Council Passes Booting Ordinance

For months, Deep Ellum’s restaurants, retailers, bars, and clubs have lost business as a result of unscrupulous booting.  Visitors to Deep Ellum would pay their parking fee, then return to the lot to find that their car had been booted and that it was going to cost them $150 to have it removed.  Many vowed not to return.  This is bad for our small business owners, bad for a struggling Deep Ellum, and bad for our city’s economy.

I am pleased that today the council passed an ordinance to regulate booting and eliminate what has been both a threat to our small businesses and an unfair (and expensive) penalty to paying parking customers.  The ordinance will require parking lots that choose to boot to provide a receipt to their customers.

We were able to gain widespread council support by creating a phased implementation plan.  For parking lots that choose to boot, the ordinance will be phased in as follows:

  • As of Jan. 1, 2010, all parking lots in Deep Ellum must provide receipts.
  • As of July 1, 2010, all parking lots outside of Deep Ellum that charge $5 or more (or $1 or more per hour) must provide receipts.
  • As of Jan. 1, 2011, all other parking lots must provide receipts.

The ordinance was approved by a vote of 14 to 1, with Ann Margolin voting against.

2000 McKinney Tour

A couple of weeks ago, I took a tour of 2000 McKinney Avenue. The new Uptown office building sits on the edge of the future Woodall Rodgers Park, between Harwood and Olive.

Like many new developments in District 14, the developer came to the city requesing a zoning change to allow them more flexibility in height and other aspects of construction.

Their original proposal had (typical) narrow sidewalks, a parking garage facing the park, and several driveways along the building (which broke up the sidewalk). Continue reading

Tour of Wyly Theater

Thursday was Arts Advocacy Day in Dallas, and arts organizations from across the city attended the annual luncheon at the Wyly Theater.  I was joined by several of my colleagues:  Councilmembers Jerry Allen, Ann Margolin, and Delia Jasso.

The featured speaker was Douglas Sonntag, Director of Dance for the National Endowment for the Arts, who discussed the importance of the arts in American life and the challenges posed by the 21st century.  He posited that attendance at live cultural performances are down, and that technological advances (e.g., watching the Kiev Opera on the interwebs) is a troubling trend.

I have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Sonntag (who, by the way, was a very gracious guest and interesting speaker).  I love that technology opens up the arts to a much broader audience and takes people to cities and events that they may not otherwise experience.

Enjoy these photos from the Wyly.

Dallas Needs This: iPhone App for 311

090817-iburgh-02I’ve been wanting something like this for awhile now, and glad some city finally did it (I just wish it were Dallas): an iPhone app that lets residents snap photos of nuisances and code violations and send them off to city hall (geo-tagged, no less).

Pittsburgh beat us to the punch, but there’s no need for Dallas to be left out of the tech party. With our city’s budget cuts, anything we can do to make city services run more efficiently is welcome, especially when the City Manager has proposed cutting 311 from 24 hours/day to 7am-7pm daily.

Anyone who sees a code violation can snap a pic, upload, and be done with it, without having to (a) sit on hold with a 311 operator forever or (b) remember all the relevant location/violation info for later input into the 311 website (assuming you don’t forget).

And no more confusion about incorrect addresses (look at picture; compare to reality; done). Plus, the city’s got tangible evidence of an alleged violation and can evaluate the problem before going out to investigate.

I like this on lots of levels and will be asking our City Manager to investigate. But I want a Blackberry version, too.

Dallas Loses 2013 FOP Conference to Cincinnati

I got a call this afternoon from Dallas FOP president, Mike Walton. Dallas lost the 2013 FOP convention to Cincinnati, 800 to 1100 votes. We think one thing that may have tipped the vote in their favor was that FOP members in states near Ohio wanted to drive to their destination, and they have a larger voting bloc than down south.

I’m disappointed, but am so glad I had the opportunity to work with Mike, Fred, Dena, and everyone else who put so much time and energy into this effort. We’re very lucky to have these folks in our DPD.

Enjoy these pictures from our trip, and check out the videos of our presentation (below). Mike was on fire, and did a great job selling our city and hitting all the right notes.

Next time, I’m bringing the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. I kid you not.

Dallas Vies for 2013 Fraternal Order of Police Convention

I’ve spent the last few days in Long Beach, California, which is hosting the bi-annual convention of the Fraternal Order of the Police. The FOP is a national organization of law enforcement officials. Dallas’ FOP has been working for two years to bring the convention to our city in 2013, and the 3000+ FOP delegation will make the decision on Thursday. Dallas is competing against Cincinnati, Louisville, and Virginia Beach.

In January, I joined DPD officer and Dallas FOP executive board member, Fred Mears, and Dena Rambo of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, as we gave the national FOP officers a tour of Dallas’ police headquarters. Fred’s been working tirelessly to bring the convention to Dallas, which would be terrific for Dallas’ economy. I’ve been working with the Dallas FOP and the convention center to ensure we could bring the best deal possible to the table.

I was really impressed with the regional cooperation and statewide support Dallas received. Richardson, DART, Fort Worth and others have stepped up to help lure the FOP to Dallas. And the FOP lodges across Texas have been really working the delegates here at the convention, encouraging them to vote for Dallas.

On Monday, I met with Dena from the DCVB and DPD officer Mike Walton, president of the Dallas FOP. Mike has been working his butt off, campaigning every possible minute. We discussed our presentation for Wednesday (each city vying for the 2013 convention gives a ten minute presentation to the entire delegation).

On Tuesday, I spent the day at our convention hall booth with Dallas’ 20-member delegation. We were working hard to sell the delegates on Dallas. We had two main points. First, the entire delegation would be in just 3 downtown hotels, all close to the convention center (including the convention center hotel) and connected by light rail. This was a big selling point because the group is usually spread out across whatever city they’re in. This has been especially true in Long Beach, where some of us (the Texas delegation) are 10 miles from the convention center. Second, Dallas is economical. The three hotels have agreed to offer the prevailing federal per diem rate, which is $115 right now. None of the other cities could beat that.

Last night, Dena, Mike and I got together to prepare our presentation. We worked on it about 4 hours, and I think it paid off. Today, we made our presentation to the whole delegation (I’ll post the video shortly).

This has been such a great group to work with. I can’t say enough good things about the DPD officers I’ve gotten to know on this trip, and Dena from the DCVB could not be a better cheerleader for our city.

Tomorrow, the delegation will vote on the host city for 2013. I’ll give everyone an update on the results. Keep your fingers crossed.

(FYI — I didn’t spend any taxpayer funds on this trip; it was paid for by the FOP and out of my campaign funds.)