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DISD ENDS WASTEFUL CONTRACT by Brian Bodine
by Brian Bodine    Fri, May 12, 2006, 01:00 AM

On Thursday, Dallas ISD administration officials informed trustees about their options in dealing with the multi-million dollar contract with FedEx/Kinkos that was intended to save the district millions. Officials said that they would terminate the contract by not renewing it.

In 2003, the district signed a deal with FedEx/Kinkos that outsourced the district’s copying and printing costs to the company. The deal was sold to DISD officials as a way to save money. Company representatives also told district employees that it could save millions on copying and printing costs.

Since 2004, the district’s copying and printing costs have more than doubled.

Ron Peace, the Deputy Superintendent for Business Services, told trustees that they had three options. These included renewing the contract and continuing the district’s course, an additional proposal offered by FedEx/Kinkos, and not extending the contract. Under the first option, DISD would have a $15.7 million dollar balance to pay between August 2005 and August 2008. The additional proposal from FedEx/Kinkos would reduce the balance to be paid by $2 million.

The original contract involved the installation of copying and printing equipment in district schools. District officials said that FedEx/Kinkos will now have to remove its equipment from DISD campuses during the summer and that campus principals will need to select new vendors to supply copier-printer services at their schools.

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UPTOWN IDEAS FOR MO' DAY
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 11, 2006, 07:18 PM

Remember Mama?

Celebrate Mother's Day in Uptown Sunday, May 14th. Many restaurants will host brunches and there will be specials for Mom all over the neighborhood. Whether it's dining, shopping, listening to music or having her hair done, there's plenty to remember Mama with in Uptown.

Take Mom to see Hank Williams on Mother's Day at the Dallas Theater Center's production of Hank Williams: Lost Highway. Catch one of two performances on May 14th. All tickets for the 2:00 show are 25% off and the 7:30 show is buy one ticket get one free.

Make her smile on Mother's Day during a very special brunch at Sambuca featuring live music and bottomless MOMosa's. Other Uptown restaurants serving special Mother's Day brunches include Ferre, where chef Jeff Moschetti has created an exciting three course meal; Riccardi's, where Mom will receive a complimentary Prosecco upon arrival and live music by David Slater; and Palomino, where chef Jeff DiSanto has created a spectacular menu with Mother in mind.

Take Mom shopping and find the perfect bag at VIA Pelle, the very cool leather store in the West Village. They are offering 10% off VIA Pelle custom handbags, Cameron Nicole Totes (worn by Teri Hatcher), Mommy Bags and Taylor Bags.

Spend the afternoon with Mom at the Nasher. Explore the garden and galleries, have lunch in the Cafe and enjoy a special performance of 20th century choral music by the Arts District Chorale. While there visit the newest exhibit highlighting the works of Renzo Piano, the architect of the Nasher. Concert is free with paid admission to the museum. May 14th, 2:00 & 3:30 p.m.

Treat Mother to a free Kerataste deep conditioning treatment for her hair at Salon Three Thirty when she purchases a blow dry style. A $90 value for $45. When you call to make the appointment, be sure to tell them you're a Mom!

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COUNCILMAN ED OAKLEY ROLLS OUT TOWN HALL MEETING SCHEDULE
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 11, 2006, 07:13 PM

All Town Hall Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m.

Monday, May 22, 2006
Park in the Woods
6801 Mountain Creek Parkway

Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Kiest Park Recreation Center
3080 S. Hampton Road

Monday, June 5, 2006
Methodist Hospital’s Hitt Auditorium
1441 N. Beckley Rd.

Monday, June 12, 2006
Dallas West Library
2332 Singleton Blvd.


The City Manager has developed a proposed Capital Bond package that is expected to be sent to the voters of Dallas in November. These Town Hall Meetings, held within District 3, will allow residents the opportunity to comment on the proposed recommendations. The meetings are open to the general public.

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CHANEY: NO STATUE ERECTION FOR ME
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 11, 2006, 12:54 PM

Here’s his written statement:

“At the request of my constituents in District 7, the idea for Opportunity Park was born. Now, it has come to fruition and the planning and preparation is in place. Opportunity Park is just that – an opportunity to salute our everyday heroes and champions from the South Dallas community who have dedicated their lives to service. The park will feature the silhouettes of influential people, community advocates and elected leaders from the South Dallas community.”

“The community has a history that all Dallasites can be proud especially those that call the southern sector home. Opportunity Park will be a beautiful addition to South Dallas, a place where children can learn the history and legacies of those men and women who have worked diligently, tirelessly and consistently to improve the community, empower the people and uplift their race. It will be a place that will compel visitors – locally and from across the country – to stop and take a stroll down the “Walk of Fame.”

“Recently, there has been controversy surrounding not just the creation of Opportunity Park, but my nomination to the “Walk of Fame.” All of those who will be spotlighted in Opportunity Park were nominated by those in the community. I, in no way, nominated or advocated or petitioned to be featured in the park.

“However, so as not to detract from those like Elsie Faye Higgins, Juanita Craft, Othello Beck and others who will finally have their rightful place in history, I withdraw my nomination. I have received feedback from some of my constituents who do not agree with my decision to withdraw my name, but the park is not about me and has never been. It’s about the many men and women who have served our community without asking anything in return. I feel I owe it to them to allow their legacies to be honored without being mired by negative attention from those who falsely claim I am erecting a statue in my name.”

“Opportunity Park is for the people, and I refuse to allow the others to undermine the true spirit of the park. I say thank you to those who nominated me, and I hope they are not offended by my actions. But, I feel it’s more important to put the spotlight back on those that truly deserve it.”

