planned to Bishop Arts and the Dallas Convention Center.
DART is getting seven electric buses for D-Link, the free line that circulates between Jefferson Boulevard and the Arts District: They'll receive a $ 7,637,111 grant from the Federal Transit Administration to buy seven all-electric Proterra, fast-charge, zero-emission buses. After those are in place, every resident of North Oak Cliff will get their own pony.