City News Roundup
State Fair and ugly Xmas sweaters cheer this round of Dallas city news
This week in Dallas represents the final week of business before holiday festivities set in. The Dallas City Council cast a vote on the State Fair of Texas, and will see the return of a familiar face.
Here's the top city news of the week:
Fried food abides
The fried food frenzy isn’t leaving Dallas anytime soon: On December 12, the Dallas City Council awarded a 10-year lease extension to the State Fair of Texas, which will remain in Fair Park until 2038.
Several council members pushed for a delay on the vote to allow the new park management organization, Fair Park First, the opportunity to take over operations and understand the finances and needs of the fair.
"That process should be a public process, heavy on input from the neighborhoods around Fair Park," said council member Phillip Kingston.
The council added new stipulations to the agreement, including a livable wage requirement for fair employees of at least $11.15 per hour.
Fair Park will also be required to cover the costs of security in full, no longer relying on the city to pony up millions in overtime pay for on-duty officers. Previously, the city pulled officers from neighborhood patrols across Dallas to provide fair security.
The contract extension will keep the State Fair in Dallas for the next two decades. But Fair Park, the city council, and the new management group are all pushing for year-round activities and more green space.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also said he is working on an extension of the deal to host Texas-OU football games at the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park.
Carolyn King Arnold returns to the Dallas City Council after winning re-election Tuesday in a District 4 runoff with Keyaira Saunders. The special election was held to replace Dwaine Caraway, who resigned in August.
Arnold served on the council from 2015 to 2017, after Caraway was term-limited. She takes his seat on the council, vacant since he was indicted in connection to the Dallas County School scandal.
She'll take office on December 19, to complete Caraway's remaining term and faces re-election in May 2019.
UTD banishes student
The University of Texas at Dallas removed a student who'd been charged with rape from campus. Jacob Anderson is a former Baylor fraternity president who was charged with rape in 2016 and accepted a plea deal.
Students circulated a petition to have him taken off campus after a McLennan County judge reduced four counts of sexual assault to one count of unlawful restraint. Anderson will serve three years probation and pay a $400 fine. He will not serve any jail time or register as a sex offender.
UTD officials said they were unaware of his legal history when he was admitted to the university two years ago. He will not participate in formal graduation ceremonies or other activities on campus, but he will receive a diploma.
Ugly Xmas sweaters
The Dallas City Council observed an annual tradition of wearing ugly Christmas sweaters for its meeting on December 12. They'll have a special meeting on December 19 to declare the results from the December 11 runoff election for Place 4 on the Dallas City Council.