In reality, “discussion”was a pop quiz allowing organizers to check a “community involvement” box

My headline is a riff on yesterday’s Jim Schutze piece over at the Observer titled, “Flying Monkeys Shield State Fair Contract Just When it Should Be Set on Fire.” If last year’s citywide kerfuffle about the Fair Park sweetheart deal Mayor Rawlings tried to give pal Walt Humann, complete with a $20 million per year dowry, didn’t tick you off enough, Schutze ices that cake with a Powerball-size shaft State Fair has given Dallas taxpayers.  It’s not super long, go read it … I’ll wait.

Done? … Seriously, go read it … Yes, now … Sheesh!

Also in that piece was a snippet about the obfuscation the city is employing in seeking bids to take over the management of Fair Park (because evidence shows the city is too lazy and inept). That snippet had perfect timing since last night there was apparently the only community meeting the hired consultants will be having.

Who are those consultants?  ABI Dallas, also known as Alpha Business Images, which is owned by Sophia Johnson … the wife of Mayor Rawlings’ very, very well-connected advisor for south Dallas, Willis Johnson (Google him). Seems our mayor is unable to seek input beyond his earmarked Rolodex. First Humann (who attended last night’s meeting) now the Johnson’s.  Who’s next in the alphabet?

Ironically, it was Sophia Johnson herself who spoke about the “complete integrity” of the Fair Park process.




Great story from our favorite Dallas Observer reporter, Eric Nicholson, on the proposed $1 million makeover the White Rock Dog Park is getting.

It’s probably the most popular dog park in all of North Texas, considering that when I’ve taken my Great Pyrenees mix there, I’ve run into folks from Frisco and Murphy. It gets a lot of use, and some days it’s little more than a fenced-in mudhole, so it could definitely use some work. But $1 million worth of work?

Maybe the world is ending, but I’ve finally found something Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway and I can agree on. Caraway, no stranger to colorful language, represents District 4, an underserved area of Southern Dallas.

“I just want to make it a point, we don’t have a dog park, and doggone it, if all these millions of dollars in these dog parks with air conditioned dog houses and all these other things that they got going, then give us something,” Caraway said. “At least put us in a plan for a dog park somewhere.”

Folks in Oak Cliff have been working to bring a dog park to their neighborhood, but roadblock after roadblock has kept organizations such as FIDO Oak Cliff from realizing their dream. Add the existing problem with stray and dumped dogs throughout Southern Dallas and … let’s just say I see what Caraway is getting at. It’s a quality of life issue. Until we really focus resources in underserved areas, Southern Dallas isn’t going to thrive no matter how many great-sounding initiatives Mayor Mike Rawlings launches.

“Our priority has been what? Stray dogs,” Caraway told Unfair Park this morning. “Well goddamn, that’s kinda unfair that we’re fighting stray dogs that we can’t pick up” and Greyson and Allen are suggesting they should pour their cut of bond money into dog parks.

“Our priorities are totally different from what they’re saying,” he says. “We’re already the ones that are under-recognized, for lack of a better word, economically.”

Dog parks are huge selling points in neighborhoods, and the White Rock Lake area has benefited handsomely from having a huge off-leash park in the area. It has permanently etched the neighborhood’s reputation as a dog-friendly area in the minds of all North Texans. If neighborhoods south of the Trinity had park facilities such as these, they’d benefit from that investment, too.

What do you think? Are dog parks amenities that add a significant value to a property’s location? Or are they more of a liability than we think?

flag stompersAlso wanted to alert you to a story by Eric Nicholson of the Dallas Observer, that gives us some insight into how bratty SOME kids in Plano are. Not all the kids in Plano — there are many fine teens out there, of course, but these young hoodlums need a good kick in the rear, in my opinion.

Their act of vandalism was to desecrate and stomp on a U.S. flag in a veteran’s yard. Eric quotes the owner of the home, a Vietnam vet, as saying the kids were just laughing through-out the entire act, stomping away on the flag and the unique flag-holder, as you can see in the video. Oh yes, he caught it all on tape:

“They ran over to the statue with the American flag and attempted to steal the statue and desecrated the American flag,” Larry Lorance, the Vietnam vet in question, wrote on his website.

Not surprising, Lorance is pursuing his “own brand of vigilante justice, which involves posting the video online in hopes of forcing the kids to “step up and take responsibility for their actions now.”

