City News Roundup
There's an election on November 3, so you'll definitely want to put that on your dance card. There's also a citizen committee being formed to review the Trinity toll road, and that's going to be a position with loads of power and authority, so be sure to apply for that.
Here are the highlights of what happened in Dallas city news this week:
November 3 is an election day, with a ballot that includes seven amendments on topics ranging from property tax exemptions to the right to hunt and fish.
If there's a theme for the day, it's "vote no." Proposition 6 is especially dumb: It pretends to give Texans the right to hunt and fish, despite the fact that Texans can already hunt and fish. How does a proposition like this even get on a ballot? It's really about hunters' paranoia over the increasing sway of animal rights and environmental groups.
Cement plant yes
The city council approved $2.5 million to help relocate the Argos cement plant in West Dallas. The plant stands in the way of developers' plans to develop more things near Trinity Groves, including a high-rise hotel. The $2.5 million will be spent on a building a rail spur, and the city will have to borrow it, so it'll cost another $1 million or so in interest.
Residents who live or work near the the new location spoke about potential dust and emissions, and about the catastrophe of having it mere feet away from Thomas Edison Middle School.
But Mayor Mike Rawlings and council members Rickey Callahan and Monica Alonzo listed all the reasons why it was a good idea: Zoning for it was approved in June, there's another plant there already, the new plant is state-of-the-art, Argos can do whatever it wants, etc.
Voting in favor of spending city money to help move a cement plant next to a middle school: Rawlings, Alonzo, Callahan, Erik Wilson, Casey Thomas, Lee Kleinman, Adam McGough, and Sandy Greyson. Voting against: Scott Griggs, Adam Medrano, Carolyn Arnold, Tiffinni Young, Mark Clayton, and Philip Kingston, who called it a "seven-figure deal for eight-figure people." Jennifer Staubach Gates' father Roger Staubach is one of the developers who'll profit, so she did not vote.
Toll road committee yes
Mayor Mike Rawlings is putting together citizen committee to review the Trinity Parkway construction. This was promised all along, practically since the consulting Dream Team was first formed in November 2014. But somehow the citizen committee got morphed into a committee peopled entirely by city council members. When the Dallas Morning News asked why the committee hadn't been created, Mayor Rawlings said that he forgot. He forgot.
So there will now be two committees: a technical committee and a citizen committee, both overseen by council member Sandy Greyson and Jere Thompson, former North Texas Tollway Authority chairman. The toll road process has not been open to public review previously, and no announcements have been made on how one would get appointed to such a committee. But finally, at long last, a chance for the people to be heard.
Shelter plan yes
Dallas Animal Services has unveiled a new plan to increase the number of dogs it can get off the street. The shelter is using data from a study done over five months that identified the highest concentrations of loose and stray dog service requests, and it will target those areas. Its actions will include enforcement of loose and stray dogs as well as surveying residents. The shelter is currently in the process of hiring for 41 positions.
DAS intakes more than 27,000 dogs and cats each year and answers nearly 50,000 calls for service covering 343 square miles. More than 800 animals are adopted or reunited with owners each month. Other plans include a program with possible home fostering, an ordinance review, and evaluation of three potential facilities, including a second shelter in southeast Dallas.
The freebie D-Link bus that runs between downtown Dallas and Bishop Arts got extended another year. D-Link is a joint project between the city, DART, and Downtown Dallas Inc. that was first implemented in November 2013. Its funding was set to expire on November 10. It costs $1.8 million a year to run. It runs Monday-Saturday, 11 am-11 pm, every 15 minutes, or so they say.