Archive for the ‘Why We Don’t Live in Dallas County’ Category

2009 Rockwall TEA Accountability Summary

August 3, 2009

2009 County Accountability Summary.  The latest school ratings are out.  Rockwall elementary schools are doing well.  We need to work on the secondaries. – NOTE: Link updated to search page because of lame TEA website.  Enter your own damn county.

Trinity River – Fin

November 9, 2007

So they had this election… In another low turnout election, the voters chose to go along with whatever the city leaders decide. I’m not happy with the result, but I am satisfied that the people had an opportunity to make a decision because the plan had changed considerably since the initial vote was taken. The people have spoken and although the vote was relatively close there was a clear majority. I hope that they’re happy with what they get.

Trinity River Revisited

October 27, 2007

Long ago in a county far, far away (okay, more like two miles away, but work with me here) there was a bond election in which the citizens were promised that by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build a park in the flood plain of the Trinity River the rift between the wealthy northern regions and the poorer southern regions would be sealed, future generations of Olympic sailors would be able to train on the new recreational lakes, children who might never see a blade of grass otherwise would have perfectly manicured sports fields (did I mention that this was in a flood plain?), global warming would be reversed, and a cure for AIDS would be found. Okay, I made up the last two; but they did promote this project as the salvation of the heart of the city. Oh yeah, there’s going to be some kind of road in the project too, but don’t worry about that…think of the lakes.

Curtain falls, curtain rises. In a fairly low turnout even for Dallas (off year cycle) and despite having outspent the opposition by a factor of between 10 and 15 to 1, the proposition passed by something like 49% to 48%. Almost before the ink is dry on the victory announcements the word comes out that the low speed parkway meandering through the park area will have to be scrapped and replaced with a high speed toll road so that traffic through downtown can be relieved, but not to worry, there’ll still be plenty of room for parks. Somewhere.

Curtain falls, curtain rises. Money originally thought to be earmarked for the parks portion of the Trinity River project is instead proposed to be spent on three ‘signature’ bridges across the Trinity to be designed by the noted Spanish architect Calatravva whose works have a history of coming in well over budget. The first of these bridges is intended to be built in a place that nobody wants to go while the second two will replace existing bridges that are in perfectly good working order. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, it is reluctantly decided to seek other funding for the ‘signature’ bridges. Seed money from private citizens has been raised to begin planning for the first one but I lay 5 to 3 that ground is never broken.

Curtain falls, curtain rises. With every revision, the recreational aspects of the Trinity River plan have taken a back seat to the high speed toll road and some of the voters rise in righteous indignation and seek a referendum on whether an explicit limit should be placed on the road design of the project so as to preserve in some fashion the Platonic ideals that were promoted in the original plan. They gain more signatures on the referendum petition than there were voters in the original election. The item is added to the election.

Now the fun begins. Once again, the supporters of the plan are outspending the opposition by an enormous margin. Most of the usual suspects are saying most of the usual lines and the local newspaper has thrown their weight behind the plan 110%. They’ve even gone to the level of printing a hatchet piece on the writer in the local free paper, the Dallas Observer (actually part of a major national company that does these all over the country) who’s been driving the opposition bus for the last ten years. There’s desperation in the air and it don’t smell good. Keep an eye on the news from Big D for the next two weeks. This could be interesting.

Garland: A really $#!**^ town

August 24, 2006

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Local News Columnist Steve Blow This is the kind of story that makes me mad as hell. An 80 year old widow living in Garland awoke early one morning to find raw sewage backing up through her plumbing into her home over a foot deep. Her possessions are ruined, and I personally would never want to set foot in the home again. Ordinarily, you’d expect that her insurance would cover this, but you’d be wrong. State Farm, like many other insurers, specifically excludes coverage for this and the city claims governmental immunity despite the fact that the backup was in the municipal sewer main and not on the homeowner’s property.

This columnist has written on the subject twice before, and now notes that the city of Garland is attempting to get federal grant money that is supposed to be earmarked for fixing up elderly homeowners properties that need repair and offering to contribute some money from contingency funds if sufficient volunteer efforts cannot be found to rectify the damage. Color me unimpressed.

I’ll admit that I’ve disliked Garland for years in the way that only former residents can do, but this is despicable behavior and I shall certainly vote with my feet. I will look to other cities for my dining and shopping needs for a considerable time even though they have an excellent new mall that is the closest to my home. I’m also going to investigate suitable coverage for my own home despite the fact that our municipal sewer system is decades newer than Garland’s.

UPDATE: FEMA has a page with information on backflow preventers that can be installed by any competent plumbers. I’m getting one put in next spring.

Dallas Cowboys Update

August 24, 2006

AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are still weeks to go before the season even starts and I’m already sick of hearing about ‘The Cowboys’ (insert Galaxina sound effect here). There was a wonderful time this spring where I went for literally several weeks without hearing about the Cowboys, or Bill Parcells, or Jerry Jones, or even the Dallas Police Department. It couldn’t last of course, but like rain it was nice while it was here. Since about three days after the Mavericks lost the finals of the NBA, it’s been business as usual.

Bill Parcells trimmed his toenails today and one of the clippings was the silhouette of Keyshawn Johnson. The first cousin twice removed of the equipment managers’ adopted daughter said that Jerry Jones told him personally that the team would definitely ….

On the bright side, our massage therapy folks said that their business was dead during the last pre-pre-pre season game; so we’ll take advantage of that for our scheduling needs.

Things I Hate About Dallas – part 1 of many

March 30, 2006

Dallas is a lousy sports town. If it’s not about the Cowboys, it doesn’t exist. All they’ve been talking about on the radio is the NFL owners’ meeting. The Mavs are heading toward the playoffs with one of the best records that they’ve ever had, the Stars are also playoff bound and probably with a division title to boot,FC Dallas will begin their season soon, and the poor old Rangers will soon be entertaining competitors. Not that you’d know anything about that from the radio here. It’s all NFL all the time.