Friday, May 30, 2014

Not Lots Happening At LOTS

Speaking of LOTS, when I last checked in on the long-running saga surrounding the reconstruction of the trash transfer station on Lookout Drive in Richardson by the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD), it was to note that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) had prepared a draft permit for the enlarged operation. That permit was being challenged by a neighborhood group and a hearing was scheduled in Plano on January 8 regarding that appeal.

After the jump, an update.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

In Real Estate, Is Garbage a Selling Point?

When I said goodbye to Spring Creek Farm and speculated on what might go there in its place, I focused on the potential impact on the nearby Spring Creek Nature Area. But I overlooked another nearby feature that might be even more important to this site's future, the Lookout Trash Transfer Station (LOTS). Face palm.

After the jump, the challenge of selling real estate along a garbage expressway.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thank You, Linda Koop

I could post one item a day on the distortions and lies coming from the Stefani Carter campaign. That's because a new mailer hits my mailbox about that often with another load of you know what. Carter has reached high desperation mode in trying to hang on to her seat from Texas House District 102, in a GOP runoff campaign against Linda Koop... Integrity is something we look for in our elected officials, and we see not an ounce of it in Stefani Carter.
That's what Rodger Jones of The Dallas Morning News had to say about Stefani Carter, who represents parts of Richardson in the Texas House.

Here's a quote from a different source altogether. See if you can guess who said it and when.
It is these kinds of campaign shenanigans, personal attacks and dirty politics of which people are sick and tired.
Source: The Wheel.
If you guessed Stefani Carter back in 2010, give yourself 100 ironic points. Carter was prescient, but it took voters three elections to realize that the dirty politics were emanating from Carter's own campaigns. When they did, it was she who was voted out of office. Linda Koop defeated Stefani Carter in the GOP primary on Tuesday, winning 60% of the vote.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus (2013)

Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus (2013): A free spirit and an uptight Michael Cera take mescaline trip, learn nothing. Neither do we. D+

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day in the Steger Garden (2014)

From Flowers

Memorial Day is a US federal holiday wherein the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces are remembered. The holiday, which is celebrated every year on the final Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service. Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.
Source: Wikipedia.

More photos after the jump.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dallas, A Cosmopolitan City

Because nothing says cosmopolitan like a Confederate monument and a cattle drive right outside the convention center where thousands of visitors are sure to see them.

My apologies to the model, who most definitely is cosmopolitan.

Friday, May 23, 2014

War Witch (2012)

War Witch (2012): African girl is kidnapped by rebels. Haunted by ghosts. Hard to watch. Maddening. Sad. Touching. Helpless. But good. B+

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: Zealot

From Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, by Reza Aslan:
Open quote 

The Christians, too, felt the need to distance themselves from the revolutionary zeal that had led to the sacking of Jerusalem, not only because it allowed the early church to ward off the wrath of a deeply vengeful Rome, but also because, with the Jewish religion having become pariah, the Romans had become the primary target of the church’s evangelism. Thus began the long process of transforming Jesus from a revolutionary Jewish nationalist into a peaceful spiritual leader with no interest in any earthly matter."

After the jump, my review.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Restaurant Row: Now Serving

Monday night, the Richardson City Council approved a rezoning request to allow the construction of four restaurants on land previously occupied by the demolished Continental Inn on Central Expressway.

I've had my say on this well-conceived but mismanaged project many times before. Now that the rezoning is approved, I'll just say that the City Plan Commission ought to be feeling both good about themselves and disrespected at the same time. It was the CPC's rejection of the first submitted (unpopular) plan that led to the (less unpopular) plan that was ultimately approved by the city council Monday night. Good for the CPC. But then, the council took up the revised plan without sending it to the CPC for their expert consideration and advice. Bad for the city council. Why have a CPC if you're not going to draw on their experience in a matter such as this, the so-called catalyst project for the whole West Spring Valley Corridor Planned Development?

OK, I've said more than I intended to already. What I meant to say is that two people closer to the matter than I am have already said pretty much all that needs saying. After the jump, Cottonwood Heights NA President Jason Lemons and Richardson Heights NA President Richard Dotson. Both were speaking in an individual capacity and not for the associations they lead.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tear Down Stemmons Expressway

Anyone who follows Dallas journalism knows the names of Wick Allison (D Magazine founder) and Jim Schutze (Dallas Observer muckraker). To be a fly on the wall listening as these two longtime observers of Dallas politics talk to each other is worth twice the price of admission (free on the web).

After the jump, Wick Allison's heretical conversion concerning freeways in Dallas.

Monday, May 19, 2014

So-Called Mixed-Use Development

Last week brought news of another mixed-use development coming to Richardson -- Northside at UTD -- and the expansion of another -- Eastside. That's on top of earlier news of two expansions to Richardson's premiere mixed-used development CityLine. First was the announcement that Raytheon would build new offices there. Second was that Whole Foods would anchor a new retail development there.

All this is great news for Richardson. The city is growing. The growth is balanced between commercial and residential. So, why am I not ecstatic? After the jump, my wistful epiphany.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, at DTC

Dallas Theater Center
Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, at DTC: Played straight, like a greatest hits collection. A perfectly serviceable mystery. B-

Friday, May 16, 2014

May in the Steger Garden (2014)

From Flowers
The photo was taken on Mother's Day, but I waited until today to publish it because mothers deserved to be honored more than one day a year.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Mayor and the Schools: Candidly

Yesterday, we looked at a controversy Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka created by recording a robo-call endorsing a candidate in the Richardson ISD school board race.