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CITY'S FED FINE FOR STORM WATER SCREW UP IS $3.5 MILLION
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 11, 2006, 11:13 AM

Here's the follow up on the story about Dallas' storm water problems with the feds that we first reported last week. (Thanks to A.E. McGill over at D Magazine for the find.)

As seems to be the case with city hall lately, their initial estimate of what the city might owe the feds for screwing up some wetlands around the Dallas Zoo and along the Trinity River Corridor was off - it's closer to a $3.5 million liability than the initially reported $2 million. And as Robert Wilonsky over at the Dallas Observer notes, there's some severe penalties for non-compliance and some hefty fines for every day the city doesn't pay up. Better get out the checkbook, Dave.

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DBJ GETS THE GOODS ON HUD SECRETARY JACKSON
by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 11, 2006, 10:41 AM

Whoa. Talk about a scoop. Normally, when you have to go cover some B-level cabinet secretary speaking to a business group all you have to look forward to is a speech as bland as the rubber chicken and vegetable medley they serve you.

Christine Perez at the Dallas Business Journal went to one April 28 and walked away with a story that's getting national attention.

You definitely need to read her story, but the short version is that HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson said without apology that even when contractors qualify for HUD contracts, they may not get them if they have dissenting view from the Bush administration - and he even admitted a specific instance in which he'd canceled one. Go. Read.

The fallout is national. There are calls for an investigation in Washington and the secretary's resignation, and the secretary has since apologized, with a pretty flimsy reversal of his own remarks. Someone get that man a dictionary, because that's not what "anecdotal" means, and someone get Christine Perez a kudo.

Oh, and I like how the daily runs a meathead editorial on the issue without giving any credit to the DBJ for breaking the story.

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MORE MUSLIM VIOLENCE
by Tom Pauken    Thu, May 11, 2006, 09:20 AM

A news report out of Indonesia this week states that "seven suspected Islamic terrorists have confessed to beheading three Christian schoolgirls on Indonesia's Sulawesi Island."  The police reported that two of the suspects claimed to have ties to an al-Quada-linked organization.  That same organization has been blamed for a series of series of suicide bombings in Indonesia in recent years, according to the News24.com story.  This coastal area in Indonesia has been the scene of much violence against Christians in recent years.  This story is yet another indication of the international reach of the militant Islamic movement associated with al-Qaeda.

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RUPERT MURDOCH & HILLARY CLINTON: AN ALLIANCE OF CONVENIENCE
by Tom Pauken    Thu, May 11, 2006, 08:57 AM

The announcement this week that media mogul Rupert Murdoch will host a fundraising event for Hillary Clinton may signal that Murdoch, a major Bush backer previously, is switching sides in advance of an anticipated Hillary Clinton Presidency in 2009.  Murdoch is the guiding force behind the successful Fox news network and also is the owner of the New York Post and the Weekly Standard  Those outlets have been strong defenders of President Bush during his term in office and  particularly supportive of the Administration's military actions in the Middle East.  The Murdoch media entities have been closely identified with the neoconservative advocacy of the War in Iraq; and, more recently, his US publications have been pushing for military action in Iran.  Mrs. Clinton has been supportive of the Iraqi war and has called for stronger action against Iran to address that country's development of a nuclear capability. 

Murdoch also owns a number of British publications, and he endorsed Tony Blair, the leader of the Labour party in Great Britain, just prior to Blair's huge victory over the Conservatives in the 1997 elections.  Murdoch's publications previously had been supportive of the Conservatives in that country until Blair's emergence as the leader of Labour.  It will be interesting to see if  Murdoch's US publications adopt a more sympathetic tone towards Hillary's politics now that Rupert Murdoch has thrown his support to Mrs. Clinton in her re-election bid for the U.S. Senate in 2006.  She also is the Democratic frontrunner for that party's presidential nomination in 2008

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ABORTION CONSENT LAW YET TO BE IMPLEMENTED
by Brian Bodine    Thu, May 11, 2006, 01:00 AM

Eleven months after a parental consent law was signed into law by Gov. Perry, the Texas Medical Board still hasn’t approved a single form that would be used by doctors and clinics to obtain consent from the legal guardians of minors seeking an abortion. According to the Houston Chronicle, the TMB is saying that it has been a challenge to approve a form since they want to “consider all sides of the abortion debate”. At issue with the form being considered by the board is a requirement for the notarization of consent forms.

Click here to read story 

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ANOTHER HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION DEBATE COULD BE LOOMING by Brian Bodine
by Brian Bodine    Thu, May 11, 2006, 01:00 AM

The homestead exemption could be the subject of another debate in Dallas after voters in the district elect as many as three new trustees to the DISD school board on Saturday.

As a result of the potential $43 million dollar shortfall facing DISD due to the district’s status as a property-wealthy district, trustees have been considering and may continue to consider measures to reduce spending. At a DISD Board of Trustees retreat in late April, Superintendent Michael Hinojosa told trustees that they have the option of lowering or eliminating DISD’s current homestead exemption, which makes the first 10 percent of assessed property value on a primary residence tax-free. (It is important to note that Hinojosa did not actually recommend lowering or eliminating the homestead exemption. He said that he was obligated to inform the board of what their options are.)

The suggestion of lowering the homestead exemption brought opposition to the idea from board President Lois Parrott, who said that even the mention of the homestead exemption would anger already irate homeowners.

DallasBlog recently spoke to the board president and asked her about the possibility of the board tinkering with the 10 percent homestead exemption in Dallas. Parrott said that she thinks there might be a push on the board to eliminate the homestead exemption in the future, though it is difficult to tell what might happen with the addition of one or more new board members.

Parrott said that she was steadfastly against lowering or eliminating the homestead exemption. “Once something is taken away, you don’t see it back,” said Parrott. “Right now, I would rather help out the homeowner.”

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