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POLL FINDS LOVE FIELD AREA RESIDENTS CONCERNED ABOUT TRAFFIC
by Trey Garrison    Wed, Apr 12, 2006, 07:55 AM

Our friends at the Dallas Business Journal report that a survey of Love Field area residents found that a large number of those who responded were concerned about increased traffic to the area if the Wright Amendment restrictions were lifted.

Of 3,000 respondents, 57 percent said if the Wright Amendment were repealed they would support the city of Dallas adopting a new Love Field masterplan. Ninety-two percent of respondents indicated they would alter their travel patterns if the Wright Amendment were repealed, which would result in an increase in trips on several major thoroughfares. Also, 52 percent of the respondents believe that additional destinations served from Love Field do not justify the increase in vehicle traffic in the Love Field area.

Anti-Wright Amendment folks characterized the survey as a classic push poll. Full story here.

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A NATION OF LAWS, NOT MOBS
by Trey Garrison    Wed, Apr 12, 2006, 07:32 AM

In all the post march self-congratulations hysteria of the pro-illegal immigration side, almost forgotten is the fact that the United States isn't some third world banana republic where policy is made based on who can gather the biggest mob in the street.

From the daily, this quote snuck past the editoristas.

"We live in a wonderful country where people can express their feelings and express their passions. But we also live in a country where we don't make the laws on the streets," (U.S. Rep. Dr. Michael Burgess) said.

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LOCAL RUNOFF RESULTS
by Brian Bodine    Wed, Apr 12, 2006, 12:55 AM

The runoff results are in for a few local contests:

In the District 30 Republican primary, known to some as the “hot sauce race”, litigation attorney Wilson Aurbach beat business consultant Amir Omar by 60.70 to 39.30 percent. There were only a total of 1,850 votes cast in this runoff and Aurbach is headed into an uphill battle against seven-term Democratic incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson.

The Republican primary runoff for State representative-District 63 was a close one: Tan Parker edged out Anne Lakusta by less than 50 votes, with 6,356 votes cast.

Click here for results 

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CHRISTIAN STUDENT GROUP MAY BE DENIED EQUAL ACCESS
by Brian Bodine    Wed, Apr 12, 2006, 12:45 AM

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that a Christian student group may have to pay fees if it wants to keep holding rallies in the high school’s gymnasium.

Last Monday, Students Standing Strong held a rally in the gym of the Colleyville Heritage High School of the Colleyville-Grapevine School District. That event was free to the group, but only after some legal wrangling between Liberty Legal, which represents the group, and the school district’s attorney.

The school district and the Christian group seem to be on two completely different pages. The district is claiming that the group’s events, which have been going on since 2004, are large enough that they go beyond the scope of a regular meeting and therefore constitute “rallies”.

According to the Star-Telegram, the group has not been asked to pay for the events in the past.

Liberty Legal is claiming that the District has bowed to the complaints of a few people and is denying the Christian group equal access.

Click here to read story 

 

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TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS OK'S PERRY TAX PLAN By Will Lutz
by DallasBlog.com    Tue, Apr 11, 2006, 06:37 PM

The Texas Association of Business announced its endorsement of the Perry-Sharp tax plan today at a press conference with Gov. Rick Perry and former comptroller John Sharp present to accept the endorsement. TAB Chair Michele Falzon called the plan “the best proposal to provide fair and equitable distribution of the tax burden while providing $6 billion in property tax relief for Texas employers and employees.”

“I’m amazed by the level of support across the board, from both big and small businesses,” said TAB President Bill Hammond. “I think the business community in Texas realizes that we need a good option to resolve the problem of over-reliance on property tax and the court order, which we are facing.” Hammond estimated that about 90 percent of his organization’s executive committee supported the plan. “I think businesses realize that it’s not fair for so many businesses to be riding in the wagon when relatively few businesses are pulling the wagon. No one likes to pay taxes; don’t misunderstand me. At the same time, they understand this is fair. They understand they are going to see a big impediment to economic development, that it too high property taxes, removed.”

