Look at this 75-year old, never-before- seen- footage of Dallas that Dallas Morning News editor Robert Wilonsky unearthed (and I guess, bought) narrated by Mark Doty, Historic Preservation officer for the city of Dallas. 90 seconds of downtown Dallas on Kodachrome. (If you don’t know what that is, along with ice cube trays, holler at me.) Funny but not surprising to note that there were houses in downtown Dallas as far back as 1939 — single family. This was about the time, says Doty, that the Cedars ‘hood was being built. This was downtown Dallas before skyscrapers and highways. I was also enthralled with the vintage clothes and hats. I swear in 1939 every woman has as many hats as she had shoes, maybe more. Didn’t they blow away? How did women keep them on their heads? Good question for Ebby Halliday, who got her start in selling by selling ladies hats!

NO-to-Transwestern-DealA few weeks ago we told you that Laura Miller, Mitchell Rasansky and a bevy of Preston Hollow  ”VIPs” had joined the debate over a multi-family complex in the early works over at Preston and Northwest Highway, Behind the Pink Wall. This development is the source of all the “No” signs cropping up in Preston Hollow as far east as Hillcrest, as far west as Midway Hollow, and as far north as Forest.

Well, now Miller, that is former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller, has taken it one step further. She WROTE an email to Jennifer Gates asking her to replace Kleinman, claiming he is unwilling to meet with Jennifer’s constituents. Well, she didn’t say he was “unwilling”: she said appoint someone who is MORE willing: (more…)

IHOTW Epping Lane

You have to BUY it first, of course!

I told you that Mike Modano had put his Epping Lane home on the market about the same time he sold his home with former wife Willa Ford on Mimosa. And I may have showed you the old photos of this house before the new Mrs. Mike Modano, the brilliant Allison, got her hands on it. And oh what a talent Allison has — look at how she has transformed this home into a soft, stunning, light bright palette of delicious hues, Carrera marble and the most tasteful fixtures.

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4923 Deloache ext

Are you a fan of blue and white? How about Chuck E. Cheese? Oh do I have the house for you!.

This home had me SCREAMING in delight when I saw it last week Friday. 4923 Deloache will give you all the excitement you need to stay up all night. After all, it’s just MONDAY! (more…)

It’s on the lips of just about every mom in my neighborhood: What will this home rule proposal mean for our failing neighborhood elementary? Will it mean we won’t have to spend an arm and a leg for private school, or uproot our family for the suburbs?

That’s exactly what’s happening right now, and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings wants to stanch the flow of Dallas’ middle class hemorrhage before the city bleeds out. His impassioned plea is one worth listening to.

“You’ve got to just speak the truth. The problem is that everybody is moving out of town. … This is the big elephant in the room,” Rawlings said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News editorial board this week.

We see it all the time when checking out listings in sought-after suburbs or in Dallas neighborhoods where parent groups have worked their tails off to reinvest in ailing campuses in areas where the housing stock is perfect for families but the schools … not so much. Good schools are a selling point. Underperforming schools act as a repellant. Add to the equation that homeowners are already funding these failing schools through property taxes, and the problem is even more galling. This is the major takeaway from Tod Robberson’s blog post:

[Rawlings] suggested that the dysfunctional school system was a major — if not the major — impediment to our city’s growth and development. It is a deterrent to middle class families considering a move here. Bad schools and school management drive down property values. It’s a civil rights issue.

“Economically, it’s a train wreck…,” he said. “It is broken, and we have got to admit that.”

The key point in his remarks was the breakdown over the past decade in taxpayer funding for DISD. We’ve spent $13.9 billion on public education in DISD. That breaks down to $3.5 million per college-ready student during that time period.

If this were a business, and those were the results based on that expenditure, Rawlings said, “Everybody should be fired who had anything to do with this.”

Now, if home rule does turn the district around, it won’t be an overnight fix. It will take years for Dallas ISD to become the kind of district that attracts middle-class families rather than sends them fleeing once their children reach school age, considering that these are the households who really can’t afford to pay for their child’s education through taxes and then again through private school tuition. It seems like a more logical solution than splitting the district up, which was proposed by East Dallas families through the White Rock ISD facebook page. The two strategies, based on what the commission comes up with, may not be mutually exclusive, though.

While home rule may not be a magic bullet, it has at least started a citywide conversation about the dire consequences of doing nothing.

What do you think? If Dallas ISD makes progress with changes on the district level, can the city turn it around, or is the damage already done?

Landscape site plan Preston and Northwest HighwayCharles Sartain, who lives on Northwood and is pretty darn close to the proposed Transwestern development, says in a Letter to the Editor of the Dallas Morning News last week there IS a need for upscale, luxury apartments in the area and he would like to see a traffic study and more information. He also says “no negotiations” are not the prevailing opinions in the neighborhood, which stretches from Hillcrest all the way to the Dallas North Tollway, including homeowners with the ’50′s ranches on Northwood to the tree canopied and creek-lined estates of Old Preston Hollow.

“No negotiation” and “squelch it before it gets to zoning” are not the prevailing opinions in the neighborhood. The protesters say they want somebody to fight for them. We want a plan commission and council who will fight for a rational debate and vote for a reasonable result.