Today, we look at how Maczka herself sees the controversy.
Candidly, the reason I did the call is because I was asked. Rachel Chumney is my neighbor, our children attend the same school, and I got to know her in the last school board election, but as I told the city manager yesterday, endorsements matter but they really don't.

I honestly don't know if my endorsement is really all that important.
After the jump, candidly.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Mayor and the Schools: Picking the Trustees

Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka found herself in some hot water with some voters for recording a robo-call endorsing one candidate in the Richardson ISD school board race.

And it wasn't just voters who were concerned. RISD trustee Kris Oliver said:
Some of you may have received messages from Richardson civic leaders suggesting you vote based on the candidate's city of residence; I urge you to reject this notion and remember that all of our trustees serve at large without regard for any particular geography. Please vote for the candidate you feel has the best qualifications, not the best zip code.

RISD trustee Adam Meierhofer said:
I am not sure if there is much precedent for the Mayor of Dallas, Richardson, or Garland endorsing candidates for the RISD school board.

There is precedent in RISD for a strong team of trustees. I understand this has created some distraction and could potentially be divisive, but the board has a strong legacy for collaborating and serving with whomever the community elects, wherever they may reside.

After the jump, I weigh in.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Creationism in Science Class in RISD

Do you think Creationism should be taught in science classes? That was the yes/no question asked of the five candidates for Richardson ISD school board at a League of Women Voters forum April 24, 2014.

Four candidates answered no. Justin Bono said yes.

My reaction? Horror. "His actions on the RISD school board deserve heightened scrutiny to make sure the district as a whole does nothing to promote this misguided idea."

Unknown to me, before I wrote that, Justin Bono had already clarified his answer (my bad). After the jump, Justin Bono's clarification.

Monday, May 12, 2014

RISD School Board Election Analysis

Justin Bono and Kristin Kuhne won election to the Richardson ISD school board Saturday by large margins. Unofficial results:

  • Place 6
    • Justin Bono: 64%
    • Rachel Chumney: 36%
  • Place 7
    • Kristin Kuhne: 69%
    • Judy Yarbrough: 23%
    • Bonnie Abadie: 8%

After the jump, I'll give my own analysis of the election, which is just my opinion, of course. There was no exit polling done to learn from the voters as a whole why they voted the way they did.

Friday, May 9, 2014

I-345 vs US-75: Commute Times

Previously: "I-345 vs US-75: Daytime Employment."
Previously: "I-345 vs US-75: Same Standard."

Rodger Jones of The Dallas Morning News offers his solutions to north Texas' traffic woes. Jones wants US-75 through Richardson to get "three added pay lanes in each direction, sunken, with sound walls." To pay for this, he thinks "We should raise the gas tax and pay as we go. I know, fat chance."

After the jump, my reaction.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I-345 vs US-75: Same Standard

Previously: "I-345 vs US-75: Daytime Employment."

Rodger Jones of The Dallas Morning News asks whether the arguments to tear out I-345 in downtown Dallas should apply as well to US-75. It's Jones' way of using Richardson's supposed success story along US-75 as an argument for preserving I-345 in Dallas.

After the jump, I look at whether there's merit to Jones' suggestion that Dallasites are asking for favored treatment they would never grant to Richardson residents.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I-345 vs US-75: Daytime Employment

Rodger Jones of The Dallas Morning News points out that "daytime employment" in the city of Richardson is set to surpass the employment in Dallas' central business district. Jones acts like this fact argues against tearing out I-345 in downtown Dallas because, well, US-75 hasn't hurt employment in Richardson. Jones goes farther, seemingly arguing that Richardson's growth demands ever more freeways "criss-crossing the metro area" because, well, commuters have to get to Richardson.

After the jump, examining Jones' arguments.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cottonwood Art Festival - Spring 2014

From 2014 05 04 Cottonwood Art Festival

Sunday was sunny and warm, perfect weather for Richardson's twice yearly Cottonwood Art Festival, now in its 45th year. After the jump, more photos from this Spring's festival.

Friday, May 2, 2014

OTBR: Stony Ground in Nevada

Latitude: N 38° 14.556
Longitude: W 116° 20.016

A child on a road trip with his family asks, "Where are we?" and the father answers, "Let's check the map. We're off the blue roads [the Interstate Highways marked in blue on the road atlas]. We're off the red roads [the US and state highways]. We're off the black roads [the county highways]. I think we're off the map altogether." It was always my dream to be off the map altogether.

After the jump, a few of the random places (and I mean random literally) that I visited vicariously last month that are "off the blue roads".

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Repeat Tweets: POTUS is Dancing in the End Zone

Repeat tweets from April, 2014:

  • Apr 2 2014: MT @SenTedCruz: "POTUS is dancing in the end zone while millions of Americans hurt." Cruz 2016 depends on getting voters to believe that.
  • Apr 2 2014: MT @SenTedCruz: Bill Kristol: "No way, Mr. President. We do not accept this deplorable piece of legislation." Old Man Yells At Cloud. #wacko
  • Apr 2 2014: MT @SenTedCruz: "#SCOTUS decision in McCutcheon v. FEC is a victory for the [one percent]." Corrected. You're welcome. #wacko
  • Apr 2 2014: MT @SenTedCruz: "Our democracy works better when the free speech rights of the [one percent] are unfettered." Corrected. You're welcome.

After the jump, more repeat tweets.