Total Wine, the chain of delightfully enormous alcoholic beverage emporia, might never have made it to Texas were it not for a strip club. Twenty-four years ago two guys, one from Florida, one from Tennessee, decided to buy a San Antonio Baby Dolls. They had the cash. They had the expertise. Their ... More >>
At the GOP convention in Fort Worth last weekend, as rifle-toting protesters stood outside decrying their guns' exclusion from the convention hall, three thirtysomething men, two brothers and a cousin, approached Texas State Rifle Association lobbyist Alice Tripp. Their pitch -- that Texans should h ... More >>
Open Carry Texas and its most active local offshoot, Open Carry Tarrant County, have succeeded marvelously in their quest to mercilessly troll gun-control advocates. Whether they've made any progress toward their stated aim of legalizing openly carried handguns in Texas, however, is another matter. ... More >>
At the beginning of every Dallas City Council meeting, long before most spectators (and many council members) are fully awake, a religious leader of some stripe stands at the podium and offers a brief prayer. A few months ago, we wondered whether the U.S. Supreme Court might declare such displays un ... More >>
The Observer hasn't written about Dave Neumann since he lost his Oak Cliff City Council seat to Scott Griggs. That was three years ago. Since then, Neumann has kept a low profile, running a consulting firm (somehow, it manages to have virtually zero online presence outside his own LinkedIn account) ... More >>
Dallas Police Chief David Brown didn't think his proposal to secure access to a federal database of private banking and financial information would be controversial. It sailed through the City Council's Public Safety Committee unopposed last week. Then again, that committee didn't have City Councilm ... More >>
Monday I said Mike Rawlings was about to announce a pause -- a tapping of the brakes -- in his public school takeover campaign. I was a little off. Instead it turns out he has been meeting with three really old guys. I guess that could have the same effect. What? That's not a slur. I've got nothing ... More >>
The last time the Texas Department of Criminal Justice secured a cache of pentobarbital, the drug it uses to execute prisoners, the Houston-area compounding pharmacy that supplied it had second thoughts. "[I]t was my belief that this information would be kept on the 'down low,' and that it was unli ... More >>
The other night after talking all day to people about the no-sewer zone around the new University of North Texas at Dallas campus in Southern Dallas, I got to wondering. If the rest of us in other parts of the city had to give up a single part of the normal public infrastructure that keeps us all go ... More >>
In further proof that Mike Rawlings' tendency to craft major policy initiatives in secret is ruffling feathers at City Hall, some (or at least one) City Council member is pushing back against the mayor's newly hatched plan to curb Dallas' meat consumption. The blowback comes on the heels of Rawling ... More >>
There's something rotten in Duncanville city government. Twenty-four of the past 30 months spent without a permanent city manager, a City Council bitterly divided, and now this: The city of Duncanville is suing Mayor Deborah Hodge. Yes, that is a thing that can happen. The lawsuit was filed on Wedn ... More >>
In the weeks leading up to Tuesday's primary, there was a lot of chatter about how the Tea Party was losing its grip on Texas. It was a nice thought, that Ted Cruz's antics and the constant demagoguing against the federal government had worn thin, nudging voters back to the middle. It just wasn't t ... More >>
Yes, I, too, love the Shakespeare T-shirt about first kill all the lawyers, and I bet I've got five good lawyer jokes to your one, but then again, I do dearly love it when good lawyers get elected to the City Council. In Dallas, as a result of having had a city manager system for the better part o ... More >>
Mike Howard is not a fan of Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne. A quick glance at the one-time Irving City Councilman's blog (written under the nom de plum Mark Holbrook) is proof of that. But it's one thing to lob critiques of local government from the safe confines of the Internet. It's something else e ... More >>
There's not a whole lot of daylight between the Republican candidates for lieutenant governor. All check the requisite conservative boxes on guns, abortion, immigration, healthcare evolution, school choice, the size of government and so on. That said, GOP voters still have a choice for the March 4 ... More >>
Before the ink on A.C. Gonzalez' $400,000 contract was even dry, some were suggesting that the $95,000 gap between his salary and predecessor Mary Suhm's might have something to do with their different gender. Here's former City Councilwoman Veletta Lill commenting to KERA that "it looks like they ... More >>
There are good reasons to check up on the police and fire fund. The Nasher isn't one of them.
Got a story in the newspaper newspaper this week I'd like you to see if you have a minute. It's about the Nasher Sculpture Center and Museum Tower, the condo building accused by the Nasher of reflecting too much light on it. I spoke with officers of the city's police and fire associations (unions) l ... More >>
The Dallas City Council sealed the deal today with newly minted City Manager A.C. Gonzalez, approving his employment contract. The main thing you need to know about the deal is that it's a big one: $400,000 per year in base salary, plus benefits not enumerated in City Attorney Warren Ernst's brief ... More >>
New city manager promises transparency. Here's where he can start.
Picking the insider guarantees us more of the same.
