If it’s Red, full steam ahead; if it’s Yellow, say “hello;” if it’s Blue, you might’ve missed your queue.

Last week, Seth Fowler wrote about a client of his looking for a home in the sub-$200,000 market close to his job in Bedford.  “Ted” had been on a roller coaster of 43 showings and 11 contract offers … still without a home eight months on and counting. In today’s Dallas, it’s a story that’s been accelerating since the housing market began recovering in 2013. While slacking in the upper end of the market, the entry level remains full steam ahead.

Also last week, Alex Macon posted on D Magazine’s Frontburner about the legacy of redlining and a new set of charts overlaying 1930s redline maps against the current racial makeup of Dallas (U.S. Census data).  It’s clear that the 30-year pox of redlining, from the 1930s until 1968, still infects the Dallas landscape (as it does nationwide in many previously redlined areas).

But what’s the reality? I’m going to find out.

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I am so impressed with Kevin Felder, the new City Councilman for District 7, which encompasses Fair Park. First of all, I’m a little biased because he is a real estate Broker. He is also a lesson in persistence: Kevin has run for his council seat four times before FINALLY winning the D7 seat this past June in a run-off with Tiffini Young, who was favored by the Mayor.

A few weeks ago we told you about a community meeting at Fair Park, sponsored by 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, says our Jon Anderson). This community meeting was to explain and solicit input on the proposed management plan for Fair Park, which the Mayor wants to give to Walt Humann to manage, while the city pays. That meeting had a huge turn out, so huge ABI Dallas literally ran out of paper. But people were not so jazzed about that meeting, felt there were not enough answers provided and too much rhetoric. Even the invitations were kind of crafty: (more…)

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.

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Source: Coalition for Community Housing Policy in the Public Interest

Source: Coalition for Community Housing Policy in the Public Interest

Hiring outside professionals to assess the systems and structure of a condominium is often scoffed at by HOAs because of the expense.  It’s as shortsighted as complaining about the cost of toothpaste. Condominiums are larger and definitely more complex than single-family homes. It’s negligent not to have plans in place that understand the current condition of the overall building coupled with a plan for regular maintenance that stretches out as far as the longest-lived components.

It’s also critical that reserve studies are performed by outsiders.  HOAs and management companies may either lack the expertise required or want to soft-pedal the truth to avoid uncomfortable conversations with residents.  We are generally “shoot the messenger” kind of people.

Another reason for using an outsider can be managing companies that also have their own staff contracted to perform repairs.  If they’re the ones doing the capital reserve studies, isn’t that a whopping conflict of interest? Didn’t Fair Park teach us that competitive bidding is best?

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Most Endangered Historic Places in Dallas

Fair Park’s Hall of State (Photo: Michael Cagle)

My tip came in last week, this is what I was told by an anonymous source:

“The city attorney’s office is now telling Mayor Rawlings that the Humann plan won’t fly, that they were wrong, and they do need to open the bid up to RFPs.”

As a blogger, I guess I could have published that last week. Instead, I made a few phone calls to the Dallas City Attorney’s office. No response. Then I made a few phone calls Monday. No one has yet to return my call. I sent an email to Paul Simms yesterday, he responded nearly immediately that he had not heard anything.

Then today, Jim Schutze writes in the Dallas Observer — good Lord he posted at 4 a.m., my kind of hours — that the rumors are flying around City Hall that the Fair Park privatization plan is on its deathbed:

 …close observers around town are beginning to place bets on strong rumors that the Walt Humann Fair Park deal will fall apart soon. The ostensible reason – the one for public consumption — would be that a new adverse city attorney opinion says it wasn’t done right.

Hmmmmm.

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Monte Anderson fave

City Hall has been incredibly quiet about the Humann Foundation proposal for Fair Park.  We thought it would be on the agenda last Wednesday, when the City harangued the budget. In fact, money is in the new city budget for the Foundation’s first year.

But no word. We assume, that is, I assume, that the three City Council peeps assigned to hammer out the contract that was unappealing to the City Council August 30 are still working away.

