floresrawlingsAs I mentioned last week, we will be live-blogging the election all day today. If you’re out and about, swing by your local polling place and punch a few buttons, won’t you, and then let us know how it went. If you’ve already voted, swing by anyway, and give those hardy souls volunteering for their candidates some encouragement. It looks to be a wet morning (Tiny played half a soccer game before the deluge commenced). We will post in chronological fashion with a time stamp, and from the bottom up, meaning that the most current update will be at the top, after this paragraph. Get out and vote, already, won’t you? 

12:00 a.m. Just a few final thoughts, before I wander off to bed. First, here are the final voting tallies for Dallas County:

  • Registered Voters: 1,145,988
  • Ballots Cast: 77,471
  • Voter Turnout: 6.76 %

Yep, in an election that decided the course of the school district, the mayor, and how a theoretical vote on the Trinity toll road would shake out, Dallas County cast less than 7 percent of its votes. Granted, this includes not only Dallas and Dallas ISD, but also suburbs like Mesquite, Garland, Rowlett, Lewisville and Sunnyvale, but still – all those places had mayoral elections and school board elections, too.

I say this every single election, but people still tell me they’re busy. You know who is super busy? People in other countries where voting might mean they die. But they do it anyway. We are all busy. But 6.76 percent of us (or, according to WFAA, 11 percent of  city of Dallas voters) went out and voted anyway, and found it was ridiculously easy. Did you know that early voting means you can vote anywhere in the city? For real.

When you sit there and kvetch about your property taxes, you know who votes on tax rates? County commissioners. School board members. City council members. Eventually, voters might get a say if their municipality reaches the roll back rate, but yeah, up until then they decide. And if you stayed home, well, you gave up your say.

You gave up your say.

By not voting, you made a conscious decision to step back and let other folks decide whether you are going to be shelling out money for a jacked suspension and busted tires, or whether the city will finally pay true attention to its infrastructure instead of applying piecemeal bandaids.

You gave up your say. And I can’t honestly imagine a less American thing to do.

11:40 p.m. With every blessed 936 precincts in Dallas county reporting, here is a rundown of Election Day:

Winners – Mike Rawlings, Mayor
Scott Griggs, Dallas City Council Seat 1 (unopposed)
Adam Medrano, Dallas City Council Seat 2 (unopposed)
Carolyn King Arnold, Dallas City Council Seat 4
Rick Callahan, Dallas City Council Seat 5
Monica Alonzo, Dallas City Council Seat 6
Tiffinni Young, Dallas City Council Seat 7
Mark Clayton, Dallas City Council Seat 9
Lee Kleinman, Dallas City Council Seat 11 (unopposed)
Sandy Greyson, Dallas City Council Seat 12 (unopposed)
Jennifer Staubach Gates, Dallas City Council Seat 13 (unopposed)
Philip Kingston, Dallas City Council Seat 14 (unopposed)
Edwin Flores, DISD School Board District 1
Dan Micciche, DISD School Board District 3
Bernadette Nutall, DISD School Board District 9

Runoffs: Joe Tave and Casey Thomas, Dallas City Council Seat 3
Dianne Gibson and Erik Wilson, Dallas City Council Seat 8
Paul Reyes and Adam McGough, Dallas City Council Seat 10

11:00 p.m. With 59 of 59 precincts reporting for DISD district 9, I will call the race for Bernadette Nutall, who edged out Offord by 292 votes. That makes the DISD elections final with Flores, Micciche and Nutall.

It’s looking like runoffs for the seat 3 race for Dallas city council, and Joe Tave and Casey Thomas will face off. Tave has said he opposes the toll road, while Thomas said he supports it.

I’ll have a final roundup as soon as all the precincts have reported.

10:20 p.m. With only 34 precincts of 40 reporting in Dallas seat 3, I am reluctant to call the race that has emerged between Casey Thomas II and Joe Tave, with about 422 votes separating the two. I’m also still fairly certain we’re working with a runoff for Seat 8, but with only 31 of 38 precincts reporting, I’ll hold off. I’m also going to keep an eye on the last three precincts in DISD District 9, where less than 300 votes separate Damarcus Offord and Bernadette Nutall.

