City News Roundup
This week in Dallas, the news was dominated by a West Dallas tenant situation, the loss of a beloved skating rink, and some DART updates. Here are the top stories:
West Dallas housing brouhaha
Mayor Mike Rawlings is floundering this week after an audiotape reveals that his interest in West Dallas property has little to do with the people living there and more to do with the land.
The tape, which can be heard on the Dallas Observer, is a must-listen. According to the story, Rawlings met in 2015 with Khraish H. Khraish and his father, Hanna, who own property in West Dallas, with 300 low-rent houses that "lie directly in the path of a wildfire of gentrification, soaring land values and high-end development in West Dallas."
The Khraishes have been renting the homes for more than 10 years at cheap rates between $300 and $450. They requested the meeting with Rawlings to talk about code violations, but the mayor kept steering the conversation to the topic of selling their land, even asking them the identity of their bank.
Since that meeting, the Khraishes have been the target of several fines and lawsuits from the city. Convinced that they will be no longer be able to continue to do business, the Kraishes decided to shut down their rental business and sent eviction notices to their tenants.
In the uproar that ensued after the Observer story — about which Rawlings said he felt "sleazy" — the evictions were postponed by a judge.
Khraish met with Rawlings and city council member Monica Alonzo on October 20 to offer a settlement, including the idea of selling the properties to Habitat for Humanity, but for now the tenants' status is uncertain.
DART to Love Field
There's another possible option for making a DART connection to Dallas Love Field. Dallas aviation chief Mark Duebner is suggesting running a streetcar from DART's Bachman station to the northern entrance to the airport, on a runway that is closed to air traffic. The streetcar idea would be cheaper than having to build a tunnel, which was the previous proposal.
The current alternative is to take the Green line to the Inwood station, then take a shuttle to the airport.
Lake Highlands institution closes
After 43 years of business, White Rock Skate Center closed its doors on October 16. The Lake Highlands institution opened in 1973, and owners Chuck and Laura Connor decided to retire. The couple does not know what the property will be used for, other than that it won't be a skating rink.