Right now, there's a push underway in the Texas legislature to impose term limits on the state's elected officials. A bill, filed by Representative Lyle Larson, a San Antonio Republican, is currently being mulled by a House committee. A similar proposal by Tyler Republican Kevin Eltife is being cons ... More >>
In the very wee hours as my eye first opened to the light of this day, I thought I heard a rushing of wings aloft. I caught my breath. Was this ...? And then distinctly as if from the next room, I heard the oinking of pigs. Only later with coffee in hand and the daily newspaper on my knees did I co ... More >>
Texas' 20-cent-per-gallon gas tax hasn't changed since 1991. That's despite the erosion of the tax's purchasing power -- the Wall Street Journal estimates that the gas tax buys half as much concrete, steel, and other materials as they did 20 years ago -- and a glaring need -- the state comptroller's ... More >>
In December Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a measure banning the adoption of Russian children to American families. The move was widely considered, and tacitly acknowledged as, a retaliation against a new U.S. law targeting accused Russian human rights abusers. Russian officials portrayed ... More >>
According to statistics kept by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, there are several dozen licensed gun manufacturers in the state of Texas. Most of those are small-scale operations, individuals or mom-and-pop-style shops that produce one or two pistols or rifles in a year. A ... More >>
Texas, the Second Amendment bastion of sport shooters, concealed carriers and Stand-Your-Grounders, also favors a ban on assault weapons by a surprising margin -- 49 percent to 41 percent, according to Public Policy Polling. Texans oppose arming school teachers (56 percent to 31 percent), but also ... More >>
Texas' voter ID law wasn't in effect for last November's election thanks to an order by a federal appeals court, but it remains on the books of the state's election code. (A refresher: Anyone who shows up to vote must present a photo ID. Handgun permits are okay; school IDs are not. Otherwise, they ... More >>
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson was among the first to opine that the 20 children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday were a testament to the need for more guns in schools, not fewer. That other pundits and politicians would deploy the same argument in the days that followed, casting even ... More >>
Last legislative session, your lawmakers in the Texas Legislature cut $73.6 million from the state's family planning budget, a move which, impressively, has somehow resulted in far fewer patients being served, for more money per patient. Don't ask us how they managed that one. As Emily Ramshaw writ ... More >>
It's the most wonderful time of the year: There's still some very stale, deeply discounted Halloween candy kicking around the aisles at CVS, Christmas music has suddenly overtaken your dentist's office, and Texas legislators have begun pre-filing bills for the upcoming legislative session. The ses ... More >>
At the end of October, highly watchable Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott threatened to press charges against any "U.N. poll watchers" who might "interfere with Texas elections." Not to be outdone, state officials in Pennsylvania and Iowa also started threatening to arrest people. Those "poll wa ... More >>
Kari Gates grows seasonal fruits and vegetables over several acres of land at Spring Creek Organic Farms in West Plano. She drives her produce to several markets around the region, including Greenling. But, more recently she's exploring her options closer to home, particularly Fairview Farms near U. ... More >>
If Mitt Romney won't tell you which need to be closed, we will
Latest twist in the great imaginary vote fraud epidemic of 2012: Now Republicans are nabbed doing exactly the same stuff they have accused Democrats of doing. In a piece in this morning's New York Times we get a peek at voter hanky-panky, GOP-style. An operative named Nathan Sproul, who has receive ... More >>
Oh, wouldn't you know it? Leave it to me to get all gooh-gooh-eyed and sweety-feets about things. Then cruel reality comes crashing in. It's because I'm just too innocent of heart. Just yesterday, I had my zither out singing softly to you about how the mayor had done the right thing in the municipa ... More >>
Maybe it is like watching them make sausage, but at least you have to give them a tip of the hat when they get the sausage right. The mayor and the Dallas City Council put themselves through a bruising debate yesterday on municipal court reform and in the end came up with the right answer, mostly. ... More >>
The 911 problem itself is bad enough, but the mayor and the police chief are about to drive me crazy. At our house we record the news and watch it right before going to bed. It's worse than chips and spicy salsa. Night after night we are subjected to these horror stories on TV about people perishin ... More >>
Ten ICE agents, including one from the Dallas office, are suing ICE and Homeland Security in a Dallas federal court over a directive from President Barack Obama that would defer in some cases the deportation of undocumented immigrants brought here as children. Dallas enforcement and removal officer ... More >>
And why do they always yell "Cu-le-ro" at bands they love?