Duncanville has a new interim city manager, and barely into her new job, Lynda Humble is already trying to shake up the way City Council formats its meeting agenda packet, a proposal that has proved to be surprisingly controversial. "A new agenda format has been created to establish a more forma ... More >>
The debate about voting in Texas over the past several years has focused on the controversial voter ID law that passed in 2011 and finally took effect over the summer. It was a necessary step to prevent voter fraud, supporters said, while opponents countered that it erected illegal hurdles to voting ... More >>
Other cities sitting on the Barnett Shale are popular among the natural gas industry for quickly handing over their land to be fracked. But Dallas has turned out to be a surprisingly tough conquest. On Wednesday afternoon, the Dallas City Council finally passed its long-awaited fracking ordinance, a ... More >>
A Duncanville City Councilman was arrested by the city's police department after his wife accused him of stealing her cell phone and assaulting her, court records show. Mark Cooks was elected to the Duncanville City Council in 2012. More recently, in June, the Duncanville City Council in June selec ... More >>
In its own peculiar way, yesterday's editorial in the city's only daily newspaper was the perfect expression of the dilemma Dallas faces in choosing a new bureaucrat to run the city: Most of the people who even talk out loud about the topic are afraid to say out loud what the topic is about. It's ... More >>
On Friday, fed up with the ineffectual legislative and judicial responses to rampant gun violence and in the spirit of open and honest academic debate, Texas A&M University law Professor Meg Penrose offered the not-so-modest suggestion that the United States do away with the Second Amendment. "Unfo ... More >>
At the outset of the most recent meeting of the Dallas City Council, Councilman Sheffie Kadane stepped to the dais and delivered the following prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the gorgeous day You've given us today. Guide us year-round to serve the Lord, let us glorify You in all that we ... More >>
Toward the end of last week I reported that some kind of Democrats -- I wasn't sure which -- have been whispering in Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings' ear about running for John Cornyn's Senate seat in 2014. Rawlings admitted he had spoken with them but discounted the whole deal, saying, "I'm way too fisc ... More >>
The highly anticipated investigation commissioned by Mayor Mike Rawlings has dropped. And, as expected, it boils down to this: Move along, folks. Nothing to see here. Most significantly, the report reveals that the charges against Uber drivers snared in undercover ops by Dallas vice officers have be ... More >>
Everything looks different if you're John Barr. The mayor has released his investigation of city officials who worked to help Yellow Cab of Dallas combat an incursion into the Dallas marketplace of Uber, an app-based car-ride system that operates outside taxicab laws. Brantley has reported all of t ... More >>
Mayor Mike Rawlings and the new city attorney Warren Ernst want to hold a secret closed-door City Council session tomorrow on a question that has everything to do with the public interest. Watch closely to see how your council member votes. It's a big window. Yesterday we talked about some of the s ... More >>
The acting city manager who would be king, A.C. Gonzalez, has always been the inside favorite. And if there is an issue in his way, it's that. Just ahead for City Hall is a decision to make somebody the permanent city manager. But just behind it is a series of scandals that should make anybody won ... More >>
It's not yet clear who will become Texas' next lieutenant governor. David Dewhurst, though tarnished by his defeat at the hands of Wendy Davis and her "unruly mob," could hang onto the seat. Or he could be out-flanked to the right in the Republican primary by a trio of challengers: Agriculture Commi ... More >>
The goal of the U.N.'s Arms Trade Treaty -- of fostering international peace and cooperation and "reducing human suffering" -- is laudable. Its methods, which basically consist of asking countries to monitor gun exports so they don't wind up in the hands of terrorists and other malevolent actors, ar ... More >>
City Hall does the taxi industry's dirty work to kill competition.
Denton, despite the best efforts of the UNT student body and its lefty professors, has managed to hold on to the attributes of your typical small Texas city. A lot of people there still enjoy pickups, which they drive to high school football games while listening to country music and eating barbecue ... More >>
Frisco residents worried about a power company's plan to install high-voltage power lines above ground next to their homes have been frustrated by the company's handling of their complaints in recent weeks, but this morning they can celebrate a momentary victory: Their city council last night passed ... More >>
Fat Texas residents are slowly realizing that they should bike more, according to a Texas Tribune article co-published in The New York Times this weekend. Sourcing mostly "city officials," the report comes to the conclusion that fat Texans are biking more thanks to the efforts of -- you guessed it - ... More >>
It's not a Mexican thing.
House Republicans have now voted 39 times to repeal Obamacare. On a certain level, their persistence is admirable in the same way that I admire the way my dog never stops believing that this will be the time that he finally catches that squirrel. One's esteem is diminished only slightly by the fact ... More >>
The Koch Bros might be emptying their change purses in order to keep Texas from tinting blue, but the state is in no danger of becoming a real battleground, new polling suggests. Also: People continue to think in large numbers that other states should not mess with Texas. Also: That's a weird questi ... More >>
Good read by Jay Root in The Texas Tribune today about whether Governor Oops will run for re-election as governor of Texas or run for something else, who knows what, president of France, whatever. Root suggests it will be the governorship again for Oops, and he talks some about other Republican gube ... More >>
As the city manager rides off into the sunset, let's get a strong mayor in the saddle.
Wow. I take it all back, Tea Party. You cool. In fact, I'm jealous. Targeted by the IRS. There was a time when that would have been my dream come true. I remember back in the day when my hippie friends started getting their FBI files under the Freedom of Information Act. I was always afraid to as ... More >>
Mexico owes Texas water. And as the current drought presses onward, Texas politicians are trying to turn up the heat to get Mexico to pay. Last Friday, the Texas House voted unanimously on a resolution that the federal government should pressure Mexico deliver water to the United States. The same w ... More >>
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the advocacy group funded and founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is struggling to stoke the kind of grass-roots passion for gun regulation that has made its arch-nemesis, the NRA, such a political force. Organizing For America, the post-electoral version o ... More >>
U.S. Representative Steve Stockman is not a subtle man. We could go so far as to say he has a flair for the dramatic. He is, after all, the man who brought Ted Nugent as his plus-one to the State of the Union address, and compared the Earth to a sort of fuel-filled water balloon. And even further ba ... More >>
It didn't take long for the District 2 City Council race to turn into a mud-slinging match, even if the mud has come from only one side. The first volley came last month from Herschel Weisfeld, who seized on Adam Medrano's refusal to discuss his sexual orientation to question his opponent's openness ... More >>