BEST DISD BUREAUCRAT 2013 | Jon Dahlander, public | information officer | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Dahlander quietly tolerated the reign of communications director Jennifer Sprague, a person several decades his junior who came in to be his boss for approximately 25 poorly handled seconds before vanishing into the world of "consulting." Then his boss was former TV newsperson Rebecca Rodriguez, who also managed to stick around for three months before splitting with a severance package for four months pay. No. Really. The organization's public face — besides controversial Superintendent Mike Miles — is really Dahlander, who's good-humored, intelligent and generally maintains a remarkably low level of bullshit, considering that he's in the bullshit-slinging biz. As DISD deals with a seemingly unstoppable string of scandals and fuck-ups, he's pretty much always a busy man. While (rightfully) bitching about the failings of our school system, take time to feel a little sympathy for one of Dallas' most gentlemanly flacks.

There was something painfully hilarious about DPD's official Twitter presence accidentally trumpeting a Fruit Ninja high score. Even better was the long-delayed explanation for it, which, when it finally appeared, showed some surprising sly humor: "After a thorough investigation (CSI: Fruit Ninja!), the source of this tweet was traced to a 5-year-old boy, who after hours of interrogation signed a written statement admitting his role in Fruitgate. The DPD Media Relations Staff would like to assure the public that no taxpayer dollars were used, nor was it the culprit's highest score ever. We do appreciate the retweets and responses we have received. We have learned a sobering lesson from this experience — security threats are not confined to the hacker world."

The folks who demonstrated against the Bush Library had great costumes and everything, but GetEQUAL's been tireless this year: pushing DART to pass domestic partner benefits, calling on Mayor Mike Rawlings to pay attention to the LGBT community even when there's not an election on and, in Austin, getting arrested for staging a sit-in to draw attention to a bill that would have added sexuality as a protected category to state non-discrimination laws. Sadly, they'll likely be fighting that good fight for a long time to come.

Aghast at a string of brutal domestic killings in Dallas, Mayor Mike Rawlings put together a rally last spring aimed at the hearts and minds of men who beat up their wives and girlfriends. While social scientists, theologians and moral philosophers may debate the best way to reach those guys, Rawlings adopted a message which might best be summarized as "You suck!" At that rally and in a number of appearances since, he has hammered at the theme that a man who hits a woman can be called a lot of things, but not a man. Often Rawlings has been joined by jocks and other manly men helping him get the message across. It can't hurt. Men who hit women do suck. At least it's good for them to know they suck.

This was a tough one, extremely competitive, because inner-city Dallas has what may be some of the very best potholes in America when measured for depth, circumference and volume capacity. The other big factor is surprise, and the only fair way to measure that one is on rainy days when you have no way of knowing whether the pothole ahead of you is going to be a mere splish-splash or a true tongue-biting axle-buster. But as Henderson Avenue has developed into an increasingly popular dining and clubbing venue, the city clearly has gone out of its way to make the potholes there deeper, more jagged and sneakier than anywhere else in town. Only modesty keeps us from claiming they are the best in America.

We can talk about the decor or the food or the music or the quirky theme nights, but that's just not owning up to the main reason most patrons go to strip clubs: to look at gorgeous exposed flesh. And that's what makes Baby Dolls shine. There are so many strippers. It has a staggering number of stages, which means at any given moment there are at least a half dozen topless or soon-to-be-topless ladies dancing, and countless more working the crowd, making friendly conversation or hustling lap dances or both at the same time. Of course, with numbers comes variety. Craving, say, a mid-20s mixed-race lady with long hair who does her main-stage routine to country music, or a tall, thin, blonde, tatted-up late-30s glam-rocking MILF with huge man-made knockers? OK, that second might not be that uncommon, but you get our drift: There'll be plenty of females with whom you can chat or upon whom you can cast your objectifying gaze. Oh, and the cover's never more than a couple or three bucks.


The Sixth Floor Museum and Café

By now everybody knows to take relatives visiting Dallas for the first time to The Sixth Floor Museum in the old School Book Depository Building downtown for a big dose of Kennedy assassination lore. But if you do that, don't miss out on the weird little place across the street operated by the museum as a sort of annex gift store and coffee shop. They sell books about Jackie O's clothes and paper-doll sets of the Kennedy family. Very cutesy. But after your guests sit down at little white tables with their lattes and cappuccinos, it will take them a while to notice that Zapruder-style assassination home movies are being projected in an endless loop on the wall behind them. Eyes go wide. That's when they realize they're not in Kansas anymore.

Spending your day buried in a Twitter feed is a lot like watching The Matrix code. It's headache inducing, sometimes interesting and always absurd. Somewhere in there is Dallas citizen and captain of snark Ken Lowery. Co-creator of the feed @FakeAPStyleBook and the Web series The @Variants, his acerbic wit reliably skewers pop culture, films, comics and whatever makes you #headdesk in Dallas.

With his victory over Delia Jasso for a redrawn council district in Oak Cliff, voters sent a resounding message to City Hall: We don't want go-along-to-get-along representatives who toe the establishment line. We want intelligent, diligent representation that demands answers when, say, it turns out that the city manager has promised to massage a deal for a local driller in spite of the fact that the deal runs afoul of long-standing city policy. Council member Scott Griggs held Mary Suhm's feet to the fire over her backroom side deal with Trinity East. He's consistently been on the side of common sense, opposing a toll road within the Trinity River levees. He may not be the flashy, back-slapping politician we've grown accustomed to, but he's young, cerebral and informed, and we need more people like him in elected office.

North Texas is in the middle of an epic drought. It's struggling to find enough water to quench a swelling population that's expected to double over the next 50 years. Replacing water-gulping St. Augustine with drought-tolerant native plants seems like something that should be encouraged. But when a trained horticulturist named Burton Knight did exactly that at his home in the Junius Heights Historic District, he ran afoul of the city, which decided that cacti and grasses that have grown in the area for centuries are insufficiently historic. Knight fought back and ultimately, after agreeing to some minor adjustments, got to keep his water-friendly yard.

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