With 58 of 59 precincts reporting in DISD District 1, I’m confident in calling the race for Edwin Flores. Flores maintained a fairly steady lead over Renard all night, and it looks like it’ll wind up with a 60/40 split for voters.

10:00 p.m. With 772 precincts reporting in Dallas county, not a ton to report. In District 10, Paul Reyes has pulled a smidge ahead of Adam McGough, but not by much – the two are still separated by less than 200 votes. In DISD District 9, 290 votes separate incumbent Bernadette Nutall and Damarcus Offord. In District 1, Kyle Renard needs 1,217 votes to pull up even with Edwin Flores. There are a few more races, but I still feel they are too close to call just yet.

9:45 p.m. While we wait for more returns, how about a look at some of the surrounding area? In Arlington, longtime Mayor Robert Cluck was ousted by Jeff Williams.  In Lewisville, Rudy Durham looks to be the leader in the mayor’s race. Mesquite’s mayoral race is still a little too close to call, and in Sunnyvale’s mayoral race Jim Phaup is leading so far.

9:30 p.m. Roughly half the precincts have reported now, and about 50 votes separate Adam McGough and Paul Reyes. This will be a runoff for sure. Voter turnout stats are slowly improving as the night progresses, too.

  • Registered voters: 1,145,988
  • Ballots Cast: 58,882
  • Voter Turnout: 5.14 %

9:10 p.m. We now have 281 precincts reporting, and I can call a few more races. As predicted, I’ll call the Dallas City Council seat 9 for Mark Clayton. I will also call seat 4 for Carolyn King Arnold, seat 5 for Rick Callahan, seat 6 for Monica Alonzo, and seat 7 for Tiffinni Young. I am also looking at a possible call for DISD District 1 soon, as Edwin Flores’ lead is now more than 1,000 votes over Kyle Renard.

I’m also predicting a possible three-way runoff for seat 8 between Dianne Gibson, Gail Terrell and Erik Wilson. With less than 100 votes between Paul Reyes and Adam McGough, I foresee a runoff for seat 10 as well.

8:45 p.m. Eighty-four precincts reporting in Dallas County, and not much has changed. Still. I’m calling the Rawlings/Ronquillo race for Rawlings – making up that kind of early voting deficit on Election Day – especially a rainy local election – is nigh to impossible. I think we will see at least a one runoff, where even fewer people will vote. I’m also calling the DISD District 3 seat for incumbent Dan Micciche. I also feel like I’ll be calling Mark Clayton the victor for seat 9 very soon as well.

8:20 p.m. Fifty-five precincts of 936 so far, and the needles haven’t moved much, if at all. City Council Seat 4 has Carolyn Arnold inching up to 50 percent, getting 891 of 1,794 votes counted so far. Rick Callahan has lost a little ground in council seat 5, now at 69 percent of the vote. In seat 8, only 100 votes separate current leader Dianne Gibson and Gail Terrell. Mark Clayton (Seat 9) will (I predict) continue to trounce nearest competitor Darren Boruff. I also predict a runoff for seat 10, between Paul Reyes and Adam McGough, separated by only 73 votes so far. In DISD, District 10 and 3 are still slowly reporting, but with three precincts reporting in District 1, Edwin Flores has widened his lead over Kyle Renard with 539 more votes, or 58 percent of the vote.

7:50 p.m. Just noticed these stats for this election. Pitiful, y’all.

  • Registered Voters: 1,145,988
  • Ballots Cast: 40,132
  • Voter Turnout: 3.50 %

7:43 p.m. While we wait for the rest of the returns to come in from today’s voting, any surprises? Less than 200 votes separate Bernadette Nutall and Damarcus Offord in DISD District 9. Some see this school board election as a referendum on Mike Miles (just like the city council races are being seen as a quasi-vote on the Trinity Toll Road). Even if Nutall maintains her lead, if it’s this small, does she have to consider her position on Miles?

Chime in while we wait!

7:10 p.m. And we’re off. Early voting returns are rolling in.  In the case of districts with more than three candidates, we will post the top two candidates.

