District 14 Dallas City Council member was officially reprimanded by the council after using his office to post a video on Facebook about a fundraiser.

By Ashley Stanley
Special Contributor

Dallas City Council members engaged in a lengthy discussion on Wednesday about the so-called “Kingston ethical lapse.” The body was charged with voting on a recommendation from the Ethics Advisory Commission to reprimand Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston for using his city office to film a campaign video — a clear violation of the ethics code recently approved by Kingston and his colleagues.

I was there hoping to come away with a story about economic development and performing arts because I attended a presentation at The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth the day before. I wanted to see how this meeting would go and what outrage might ensue, especially with the bond program vote concluded, which included funding to repair several cultural and arts facilities such as the Wyly Theater.  I missed the arts item, but I did hear enough to appreciate Dallas Observer columnist Jim Schutze’s bathroom-wall article posed early (4 a.m.!) this morning.

Schutze referred to his weekly paper as the dish. If that is true, then I write for the dirt! Councilmember Lee Kleinman called Kingston’s lapse “going too far” and said it was “just wrong,” according to a story in The Dallas Morning News by Tristan Hallman. I missed that part of the conversation, but I sat down in time to hear Councilman Adam Medrano (a personal friend of Kingston’s) say, “Philip made a dumb mistake.” Or did he? Who knows? Who cares? This meeting was all about Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway, and I heard every word from that dude. Council meetings with that guy in office are free, front-row tickets to the funny show.

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Yesterday’s Dallas City Council meeting saw Toll Brothers present their project that has wound its way for 18 months through the Oak Lawn Committee, an Oak Lawn Committee sub-committee, and back to the Oak Lawn Committee before last month being unanimously passed by City Plan Commission.

Throughout, we’ve seen various arguments against the project thrown at the wall only to slide off with a splat from either a lack of evidence or contradictory statements and actions.

Given that so little opposition showed up at Plan Commission and even fewer at yesterday’s council meeting, it seemed to be a fait acompli.

Nope.

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Dallas electionsFourteen Dallas City Council seats and three Dallas Independent School District trustee seats are up for grabs on May 6. I’ll start saying this early — as I always do: It can cost somewhere around $1 million to hold an election, and in most May Dallas elections, we see less than 10 percent of voters turning out to vote.

And it really couldn’t be much easier. Check and see if you’re registered to vote here.  If you’re not, you can click here to register. If you vote early, you can vote at any early voting polling location in the county – so on your way to work, during your lunch break, on your way home, or even on a Saturday. The last day to register to vote is April 6. Early voting begins April 24 and will continue through May 2 for all Dallas elections.

The last day to register to vote is April 6. Early voting begins April 24 and will continue through May 2. You can even vote on a Saturday or a Sunday.

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Midtown 1

Much has been written about Valley View Mall’s demise and rebirth as Midtown Dallas.  It’s as though all the ink will somehow grease the wheels and return Valley View to productivity.  On Tuesday, the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce hosted an event that included a keynote and panel discussion.

The panel consisted of Scott Beck (owner of the property and chief developer), Edwin Flores from DISD, and Dallas  City Council member Lee Kleinman. In a nutshell, everyone just wants the show to get on the road for this enormous, multi-billion dollar redevelopment.

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Transwestern Meeting 2

See this room? On Thursday night it will be Dallas City Councilman Lee Kleinman up at the podium, leading yet another neighborhood discussion on the proposal that Transwestern has made for 3 acres Behind the Pink Wall, aka the northeast intersection of Northwest Highway and Preston Road.

This comes because and because and because.

I applaud Lee and Dallas City Plan Commissioner Margot Murphy for making this process as transparent as possible, for listening to all sides, and for giving the neighborhood AMPLE opportunity to voice concerns, ask questions, etc. etc. The only other thing they could do is hand out megaphones and give every neighbor living from Northwest Highway north to LBJ a free email account for 60 days.

I jest.

This is the same place where we had the last meeting to discuss the proposal Transwestern has made for 3 acres Behind the Pink Wall, aka the northeast intersection of Northwest Highway and Preston Road.

You know what else I love about this? One, the Transwestern case has made me very good at cutting and pasting. Two, I’m hoping Jon Anderson invites us over for drinks again after the meeting.  Maybe before. Sure beats exercising and we get to WALK from his condo to one of the prettiest churches in Dallas.

