Friday Roundup: You Just Bought Superbowl Tickets, ExxonMobil Sets Record, Obama’s Tantrum & More

  • It appears your tax dollars are going to pay for the mayors of Dallas, Arlington, and Fort Worth to attend the Superbowl. It’s “research” donchaknow.
  • The weird part is, there are plenty of people who will actually criticize ExxonMobil for setting a new high in annual profits. I’d say I’d like to know why, but the truth is I don’t want to know those kind of toxic people, and I just don’t care what they think because frankly, they’re losers.
  • The current resident of the public housing on Pennsylvania Avenue (who incidentally has never held a real job) and who wants to give $1 trillion in taxpayer money to the thieves at ACORN, to lazy welfare recipients, to untalented painters, and to other pork projects, is throwing a tantrum over a mere $18 billion in private money. Mr. Obama, shut up. ($600 million to buy government employees new cars. Seriously.)
  • Does it occur to anyone else that the kind of people who either weren’t aware of the digital conversion or who can’t afford the converter box probably should spend less time watching television?

Tipster: Officer Fernando Perez Has Been Fired

I profiled the sorry career of Dallas Police Officer Fernando Perez in the June issue of D Magazine“The Worst Cop in Dallas.” He’s the officer who violated the department’s chase policy on Oct. 6, 2006, in an incident that led to the deaths of two young Dallas men in a brutal, tragic wreck.

Just got word from a very reliable source on the force that Perez has been fired. (This is his third termination. Who can say if this time is the charm?)

The cause? I’m told he was using a city car to drive to and from work. So after more than a decade and a half of documented instances of using excessive force, violating the deadly force policy, reckless driving, conduct discrediting the police department, compromising the safety of fellow officers, failing to aid other officers in distress, illegal search, and more AWOLs than I can count — not to mention the fatal , illegal chase in October 2006 — that’s what he got popped for.

Better than nothing, I suppose. But you wonder. One-two handwipe. That’s done. Just 18 years too late.

I won’t be able to confirm this until morning when the regular public information officers are on duty, but there you go.

UPDATE: The Dallas Morning News confirms the story as of 5:42 p.m.

Thursday Roundup: Seig Health! x2, Zombie Warnings

  • How pathetic do you think you are when you have to tell people your job is “smoking ban enforcer.” Perhaps their business cards can read “Professional Snitch.” I suppose “Smoking Stormtrooper” is out of the question, even if it’s most accurate. Regardless, good to see the city has its priorities straight. Seig Health!
  • Think I was exaggerating in my D feature about where city level health commisars are going? New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is now going after salt. Salt. For real. Start the countdown until those who want Dallas to be a “world class city” to follow suit.

City Council: Vote Yes to Property Rights, No to Neo-Puritan South Dallas Jihadists

3:05 p.m. UPDATE: See the end of the entry.

A guy whose operations are tax exempt — and who despite his insistence contrary is opposed to all alcohol sales — is leading a political effort to prevent a business owner from opening a sports bar on South Lamar street. Read his column here in the Dallas Morning News. In fact, he wants a moratorium on all new alcohol-related businesses in all of South Dallas.

Well, allow me to retort.

"Well, allow me to retort."

It’s a jihad disguised as a compassionate crusade.

Business owners wouldn’t want to put sports bar in if there weren’t a demand.

Try as you might, you can’t appeal the law of supply and demand. This won’t accomplish anything except to violate the rights of property owners.

Morning drunks are a symptom of, not the cause of, the endemic problems in the area. Lipstick on a pig and all that.

Let me add that while I have no doubt there have been several voices raised against the bar, and maybe even a petition or something, I just can’t believe they alone represent the wishes of the area.

The owners/investors in the proposed bar have — and I base this on informed speculation, not shoe-leather research — done what every other retail business does in preparation for such an enterprise: extensive market research on the neighborhood and the foot/street traffic that says such a bar would have a local customer base that justifies the investment.

No one throws money into a business start-up on the blind hope they will have a customer base. Especially not in this economy. “Build it and they will come” is a cute movie phrase, but rarely is it found on a business proforma.

