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MAVS: THE GOOD WITH THE BAD by The Fish
by Mike Fisher    Thu, May 18, 2006, 10:50 AM

Fiirst-team All-NBA'er Dirk Nowitzki's summary of Wednesday's 98-87 Game 5 loss at San Antonio was crisp: "Once in a while,'' he said, "the pressure gets to you." The Fish dissects the loss in the 'School of Fish'':

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UNFAIR PARK: ART WILL BE IN THE EYE OF THE JUDGE
by Scott Bennett    Thu, May 18, 2006, 09:56 AM

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The Dallas Observer Blog Unfair Park posts that a legal fight is brewing over the Kilgore Law Center on McKinney Ave.  For those who have not seen the building it is literally a work of "Madi" art.  It is for sale.  The artists has sued to keep the owners from destroying the building ... anyway Unfair Park tells the shocking story.

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TEXAS MONTHLY DOES THE MATH FOR BELL
by Scott Bennett    Thu, May 18, 2006, 09:48 AM

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Chris Bell
For those who know next to nothing about Democratic nominee Chris Bell the new Texas Monthly has a good profile that will leave you with an idea of what type of governor Bell might be.  The article spends a lot of time digging through the electoral math that says Bell has a chance if he can only raise money. 

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STAR TELEGRAM PROVIDES TRIP ALONG THE MEXICAN BORDER LAND
by Scott Bennett    Thu, May 18, 2006, 09:46 AM

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Fort Worth Star Telegram reporters Tom Pennington and Jay Root have taken a trip along with US/Mexico border from Brownsville to Tijuana.  They present a fascinating picture of a otherwordly, oddly attractive yet terrifying landscape.  It is presented in both video and text and well worth checking out.

Click to read more ...

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AMERICANS BLAME BUSH AND BIG OIL NOT OPEC FOR GAS PRICES
by Scott Bennett    Thu, May 18, 2006, 09:45 AM

According to a Washington Post/ABC poll 76% of Americans disapprove of the job President Bush is doing on gasoline prices and by a 54% to 23% margin trust the Democrats on energy policy over Republicans.  Households claiming that the run-up in gasoline prices has caused them "financial hardship" stands at 57%.    A Pew Center survey reveals that 75% of Americans think there are steps the President and Congress could take to control prices versus 19% who don't.  Most shocking, a whopping 31% of Americans think that the oil companies are to blame for the price hikes and 25% think the President is to blame.  Only 10% blame OPEC.  And only 4% think Americans driving SUVs and other wasteful practices are to blame. 

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WHAT A $1.28 BILLION BOND LOOKS LIKE ON YOUR PROPERTY TAX BILL
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 18, 2006, 09:38 AM

Basically, look at your tax bill – just the city tax portion, not DISD, and increase that amount by 14.5 percent, per year.


But wait, there's more.

That’s what approval of the $1.28 billion capital bond program will do to your tax rates – this does not factor in increases in home appraisals.

HOME .....BOND PROGRAM IMPACT
VALUE .....OVER SIX YEARS
$100,00 .....$86.08
$145,266 (Dallas median) .....$125.04
$200,000 .....$172.16
$300,000 .....$258.24

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GOP CONGRESSIONAL SLIDE CONTINUES
by Scott Bennett    Thu, May 18, 2006, 09:31 AM

A new Rasmussen Poll taken after President Bush addressed the nation finds that in a generic ballot Democrats outpoll Republicans by 15% - up from 10% two weeks earlier.  In fact only 58% of self-identified "conservatives" now say they would vote for the Republican for Congress.  Rasmussen also finds the illegal immigration continues to be a powerful issue with the potential to generate a meaningful third party candidacy for President in 2008.

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COUNCIL HAPPY WITH CITY MANAGER PROPOSED BOND
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 18, 2006, 09:22 AM

Praise for the bond package and City Manager Mary Suhm was thick and sweet Wednesday afternoon, even if some think the thing needs some tweaking between now and November, when Dallas voters will give it the either the upturned thumb or the finger.

“I will see what my constituents think before I decide how big this should be. If Frisco can pass a $1 billion bond package and they have a fraction of the population, we may want it to be bigger, especially since we have $7 billion in needs,” Councilmember Elba Garcia said.

Mayor Laura Miller was against that, saying she didn’t think voters would support anything north of $1.28 billion.

“It’s as if they listened to each and every one of us and put in the things that are important,” said Councilmember Ed Oakley.

“I’m 90 percent with this. That’s better than 50 percent,” Councilmember Maxine Thornton-Reese said helpfully.

Councilmember James Fantroy said that the investments in the Southern sector in the bond program would help offset increased home appraisals in North Dallas.

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CLINTON AID TOUTS MARSHALL PLAN FOR MEXICO
by Scott Bennett    Thu, May 18, 2006, 09:18 AM

Reuters is reporting that former top aid to President Bill Clinton Mac McClarty believes the United States and Canada should join in a "Marshall Plan" for Mexico.  Echoing Mexican Socialist Presidential candidate Lopez Obrador, McClarty suggested that at least $20 billion needed to be provide to Mexico over a 10 year period.  McClarty noted that the amount was considerably less than that being spent on the Iraq war.  McLarty is now president of Kissinger McLarty Associates, a consulting firm that includes former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He is also senior adviser to the Carlyle Group.

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COUNCIL MEMBERS SPLIT OVER DISCRETIONARY FUNDS ISSUE
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 18, 2006, 09:15 AM

Southern sector council members said they want discretionary funds included in the 2006 bond program, but Mayor Laura Miller was adamant in her opposition.


Miller said there’s no way she wants discretionary funds included.

Dallas City Councilmember and 2007 mayoral candidate Gary Griffith says he agrees with City Manager Mary Suhm that current 2006 bond proposal doesn’t need discretionary funds included as they were in the 2003 bond program, but at the same time he wants to work with her to develop an alternative and more transparent means to address smaller projects within districts that don’t “rise to the manager level.”

Griffith also said that the public perception of discretionary funds as a slush fund for council members that can be used with little oversight may not be accurate in reality, but it’s not a vehicle that lends itself to public trust.

“So I’d like to come up with some other way to fund these smaller projects through the city manager’s process, rather than as discretionary funds,” he said.

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