Fat chance. Reminds me of something my son thinks we need in this country: compulsory service for all teens. Not military service, but service to their country to help them develop an appreciation for how wonderful this country is. Maybe then they would have some respect for the U.S. flag, and all it stands for.

mike miles former houseI would like to think so. There are so many varying opinions out there on his performance, and as for this last round of doo-doo,  I am still not sure I understand. What did Mike Mikes do that was so wrong and grounds for dismissal? Oh, he did not support his board, that’s it. And he leaked things to Jim Schutze at the Dallas Observer courting his support I guess, and trying to make himself look better than the board, allegedly. You know what they say: sometimes you have to be your own PR person. Maybe he has been too heavy-handed, his ego has enjoyed too much mountain air. But it was pretty darn rotten of his “detractors” to protest in front of his Hockaday house on his son’s birthday!

Don’t protest there again: Miles closed Thursday on the home, which was not in MLS, so the sales price won’t be published. You know what that means: give me a few days.

Meantime, Mike, now that the house is sold, why don’t you and the board all go on a retreat together and do some ropes courses? Maybe take the board to Colorado Springs for some white water rafting… might cost less than a hundred grand!

Puppy Rescue



Stories like this give my gag reflex a workout. We at are big fans of animals, so when we hear about this kind of thing our hearts just break.

Word comes from crackerjack reporter Eric Nicholson that Dallas Animal Services have seized 46 dogs and cats from a feces-filled North Dallas home. The animals were in various states of distress. Sounds like a classic case of animal hoarding to me.

Such large-scale animal hoarding cases don’t happen every day in Dallas, but they’re not exactly rare either. In general, [Dallas Animal Services manager Jody] Jones says, the owners’ intent isn’t typically criminal, even if their actions are. “There’s no doubt that these people loved their pets and thought they were doing the right thing by them, but sometimes people’s heart can overwhelm their ability to provide for the care and maintenance, not only for the animals but the home and the facility around them.”

When we were renting in Junius Heights, we reported a neighbor for hoarding cats. Really, if you came within 10 yards of her home you couldn’t help but smell the situation. When we saw crate after crate leaving the house, and our neighbor on the front drive in her caftan, absolutely beside herself, we still knew that we did the right thing.

So here’s what I’m wondering: Why did it take so long for neighbors to do the right thing and help those poor animals living in squalor? Did they not know? Could they not smell the layers of feces? Also, what do hoarders do to property values? And how do you sell a home that’s been damaged by hoarding (some smells never come out, folks!)?

Kit Lane masterSometimes you need to know interesting things about the neighborhoods you choose to live in. Let’s take The Park Cities and Preston Hollow, and what goes on behind closed doors in Preston Center, where both communities ah, shall we say, shop. We get this hysterical story from Eric Nicholson at The Dallas Observer. In one of those nondescript office buildings on Westchester in Preston Center, not too far from the dance recital place, Dr. George Toledo and My Fit Foods, there is an Anti-Aging Clinic.

I think we used to go there for marriage counseling.

But this is not just any Anti-Aging Clinic. This one sent out a press release to advertise — I really have to just flat out quote Eric here, because I am totally blushing:

“… a “medical breakthrough.” It’s called the Priapus Shot®, and it supposedly makes your dick bigger. The clinic dispatched a press release about it on Friday. “The science is there,”Dallas Anti-Aging Institute medical director, Dr. Robert Newberry, says in a press release. “And the increase we’re seeing in penis length and girth is immediate and dramatic.”


Zach Tallon, age 53

Everythings bigger and better in Preston Hollow/Park Cities. Do read Eric’s story. I am just sort of wincing thinking of what’s going on in those rooms now. Guess it’s a whole lot more POTENT than the mid-marriage blahs “he says/she says” we used to dish out. Is this Zach Tallon guy, the owner, and this Dr. Charles Runnels really the secret to a lot of Park City/Preston Hollow men’s happiness? Could this clinic be raising property values, along with…


Dr. Charles Runnels

Then in far North Dallas, over on Kit Lane near Coit, Dallas police just busted a two-year old INTERNATIONAL prostitution ring that involved a couple massage parlors. A guy named  Quyen Thuc Ha, who operated the two spas, actually called a Dallas police detective on his desk phone, and  believed a monthly pay off of $2,500 would protect his two brothels from any police action. Maybe Ha should have bribed with the Priapus shots over dinero.

