City News Roundup

Airlines gang up on Virgin and more contentious Dallas city news

Airlines gang up on Virgin and more contentious Dallas city news

Virgin America
If you like to fly on the cheap, now's the time. Courtesy photo

Top topics in Dallas this week included the homeless, porn conventions, and airfare wars. There's also a petition you can sign. Here's what happened in city news:

Tent city
The debate over what to do about the homeless population around downtown Dallas grew louder after a man fatally stabbed another in a homeless camp on February 15. The stabbing occurred in the area underneath I-30 off Hickory Street known as "tent city," where nearly 300 people live in tents.

Advocacy groups are trying to find alternative housing, but the city intends to shut it down by May. The population has grown, and the area has been problematic for months. The stabbing was only the latest in a series of crimes since August.

A pilot project called the Cottages at Hickory Crossing will provide 400-square-foot cottages on the edge of downtown Dallas for 50 homeless. Affordable housing that currently exists is often remotely located; according to a study, more than two-thirds of affordable housing units in the Dallas area aren't low-cost after you factor in transportation costs.

Dallas wave
Dallas has until March 18 to come up with a solution for the Dallas Wave, aka the standing wave, aka the hokey whitewater feature installed in the Trinity River in 2011.

Previous options included repair or removal; full removal may be more expensive than repair. The Park and Recreation Department has added a third alternative: partial removal, and the city is putting out requests for bids to do the job.

DART petition
There's a petition launched to get DART to install cellular service at the Cityplace/Uptown station. The station is 120 feet below street level, which is many escalator flights down, and there's no access to cellular service or Wi-Fi, "making the underground station a potential nightmare for medical emergencies and victims of criminal activity," according to the petition.

"From de-boarding a train, to finally exiting at street level where wireless service is once again available, can take riders up to 15 minutes," it says, suggesting that this represents a potential legal liability to the city.

Airfare war
If you're going to fly, now's the time. In an attempt to expel Virgin Airlines and Spirit forever, Southwest and American Airlines are engaged in a fierce price war that has fares from Dallas as low as $41 to LaGuardia and $30 to Los Angeles International Airport.

Friend to Jesus
With the Dallas City Council having voted to ban Exxxotica, a sex-themed expo, from returning to the convention center, the city has hired lawyer Scott Bergthold, the "infamous Christian-right activist attorney."

Scott Griggs lists the council members who voted against the ban, versus the council members who voted for it, even though a lawsuit will cost taxpayer money. If you want to watch the council vote online, here's the link. See council member Philip Kingston, who notes that the $40 million a year we're losing on the convention center would be great if spent to combat our poverty, act like Perry Mason.

"If you support the public convention center, you are not only assuring the future of tacky sex conventions in Dallas, you are very directly robbing our city of resources it could use to protect children from the crushing poverty that drives some of them into sexual abuse and causes all of them to suffer in myriad other ways," he says.

Five city council members — Kingston, Griggs, Mark Clayton, Sandy Greyson, and Adam Medrano — are questioning the Bergthold hire and want a say in who represents the city in legal matters.