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COUNCIL TO TRANSCONTINENTAL: IT'S ON
by Trey Garrison    Wed, May 10, 2006, 05:35 PM

Remember that historically protected, don't-knock-this-building-down warehouse - the old Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad freight depot - just south of downtown that Transcontinental Realty Investors went ahead and knocked down when no one was looking a few weekends ago?

Well, the Dallas City Council plans to sue, and not just sue a little. They plan to hit it like a vengeful god smiting a city of sinners.

“We’re going to sue their butts off. We can’t let them get away with this. What they did was a downright crime,” said Councilmember Angela Hunt. “We’re united on this. We’re going after them hard. The owner, the demolition company, everyone.”

When told that Transcontinental Realty's head honcho, Gene Phillips, was notorious both in the real estate and media communities for being litigious, Hunt said "Good. He better be prepared."

The council will have formal discussion on the lawsuits within a week.

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TIMBER CREEK RESIDENTS LOSE THIS ROUND
by Trey Garrison    Wed, May 10, 2006, 05:17 PM

I'll have the details when I have time to organize all my notes, but the bottom line is that today the residents of that old but fiesty 1,100-unit Timber Creek apartment complex in Vickery Meadow that Trammell Crow wants to tear down to build some kind of 450,000-square-foot retail center lost the rezoning battle at city council. Only Mayor Laura Miller voted against the rezoning.

Developers plan to help residents relocate and they won't start evicting people until at least April 1, 2007, but Lisa Paine, one of the leaders of the resident opposition, says she plans to carry the fight to the environmental stage, since Trammell Crow will need a lot of approvals to re-route the creek that flows through the property. She says it may be just a delaying action, but she and others who live there will fight it. And lord knows environmental development spats can get tied up.

More later.

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43 STORY TOWER PLANNED FOR VICTORY PARK
by Brian Bodine    Wed, May 10, 2006, 05:14 PM

In 2009, look for another high rise to mark the Dallas skyline. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Hillwood development company plans a 43 story hotel/condominium building that will be a part of the Victory Park urban project at the heart of Dallas.

The high rise will be a Mandarin Oriental, which is considered to be among the most luxurious hotels in the world. Condos will be priced from $850K to $6 million.

 Click here for story

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43 STORY TOWER PLANNED FOR VICTORY PARK
by Brian Bodine    Wed, May 10, 2006, 05:14 PM

In 2009, look for another high rise to mark the Dallas skyline. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Hillwood development company plans a 43 story hotel/condominium building that will be a part of the Victory Park urban project at the heart of Dallas.

The high rise will be a Mandarin Oriental, which is considered to be among the most luxurious hotels in the world. Condos will be priced from $850K to $6 million.

 Click here for story

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CENTER LOCATION DELAYING HOMELAND SECURITY FUNDS by Brian Bodine
by Brian Bodine    Wed, May 10, 2006, 10:10 AM

The county is slow in applying for homeland security grant money, according to county commissioners.

On Tuesday, the Dallas County Commissioners Court heard from county Homeland Security Director Robbie Robinson. Robinson informed commissioners that the county cannot submit its application for homeland security funding until the location for the county’s homeland security command center is determined.

Commissioners expressed concern that homeland security funds were decreasing since many other counties had already submitted their applications for funding. “I guess I’m feeling that maybe we’re getting left out and others are submitting their applications,” said County Judge Margaret Keliher.

Robinson said that the application is for funding from a federal grant program and that Dallas County could not apply for funding while the county is trying to find a location for the center. DallasBlog spoke to Robinson about the delay, and Robinson said that he was pleased with the reaction of the commissioners and the sense of urgency that they had. “The commissioners have shown a real commitment in bringing us up to speed,” said Robinson.

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KTVT: TORNADOS KILL 3 IN COLLIN COUNTRY
by Scott Bennett    Wed, May 10, 2006, 08:31 AM

KTVT Ch 11 provides footage of devastation caused by two tornados in northern Collin County.  Reportedly three are dead with dogs hunting in the wreckage for others.

Click here for more ...

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SCHOOL REFORM HB1 STILL DOESN'T MOVE
by Scott Bennett    Wed, May 10, 2006, 08:30 AM

Senators horse traded and cajoled until late last night but so far no cigar - and no agreement on HB1 that basically determines how money from Gov. Perry's tax plan gets distributed, provides for a teacher pay raise of $2000, sets uniform school start dates and school board elections and a host of other details.  Most education organizations think the bill is getting better but so far refuse to support the whole package.  Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says he is determined to bring the bill to the floor of the Senate today but vote counters do not believe there are enough votes yet to bring the bill to the floor.

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EXISTING HOME SALES DIP. MEH.
by Trey Garrison    Wed, May 10, 2006, 07:42 AM

Yeah, existing home sales are off their peak, but between interest rates that are ticking up and the fact they don't figure in the high volume of new home construction and sales means the headline here is a bit of an exagerration.

Sometimes you get the feeling that most journalists aren't happy unless they're reporting that things are miserable.

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22-GUN SALUTE TO THE NBA PLAYOFFS by The Fish
by Mike Fisher    Wed, May 10, 2006, 03:32 AM

The Fish has watched virtually every minute of every NBA Playoff game played so far, including, of course, the Mavs' split of two Round 2 games in SA. And he's learned 22 Things, as you'll see in the 'School of Fish'':

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SENATE MAKES CHANGES BUT STILL DEDICATES PORTION OF REVENUE TO EDUCATION
by Will Lutz    Tue, May 9, 2006, 08:19 PM

The Texas Senate has sent HB 2 back to the House, 20-10. It has made minor changes to the language, which bill sponsor Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) said is intended to fix the House’s parliamentary concerns. The Senate version of the bill still dedicates one-third of new revenue from the Perry-Sharp tax plan to education, once the tax rate for school maintenance goes down to $1.00 per $100 of valuation. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst overruled a two subject point of order raised by Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos (D-Austin). The Barrientos point of order is similar to the one that sent the bill back to the Senate. Assuming the new Senate version of HB 2 is not killed by point of order, the House can now concur in Senate amendments or go to conference.

The new language in the bill reads as follows (designed to replace page 1, lines 43-48 in the last Senate version of the bill):
One third of the money appropriated from the fund may be appropriated only for the purpose of increasing the level of equalization of school district enrichment tax effort to the extent that limits reliance by school districts on local property tax effort and decreases the enrichment tax rates of districts.

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