If the neighborhood really doesn’t want this sports bar, it will go under very quickly. Just because the opposition is well organized or politically connected doesn’t mean they speak for everyone in the neighborhood. In fact, one idly wonders if the guys who want to build this sports bar committed the sin of not greasing the right palms.

Final point: I understand the importance of clergy in the black community in many areas, but I’m particularly disturbed by the influence any church has on public policy.

Churches should stick to saving souls, not dictating development policy and violating property rights.

At what point does this kind of political activism cross the line? Why is it their lobbying on matters of public policy is tax exempt, while the rest of the voices in the debate are subject to the more onerous tax and regulation laws?

Rev. Britt concludes:

Council members should go even further and impose a moratorium on all new special use permits for liquor-related businesses in South Dallas until neighborhood redevelopment plans are completed. To do otherwise is insensitive, demeaning and disrespectful.

No, what is demeaning and disrespectful is a bunch of jihadist holy rollers trying to impose their neo-prohibitionist will on an entire swath of the city. Because if you peel back the polite facade, that’s exactly what you will see happening.

UPDATE: The power of this blog is just staggering. The Dallas City Council voted unanimously this afternoon to grant the sports bar a special use permit, meaning they can go ahead with opening their business.

Wednesday Roundup: Brides on Fire, Kids on Coke & Obama’s Pork Pie

(Your roundup is late this morning because we’re trapped by Icepocalypse 2009! and the drawing straws to decide who to eat didn’t go as well as expected.)

Dallas Developer H. Walker Royall Still Trying to Muzzle Free Speech

From Jacob Sullum over at Hit n’ Run:

Over at Real Clear Politics, journalist Carla Main and her publisher at Encounter Books, Roger Kimball, discuss the libel suit they face as a result of her 2007 book, Bulldozed: “Kelo,” Eminent Domain, and the American Lust for Land. Dallas developer H. Walker Royall is suing them, along with a writer who favorably reviewed the book, the newspaper that published the review, and University of Chicago legal scholar Richard Epstein, who wrote a blurb for the book, because he did not like the way he came across in it:

As we see it, Royall’s case against us is not an ordinary libel suit. It is a suit aimed at suppressing the process of investigative journalism and the free circulation of ideas. In his complaint, Royall does not identify a single word of Bulldozed that libels him. He says only that “the gist” of the book defames him….

Royall has picked on the most vulnerable people he could find—writers, a scholar, a nonprofit publisher and a community newspaper. He didn’t sue more powerful venues, such as The Wall Street Journal, which favorably reviewed “Bulldozed,” or the Cato Institute’s Regulation magazine, which have the resources and the lawyers to defend themselves.

Main and Kimball, who are represented by the Institute for Justice, also summarize the Freeport, Texas, eminent domain case at the center of Bulldozed, in which Royall figures prominently. I noted Royall’s habit of suing his critics last month.

Upcoming Feature in Reason Magazine

Regular readers know I’m a big fan of Reason magazine. So I’m pleased to say I will have my first byline in the national magazine’s upcoming March issue.

My feature story focuses on the U.S. Army’s ongoing effort to seize hundreds of thousands of acres of prime, private ranch land to expand the existing Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site used by armored units from Fort Carson.

I’m telling the tale of the coalition of ranchers, environmentalists, paleontologists, and Indian tribes who are fighting like David against Goliath. Some of these ranches being threatened have been owned by families going back to the mid-1800s, before Colorado was a state. And the Army isn’t exactly land poor, what with more than 15 million acres of land nationwide.

I’ve written about this issue a number of times for The Land Report, where you can find background and some excellent photography by my partner, Gustav Schmiege, one of the best shooters I know, even if he does sing too much on road trips and gets too scared when I drive 120 mph at 3 a.m. (Hi Gus. Just kidding.)

Clarification and Apology Re: TDMN South Dallas Series

Today I got into it with Tod Robberson of The Dallas Morning News on the opinion blog with what I meant to be a drive-by joke at his expense. Here’s the link and the relevant line:

And for the record, I drove down Lamar about six days ago, and I go regularly into these South Dallas neighborhoods that I’m told pink-skinned suburbanites never would. And I don’t do it as part of a one-time, company sponsored tour complete with escorts (hi Tod).

One of the editorial page editors I work with and whose opinion I greatly value took it as an attack on the editorial page’s ongoing, depth series on bridging the North-South Dallas gap, rather than a joke directly solely at Tod.