Dallas Mayor                          Mike Rawlings   76 percent, 14,486 votes

Marcos Ronquillo, 24 percent, 4,609 votes

City Council Seat 3             Casey Thomas II, 40 percent, 685 votes
Joe Tave, 27 percent, 463 votes
City Council Seat 4             Carolyn King Arnold, 49 percent, 750 votes
Carl Hays, 13 percent, 201 votes
Sandra Crenshaw, 13 percent, 207 votes

City Council Seat 5             Rick Callahan, 71 percent, 550 votes
Sherry Cordova, 24 percent, 183 votes

City Council Seat 6             Monica Alonzo, 83  percent, 476 votes
Daniel “DC” Caldwell, 11 percent, 62 votes

City Council Seat 7            Tiffinni A. Young, 45 percent, 804 votes
Baranda J. Fermin, 14 percent, 240 votes

City Council Seat 8            Dianne Gibson, 33 percent, 399 votes
Gail Terrell, 24 percent, 296 votes

City Council Seat 9           Mark Clayton, 59 percent, 1,565 votes
Darren Boruff, 27 percent, 667 votes

City Council Seat 10          Paul Reyes, 40 percent, 1,061 votes
Adam McGough, 38 percent, 988 votes

DISD Trustee District 1          Edwin Flores, 57 percent, 1,761 votes
Kyle Renard, 43 percent, 1,302 votes

DISD Trustee District 3         Dan Micciche, 73 percent, 1,563 votes
David Lewis, 27 percent, 569 votes

DISD Trustee District 9         Bernadette Nutall, 54 percent, 1,180 votes
Damarcus Offord, 46 percent, 1,005 votes

 

7 p.m. Polls have closed. In a few minutes, returns will start coming in, starting with early voting.

6:30 p.m. You have 30 minutes to vote.

Want to see what some of the candidates were up to today? Catch up on Twitter or Facebook:

Mark ClaytonPhilip Kingston, Damarcus OffordJames WhiteMarcos RonquilloEdwin FloresKyle RenardDan Micciche, Joe Tave, and Monica Alonzo.

 5:45 p.m. I’m back home. I’ve been all over the city today, talking to supporters and getting an idea of turnout for Election Day. Guys, you have about an hour to get to your polling place. Scroll down, and we’ve provided links to find out where you should vote. I’ve seen some of you wait in a 10 plus deep line at Target for Lilly Pulitzer, so no whining about how voting is inconvenient. This takes less time, and in most locations you can have curbside parking!

I will admit – I got busy talking at one polling location and actually forgot to check voting totals. But I have a really good reason – I got to have a nice, long, impromptu town hall with some Damarcus Offord and Bernadette Nutall supporters over at Park South YMCA. These folks – even though they disagree about many things – even managed to find common ground when it came to the subject of testing. It was raining during the conversation, but immediately after we all agreed high-stakes testing was a mistake, the heavens parted and it quit raining for exactly 3 minutes. I may have even heard angels sing.

My last stop of the day was Cochran Elementary, where 22 people had voted by 1:30 p.m.

While I was out, I took this picture at Lochwood Library. East Dallas/Lakewood has a lot to choose from.

LochwoodLibrary

 

And this is just some of the hearty band of supporters that turned out for their candidates at Park South YMCA.

ParkSouthYMCAelection

 

 

4:40 p.m. Candy here showing you how quiet Dealey was this afternoon at 1:00 p.m. when I voted. At least I found a place to park!

Polling place 2

Polling place 1

 

3:00 p.m. Dodging a few rain drops, but nothing frightening. If you’re looking for your school board candidates, I’m hearing that some have taken a break from campaigning to attend the funeral of former Dallas County school board member Jan Woody tomorrow. Woody, coincidentally, held the DCS board seat currently held by DISD district 1 candidate Kyle Renard.

Some more voting totals:

Lochwood Library: 113 at 1:30

Gill Elementary: 67 at 1:30

Northridge Presbyterian: 272 at 1:35, per superstar realtor Heather Guild.

DeGoyler Elementary: 84 at 2, thanks to Louisa Meyer.

Withers Elementary: 135 at 3:30

 

1:40 p.m. Some voting totals so far today, as I head out to check out the rest of the district:

Nathan Adams: 52 as of 11:30

Addison Fire Station: 120 as of noon

Foster Elementary: 18 as of 12:28

Kramer Elementary: 73 as of 1:30

Northaven UMC: 34 as of 1:30

11:57 a.m. USGS says that rattler from earlier was a 2.7 in Farmers Branch. Is it bad that I’m getting good at prognosticating the severity of an earthquake?

