Saturday, June 27, 2009

My column on and in the Cypress Times

My latest column on Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's run for governor is now available for reading at by CLICKING HERE.

The column is also available at the Cypress Times website, a great news site based in Cypress, Texas, down by Houston. You can read the column there by CLICKING HERE. I hope you'll bookmark the Cypress Times website and visit it often. They will be carrying my columns from time to time.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Told Ya So: Oak Cliff's Sophisticated Boozehounds

One of my Dallas Morning News columns a while back talked about Cockrell Hill and how I felt their legalization of alcohol sales would have negative consequences for the community. I received quite a bit of negative feedback from folks who said I had it all wrong, that Cockrell Hill would be a better place with all the tax revenue. They complained that if Cockrell Hill wouldn't sell them their wine, they would have to go over the river to get it. I don't care if you have to go out of your way to have Merlot with your Mac and Cheese, booze isn't good for Oak Cliff. I'm sorry if drinking Dr. Pepper while you discuss politics over dinner doesn't seem sophisticated.

Now I get to say I told you so. Those high-class providers of adult beverages in Cockrell Hill have now opened a drive-thru store with hoochie-mamas that bring you your Colt 45s. These scantily clad chicks have earned their own protestors who don't like the fact that these girls are being treated like pieces of meat and are out in front of the drive-thru while kids pass by to and from the school down the street. Congrats Cockrell Hill! You set the women's movement back twenty years!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gentrification and the Davis/Bishop Study

The Davis St. Land Use Study, which aims to encourage several development projects along the north Oak Cliff street, is the kind of thing this area has needed for years. The study has united several development efforts in the area into one movement that the city can get behind. It also gives the developers an easier time to move forward with the city, as each is given legitimacy with a "big picture" focus instead of isolated projects.

The study has been criticized by some as an attempt to turn the area into a mini-Uptown and drive out the large Latino population that is there. The idea that north Oak Cliff is being "gentrified" is ridiculous, and unfairly characterizes the study as some sort of ethnic cleansing.

During the recent election, one Latino candidate actually had the nerve to complain in a campaign mailing about the bulldozing of all of those trashy apartments across the street from St. Cecilia's Church. Instead of being glad that better homes would be built, he argued that somehow these people wanted to live in that rat's nest. Yes, the homes being built were probably out of their price range, but there is no shortage of decent, affordable apartments in the area. Sometimes hard decisions must be made to make a community safer.

Latinos can afford better housing. They deserve better housing. This is not a movement to chase them away. This community will benefit from this development. Don't buy into this argument that Latinos will be shut out under this plan. It's just a wedge tactic being used by some to unfairly characterize development.

The real issue here is some folks don't want to be bothered. They think this development will affect their quality of life. It's the same argument that has been used ever since the Bishop Arts area began to expand. They argued that there would be more traffic, the area would lose its identity, and some nice old buildings would be lost. It didn't happen in Bishop Arts. It won't happen under the Davis study. Thankfully, the city council seems ready to get behind the thing and not try to micromanage each phase of the plan like some are trying to do.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I See Dead Voters....

If dead people vote Delia Jasso into office and no one cares, does that make it right? I suppose we'll know soon enough. For some people, moral relativity is a way of life: right and wrong is defined by whether or not it fits our needs and wants.

Some are blowing off the charges that Delia Jasso's campaign participated in voter fraud by saying a.) take away the disputed votes and Jasso would have won by a slim margin anyway, and b.) Jasso deserves to win because she is Latino and she's running in a Latino district against a white guy (Justin Epker). For these folks, a win is a win, by any means necessary.

The problem is, wrong is wrong, no matter how you justify it. In the days to come, we'll see if the district attorney or local media do their due diligence and investigate the facts. If it is swept under the rug, it will say a lot about the state of our community. We will know if a privileged, connected few can get away with things you and I cannot.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Oak Cliff: Roughin' It Like the Stone Age

Good grief. Being without power, phone, and internet is like being a Flintstone. Like many folks in the Big D, I lost power in the storms last Wednesday. I finally got my power back late Friday, which is an eternity for someone like me who freelances and sends work by internet. It got so dang hot that I split for north Dallas, where a very wealthy gated community lost their power twice and had it restored within eight hours. In my north Oak Cliff neighborhood, it took 48 hours to get it back on once. Some waited four days, until Sunday. BTW, I live on a major south Dallas street, not some place in the middle of nowhere. Now, I'm not trying to say anything about ONCOR. They work hard and I know they didn't purposely leave Oak Cliff in the dark for so long. However, when positioning resources for such an event, shouldn't the bulk be in or near Oak Cliff, where Dallas actually has trees that take down lines? I'm just sayin'.......

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Kessler Theater Returns!

North Oak Cliff residents are well familiar with the Kessler Theater, even if you didn't know its name. It's the building on the corner of Davis and Clinton with the green curved art-deco glass marquee. It's changed hands over the years and is finally being restored to be a community arts center for live performances and everything in-between. While there's been lots of development by Bishop Arts down the road, this particular area has seen far less attention, and it's nice to see it getting some love now. I remember back in the day renting my tux for prom near the Kessler, and now those storefronts are getting restored. Hopefully we'll see the good times rolling at the Kessler again soon. You can keep up with the progress at the Kessler via their FaceBook page HERE.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

My mailbox is full....

I failed to notice that emails to me have been bouncing back recently, because the server for my inbox was full and it didn't notify me. Sorry to anyone who tried to email me recently! Things are cleared up now so I can receive messages again.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Warning! Land of the Lost Not for Kids!

I was talking with my friend Eric Shirey, who runs, and he mentioned his site had an early review for Will Ferrell's Land of the Lost movie. We are both fans of the original show, and he warned me that the new film is decidedly not kid-friendly. Vulgar language and sexual innuendo are rampant in the film, and he was not only disappointed, he was angry that the filmmakers and Ferrell would choose to do such a film knowing young kids will go in droves to see this. Eric and the guys at MovieGeekFeed are no prudes, but they are all fathers with young kids, and understand what these movies can do. Please be aware the film is PG-13 for a reason. Anyone under that will probably hear something they shouldn't.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Next Morning News Column

The good folks at the Dallas Morning News will be printing my next column on Sunday June 7 - watch for it in the Metro section, and please provide feedback (hopefully positive) to the editors.

Until then, the Morning News blogs have already posted it. In fact, it's mentioned on the front page today under the "Blogs: Oak Cliff" section. From there, it links to my complete column, with an introduction from Michael Landauer, my editor. Click here for a link.