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This week, in news from Dallas-Fort Worth: Mark Cuban sells the Mavericks and a lot of filing activity in the Metroplex. Plus, the Fairfield State Park saga comes to a sorry end; scamming and ransomware against local governmental entities; Atatiana Jefferson news; a local State Representative cops a plea; Mayor Johnson on talk radio; Allen West, like the bad penny, is back; news and views on the newest Trinity River park plan; Tim Horton’s and Buc-ee’s in the news; and which Fort Worth restaurants you can find a genuine movie star eating at.
This week’s post was brought to you by the music of Trevor Horn, the legendary 80s producer.
The biggest news in Dallas this week has been the impending sale of the Mavericks to Miriam Adelson of the family that owns the Sands in Las Vegas. It’s all supposed to come together by the end of the year if the NBA approves.
The story comes with a lot of question marks. Does this deal mean that casinos are coming to Texas? (Star-Telegram and DMN) What does this mean for the Mavericks on the court? What will Mark Cuban, the Mavericks’ current owner, do with his time? (Shark Tank and his pharmaceutical company, plus he’ll still be involved with the team, looks like.) Then there are the wild speculations like whether he’ll run for president (Spoiler: almost certainly not).
The nine days of wonder associated with this story are about at their end, but Cuban has long been an advocate for casino gambling in Texas. What will happen on that front, especially with the Republicans who run our state in disarray, is worth keeping an eye on.
Also it’s filing season! We won’t know everyone who’s on the ballot until it closes on December 11 but a number of people have already put their money down. A lot of this coverage comes from The Fort Worth Report, which is doing the necessary work of writing about who’s filing for everything on that side of the Metroplex.
- As an appetizer, Texas Standard has a piece analyzing the departures of three area congressional representatives: Colin Allred, Michael Burgess, and Kay Granger.
- For CD 12, which Kay Granger is retiring from, we have Democrat Trey Hunt making another sally after his campaign in 2022. I wish him good luck.
- Democrat Marc Veasey is running for re-election in CD 33.
- For CD 26, currently held by Michael Burgess, who is stepping down, we have two Republicans: nepo baby Scott Armey, son of Dick, who formerly held the seat, and Southlake Mayor John Huffman.
- For HD95, incumbent Democrat Nicole Collier is filing for re-election.
- For HD97, currently held by Republican Craig Goldman, who’s vacating to run for CD 12, we have Republican Cheryl Bean.
- For Tarrant County Precinct One, whose current holder, a Democrat, is retiring, we have filings from Democrat Roderick Miles and Republican Michael Barber.
- And last but not least, Wendy Burgess, the incumbent Tarrant County tax asssesor-collector has filed for re-election.
And in other North Texas news:
- You knew this was coming if you’ve been keeping an eye on Fairfield State Park: the state is giving up trying to buy the former park after the fair market value for eminent domain was set at $418 million instead of the $85 million the state thought it was worth. It’s a sad end to a sorry saga.
- Dallas County was scammed out of $2.4 million last month. The Observer has a little list of all the county’s technical errors this year. I like our County Judge but he needs to get this under control. The DMN also has five things you should know about this case.
- Also in cybersecurity news, The North Texas Municipal Water District has been hit by ransomware. They serve 13 cities, mostly north and northeast of Dallas.
- Folks undoubtedly remember the 2019 shooting of Atatiana Jefferson in front of her young nephew. Fort Worth City Council has approved a $3.5 million settlement to provide for her nephew. Meanwhile, counsel for former FWPD officer Aaron Dean, who was convicted of manslaughter for killing Jefferson, made oral arguments in his appeal on the grounds that the case shouldn’t have been tried in Fort Worth.
- In this week’s edition of Six Degrees of Clarence Thomas, the Senate Judiciary Committee finally managed to subpoena Harlan Crow and two of his super-rich cronies over their involvement with Thomas. The vote was marked by Republican procedural shenanigans and a walkout including Texas’ two senators. And Leonard Leo, one of the other billionaire donors subpoenaed, has already said he won’t cooperate.
