City News Roundup

President Obama breezes through Dallas and more city news highlights

President Obama breezes through Dallas and more city news highlights

Barack Obama
Photo via WhiteHouse.org

Dallas had some very big arrivals this week: The president was in town, and the elephants arrived. Here are the highlights in city news.

Obama day
Following his taco stop in Austin, President Barack Obama headed to Dallas on March 11, for a set of appearances that included a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at Gilley's, an event at a private home, and a stop at Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy in South Dallas. Here's a real crafty video of his motorcade leaving downtown Dallas.

Zoo gets elephants
Disregarding a pending lawsuit and objections from animal groups, the Dallas Zoo got its elephants, which arrived in Fort Worth from Swaziland on March 11.

Dallas was supposed to receive six but ended up with five. According to a statement from the zoo, one elephant died in December; 17 were imported. That contradicts what Dallas zoo director Gregg Hudson said on February 2, when he told the New York Times that there were still 18 elephants. Dallas got one male and four females, including a mother and daughter.

Suhm news
The name of former city manager Mary Suhm came up twice — first in connection with a city lawsuit, and second in connection with a possible new gig.

The city is disputing a lawsuit filed by Trinity East Energy, the company that paid $19 million for the right to drill on city property. Suhm worked with the company but claims she offered no guarantees. District Judge Craig Smith presided over a hearing on March 11 and will rule whether it should go to trial in September.

The city was quick to hire outside lawyers for representation on the Exxxotica lawsuit, over objections from some city council members, but on this case, they kept it in-house.

The other Mary Suhm news involves the Dallas Historical Society, the organization housed at the Hall of State in Fair Park that maintains a collection of Dallas history and hosts historical exhibits such as the Dust Bowl Collection currently on display.

Shannon Roberts, who was named executive director in May 2015, resigned her position on February 1. According to the anonymously penned Mockingbird Pothole Facebook page, Mary Suhm has been appointed interim director. The Potholes point out that Suhm has signature authority and can write letters of intent to amend the DHS's lease on the Hall of State Building at Fair Park. That lease is in effect until 2038, but the city is also itching to privatize Fair Park.

Budget meeting alert
The City of Dallas will hold a public hearing on March 23 to receive citizen input on the FY 2016-17 operating, capital, and grant/trust budgets. The hearing will be held at 1 pm or later on the sixth floor of Dallas City Hall. If you want to make a comment, call 214-670-3738.