Night Cometh…

CoD Logo
Headshot LMK
YOU ARE INVITED
Please join me for a community meeting to discuss the Transwestern development in District 13. Presentations will be given by Mark Culwell with Transwestern and Bill Dahlstrom with Jackson Walker. If you need additional information please contact my office at 214-670-7817
 WHEN
Thursday, August 27, 2015
6:30PM8:00PM
 
WHERE
Park Cities Baptist Church – Fellowship Hall
3933 Northwest Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75225
 
 
 
Councilmember Lee M. Kleinman | Dallas City Hall 1500 Marilla Street, Dallas 75201

MuseumTower-rendering-2.350w_263hWe might want to offer him some natural-based products by The Good Home Company!

Seriously, this is so refreshing to hear. According to the Dallas Morning News, who is still hot on the trail, Mayor Mike ordered a shake-up of the four City Council members who serve on the pension board’s trustee panel of 12. He says Scott Griggs can stay. Scott had my reaction to the legal bullying tactics of the lawyers hired to handle whatever it is they are handling. But the Mayor wants to bring in three fresh voices: my new city councilman, Lee Kleinman, plus newbie Phillip Kingston, and Rawling’s ally Tennell Atkins.

Dallas-Mayor-Mike-Rawlings-251x300All great guys, and this is super news, but what about Jennifer Gates? I was just thinking yesterday, right here down the block from Lee, wonder what some of our newer city council members think about the events of late? What would Jennifer Staubach Gates, do, and this is totally one of my wilder and crazier thoughts, but wouldn’t her dad, Roger Staubach, add a nice touch to any new PR campaign or panel of reason? Few can bring people together like Roger Staubach.

Of course Lee is amazing. True doer. Right after he was elected our streets were re-paved.

Here’s a link to the story, if you subscribe. If not, here’s the gist:

In an interview Monday, the mayor said that Museum Tower, which the pension fund owns, was not the focus of his decision. He said that because Dallas taxpayers are ultimately on the hook for any shortfalls of the more than $3 billion fund, he wanted to make sure the board is making good investment decisions.

“I’ve been on investment committees, and I think the best investment committees are those that believe in healthy debate about strategies and tactics, not that are always in lock step,” Rawlings said. “The team that I’m nominating will ensure that there’s going to be fresh debate, and that our public safety professionals are taken care of, because the right questions are going to be asked.”

But I still want to know: did the Nasher folks produce any fake commentary?

 

Editor’s Note: This is the third installment of our series of Dallas City Council candidate questionnaires. You can view the first here and the second here. We attempted to contact each candidate in every contested race (10 races total), and those who responded with a working email address received the same eight questions. We gave them until April 5 to respond. Below you’ll find the answers to our questions, which we did not edit or abridge.

Today we’re featuring Ori Raphael, a contender for Dallas City Council District 11’s seat. This district is a pretty darn influential one, encompassing much of North Dallas and a good-sized portion of the Preston Hollow area. The district, represented by outgoing councilmember Linda Koop, is being pursued by Lee Kleinman, too. Unfortunately, Kleinman did not answer our repeated requests for answers.

Ori RaphaelOri Raphael

1. In your view, what are the strengths of the Dallas real estate market versus the rest of the nation?

Jobs, low cost of living, low taxes, good transportation, a lowering crime rate and great neighborhoods are all attracting people to our area. If we could improve DISD the city of Dallas would see growth equal to that of the suburbs.

2. What are the next areas/neighborhoods you feel are poised for high volume growth?

In District 11 the redevelopment of the Valley View site is poised to be a signature development. The Southern Sector offers the greatest opportunity for growth, but areas such as West Dallas also offer growth opportunities.

3. What areas/neighborhoods need the most help and any solutions?

The 27 crime ‘hot spot’ areas demand out [sic] attention. In my district we have a number of apartment complexes that have crime problems as well. We must support our police, increase code enforcement and work together to help build strong neighborhoods. Mayor Rawlings’ Growth South plan is an excellent example of planning for success, but let’s not forget other areas in our community that need the same passion and planning.

4. Would you support retaining the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research to do a study of the root causes of decline in the City of Dallas, as it did for NYC during the Giuliani era, leading to one of the most compelling restorations of a major city in history?

I would certainly consider this, although I would like to concentrate on the future and what we can do to improve our international competitive advantage, rebuild our schools and plan now for the future challenges around transportation and water.

