Dallas

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

With a mayoral and city council election still rather close in the rearview mirror, a recent WalletHub study into the best and worst run cities in the country — and where Dallas falls on that list — highlights some of the issues that drove at least a few people to the polls twice.

The study, which was released earlier this month, sought to measure the effectiveness of local leadership by focusing on how efficiently a city was run.

“In other words, we can learn how well city officials manage and spend public funds by comparing the quality of services residents receive against the city’s total budget,” the report explained.

WalletHub compared 150 of the largest U.S. cities, constructing a “quality of services” score comprised of 37 benchmarks grouped into six service categories, which were then measured against the city’s per-capita budget.

Source: WalletHub

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map

Artist Eric Fischer created maps using data to show where locals go, and where tourists head. This is a close up of his Dallas map – a larger, interactive image in the story (Photo courtesy Flickr/Eric Fischer)

From staff reports

Early this week, an interesting article popped up in our inbox — a post in Arch Daily that highlighted the data-driven map artwork of Eric Fischer, who has created maps that show where the locals go in any given city, versus where the tourists go.

“Artist Eric Fischer has developed a project that explores precisely the difference in perceiving — and photographing —a city from the point of view of tourists and locals,” the post said. “The work, which is entitled Locals and Tourists, gathers the maps of 136 of the largest — and most visited — cities in the world.”

Using MapBox and Twitter data compiled between 2010 and 2013, Fischer created visualizations of where tourists (the red dots) and locals (the blue dots) took pictures. (more…)

medianMay’s home report is in for Dallas, and the median home price is up two percent year-over-year to $260,000, according to statistics from Texas Realtors.

What can you get for the median home price in Dallas? We took a look.

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Storm

The Dallas skyline was uncharacteristically dark Sunday night after a massive storm left almost 300,000 without power (Photo courtesy Frank Stokes).

After a week of storms flittering through, it didn’t seem like Sunday’s would be any different — until it was. Winds up to 71 miles per hour were clocked at Love Field, almost 300,000 were left without power, and a tragic crane collapse killed one and injured six more.

If you’ve never seen the Dallas city skyline go dark, you could’ve last night.  (more…)

U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox (center) announces the guilty plea of former Dallas City Council Member Carolyn Davis, and the indictment of Dallas developer Ruel Hamilton.

Former Dallas City Council member Carolyn Davis pleaded guilty to taking bribes from a local developer, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced Friday.

AmeriSouth Realty Group founder and CEO Ruel Hamilton was indicted on two counts of bribery as well, officials said. Documents for both Davis’ plea and Hamilton’s indictments were unsealed Friday.

US Attorney Erin Nealy Cox told reporters Friday that her office has “relentlessly” addressed public corruption cases in the last 14 months.

“And today, the reckoning continues,” she said.

Carolyn Davis

Davis admits to taking bribes while she was Housing Committee chair, sometime between November 2013 and June 2015. Her plea agrees that she took $40,000 from a developer for her assistance in getting an affordable housing project passed.

While Davis’ charges do not name Hamilton directly (he is called Person A), Hamilton is charged with two counts of bribery regarding local government receiving federal benefits.

Davis’ official charge is conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs using federal funds.

“In return for the money — plus the offer of a consulting contract once her tenure at the City Council concluded — Council Member Davis admits she lobbied and voted for the authorization of a $2.5 million development loan to fund the Royal Crest housing project, along with a City of Dallas resolution supporting 9 percent tax credits for Royal Crest, which was competing with another project,” the DOJ’s press release said.

On its website, AmeriSouth touts 14 projects in six Texas cities, including Royal Crest. (more…)

Update: Jennifer Gates’ office just sent the following statement: “Following yesterday’s Public Auction sale of the Forest/Nuestra ‘library land’, I want to provide an update to the community.

 As you may recall from my previous communications, a minimum bid was set in Executive Session by the City Council. The minimum bid amount was based on the most recent appraisal of the property plus expenditures already incurred by the City of Dallas.

 The reserve amount for the property was not met, therefore, no bid was accepted. It is not confirmed at this point, but we anticipate to go out for bid again, possibly with a contingency.”

You know that patch of land at 5639 Forest Lane in Melshire Estates, not too far from the Dallas North Tollway overpass, about 3.5 acres, that the City of Dallas put up for auction yesterday?

This was supposed to be the site of a brand-new Preston Hollow library to replace the one on Royal Lane, just about a mile south. Yes, that building is old and small, but it’s charming, and I rather enjoy taking my grand-daughter there because it evokes memories of taking my son and daughter there. So full disclosure, I’m kind of glad we are going to use the proceeds from the auction sale of this property to fix the old one up. But a library or dog park or mini Farmer’s Market would have been great here — pipe dreams.

But about the auction: it didn’t meet the city’s reserve. So the council and appropriate departments have to analyze the highest bid, which was $2.4 million, and decide whether to take it. Or not.

I’m told the “successful bidder” is a church, I’m just not sure which one. Very disappointing, would have loved to see there what the neighborhood really needed: the aforementioned or townhomes or zero lot downsizer homes like lock and leaves but the neighbors were dead set against anything but single-family residential. Which is likely never going to happen: even townhomes would be tough to turn, given the price of the land and the tollway so close. The church apparently bid about $2.4 million for 3.5 acres. This will be like deja vu. And do churches pay property taxes?

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Midway Hollow

Law enforcement, neighbors, and Atmos work crews gathered Saturday at a cookout organized to provide a hot meal to residents without natural gas, and to thank law enforcement and work crews (photo by Bethany Erickson).

[Editor’s note: Merry Christmas! This week, we’re taking time off to focus on our loved ones, so we are sharing some of our favorite stories from this year. Keep an eye out for our top features from the archives as we rest and get ready for a brilliant 2019! Cheers, from Candy and the entire staff at CandysDirt.com!]

Bethany: In the aftermath of a deadly gas explosion that killed one child and injured several of her family members, two neighborhoods in North Dallas began to realize that their lives would also be upended as Atmos enacted an unprecedented evacuation of more thousands of residents for several weeks. But in all that turmoil and heartache, neighbors began working together in ways large and small. 

I’ll be honest. At first, when I first had the idea of writing about how the neighborhoods impacted by the deadly home explosion two weeks ago — and the aftermath — I was thinking of a straight news story.

But I realized fairly quickly that I couldn’t. You see, I know these neighborhoods. My child goes to school with the children from these neighborhoods, and for almost 10 years, I lived quite close to one of the neighborhoods and in the other one, on a street just a block from Marsh Lane.

These are my friends, my son’s friends, and my neighbors. And how they’re dealing with the turmoil and sadness is a story worth telling — but one wholly unsurprising to anyone who lives in either of the neighborhoods that hug Marsh Lane. (more…)

DallasWe read a lot of bad news on a near-hourly basis. But today is Christmas, and we’d like to think about the positive things that happened in Dallas this year. And as we head toward a new year, we’d also like to think about what we hope will happen.

To that end, we asked a few city and real estate leaders to give us their thoughts. We asked two questions: “What is the best thing that happened in Dallas this year, and why?” and “What are some of your hopes for the city in 2019?”  (more…)