11:25 a.m. Are you afraid of some rain? I sure hope not. After early voting, 35,000 registered voters in Dallas County had voted. Many think that since this isn’t a presidential election, their vote isn’t important. To that, I say bullhockey, and if you’re reading this and thinking that, well, you’re wrong. Local elections are probably the most important voting you will ever do, because it impacts things you see immediately. Property taxes. School reform. Infrastructure (better existing roads vs. new ones). You may think a presidential election is sexier, but to me, there is nothing sexier than being able to flush my toilet and put my money towards beautifying my home instead of new tires and suspension.  I’m about to head out and check voting numbers at a few polling places (because let’s face it, the heavier lifting is this evening), and I may repeat this several times, in successively crankier fashion. Go vote.

11:10 a.m. Oh hey, earthquake.

11:00 a.m. If you still need a quick primer or don’t know where to go vote, you can look here, here, herehere,  here, and here. Last night, James White, who is running for city council in District 10, told me he would be making the rounds at polling places bright and early, and many other candidates will either be at polling places or walking the block in attempts to rouse last-minute votes. Lochwood resident Michael Mason said that when he went to vote this morning around 9, he was the 13th voter at Martha T. Reilly Elementary.

Photo from votemcgough.com

Photo from votemcgough.com

Update April 26: After talking to Adam McGough’s campaign manager and analyzing more utility bills, we have issued an apology to the Adam McGough for City Council campaign.  Apparently the family’s utility usage was NOT that out of the ordinary, for a family of three boys, despite the low electricity usage records we were sent by a source.

If you’ve been keeping up, you may be familiar with the residency issues surrounding city council District 10 candidate Adam McGough. If not, plenty of primer to catch up with is here.

And maybe you saw that Highland Park ISD concluded its investigation and decided not to press the matter further. So it’s over, right?

Well, thanks to a source, we have come in possession of something that casts some more questions on McGough’s story that his wife and children lived in the condo while he maintained their residence in Lake Highlands – electricity usage records.

Sarcastic Side-Eye Baby is dubious about this.

Sarcastic Side-Eye Baby is dubious about this.

The condo was a one bedroom, and allegedly Lacy McGough and their three children lived in it the entirety of two and a half school years, until they pulled their kids in favor of private school at this year’s winter break. I found a handy calculator here, and even with allowing for energy-efficient appliances, their kilowatt usage should’ve been around 1,636 kw each month.

What did the McGough’s use? Well, let’s put it this way – they either have the world’s most energy efficient, off-the-grid-solar-panel-using-cold-shower-having family, or um, they maybe didn’t live there the whole time.

There, I said it.

Here are the months of usage we have. Maybe they used more at some point. But for real, this is a dream electric bill for four people. For instance, their April 2014 bill was 658 kilowatts. October 2014’s bill was 480.  To put this in perspective, the average electric hot water heater pulls somewhere between 380 and 500 kilowatts per month, and your average fridge uses about 150 kw.

So yeah.

Wanna see the rest of the documents? Click below.

Adam McGough info 2 (1) Adam McGough info 1 (1)

Air BNB Daniel Ave

 

The University Park City Council is considering limiting short-term rentals in single-family neighborhoods, says the one and only Dan Koller of Park Cities People. Interesting topic to see at the end of a City Council agenda, and one that might address the growing trend of unregulated room rentals from websites such as Airbnb.

The staff report filed by assistant city manager Robbie Corder categorizes a short-term rental as typically less than seven days and is associated with a vacation, business trip, or special event. As it is written, University Park’s comprehensive zoning ordinance doesn’t address these types of rentals, “therefore, property owners have the ability to rent property for any length of time,” Corder said.

From the report:

Staff has been contacted by residents expressing concerns with properties that lease on a short-term basis. These residents have requested the City Council consider regulations to specifically address short-term rentals in single-family zoned districts. Staff believes there are currently no regulations in place that would allow successful enforcement against short-term rentals; consequently, an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance will be necessary if the Council desires to regulate short-term rentals in single-family districts.