If you've played a round of golf at one of Dallas' half dozen municipal golf courses, you may have skipped out on the state-mandated 8.25 percent sales tax on your green fee. The city contracts with independent golf pros who collect green fees but haven't traditionally collected sales tax. It's a lo ... More >>
A U.S. District Court judge in Galveston yesterday blocked five parts of Texas' new voter registration laws, all of which were aimed at curtailing large voter registration drives. Voting for America and Project Vote, two affiliated national projects that hire canvassers to register new voters, had ... More >>
Texas will elect it's next senator today. Odds are, you won't vote for him. In fact, a good number of you, even if you're registered to vote, can't vote in the truly decisive race going down Tuesday, because you were dumb enough to vote in the Democratic primary in May. Suckers. So, let's all clap ... More >>
A friend of Unfair Park passed along an interesting email exchange between some members of the Gas Drillng Task Force in advance of tomorrow's throwdown public hearing. Seems that some are none too happy that Councliman Scott Griggs chose task force member Terry Welch to speak in favor of tighter dr ... More >>
Dallas, both city and county, has held the line on property taxes in recent years despite dwindling revenues and shrinking budgets. Still, your property tax bill is probably going to increase after September 1, when Dallas County Community College District's new budget goes into effect. DCCCD spoke ... More >>
Opposing counsel in a six-year legal battle over a proposed Farmers Branch immigration ordinance are trading letters to the judge, arguing, naturally, that the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's immigration law supports their side. Last month, the high court struck down every provision of Ari ... More >>
What timing. Just as the trial of Texas' voter ID law kicks off in D.C., a new analysis by the Associated Press has found that such laws in other states have led to hundreds of ballots being rejected, both in 2008's general election and in the primaries this year. The Associated Press looked a ... More >>
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down much of Arizona's illegal immigration law Monday morning, leaving its most controversial, show-me-your-papers provision standing, and that only provisionally. Experts say the decision provides a road map to federal courts evaluating immigration laws enacted in plac ... More >>
Turns out, the people of Dallas don't care much for voting -- Dallas County ranked fourth in the state (out of 254 counties) for the fewest ballots cast among voting-age people. Even Harris County had a slightly better turnout, which unfortunately means the Asshole of the Universe, has us beat at so ... More >>
President Barack Obama announced Friday afternoon that the Department of Homeland Security will no longer attempt to deport young undocumented immigrants brought here as children, signaling a compassionate shift in an immigration policy whose hallmark was aggressive enforcement and record-shattering ... More >>
New laws in dozens of states could take out Barack Obama this fall.
A hostile Supreme Court. A feckless Obama administration. America's war on Mexicans has gone too far.
It was Dallas city council member Tennell Atkins who, during yesterday's discussion of the city's still-far-off gas-drilling regulations, posed the million-dollar question. "Do you think that it's safe to drill in the city of Dallas?" he asked task force chair Lois Finkelman. Finkelman was noncommi ... More >>
With Mayor Mike Rawlings' support, only deep pockets can thwart the $2 billion river-ride.
The Republican presidential candidates all agree on one thing -- the same mantra between all their lines. They all want us to believe that the extreme polarity of rich and poor in this country is an expression of natural law. The super-rich just have to get super-richer. Everybody else, sadly, must ... More >>
So, you're an undocumented immigrant. Your great hope is to stick around, make a living and, some day, become naturalized. Unfortunately, our immigration laws are a tangled morass of inscrutability, insensible to the realities of a globalized world. You may have watched last week's Republican deba ... More >>
Last month, you'll no doubt recall, City Manager Mary Suhm told the city council that 2012 bond program, which we'll vote on in the fall, will be a fraction of a shadow of a hint of its mammoth '06 predecessor, which appears to be the gift that keeps on giving. 'Round $450 to $550 million, she sa ... More >>
Mayor Mike Rawlings has a closed-door, no-press-allowed meeting this morning with 25 LGBT community leaders to discuss something that's become, say, a small issue for him in the last week: his refusal to sign the "Mayors For Freedom To Marry" Pledge. Earlier this week Rawlings also elected to back ... More >>
Perry and Tea Party make a blue Christmas for needy kids.
Ethics: They're hidden somewhere in City Hall, and it's a tough case to crack.Since becoming Mayor, Mike Rawlings has been consistently passionate about a few key things: South Dallas, DISD, pizza, economic development, Halloween, ethics reform -- not necessarily in that order. On Rawlings's ... More >>
In one of America's wealthiest suburbs, an unlikely band of drilling opponents helped drive away the world's biggest energy companies. Did they save the town or ruin it?
Last night, Mayor Mike Rawlings hosted a community forum at Cedar Crest Golf Course, billed in the invitation as an "update on the City of Dallas." Backed by council members Dwaine Caraway and Tennell Atkins and a large supporting cast of other city officials, he tried to reassure the crowd: City Ha ... More >>
Photo by Chris HowellAt the end of business yesterday City Hall sent that memo from City Manager Mary Suhm and that letter from First Assistant City Attorney Chris Bowers. Both said more or less the same thing: Occupy Dallas has till 5 p.m. Saturday to clean up its mess behind Dallas City Hall, o ... More >>
In my column in this week's paper, I talk about that "flow control" deal, which has to do with how much trash gets trucked into southern Dallas. As usual, some of the responses I'm getting are from people mad about the way it came out who think the answer is to fire City Manager Mary Suhm. E ... More >>
Photos by Anna MerlanIt would appear the council got a standing o for appearing, briefly, at a lecture about ethics.Ethics reforms, or at least the earnest discussion thereof, are in the air over at City Hall lately. Mayor Rawlings won his seat, after all, at least partially based on a "pro-e ... More >>
Photos by Anna MerlanFrank Lutz addressing the council yesterdayThe Degolyer Estate at the Dallas Arboretum is a beautiful spot, a big house set back from a broad lawn, edged this time of the year with pumpkins and purple flowers. In the library, retreating Dallas City Council members and various ... More >>
Photo by Anna MerlanDomingo Garcia and, sitting to his right, Scott Griggs at last night's meeting over the map in Oak CliffLast week we sat through a very long, very ugly city council meeting, which ended with the members narrowly adopting a new redistricting plan. At that time, council member D ... More >>
Friday evening, two groups of protesters, Occupy Dallas and Occupy the Federal Reserve, lined opposite side of N. Pearl Street at Woodall Rodgers in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. "We got sold out, Feds got bailed out!" Occupy Dallas protesters shouted in unison on the west side of Pea ... More >>
Rick Perry's Texas is a job-making, low-taxing oasis of prosperity. It's also pure fantasy.
Yesterday afternoon, around 5:30, as a tiny audience sat in the city council chambers, former Mayor Dwaine Caraway came by and declared to Unfair Park, "I think we got something." That's right. A final redistricting map. Finally.Caraway spoke about three hours too soon, though. Last night at 8:30 ... More >>