03/27/15 3:21pm
Photo courtesy DISD

Photo courtesy DISD

Last night, the Dallas ISD board of trustees voted 9-0 to approve an amended bridge plan that will pump much-needed funds into improving some long-neglected schools, as well as set up more Pre-K classrooms.

But it is a drop in the bucket, which explains the long night and the wrangling that went in to coming up with a compromise. It’s saying something that of the schools that need improvements, the 20 schools that were picked included one that could’ve killed students and teachers with carbon monoxide fumes. If impending death is the benchmark for needing improvement, you can start to grasp at why some trustees needed assurances that their schools – that aren’t on the list – would indeed see improvement, too.

Trustee Eric Cowan passionately asked the large crowd who came last night to remember his vote when it came time to pass a new bond. And we should. We should remember it as a leap of faith that if we start improvements now, we will remember the schools not on this list, where children are also attending in portable buildings, in schools that need improvements. We should remember that if every single potential qualifying student signed up for Pre-K, we would not currently have the room to teach them all. I’ll have more on this next month, but early education is imperative.  It is absolutely vital to stopping the cycle of the school to prison pipeline.

So we need to remember these things in two or three years, when it comes time to vote on a bond package. If you’re a parent whose child will now go to a school that will be improved thanks to the bridge fund, it will be time to pay it forward.

Why? Because we’re in this together. I like to think of Dallas public schools as a body. We can get so caught up in the health of our one part that belongs to us, that we forget – decay and delayed improvement (both in a physical sense and educational sense) in one part can affect the health of the whole. So the health of Dunbar Elementary, for instance, goes, so goes the rest of the entire feeder pattern. So goes the health of that feeder pattern, so goes the health of the district.  And to take the point further, so goes the health of the district, so goes the health of the city, including the desire to move in to Dallas and send our children to our neighborhood schools.

The bridge plan is just that – a bridge, a step in the right direction of addressing neglect and overcrowding brought about through a variety of historical issues. This shouldn’t – and can’t – be a bridge to nowhere.


6205 Del Norte IHOTW

Following up on my interview with Seattle starchitect Tom Kundig, this sleek contemporary pup at 6205 Del Norte seems to have gone to an architecture school where Tom taught. The home, circa 2014, is textbook what the buyer of today wants: warm contemporary design that is light on the land — note the huge, beautiful twisty old oak in the back the house was built around?  The entire back courtyard is a green garden designed to be the focus of the entire house. Well-sized at 4812 square feet square feet, this is the perfect house for a downsizing baby boomer, professional duo or even a family of four.6205 Del Norte rear yard (more…)

03/27/15 10:33am

2726 Lawtherwood FrontThis home is perfect for a family with an active lifestyle that wants security, location, and access to Dallas’ crown jewel, White Rock Lake. Not only is it spacious with four bedrooms, two full and one half baths, and large living areas, but it is inside the Lawtherwood subdivision, where you’ll have access to a private park with an affordable HOA.

Jump to find out more about this fabulous Lakewood listing from Dave Perry-Miller Realtor Henda Salmeron.


03/27/15 9:00am

This woman could be the reason why some HOAs are dysfunctional.

HOA Boards are better than anything playing at the Winspear. What should be the stuff of banality and tedium are often filled with grade-school antics. Since posting the sharewithjon@candysdirt.com email address, a few readers have supplied their own stories to add to my own. Here’s a sample…

Imaginary Degrees and Intimidation
One reader spoke of a “fancy” building where in order to get her way, one resident pretended to be a lawyer in order to intimidate and bully fellow neighbors. Turns out there was a code violation (because codes change over time) that the HOA board (rightly) wanted to bring it up to code. This faux lawyer was part of a cadre of pitch-fork wielding villagers telling the HOA that the item was grandfathered in – this even after the City of Dallas inspectors cited the complex for the code violation. “The legal advice she gave when demanding her way was incorrect and caused turmoil and mass hysteria, thus stopping the board from getting things done.” Several HOA board members resigned because of the “hateful, personal attacks at Board meetings and via phone calls and emails” instigated by this woman and her bamboozled followers.

Later, when a neighborhood-changing issue was raised, this same self-accredited “lawyer” sharpened her pitchfork and became one of the most vocal critics. Resurrecting her battle tactics, she again sent out “crazy, long winded emails … to cause worry and fear among the residents.”