- Speaking of Republican shenanigans, the DMN has an explainer on how the House’s inability to get budget bills passed is affecting North Texas projects.
- Here’s an op-ed in the Star-Telegram on the subject of immigration, written by the mayor of Keller, whom I could have told you was a Republican after reading this piece without googling.
- State Reps Carl Sherman and Julie Johnson, both longtime Democratic members of the House, are running for other offices. The DMN analyzes how the local statehouse delegation will be affected by losing them.
- Local talk radio host has an op-ed piece on whether Ken Paxton’s vendetta against House members associated with his impeachment will force out the legislators who voted against him. In a similar vein, the Dallas Observer has a piece on state legislators getting primaried with the support of Paxton, Ted Cruz, and Greg Abbott.
- Here’s an area lawmaker who probably won’t draw a primary opponent but should: Frederick Frazier, freshman incumbent in HD 61. He just made a plea deal on charges of impersonating a public servant and has had to retire from DPD, where he worked when he wasn’t in the statehouse. The Texas Tribune has more.
- And jumping back to talk radio, our newly Republican Dallas mayor chose to give the State of the City address on conservative talk radio WBAP. Coverage is at your choice of media: DMN; KERA; Dallas Observer; and D Magazine. The big takeaway is that Johnson likes spending on parks and does not like spending on housing. Pretty sure he’s not going to like unhoused people sleeping in the parks, but that is one possibility when you favor amenities and you have a lot of unhoused folks in your city.
- Also from the desk of Mayor Johnson: he planned to miss Wednesday’s unveiling of the $1.1 billion bond proposal that will be coming before voters in May. We don’t begrudge the man having medical issues but he is absent from council a lot.
- Did you wonder what Allen West was up to these days? I did not, but I should have. He’s taking on the current Chair of the Dallas County GOP. That sound you hear is my palm hitting my face as I contemplate the bananas news he’ll generate if he wins.
- Keller ISD is in the news for two reasons: they have a new superintendent and they’re broke and outlining how they’ll increase class sizes and cut staff.
- While we’re on the subject of local school districts, here’s a wild one: Godley ISD managed to screw up background checks so that a parent who was also a convicted prostitute volunteered on various committees for the district. One of them oversaw the district’s sex ed curriculum.
- UT Dallas used to have three rocks where students would leave messages. Too many students were leaving political messages, especially about the war in Gaza, and now the rocks have been replaced by freshly planted trees.
- When I first saw that the Isis Theater in downtown Fort Worth was closing, I thought it was going to be one more sad story about cultural icons unable to make bank after the pandemic changed everything. Turns out there’s a saga involving loan defaults, delinquent taxes, lawsuits, and unpaid wages.
- Today I learned about General Edward H. Tarrant, the namesake of Tarrant County.
- Dallas has been working on putting a park near the Trinity near downtown since 2016 and the latest plan for the park has been released. West Dallas neighbors are not pleased about another city amenity happening to them with minimal consultation. And as DMN architecture critic Mark Lamster notes, the new park’s namesake, Harold Simmons, is not necessarily the kind of guy you want to name things after. (Local blogger Mark Steger calls it in his piece on the park’s name).
- Tim Horton’s, the Canadian donut and coffee chain, will be opening a store in Coppell next year.
- A Dallas woman was paid to sample all the snacks at Buc-ee’s. This is the article she wrote about it.
- The DMN has a 30-second time-lapse video of the changeover from hockey arena to basketball court at the American Airlines Center. Now show me how you build the stages for concerts.
- Here’s a fascinating local art piece: the Nasher Sculpture Center has a new piece tracing a stream under downtown.
- This week in Dallas, Dusty Hill’s memorabilia is being auctioned off. Hill was a Dallas native despite being in Houston’s favorite pre-Beyoncé band.
- Last but not least, one for my fellow Gen Xers: Harrison Ford spends a lot of time in Fort Worth and loves the restaurants there.