By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
People who live near Lower Greenville Avenue have long complained that they get little help from the city when it comes to regulating the glut of bars -- and the shortage of parking spaces -- choking their neighborhoods. Whose side is the city on? they wonder. Now they have an answer: The city is on their side; it's just not on its own. Confused? Allow Buzz to 'splain.
The city attorney's office is suing the Dallas Board of Adjustment, a city agency, over variances the board recently granted to Dodie's Seafood Café on Lower Greenville. That's right. The city's own lawyers are suing the city's own agency to force the board to abide by the city's own zoning rules.
In mid-December, the board granted a request by Dodie's that would allow it to have a canopy within 15 feet of the restaurant's property line -- closer than city codes normally allow. The restaurant also would lose a couple of parking spaces, leaving it with fewer than city rules require.
Neighborhood groups complained to council members Veletta Lill and John Loza, but the council can't overturn a board of adjustment ruling -- only a court can do that. At Lill and Loza's request, the city attorney's office filed suit against the board on December 27, claiming that the board's decision did not meet the city's criteria for granting the variances.
The Lower Greenville Neighborhood Association has since joined in the city's suit against itself.
There have been cases in the past in which the city went to court to challenge board decisions. Usually, however, when someone sues the board of adjustment, city attorneys defend it. Now, the board likely will have to hire outside lawyers -- paid for by you and Buzz -- to defend itself, unless it reverses the decision. Yeah, we know. It makes our head hurt too.
"All that we're asking for is to be treated with the same respect anyone else gets," says Cheryl Kellis of the Lower Greenville West Neighborhood Association. Um, Cheryl, you might want to set your sights a bit higher than that.
Would you like fries with that?
Dallas lawyer Jeff Rasansky filed a class-action suit on behalf of a local woman over the toys -- a plastic ball that opens up to reveal a Pokémon character inside. A California toddler suffocated last month after half of one of the balls became stuck on her face.
Rasansky's client bought several kids' meals for her son, who wasn't injured. But he might have been injured, so she did the only reasonable thing. Throw the balls away? No, you goose. She sued.
A spokesman for Rasansky's firm says the point of the suit was to force Burger King to recall the toys -- which it did -- and to make the company give back the money it made from them. Of course, Rasansky stands to collect a large chunk of any money Burger King is forced to give back.
Let's check the smack score: Big money for a lawyer -- Buzz hates that. Burger King peddled dangerous junk and furthered the Pokémon craze. That's not good either. Rasansky's client further eroded our faith in the justice system.
— Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams