City News Roundup
West Dallas housing stays on front burner and more Dallas city news
The West Dallas housing situation continued to dominate city news, DART passed a controversial vote, and Dallas police chief David Brown threw himself a big retirement party. Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
West Dallas evictions postponed
In the ongoing West Dallas housing saga, Judge Ken Molberg issued a temporary restraining order on October 24, postponing the evictions of 300-plus residents who live in homes owned by HMK Ltd.
HMK, owned by Khraish A. Khraish and his father, Hanna, has been renting the homes for more than 10 years at cheap rates between $300 and $450 a month. The land has increased in value, and HMK has been the recipient of a number of code complaints. HMK is now shutting down its rental business.
The saga blew up on October 19, when the Dallas Observer published an audio recording of a meeting between Mayor Mike Rawlings and Khraish, in which the mayor pushed for HMK to sell the land.
Another damning audio tape
On October 26, the Observer published a second audio recording of a meeting between Rawlings, HMK, and city council member Monica Alonzo, who represents West Dallas. They're trying to find a solution to the housing situation. Khraish brought along Bill Hall, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity, in an attempt to broker a deal for the land and preserve low-income housing, but Rawlings would not allow Hall to attend.
The outcome of the meeting was that lawyers for the city of Dallas would look for ways to reduce the number of code violations being written against HMK, and HMK would refrain from immediate eviction of its tenants.
DART board drama
In a controversial move, the DART board of directors approved plans to build the Cotton Belt commuter rail between Plano and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, as well as a subway line in downtown Dallas. A packed house turned out to witness the vote.
Addison residents, who wore yellow T-shirts, were in favor of the Cotton Belt rail; Dallas' inner-city crowd, in green shirts, opposed the Cotton Belt because of the high toll it would take on the system overall. DART executives claim their budget can support both projects.
Chief Brown's big bang
After 33 years as a cop, and six as police chief, David Brown has retired. He announced his retirement shortly after the burst of national attention he received for his handling of the July 7 shooting in downtown Dallas.
Brown went out with a private reception at the Morton Meyerson Symphony Center, where he said he will not run for office but revealed he does "have a great interest in using the media platform to convey a message about bringing people together." He's represented by a talent agency in New York.