A political action committee has formed to help make future politicians more green, and a group of residents in Deep Ellum are lobbying to get a fired cop reinstated. There's grassroots activity all over town. Read about that and more in this week's roundup of Dallas city news:
A PAC called the Dallas Green Alliance has officially launched, with the goal of making the Dallas City Council a greener place in 2015. According to the "about" page, the alliance includes supporters who've been leaders against city gas drilling, saving White Rock Lake from development, preserving the Great Trinity Forest and fighting the Trinity toll road. Members say that the Dallas Green Alliance will use opposition to the proposed Trinity toll road as its major litmus test in deciding which candidates to support.
Members include Hotel Belmont owner-developer Monte Anderson, White Rock Lake activists Ted and Hal Barker, Rita Beving of Clean Water Action, Jim Schermbeck of Downwinders at Risk, Raymond Crawford of Dallas Area Residents for Responsible Drilling, Zac Trahan of Texas Campaign for the Environment, and many more activists and environmentalists.
Keep up with their doings on Facebook.
A group of Deep Ellum residents created a campaign in support of a police officer who was fired for using excessive force against a panhandler. Officer Jesus Martinez was fired in November after an incident in which he subdued panhandler Joe Wesson by sitting on top of him and pulling his arms back so far that Wesson sustained permanent injuries. A video of the encounter was recorded on a cellphone by a witness.
Wesson has filed a lawsuit against Martinez and the City of Dallas. But the Deep Ellum community is defending him with flyers and T-shirts that read "#SaveJesus," which they wore to a city council meeting on December 11. Martinez's supporters hope that he can appeal his termination and be reinstated.
Welding fire downtown
Three workers died in a fire in downtown Dallas on December 12 while working on the renovation of Thanksgiving Tower. The men were cleaning and repair air-conditioning equipment at the bottom of the building. Occupants of the building were evacuated, and part of downtown was closed for the rest of the day. Dallas Fire-Rescue personnel said that neither the contractor Best Mechanical nor Thanksgiving Tower had proper permitting.
I'm Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins
On December 10, Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins was trying to get into City Hall, but the regular security guard who lets him in on his own recognizance wasn't there. Two city employees, including one Raquel Hultquist, were. When the two women did not rush to let him in — because he wasn't wearing his employee badge — something went awry. Hultquist filed a complaint with the Dallas Police Department, who issued Atkins a citation.
The surveillance camera that could have caught this incident wasn't working, so it's a she-said, he-said. What he said is pretty funny: "I know they know who I was and that I was entitled to be admitted to the building. ... I admit I was a little upset that they had not opened the door right away when they saw who I was. ... I suppose I raised my voice a bit, but I did not use profanity. ... I have never been denied access because I did not have my badge with me before, and I told them so."
311 on twitter
The 311 Customer Service Center has a Twitter account: @311Dallas. The city will send outbound messages about issues that impact the general public, such as traffic signal outages, road closures and water main breaks. They'll accept service requests made via Twitter, but keep in mind that staffers will have to re-input requests, because Twitter is not tied into the city's service request software. This is all a long way of saying that, if you're mobile, the 311 smartphone app is still the most efficient option for reporting service requests.
Mike Rawlings has his first opponent in the May 2015 race for mayor: Dallas attorney Marcos Ronquillo. He has served as president of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Dallas Mexican American Bar Association.