The city of Dallas revisits marijuana reform, and citizens have a number of opportunities to engage in a civic manner by showing up at a meeting. Here's what's shaking in Dallas this week:
A cite-and-release program — eliminating jail time for anyone found with small amounts of marijuana — is being revived by City Council member Philip Kingston. Instead of going to jail for possession, offenders would receive a citation and be required to appear in court at a later date. Kingston points out that the Dallas Police Department is understaffed and would be better off focusing on serious crime.
In March 2016, the City Council considered a pilot program but it lost 10-5, and without the support of then-police chief David Brown. Brown has since retired.
Houston police chief Acevedo is initiating a similar ordinance, and reforms are being introduced on a state level to legalize medical marijuana and change the laws for possession of small amounts from a misdemeanor to a civil penalty, like a traffic ticket.
Park board resignation
Dallas Park and Recreation Department Board president Max Wells announced his resignation on February 23. His resignation comes after an unhinged meeting on January 26 that saw board member Sean Johnson lecture his peers to stop asking questions and "learn their role."
Insanely, the majority of the Dallas City Council subsequently promoted Johnson to the position of vice chair, replacing Jesse Moreno. The 8 council members who promoted Johnson included Mayor Mike Rawlings, Erik Wilson, Casey Thomas, Carolyn King Arnold, Rickey Callahan, Tiffinni Young, Lee Kleinman, and Jennifer Gates.
It's up to Mayor Rawlings to replace Wells. Some would like to see Moreno be appointed, and are urging that supporters deluge the mayor and council with tweets and emails.
The board has been in the eye of the hurricane ever since the city of Dallas began to consider what to do with Fair Park. Despite events and the annual State Fair of Texas, the facility sits empty for most of the year. Steps were taken in 2016 to hand management of the park over to a private entity, but that was found to be illegal. There are currently three firms with proposals to oversee the park's renovation.
The city of Dallas is hosting a series of meetings to solicit feedback from citizens on the development of the FY 2017-18 budget. Find your favorite:
- March 4, 11:30 am-1 pm: Latino Cultural Center 2600 Live Oak St.
- March 4, 2-3:30 pm: West Dallas Multipurpose Center 2828 Fish Trap Rd.
- March 9, 6:30-8 pm: Paul Laurence Dunbar Lancaster-Kiest Library 2008 E. Kiest Blvd.
- March 16, 6:30-8 pm: Lake Highlands Recreation Center 9940 White Rock Trl.
- March 20, 6:30-8 pm: Janie C. Turner Recreation Center 6424 Elam Rd.
- March 21, 6:30-8 pm: Walnut Hill Recreation Center 10011 Midway Rd.
- March 22, 6:30-8 pm: Southwest Center Mall, Community Room 3662 W. Camp Wisdom Rd.
- March 23, 6:30-8 pm: Skyline Branch Library 6006 Everglade Rd.
- March 27, 6:30-8 pm: Fretz Recreation 6950 Belt Line Rd.
Congressman Pete Sessions will host a town hall meeting on March 18 at 12:30 pm at Richardson High School. Town halls across the country have become rowdy in the past few weeks, with Republicans such as Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton getting booed over the Affordable Care Act, and some Democrats avoiding them altogether.
Dallas ISD sale
Dallas ISD trustees approved the sale of 10 surplus Dallas ISD properties, including the very pretty headquarters at 3700 Ross Ave. The sale is anticipated to generate $18 million. Dallas ISD is consolidating into one building at 9400 N. Central Expy.