In this roundup of Dallas city news, a former Dallas City Council member is running for another office. There's crazy talk about another convention center. A big patch of undeveloped land in Plano will no longer be undeveloped. And a high-ranking Dallas Police Department officer has been lured away to another city.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
Convention center again
Somehow, Dallas is in another insane conversation about its convention center. At a December 8 meeting of the Dallas City Council's transportation and infrastructure committee, a consultant hired by the city recommended building a new convention center facility, calling the current facility outdated, and claiming that this will keep Dallas from attracting big conventions.
Hello. Hasn't it already been proven that convention center business has been declining for years, made more dramatic by the pandemic and the rise of technologies like Zoom, and that cities keep getting shafted by wasting their money on boondoggles like this?
Plus, Dallas still owes more than $600 million on an expansion of the current convention center and attached Omni Dallas Hotel.
Council member Cara Mendelsohn said she wasn't in favor of an upgrade, and questioned the lack of public input. Thank you, Cara.
City staff and the consultant want the transportation and infrastructure committee to send the proposal to the Dallas City Council, but the committee pushed it back until January.
Philip Kingston, who served for three terms on the Dallas City Council (and whose campaign I donated $50 to), is running for the Dallas County Commissioner's Court, for the seat currently occupied by J.J. Koch.
Some of Koch's greatest hits include: efforts during redistricting to preserve white Republican voters by submitting a map of his district favoring the areas where those voters live; not wearing a mask during a meeting, despite the mandate; getting thrown out of said meeting by Judge Clay Jenkins; filing a pointless lawsuit against Jenkins.
Kingston will first face two other candidates, Tom Ervin and Andrew Sommerman, in the Democratic primary; the winner will go on to a race against Koch.
Plano City Council approved the development of one of the last undeveloped swaths of land in Plano: a 142-acre section of the Haggard family's farm, located on Spring Creek Parkway, just east of the Dallas North Tollway. The Haggard family has owned land in Collin County since the 1850s. They're planning a mixed-use project with office, retail, hotel, and residential construction.
The development has been in the works for nearly a decade, and is not welcome by everyone, including a group called Stop Haggard Farms that formed way back in 2014.
Avery Moore, a 30-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department who oversees the Investigations and Tactical Branch, has been hired as police chief in Tacoma, Washington. Moore was one of four finalists for the job, and starts on January 18.
The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state of Texas over maps created during the recent redistricting process. The lawsuit says that new maps disenfranchise Black and Latino voters through a process called "vote dilution," which spreads out voters of color through different areas to reduce the impact of their votes.
The lawsuit highlights congressional districts in which Republicans drew ridiculous boundaries to decrease the percentage of Black and Latino voters, and alleges that districts were drawn with discriminatory intent and without expert or citizen input.
The maps were approved by Gov. Greg Abbott on October 25, and will go into effect January 18, 2022.
The Dallas City Council reprised its annual Xmas Sweater Day, when members wear ugly sweaters to the final council meeting in December. The photographic evidence is above.