From a quick search of airbnb.com for the 75205 zip code, I found two rentals in University Park, including the one above on Daniel Avenue, which has 17 guest reviews from people who’ve rented the one-bedroom, one-bath apartment. There’s another rental available just north of the George Bush Presidential Center on Dyer Street, with only one review for the private bed and bath. In Highland Park there’s a guesthouse on Abbott Avenue with two bedrooms and one bath that has 94 reviews as well.

Honestly, this sounds a lot like the Uber/Yellow Cab fiasco that Dallas City Hall just addressed. On the one hand is a app-enabled, unregulated website and on the other are hotels that pay taxes and fees out the nose. The council approved staff’s recommendation to refer the issue to the Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee, so it will be a while before we hear the end of this.

Do you think short-term rentals should be regulated?

 

The long-running, and sometimes acrimonious debate over whether Ursuline Academy can build a lighted soccer field finally ended this afternoon at City Hall.

After 12 years, Ursuline’s request for a lighted athletic field finally got the green light from a unanimous City Council vote, 14 to 0. The specific-use permit will come with some caveats, according to Rudolph Bush:

“…the Council approved the field on 2 acres of treed residential land after Ursuline promised to strictly limit the use of the lights. The school will keep the lights on until 9 p.m. no more than 20 nights a year. It will turn off the lights at 7:30 p.m. all other nights and will never have them lit on Saturdays and Sundays.”

Ursuline AcademyUrsuline supporters descended on City hall to show support and even gave a standing ovation. Most neighbors were incredibly supportive of the lighted field, including Steve Giles, who is married to Channel 4 anchor Clarice Tinsley. A few neighbors, mostly on adjacent sprawling properties near the school at Walnut Hill Lane and Inwood Road, voiced concerns over light pollution, increased noise and traffic, what is sometimes called “an invasion of peace.” Days before today’s vote, they released two self-funded engineering studies  claiming the field could not be built safely.

The lighted field would pose danger to the traffic and some danger to the girls on the field, which is only one car’s length from Inwood Road, said Bill Meyer, a leader of a group calling itself the Neighborhood Preservation Coalition. There was also voiced concern over glare from the eight overhead soccer field lights, that they could blind drivers and cause accidents at the busy intersection.

In the audience giving full support was Allie Beth Realtor extraordinaire and Ursuline grad Maribeth Messineo Peters.

“The field will be privately funded by supporters of the school,” she writes on her Facebook page. “Go Bears!”

The Dallas City Council was set to vote on the issue last month, but the Catholic girls’ school put voting off while leaders worked to garner community and neighborhood support.

Back in February, the Dallas Plan Commission approved the field. Ursuline students have never had a soccer field, commuting to other schools to borrow fields for “home” games.

But the school wanted to be a good neighbor, and took the extra time to educate and inform the neighborhood even after receiving approval from the Dallas Plan Commission.

The neighbor’s concerns may have been genuine, but all they had to do was look at St. Mark’s and the surrounding neighborhood. Property values have only shot up as a result of being near the school campus despite wrestling tourneys, football games, soccer, baseball and every sport played on the campus. Nothing sweeter on a crisp fall night than the cheering and excitement of a home football game: that enhances the neighborhood.

Alas, Ursuline has no football, but alumn are delighted to finally have a lighted Athletic Field on campus!

Last December I had my hissy fit about Roy’s Transmission & Autocare at 138 W. Davis. The shop lies splat in the center of the city’s plans to create a cute million dollar plus plaza and streetcar stop at Zang and Seventh. Basically, Roy Smith has been fixing cars at this location for 18 years. The city wants to buy Smith’s tire shop property to build a way cool entrance to Bishop Arts, including a children’s playground. Smith has no objections except the green kind: he wants to be paid enough money to relocate and get another business. Last year, he said he had his property appraised at $775,000 when the city offered him “only” about $205,000.

Screen-shot-2013-05-21-at-11.32.15-AM-300x148Well, looks like Roy wrestled more out of the city. The Advocate Oak Cliff reports that the “City Council is expected to approve buying the shop at Zang and Davis from owner Roy Smith for $375,368.”

The Bishop Arts District shop is exactly where the city wants to bring a streetcar stop as early as 2015. Before the streetcar extension was funded, the city had planned to improve the wonky intersection at Zang and Seventh by turning it into a plaza. The shop has been appraised at $485,000, but demolition and clean-up of the site were deducted from the sale price.

