Last night I broke the story on D Magazine of former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller’s apparent last-minute run for District 13’s council seat against incumbent Jennifer Gates. To review, I received an email inviting Athena condo residents to stop by HOA president Georgia Sue Black’s home to sign Miller’s petition. Candidates need 25 signatures to register as a candidate.

We checked at 3:30 p.m., and Miller had indeed filed the preliminary paperwork to be a candidate.

One reason (and perhaps the only) Miller seems to be running is her staunch opposition to any redevelopment in the area. Certainly, she’s been against every zoning case I’ve been aware of – outside area mansion add-ons – Highland House, sky bridge, Laurel apartments, St. Michael’s and all Angels, Pink Wall’s PD-15, etc..

The photo above was snapped in front of the 21-story Athena condos on Northwest Highway. Originally, these signs were near the St. Michael’s Frederick Square project. Coincidentally, Miller’s Campaign Treasurer is Doug Deason, the son of Darwin Deason who owns an 18,000 square foot condo on Douglas Avenue in back of the church’s proposed development.

Behind the Pink Wall, the irony of high-rise residents opposing any others is missed by a mile by residents. It smacks of a 2017 case where Toll Brothers sought approval for a high-rise in a high-rise-zoned area of Oak Lawn.  In that case, residents of The Plaza I & II high rises were bitterly opposed and equally oblivious to their own hypocrisy.

Now that Miller has filed, one imagines she can slap “Vote Laura Miller” on the “No More Towers” signs pockmarking the neighborhood.

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The historic Winnetka Heights neighborhood in North Oak Cliff had a big win this Wednesday at City Hall. The city’s thoroughfare plan was amended to take away the 12th St. Connector, knitting the neighborhood back together with parks and open space. It was a change 40 years in the making, with some of the original residents still part of the fight.

When cars became big in Oak Cliff and everywhere else, Tyler and Polk streets were made into a one-way couplet, and this connector, installed in 1967, allowed northbound traffic to reach West Jefferson Road by skipping the Jefferson St commercial core. More importantly it has allowed first responders (located at Polk and 12th streets) to access the neighborhood to the north more quickly.

The election of Dallas City Council member and mayoral hopeful Scott Griggs to the District 1 seat in 2011 is a big reason we’re seeing this change.

“The project got legs when Scott joined council” says Lee Ruiz, president of the Winnetka Heights Neighborhood Association. “He understands the new urbanist feel of how neighborhoods should be.”

Conversations began with City of Dallas staff and elected officials in 1981 when the neighborhood association formed and work began to dedicate the area as a Conservation District. But the project wasn’t a priority.

“Our neighborhood is known for its tenaciousness,” says Ruiz. (more…)

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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1928TrolleyandInterurban-Red

Tyler and Polk Streets in Red, 1928. Thick black lines denote trolley and Interurban routes. (Source: MC Toyer, phorum.dallashotsory.org)

You have two more chances to add your input to the redesign of Tyler and Polk Streets in North Oak Cliff. They’ve been a couplet of one-way streets for decades and are under consideration for a conversion back to two-way. Tyler-Polk isn’t alone in this conversation either — next up, McKinney and Cole.

Even if you just work or play in North Oak Cliff you can submit input. Speakers at the last meeting tended to qualify their opinions with their address and tenure in the neighborhood, but anyone can submit a comment card, or even easier, shoot an email to Councilman Scott Griggs: scott.griggs@dallascityhall.com.

Here’s What You Should Know

“The [newly converted two-way streets will] function as part of a safer, more comprehensible, less intimidating network, one that promotes multiple forms of transportation and better serves economic development.”  – Southbend, Indiana discussing a similar road conversion project

The primary objectives:

  • enhanced economic development opportunities for existing businesses and potential future development along these roads
  • increasing safety of other modes of transportation, especially biking and walking, but also bus transit
  • improve pedestrian experience (accomplishing the other two objectives) by slowing car speeds

Remember the first ever Better Block at Tyler & 7th, April 2010? That’s basically the inspiration here — more street life, which is better for business. Only the sidewalk widths aren’t changing and we won’t be adding outdoor cafe seating.

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economics and architecture

As Dallas continues to mature and it enters the next stage of civic life, we will witness transformation marked by progressive urban, cultural, and architectural changes.

Economics and Architecture

Jeff Whittington

However, progress and growing pains often come together, as exemplified by the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. This case rendered Texas’ current affordable and low-income housing tax credit allocation unconstitutional, and its subsequent decision has forced many developers to re-consider their development strategies and will have architects re-examining what neighborhood context looks like.

This Supreme Court decision will impact our definition of neighborhoods in Dallas, and it can give birth to a vibrant and exciting phase of our city’s growth if we allow it to.

The next Dallas Architecture Forum (DAF) panel discussion on May 10 at 6:30 p.m. will explore all of those possibilities, and how what may be viewed as a setback might invigorate the neighborhoods of our city.

The event will be moderated by Jeff Whittington, executive producer for special projects and KERA’s Think series, as well as host of Anything You Ever Wanted to Know on KERA 90.1 FM. He also created and launched the KXT Live Sessions series for KXT 91.7 FM.

“Moderator Jeff Whittington will be joined by expert panelists including a Dallas City Council member, a representative from City Square, and academic thought leaders,” said DAF Executive Director Nate Eudaly. “They will discuss the impact of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. and how it will define our neighborhoods.”

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BarPolitics-napkin

By Amanda Popken
Special Contributor

It’s only the fifth installment of Bar Politics, so if you have no idea what this is, you’re not that out of the loop. You’ll definitely want to check out this amateur roadshow this month if you’re at all interested in housing, development, real estate, and the gentrification-storm we’re preparing for in North Oak Cliff.

Hosted by Josh Kumlar, the event is formatted similarly to the Late Night Show or the Daily Show. Political news jokes, a skit or two, and interviews with special guests. And music, of course.

Once a month they pick a topic, pick a bar, and start talking smack. Josh is a recent SMU grad, a theatre major. His friends help him with the show’s shenanigans. The interviewed guests are local celebrities, knowledgeable on the issue at hand. As Josh describes it: (more…)

Let's just say that this rendering of the Trinity Tollway is never, ever going to happen. It's going to be bigger, uglier, and it's going to need more elevated feeders. One of those, the Jefferson Memorial , might completely cut off West Dallas from North Oak Cliff.

“This thing has been nothing but a sales job based on some watercolors. Fancy watercolors. It’s time now to just kill this road and get on with business.” — District 1 Dallas City Council Member Scott Griggs

The Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects has formally come out against the Trinity Toll Roadas it is now designed. The organization issued this statement earlier this week, just a few months after screening the 1967 documentary The Walls Are Rising, which was a critique on the hodge-podge planning and zoning the city sowed during it’s building boom at the mid-century mark. We are certainly reaping that lack of planning now, especially as the Trinity Tollway has become the yardstick against which politicians are being measured.

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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?