Or this could be the reason. Mayor Rawlings has received an email from at least one developer (that we know of) asking for 30 days to get another proposal on the table:

From: Monte Anderson <monte@optionsre.com>

Date: September 20, 2016 at 3:56:26 PM CDT

To: Mike Rawlings <mike.rawlings@dallascityhall.com>

Cc: adam.medrano@dallascityhall.com, adam.mcgough@dallascityhall.com, philip.kingston@dallascityhall.com, willis.winters@dallascityhall.com, chris.bowers@dallascityhall.com, larry.casto@dallascityhall.com, paul@paulsims.com

Subject: Request to Submit Proposal for Fair Park

Dear Mayor Rawlings,

Michael Jenkins and I have put together a team to present an alternative proposal for the management of Fair Park.  We think we can improve upon the economics of the Humann Plan that is currently being considered.

We are asking you for 30 days to present our proposal.

Respectfully,

Monte Anderson

Options Real Estate

214-546-1200

Whoa Nelly: is this another plan for Fair Park that might include a park from the get go?

When it comes to developers who have had incredible success developing real estate in the not so savory neighborhoods of Dallas, the name Monte Anderson comes to mind rapidly. (more…)

Most Endangered Historic Places in Dallas

Preservation Dallas today held a conference to announce their 2016 most endangered listoric places in Dallas list. Photo: Irene Allender

“Historic preservation is the dynamic and deliberate process through which we decide what to keep from the present for the future, and then working to keep it.” —W. Brown Morton

Many historic buildings in Dallas face an uncertain future. Today, Preservation Dallas held a press conference to announce their 2016 “Most Endangered Historic Places in Dallas” list.

These are properties too important to lose, for their historic integrity to be diminished, or for the loss of their ability to be used to their full potential, said David Preziosi, Executive Director of Preservation Dallas.

“This list is a roadmap for advocacy, education and development of programs in the preservation community that address the needs of these endangered properties,” Preziosi said. “We must work diligently to protect the places on the list as they are important to the history and fabric of Dallas, for once they are gone, they are lost forever.”

These historic places are irreplaceable community assets that tell the story of the city’s development.

“We hope this list of endangered properties makes the citizens of Dallas aware of how many important historic buildings are at risk of being lost forever,” said Nicky DeFreece Emery, Board President of Preservation Dallas. “Preservation Dallas sees this list as an opportunity for all of us to be more thoughtful in how the city grows and develops.”

Some of them, like East Dallas’ Elbow Room, won’t surprise you. But others will. Read on to see the list.

 

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It’s a bit long, 1 hour and 20 minutes to be exact, but this is the video you have all been waiting for. Full disclosure: it was provided by the Foundation for Community Empowerment, founded by Don Williams.

A week ago last Saturday morning, a lively panel discussion about the Fair Park proposal took place at Paul Quinn College. It was sponsored by the African American Leadership Institute and put together by state senator Royce West.

At the podium were Mayor Rawlings, Walt Humann, Don Williams, Royce West, John Wiley Price and Michael Phillips (author of White Metropolis).

Michael Phillips (who you see, above) was the first speaker, and he immediately launched into his concerns over the lack of public input, the lack of public communication, and his fears that the real estate around Fair park could become the latest victim of what he calls “domestic colonization.” I think a lot of people worry about that.

“I’m concerned by the fact that this valuable piece of Dallas real estate would be governed by a board that could meet without any public record. It’s a private corporation, right? A private foundation,” he said. Great points. Then he said this:

What’s really going on with “gentrification” is domestic colonization. And when you have a colonial relationship, that is designed to be unequal. That is not equal. You have an imperial power that extracts wealth out of a colony. That’s land, products and low wage labor, and that’s what goes on with gentrification. And then the colonial power then sells products at a grossly inflated rate and rips off the people who live in the colony. That’s what going on with gentrification. I want to make this clear.

I see Phillips’ point, particularly because of the history of this neighborhood, which is terrible. But it was really terrible in a lot of places in the world in the early part of the 20th century, NOT just in Fair Park. And it seems to me that “domestic colonization” has been going on around Fair Park for a long time. Few residents own their own homes, most are tenants. A cursory search on MLS shows few homes even for sale in this area.

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Which is why I think there is still a fighting chance for the people of this neighborhood with the right plan, a neighborhood park, and some help with home ownership. (more…)