5.  Would you approving the zoning variance to allow an on-campus lighted soccer field at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, winner of 22 state soccer championships?

This is not in my district and would defer to the councilperson in that district.

6. How would you handle the Museum Tower/Nasher Sculpture Center impasse? Should the Nasher also play a role and adapt some structural changes? Or is the burden purely on Museum Tower and future residential developments to mitigate impact on surrounding structures?

Both parties need to work together on a solution to this problem.

7. Historic and conservation districts are a great way to maintain a neighborhood’s character, but some older districts have regulations that seem somewhat out of date. For instance, a homeowner in Junius Heights was cited for having xeriscaped his front yard in lieu of a traditional water-hogging front lawn even though our region faces long-term drought. Should alternative landscapes and eco-friendly materials be allowed in historic and conservation districts as a citywide policy change?

Yes, I would support that type of flexibility because of the need to conserve water resources.

8. What is your stance on hydraulic fracturing (better known as fracking) inside the city limits? Do you feel it poses a danger to residents and nearby businesses? Or does the potential income to the city outweigh overblown risks?

I am in favor of gas drilling as long as it can be done safely. I am not in favor of drilling on park land.

 

Editor’s Note: This is the third installment of our series of Dallas City Council candidate questionnaires. You can view the first here and the second here. We attempted to contact each candidate in every contested race (10 races total), and those who responded with a working email address received the same eight questions. We gave them until April 5 to respond. Below you’ll find the answers to our questions, which we did not edit or abridge.

Today we’re featuring Ori Raphael, a contender for Dallas City Council District 11’s seat. This district is a pretty darn influential one, encompassing much of North Dallas and a good-sized portion of the Preston Hollow area. The district, represented by outgoing councilmember Linda Koop, is being pursued by Lee Kleinman, too. Unfortunately, Kleinman did not answer our repeated requests for answers.

Ori RaphaelOri Raphael

1. In your view, what are the strengths of the Dallas real estate market versus the rest of the nation?

Jobs, low cost of living, low taxes, good transportation, a lowering crime rate and great neighborhoods are all attracting people to our area. If we could improve DISD the city of Dallas would see growth equal to that of the suburbs.

2. What are the next areas/neighborhoods you feel are poised for high volume growth?

In District 11 the redevelopment of the Valley View site is poised to be a signature development. The Southern Sector offers the greatest opportunity for growth, but areas such as West Dallas also offer growth opportunities.

3. What areas/neighborhoods need the most help and any solutions?

The 27 crime ‘hot spot’ areas demand out [sic] attention. In my district we have a number of apartment complexes that have crime problems as well. We must support our police, increase code enforcement and work together to help build strong neighborhoods. Mayor Rawlings’ Growth South plan is an excellent example of planning for success, but let’s not forget other areas in our community that need the same passion and planning.

4. Would you support retaining the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research to do a study of the root causes of decline in the City of Dallas, as it did for NYC during the Giuliani era, leading to one of the most compelling restorations of a major city in history?

I would certainly consider this, although I would like to concentrate on the future and what we can do to improve our international competitive advantage, rebuild our schools and plan now for the future challenges around transportation and water.

5.  Would you approving the zoning variance to allow an on-campus lighted soccer field at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, winner of 22 state soccer championships?

This is not in my district and would defer to the councilperson in that district.

6. How would you handle the Museum Tower/Nasher Sculpture Center impasse? Should the Nasher also play a role and adapt some structural changes? Or is the burden purely on Museum Tower and future residential developments to mitigate impact on surrounding structures?

Both parties need to work together on a solution to this problem.

7. Historic and conservation districts are a great way to maintain a neighborhood’s character, but some older districts have regulations that seem somewhat out of date. For instance, a homeowner in Junius Heights was cited for having xeriscaped his front yard in lieu of a traditional water-hogging front lawn even though our region faces long-term drought. Should alternative landscapes and eco-friendly materials be allowed in historic and conservation districts as a citywide policy change?

Yes, I would support that type of flexibility because of the need to conserve water resources.

8. What is your stance on hydraulic fracturing (better known as fracking) inside the city limits? Do you feel it poses a danger to residents and nearby businesses? Or does the potential income to the city outweigh overblown risks?

I am in favor of gas drilling as long as it can be done safely. I am not in favor of drilling on park land.