This was not my intent, and I apologize without qualification for this. This series TDMN is doing is an excellent piece of depth journalism, and involves TDMN reporters and editors doing old-fashioned, shoe-leather reporting that makes the city a better place. I encourage everyone to read it. They’re out there in the neighborhoods doing great work.

Now, Tod is one of those people whose writing I respect, even if I don’t agree with him. But we rub each other the wrong way. He seems to think I’m a low-brow; I think he’s too haughty and humorless. Probably some truth in both assessments. We’ll probably get past it some day.

Anyway, by way of context and not by way of qualifying my apology, the source of this particular spat and my attempt at a side-swipe goes back to October 2008, when we got into it regarding another South Dallas issue. Here’s a link to the thread in question, and here’s the pertinent exchange, wherein he makes almost the exact same charge at me that I suggested in my post today.

Posted by tod Robberson @ 4:54 PM Wed, Oct 01, 2008

Trey, the editorial is talking about junkyards and cocktail lounges and unauthorized stores and houses that are turned into multi-occupant apartment buildings. These are not “cheap strawmen.” These are actual, real-live businesses that people are running in residential neighborhoods. I know you haven’t bothered to visit any of those neighborhoods so that you’ll actually know what you’re talking about.

Basically, we made the same attack on one another. But given that the DMN opinion page is one where they want a higher level of discourse, both of us are guilty of stepping over the line. This was wrong. I’m going to abide by their wishes and watch my level of snarkiness going forward.

Lest anyone think I’m doing this under duress, or that I’m worried that I’ll lose my access to the DMN editorial page where I’m a special contributor, this is not the case. The editor who I rankled made no such suggestion. This is just me coming clean and making amends for something for which I take sole responsibility. And I think Tod and I can bury the hatchet. If he’s willing.

PS — The council should vote yes on the special use permit for the business on South Lamar. A sports bar, which is what is proposed, isn’t exactly a dirty little package store where you find a.m. drunks hanging out on the stoop.

Big Brother (or at Least Big Mother) Embraces Dallas

My story about the creeping nanny state in Dallas is up on the web.

This is not the more important story I’ve ever written — I’ve investigated police misconduct, unsolved murders, and game-changing business innovations over the years — nor is it the most humorous. But far and away it’s the kind of story I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember, and one that most captures who I am.

Jacob Sullum, a friend and an editor at Reason magazine, best summarizes the piece:

In the latest issue of D magazine, Trey Garrison explores some of Dallas’ more intrusive, arbitrary, and puzzling regulations. Garrison, who quotes me and notes that Dallas ranked 17th on Radley Balko’s list of “the worst nanny-state cities in America,” laments “the wussification of Dallas,” pining for the days when the city was known for its brothels, casinos, and bars where you could smoke—as opposed to nowadays, when Dallasites go to Oklahoma for fun (Indian gambling and cheap liquor). Garrison tests the limits of the city’s tolerance by, among other things, riding a bicycle hands-free, brandishing a toy gun in public, and getting illegally close to a stripper. “Mandatory helmets are only for bike riders,” he notes, “not bikers [i.e., motorcyclists]. Groups of guys in leather on hogs are a more intimidating lobby than groups of guys in spandex shorts.” Speaking of shorts, Dallas has decreed that taxi drivers may not wear them. More, including the lowdown on the legality of requesting a blowjob and the transparent paternalism behind restrictions on convenience store window signs, here.

Tuesday Roundup: With Friends Like These, BS City Staffer Reports & More

  • You know, after a friend of mine kills himself, nothing makes me feel better than a movie. A lord knows after I see a friend take a pistol, put it to his head, and pull the trigger on an empty chamber, I usually just watch as he calmly loads the gun and does it again. W? T? F?
  • You know who I love on the Dallas city council? Mitch Rasansky, that’s who. Agree or not, he’s crotchety and blunt and speaks his mind. Where else do you find a smart, savvy politician who calls city staff liars?
  • Look, I’m not making light of the fact this guy was beaten and killed in a parking lot at a nightclub, but this photo that Channel 5′s web site chose to run — you tell me what it looks like, because I sure thought that’s exactly what that was.