This is a listing on Kit Lane, a condo unit at 13340 Kit Lane, NOT the home where the working girls were arrested. This unit has been listed since Oct. 31 of 2012, and the price has been reduced from $96,500 to $75,000.  Obviously, the real estate in this part of Dallas is not hopping.

But some other things sure are.

Candy and her crack legal team from Friedman and Feiger: Jason Friedman and James Bell

 Our embattled Candy has been on blog-lite these past few days, thanks to the Maloufs’ attempts to chill her free speech down at Dallas County Court at Law No. 3 in Malouf vs. Mary Candace Evans, Byron Harris and WFAA-TV and Laura Wilson.

Now that Candy and WFAA agreed to a temporary injunction wherein they cannot step foot on the Maloufs’ property, the parties are not scheduled back in court until September, when the trial is set to begin.

Several Dallas media outlets have been covering the temporary injunction hearings over the last few days. Claire St. Amant, managing editor of Culturemap Dallas, was down there for at least two days and we think she did the best overall reporting of facts. Anna Merlan of the Dallas Observer gets the prize for her description of Mrs. (“Lady”) Malouf and her husband: “Dr. Malouf is a tall, beaky man, who looked both weary and pissed off …” However, we think she missed the entire point of star attorney James Bell’s cross-examination, most likely because she wasn’t in the courtroom over the past few days.

In any case, both reporters missed the best line of the day: Dr. Malouf, a millionaire who owns a 30,000 square foot home on Strait Lane and a couple of private jets, claims he has suffered from the collective reporting on his backyard waterpark, saying he cannot get a job or rent office space because of it.

Eric Nicholson is in the habit of tossing babies around, so his new place will require high ceilings.

Eric Nicholson is the new Robert “Fingers of Fury” Wilonsky. The young journo, formerly of the Texarkana Gazette, has taken over the helm of Unfair Park, the Dallas Observer blog. With his new gig, he’s back in Dallas and holed up at his parents’ house in North Dallas with his wife, Megan, his 3-year-old, Connor, and another baby on the way. Obviously, he needs a great house for a great deal. Any takers?

So, where do you want to move?
Well, we’d like to be in North Oak Cliff or maybe Lakewood-ish, but we haven’t exactly gotten around to picking a house since Megan’s been in Texarkana and I’m not allowed to make decisions. For the time being we’ll be staying with my parents, using Connor, our 3-year-old, as a bargaining chip. They live in far North Dallas, Spring Creek neighborhood. Amenities include a fully-stocked refrigerator, satellite television and free childcare.

Price Range:
If we’re buying, maybe $150k (I’m a journalist), but we’re still sitting on the fence on the rent-buy question.

I’m sure Megan will find one.

Why are you moving?
Job. If you don’t read Unfair Park, then you should.

Where are you moving from?
Texarkana. The city’s motto is “Twice as nice,” presumably a reference to the fact that Texarkana is in fact two municipalities on either side of the state line. Twice as nice as what exactly is an open question.

So, you’re going to be rubbing elbows with Jim Schutze. Nervous? Do you think he keeps his shotgun hidden in his desk drawer?
Jim carries his shotgun everywhere. Story meeting? Shotgun. Trinity toll road hearing? Shotgun. But once you get past the gruff, shotgun-wielding exterior, he’s a teddy bear, albeit one who is extremely cynical about local government. For example: On my second day, as I chatted with Councilwoman Angela Hunt and a concerned citizen at said toll road hearing, he strolled up and introduced himself as my father. We all chuckled, though I had to correct the concerned citizen when he began discussing “your dad’s first book.” (aka The Accommodation, Schutze’s masterwork on Dallas race relations).

OK, back on topic: What are you looking for in a home?
Me? A roof, walls, and a kegerator. Which might point to why I’m not allowed to make decisions.

When it comes to choosing a house, what’s a deal-breaker for you?
When Megan says she hates it.

What shocked you about the search?
Real estate in Texarkana is, believe it or not, much less expensive than in Dallas, so even though we were only away for two years, it’s painful to contemplate how much more we’ll be paying.

What pleased you?
Considering I haven’t done much actual searching, it’s been really, really easy.

So far in your house hunt, what have you learned?
I actually think I have it pretty well figured out: Let the wife do it. Everyone’s happier that way.