While one person can certainly cause a ruckus, this HOA apparently had a history of refusing to keep the building up to snuff with shabby lobbies and hallways with old/smelly carpeting. This writer also spoke of years of mismanaging funds. Some of this can be explained by complacent owners and a history of closed-door HOA board meetings (in complete violation of Texas law). Complacency and exclusion are a recipe for disaster – like leaving a 15-year-old in a mall with a credit card.

Jump for more!


03/26/15 4:35pm

Durst Houston condo ext

Ed Eakin is a Dallas-based broker and Realtor, who works both in Dallas and Houston. In 2013 he came back to Dallas to focus on Metro-area real estate. He started his own brokerage this past year. His niche, however, is selling beach property.

Ed sold Durst this Houston condo at 2520 Robin Hood, unit #801 for $437,000 in 2011. Just four years ago. The two bedroom, two and a half bath unit was Ed’s listing when he was director of sales for Personette & Co. When Ed sold him this listing, Durst also owned another unit in the building, 2520 Robin Hood at Kirby. Durst said he was going to list his older unit with Ed, but he never did.

“To my knowledge, it was never listed,” said Ed.

Unit 801, which Durst still owns, had about $360,000 in upgrades, $60,000 alone in the master bath. This condo was perfect as far as detail, says Ed, as it had just been completely redone by an owner flush with cash.

Did Durst quibble over price, I asked Ed?  A little. The unit had been listed originally for $469,000. Durst’s  was a cash purchase, no financing. Happened quick. Ed says Durst came to look at the placet, said “this is the nicest unit in the whole building,” and bought it. The high rise is one of Houston’s more tired complexes, but #801 had been remodeled to the nines.

“During our discussion, he told me he likes to buy and sell real estate,” says Ed. “Said he’d come back and purchase more from me. But shortly after this time, January of 2012, I began phasing my business to Dallas.”

Ed Eakin (more…)

03/26/15 3:08pm

1122 Jackson St. 908 Ext

Lofts are great for people who want wide-open floorplans, high ceilings, and great views, but sometimes lofts can feel somewhat cramped with small square-footage and bathrooms that feel like converted closets. That’s what makes this doubled-up unit inside the SoCo building so unique. Not only does it have fantastic downtown views thanks to its spot on the ninth floor, eight-foot windows, exposed brick, and upgraded fixtures, but it has 2,172 square feet.

Jump to see inside this amazing loft listed by Steve Habgood!


03/26/15 1:27pm

Kundig & MCE

Architect Tom Kundig may be the hottest number in Seattle. But he wowed Dallas this week, entertaining more than 400 people at City Performance Hall Tuesday night as a speaker for the Dallas Architecture Forum.

Kundig, an award-winning architect and principal at Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects, has a huge international following thanks to his ability to turn concrete, steels, cranks and pulleys into very livable spaces, sometimes carved right into natural surroundings. He certainly has designed some of the most talked about homes in recent memory, and is tip-top on every billionaire’s list of most coveted architect for primary, secondary or subsequent homes.

He has a  Louis Kahn-like affinity for bare concrete, but he throws in a passion for raw steel, or sometimes rusty metal, almost full-scale use of “the seven simple machines.” It’s a balance between refinement and rawness, which he told us comes from an influence of the aircraft industry and steel, all in the neck of the woods where he grew up. Automobiles also had a tremendous influence on the 60 year old baby boomer. His parents are Swiss, and his father was an architect.

“Architecture is supposed to be provocative,” he said, “it’s supposed to poke society.”

His natural interest has always been with moving things, from logging to machines for daily living –

“A machine is not an inhuman thing,” he said. “why can’t a building change depending on the mood or circumstances?”

Kundig’s creations are amazing, a stark contrast to the austere white box usually associated with modern architecture. He designs for tech and Wall Street titans all over the world, but sadly cannot mention names because of strict NDAs. His toughest clients, he said, are media titans who want uber privacy. Never did work for Steve Jobs, but knows people who did. I would almost put money on a bet he’s done something for Bill and Melinda Gates.

(He is working on a project in Dallas. Shhh.) (more…)

03/25/15 11:36pm

1710 Community Ln

The real estate market in Midland is hot, and the houses in the half-million range offer a lot of diversity in their styles and amenities. You’ll find everything from acreage and space for horses to thousands of square feet of living space. Here are five houses on the market now that will show you what’s available in the $500K range.

Visit MidlandDirt.com to see the five houses!