Last year, I reported that the city valued his biz at $2000, and wondered how in the hell someone could someone appraise it for $775,000? The city first offered Smith $205,000, he said no, then he said the city bugged him to clean up his property, mow his grass and remove some cars. As I wrote last December:

“Wow, imagine that: they want him to keep the place tidy. Isn’t that the whole point of what code enforcement does?”

Readers and property tax experts explained to me the different methods the Appraisal District uses to calculate business taxes versus residential real estate, stay tuned for more on that with our Tax Doctor. 138 W. Davis is currently appraised at $109,760. The city is paying $375,368. That, according to Realtor/broker Richard Patten, is a “meeting in the middle” for both parties.

Well, I still think it’s too high. The city is upping appraised values on some of my properties, looks like they didn’t on Roy’s. Your thoughts?

Last December I had my hissy fit about Roy’s Transmission & Autocare at 138 W. Davis. The shop lies splat in the center of the city’s plans to create a cute million dollar plus plaza and streetcar stop at Zang and Seventh. Basically, Roy Smith has been fixing cars at this location for 18 years. The city wants to buy Smith’s tire shop property to build a way cool entrance to Bishop Arts, including a children’s playground. Smith has no objections except the green kind: he wants to be paid enough money to relocate and get another business. Last year, he said he had his property appraised at $775,000 when the city offered him “only” about $205,000.

Screen-shot-2013-05-21-at-11.32.15-AM-300x148Well, looks like Roy wrestled more out of the city. The Advocate Oak Cliff reports that the “City Council is expected to approve buying the shop at Zang and Davis from owner Roy Smith for $375,368.”

The Bishop Arts District shop is exactly where the city wants to bring a streetcar stop as early as 2015. Before the streetcar extension was funded, the city had planned to improve the wonky intersection at Zang and Seventh by turning it into a plaza. The shop has been appraised at $485,000, but demolition and clean-up of the site were deducted from the sale price.

Last year, I reported that the city valued his biz at $2000, and wondered how in the hell someone could someone appraise it for $775,000? The city first offered Smith $205,000, he said no, then he said the city bugged him to clean up his property, mow his grass and remove some cars. As I wrote last December:

“Wow, imagine that: they want him to keep the place tidy. Isn’t that the whole point of what code enforcement does?”

Readers and property tax experts explained to me the different methods the Appraisal District uses to calculate business taxes versus residential real estate, stay tuned for more on that with our Tax Doctor. 138 W. Davis is currently appraised at $109,760. The city is paying $375,368. That, according to Realtor/broker Richard Patten, is a “meeting in the middle” for both parties.

Well, I still think it’s too high. The city is upping appraised values on some of my properties, looks like they didn’t on Roy’s. Your thoughts?

Back in May we reported on the Dallas Arboretum’s attempt to add a parking lot on Winfrey Point. Residents in the nearby Emerald Isle neighborhood balked at the idea and organized several protests outside the arboretum’s gates, just as the Chihuly exhibit was opening, too.

It was quite the foofaraw.

Turns out, though, that White Rock Lake residents have been blindsided by a development again. At least that’s what they claim.

We received a note from an angry neighbor who is asking people to write letters and show up at City Hall on Nov. 14, which is when the Dallas United Crew (nee HP Crew) boathouse will be on the agenda.

“A group of wealthy Highland Parkers has secretly convinced our City Council to build a GIANT “boat house” on the east side of the lake. The size of this facility is monstrous. It occupies the mass of three football fields. They are allowed to lease the facility at will as well as serve liquor by the drink. ThIs will no doubt effect your ability to continue your running events as there are no restrictions on the size of the events, nor are there any limitations to the time, gate access (they are allowed to unlock the gates that currently impede motor traffic on the running and bike trails in this area).  Clearly drinking, mass amounts of motor traffic, and runners do not mix).”

So, why does Dallas United Crew need their own boathouse when White Rock Lake already has a huge one? Well, there appears to be some unconfirmed drama surrounding that.

There’s a website with more information on the opposition here (Caution: The site looks like something constructed in the days of Angelfire). Want to peruse the documents from the Park Board meeting and approval? Here they are.