Selection Process for Dallas’ Municipal Judges: Fair and Transparent

The courts in the City of Dallas do not function well. People who receive tickets regularly ignore them, the technology in the courts is antiquated or non-existent, police officers serving as witnesses regularly do not show up, and cases are repeatedly reset, resulting in dismissal. This has created a system that rewards people who ignore city tickets, whether they’re for code violations or traffic citations. That’s unfair to people who pay their tickets as well as to residents who have to live in neighborhoods where absentee landlords let homes deteriorate into drug houses with impunity, where violators stack junk vehicles on their lawns with no repercussions, and where our roads are less safe because speeders rejoice at our lax system. This must change.

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Aerial Mosquito Spraying Update: Rest of Dallas Sprayed Tonight

Just received this update from City of Dallas staff:

The West Nile Virus spraying program continues:

  • The rest of the City that was not sprayed last night will be sprayed tonight
  • Last night’s spraying was cut short due to rain
  • Because rain is threatening once again tonight, operations will begin at 9:00 p.m.
  • If everything goes as planned, tonight’s spraying will complete the FIRST application for the WHOLE city
  • TWO applications will be required
  • The SECOND application will be conducted two days after the FIRST application to kill the adult mosquitoes missed on the first spray as well as those mosquitoes that hatch within the two days

Aerial Spraying Report for Thursday, August 16:

  • Two airplanes loaded with Duet pesticide initiated spraying at 10 p.m. Spraying was estimated to be completed by 2 a.m., but suspended at midnight due to inclement weather. Area scheduled but not sprayed is approximately 1/2 mile west of Jupiter Rd and Buckner Blvd east to the City Limit
  • Pre-spray mosquito traps were placed by Clarke Mosquito Control (State’s contractor), County and City. Samples were to be collected by noon on Friday and results will be assessed to determine need for follow-up applications.

Aerial Mosquito Spraying to Begin Tonight

Tonight, August 16 starting at 10 p.m., parts of Dallas will receive aerial mosquito spraying in response to the West Nile virus outbreak.   The mayor made this decision yesterday pursuant to his emergency powers, and the council did not vote on the matter.

The area to be sprayed tonight includes all of East Dallas north of I-30, Downtown, Uptown, Turtle Creek, the Park Cities, and Oak Lawn neighborhoods (see map, below).  During the aerial spraying, avoid being outside, close windows and consider keeping pets inside while spraying occurs.  Additional information can be found on the city’s website.  Please pass on this information to your neighbors.

For people concerned about exposure during aerial spraying, health officials suggest the following precautions:

  • Minimize exposure. Avoid being outside, close windows and consider keeping pets inside while spraying occurs.
  • If skin or clothes are exposed, wash them with soap and water.
  • Rinse homegrown fruits and vegetables with water as a general precautionary measure.
  • Cover small ornamental fish ponds.
  • Because the chemical breaks down quickly in sunlight and water, no special precautions are suggested for outdoor swimming areas.

The pesticide product is called Duet, which is labeled and approved by the EPA for use in outdoor and residential areas. The active ingredients are in the same chemical family as products currently being used for ground spraying in the Dallas area. The product will be applied at very low dosages – less than an ounce per acre – by small, twin- engine aircrafts flying at approximately 300 feet above ground overnight.

As always, the first line of defense to prevent infection of the West Nile Virus is to avoid getting bitten in the first place. We urge citizens to be proactive by employing the 4-Ds of personal prevention:

DEET – use insect repellents that contain DEET, or any other EPA approved insect repellent

DRESS – Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing outside during dusk and dawn hours.

DRAIN – Remove all areas of standing water. Change water in wading pools, pet dishes and birdbaths several times a week.

DUSK/DAWN – Protect yourself during dusk and dawn hours.

Moving Forward on the Trinity Park

What a great day for the City of Dallas!

Since 1998, when voters approved the Trinity River Corridor Project, Dallas residents have looked forward to the day that they would see the immense greenspace between our levees transformed into an incredible urban park.

We are excited to announce that that vision will finally become a reality.

Last summer, Councilmember Scott Griggs and I met up at the Trinity Overlook and walked down the length of the Trinity Floodway.  We talked about how amazing it would be to create trails along the Trinity River that would draw people to this hidden gem in the heart of our city.  

Hike and bike trails have proven incredibly popular in Dallas.  Visit the Katy Trail on a beautiful day and you’ll find it packed with cyclists and joggers and baby strollers and skaters and walkers.  There is clearly an overwhelming demand for urban trails in Dallas.

So when city staff informed us three weeks ago that the city had an additional $42m available in the upcoming 2012 bond program, and each council district and the mayor would have the opportunity to program $2.8m towards bond projects, we saw the perfect opportunity to finally move forward on the Trinity Park.

We allocated all of our combined $5.6m towards the construction of floodway maintenance roads along the Trinity River that can also serve as hike and bike trails.  The mayor joined us, contributing half a million dollars, and shared our enthusiasm about moving forward on the Trinity Park.  

With over six million dollars, we will be able to build a 4.5 mile, winding, 16 foot wide concrete road down in the floor of the floodway, stretching from the Sylvan Bridge to the Santa Fe Trestle in Moore Park. (To put this in perspective, the Katy Trail is 3.75 miles long.) Only occasionally will maintenance vehicles use this road, and it will be closed to public vehicles. The rest of the time, it can be used as a hike and bike trail.

One of the most important aspects of this project is the linkages it will create between north and south Dallas.  This project will connect the Trinity Strand Trail, the Katy Trail, the Continental pedestrian bridge, Coombs Creek Trail, Eloise Lundy Park, and the Santa Fe Trail.

The next step is for voters to approve the 2012 Bond Program in November (this project will be part of the Streets Proposition). If that passes, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gives us the go ahead, the project could be finished as early as mid-2014.

Today is the first step towards a dream so many of us have had, for so long, for the Trinity River:  To transform this beautiful natural asset into a great urban park.  Despite our different perspectives on the Trinity Toll Road, we all agree that it’s time to move forward on a Trinity Park we can enjoy today.