City News

Dallas police and fire try to contain July 4 fireworks and more city news

Dallas police and fire try to contain July 4 fireworks and more news

Belo Garden/Civic Garden
Downtown park has a new name. Photo courtesy of Dallas County Visitors Board

In this week's roundup of Dallas news, Uber is downsizing its stake in Dallas. The city is having a garbage situation. A park in downtown Dallas has changed its maybe-racist name. And the Dallas Police Department has a plan for 4th of July.

Here's what happened in Dallas this week:

4th of July
Dallas Fire-Rescue wants to remind everyone that fireworks are illegal in the city of Dallas, and up to 5,000 feet outside the city limits. They say that anyone possessing or using fireworks will get the fireworks confiscated and a citation will be issued. But will they really?

Consider last year's numbers: Dallas Fire-Rescue and the Dallas Police Department together confiscated nearly 900 pounds of fireworks and issued a measly 11 citations. There are 11 people in my neighborhood alone setting that stuff off.

They say that they expect a decrease in individual fireworks since several professional shows have returned after being cancelled in 2020. Such optimism.

On July 3-4, they'll have teams with two fire prevention officers and one DPD officer assigned to each police subdivision to monitor for illegal fireworks use and respond to complaints, plus fire prevention officers and inspectors staffed at an undisclosed location to stash the fireworks that have been confiscated.

DFR's Emergency Response Bureau will deploy two "wildland boosters" to patrol high risk areas, IE try to prevent grass fires, from 12 pm- 2 am. Marine 1 will be placed into service July 3-5 at Lake Ray Hubbard.

Police chief Eddie Garcia says that July Fourth weekend is the second-busiest time for police, with New year's Eve being the busiest.

Uber cuts back
Uber is cutting back its presence in Dallas for now, due to the aftermath of COVID-19. According to WFAA, the company will cut about 2,500 of the 3,000 jobs it had originally planned for its Dallas office, to about 500 employees.

"Given the dramatic impact of the pandemic, we are concentrating our efforts on our core mobility and delivery platforms and resizing our company to match the realities of our business, which has led us to the difficult decision of reducing our future Dallas office capacity," Uber told WFAA.

The company could eventually expand beyond the 500 employees in the future; it currently has about 200 employees based in Dallas.

Garbage situation
The City of Dallas is experiencing a labor shortage within the Department of Sanitation Services that are resulting in service delays.

The department has adjusted operations and is dedicating all available staff to garbage collection routes first. Recycling may be delayed by 1-2 days over the next several weeks, so they're discouraging people from calling 311 unless more than two days elapse.

Tim Oliver, Interim Director of Sanitation Services says that customers can continue to set their garbage and recycling roll carts out on their regular collection day, but should expect recycling collection delays as the Department works with its temporary industrial laborer staffing agency to fill vacant positions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the amount of garbage and decreased the amount of staff; Sanitation is responding by proposing pay raises for truck drivers, equipment operators, and laborers.

The city is not the only place to experience labor shortages, which are affecting many sectors across the United States, including public and private sector solid waste collection service providers.

No more Belo
The downtown Dallas park formerly known as Belo Garden is now called Civic Garden. The city's parks and recreation board approved the change at a meeting on July 1.

The park was originally named after A.H. Belo, who founded the Dallas Morning News in 1842. Belo was a colonel in the Confederate army, and his family owned slaves.

It's the third thing named Belo to be renamed. Belo Mansion in Dallas will get a name change, and the newspaper's corporate parent, A.H. Belo Corporation, will become Dallas News Corp.

RIP James White
James White, a former State Democratic Executive Committeeman, and a candidate for Dallas City Council in 2015, passed away on June 28, following an extended illness; he was 64 years old. White served in a variety of capacities as a Democratic leader, including precinct chair, election judge, and President of the Far North Dallas Richardson Democrats. He was known for his trademark white hat, understated intelligence, and dry wit.