Landscape site plan Preston and Northwest HighwayCharles Sartain, who lives on Northwood and is pretty darn close to the proposed Transwestern development, says in a Letter to the Editor of the Dallas Morning News last week there IS a need for upscale, luxury apartments in the area and he would like to see a traffic study and more information. He also says “no negotiations” are not the prevailing opinions in the neighborhood, which stretches from Hillcrest all the way to the Dallas North Tollway, including homeowners with the ’50′s ranches on Northwood to the tree canopied and creek-lined estates of Old Preston Hollow.

“No negotiation” and “squelch it before it gets to zoning” are not the prevailing opinions in the neighborhood. The protesters say they want somebody to fight for them. We want a plan commission and council who will fight for a rational debate and vote for a reasonable result.

2011 Cedar Springs extI don’t know about you, but this is the first primary where I have actually enjoyed seeing campaign signs out and about. Why? Because the candidates all have such great names: forget Bob, John, Paul or Mary: we have Chart, Morgan and Court — and then my precious Leigh Bailey on the Democratic side. When I write my novel, I am going to steal all of these Republican candidates’ great names.

According to the Dallas Morning News, all three of the Republican candidates are pretty similar — conservative, favor limited government, oppose new taxes and prioritize business-friendly policies, education and infrastructure. Which all sounds good for the state of Texas, right? They are trying to distinguish themselves with their work background and experience.

Despite their conservatism, this is the best looking crop of candidates we have ever, ever had! In fact, they are all just adorable!

So who to vote for? Well, let’s take a look at where the three Republican candidates for the Texas House LIVE, maybe that will help:

Chart Westcott, the youngest of the group, is age 28, a year younger than my son. Precious! He says he lives in the M Streets in East Dallas. But according to public records, it appears he is the trustee of a penthouse at 2011 Cedar Springs, 7th floor. DCAD has it appraised at $506,810. I’m trying to get this figured out. He is also a member of the Texas Real Estate Commission, which is definitely a plus for we lovers of the dirt.2011 cedar Springs 701

Chart+Headshot_122713_Fnl-3

Chart Westcott

Age: 28

Home: M Streets in East Dallas (and/or something on Cedar Springs?)

Family: Single

Education: Bachelor’s degree, Vanderbilt University, 2007; law degree, Southern Methodist University, 2011

Occupation: Business partner at Commodore Partners, a private equity company that invests in real estate and technology

Civic involvement: Member of Texas Real Estate Commission; Texas chairman of the National Association to Protect Children; board member for Friends of Fair Park and Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dallas; co-chair of 2013 Reagan Day Dinner for Dallas County Republican Party; chairman of Young Americans for Romney in Dallas. Also, Chart does not drink alcoholic beverages.

Amount raised: $1.1 million plus

Meyers lotMorgan Meyer and his wife, Keana, have a new home in University Park on Colgate built in 2010. (What you are seeing here is the house before they built, stay tuned.) Smart move, getting into UP for schools and buying the most home he could for his family. It’s 4409 square feet, brick, has fire sprinklers, five bedrooms, four and a half baths and no pool which is smart — the Meyers have small children. Their home is appraised at $1,738,400. I think Morgan is so handsome he should not just run for the House, he should be in the Governor’s mansion and ultimately, the White House. Have you seen his wife? We are talking knock down gorgeous and beautiful children to boot. By the way, Morgan has been endorsed by the Dallas Morning News.

Morgan Meyer headshotMorgan Meyer

Age: 39

Home: University Park

Family: Married with three children

Education: Bachelor’s degree, Southern Methodist University, 1996; law degree, Washington and Lee University, 1999

Occupation: Partner at Bracewell & Giuliani

Civic involvement: Volunteer for 1992 Republican National Convention; former intern for U.S. Rep. Larry Combest, R-Lubbock; volunteer for South Dallas Legal Clinic and Lawyers Serving Warriors; executive committee member of Dad’s Club at Hyer Elementary

Amount raised: $312,293*

Website: morganmeyerfortexas.com

5807 Glen FallsCourt Alley probably has the most beautiful name — Court Christian. He lives in Devonshire with his wife, Mary Clare (also a beautiful name) in a 61 year old ranch home DCAD has appraised at $807,000. Glen Falls. He may have bought it as a foreclosure — now that’s a savvy financial mind. The home has 3394 square feet and four bedrooms, three and a half baths, no fire sprinklers but it does have a swimming pool. Great house, great buy, great neighborhood.

Court+Alley+headshot

Court Alley

Age: 34

Home: Devonshire neighborhood in North Dallas

Family: Married with a 1-year-old son

Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Texas, 2004

Occupation: President and founder of Caruth Marketing, which sells customized promotional products and assists with branding and Web design.

Civic involvement: Founder of Brighter Dallas PAC, which promotes civic engagement among young conservatives; community block captain for Devonshire Neighborhood Association; advisory board member for America’s Future Foundation, a networking group for young conservatives and libertarians; volunteer for Serve West Dallas, a faith-based nonprofit

Amount raised: $121,943

Website: allforalley.com

Go out there and vote! I wish all three of these guys could win — they are great young men.