At 9 this morning, many of those facing the loss of their property in the Jubilee Park land grab will meet with their Dallas Independent School District trustee, Bernadette Nutall, at DISD's Ross Avenue HQ. We're not exactly sure who else from DISD will be attending the meeting, though Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and all of the trustees were notified of the meeting via an e-mail invite sent yesterday.
But you shouldn't DISD top brass too much if they can't break away from their schedules to attend. After all, the emergency meeting wasn't even scheduled until yesterday afternoon -- and, in fact, was only called after Mayor Tom Leppert placed an impromptu call to Nutall from council chambers minutes after adjourning yesterday's council meeting.
"Hi Bernadette, this is Mayor Leppert," he said, within earshot of Unfair Park, council member Deila Jasso and a handful of Jubilee Park residents -- some leaning closer to the mayor to better eavesdrop on the conversation.
If you haven't been following along at home, DISD has been seeking to exercise its eminent domain rights all over some 20-plus homes, properties and one lone business in the southeast Dallas neighborhood of Jubilee Park. The land the district maintains is needed to make way for a new O.M. Roberts Elementary School building. After a pair of residents spoke at last Tuesday's meeting of the Dallas County Commissioners Court, John Wiley Price told them: Sorry, but you need to talk to DISD.
Mayor Leppert told them the same thing at first. That was before he'd heard everything the residents had to say.
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Things like: "We did, we did talk to DISD." And they explained that even after the board heard residents and business owners speak out against the land grab at last week's trustees' meeting (even with 70 protesters marching around DISD's Ross Avenue HQ), all that was accomplished was that the board had something to think about when -- less than an hour later -- they voted to keep buying up more Jubilee Park properties for O.M. Roberts.
After yesterday's meeting, Jasso and then Leppert approached the residents. A few minutes later, Leppert was dialing Nutall. After explaining to her that he'd been getting an earful from the residents, and that he'd heard a number of their concerns and questions, Leppert said, "Here's what I suggest..."
Which brings us to today's meeting. The mayor told her that she needed to meet with them, like soon, and then he said: "give me a call back."
Less than two hours later we received a call from one of the residents alerting us to the emergency meeting. We'll bring you an update later this afternoon.