Perry told reporters he is seriously considering using private funds to run television ads in support of the plan. Perry noted that the tobacco industry is running ads criticizing the plan. “I have never run a campaign that I wasn’t fully prepared to use every source of advertising available, be it television, radio, newsprint, or just good old-fashioned shoe-leather,” he said. When asked whether his plan would lead to a repeat of what happened in 1997 and 1999 – where school boards’ tax increases cancelled out some of the tax relief lawmakers thought they were delivering, Perry said, “First and foremost, I think there are going to be some messages sent with this legislation that we’re serious about real property tax relief that has got long-term impact out there. And one of those is lowering the cap from $1.50 [per $100 of property valuation] to $1.30. Statutorily that is a substantial move that sends a very strong message. And I know members of the legislature are discussing some ways to send messages to those property tax owners out there, be they business or residential, that we want to see there be thoughtful approach to any raising of the rates.” Perry also predicted appraisal caps will be debated again by the legislature in the 2007 session.

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LANDLORDS, YOU HAVE A DATE
by Trey Garrison    Tue, Apr 11, 2006, 05:20 PM

Here's the press release.

Dallas city officials encourage multi-tenant property managers to attend the City’s 3rd Safe Complex Symposium on May 2 at the Dallas Convention Center, 650 S. Griffin St., Convention Center Arena, from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

Registration prior to the event is required to attend the symposium and needs to be received by April 25, 2006.  Registration will not take place during the event. Visit the City’s Website, www.dallascityhall.com to obtain a copy of the registration application, information about parking, driving directions, and a convention center map.

Managers of properties with multiple tenants are required to attend the safety initiatives conference, a mandatory requirement amended by Dallas City Council on March 2004. Multi-Tenant properties include multifamily complexes, such as apartments, as well as group residential homes, extended-stay hotels, residential hotels and motels, and boarding or lodging homes.

Multi-Tenant and apartment operators will have an opportunity to learn City codes and discuss their concerns with representatives from Code Compliance Department, Dallas Police Department, Building Inspection, Water Department and Dallas Fire and Rescue.  SAFE Certificate of Attendance will be stamped by Dallas Police Department. 

bq. For more information go to www.dallascityhall.com or call (214) 948-4105 if you have questions.

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RED LIGHT CAMERAS, CONTRACTS AND SUCH
by Trey Garrison    Tue, Apr 11, 2006, 05:14 PM

Full City Council agenda tomorrow. Here’s a few highlights. Or lowlights, as the case may be.

Authorize a contract for the replacement of the fire escape stairs at the Majestic Theater located at 1925 Elm Street - The Gilbert Construction Group, Inc., lowest responsible bidder of two - $622,500 - Financing: Capital Construction Funds

This seem a little high for fire escape stairs?

Authorize a contract for building foundation repairs at the Kleberg Recreation Center located at 1515 Edd Road - Hasen Design Build and Development, lowest responsible bidder of four - $238,310 - Financing: 2003 Bond Funds

I’ve been to this facility. This seems a little high, as well.

Authorize a sixty-month service contract for janitorial services at City Hall and various locations including police stations, police storefronts, service centers, libraries and Water Utilities with the lowest responsible bidders of six - CTJ Maintenance, Inc. in the amount of $7,344,162 and Andrew's Building Service, Inc. in the amount of $3,699,475 - Total not to exceed $11,043,637 - Financing: Current Funds ($9,702,659), Water Utilities Current Funds ($1,340,978)

Any building management folks out there know if this is high, low, or just right?

Authorize (1) the acceptance of the Dallas Police Department Video Surveillance Grant from the Meadows Foundation to provide for the purchase, installation and maintenance of a video surveillance camera system in the Central Business District, for the period of October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007, and (2) execution of the grant agreement - Not to exceed $840,000 - Financing: Meadows Foundation Grant Funds

Meadows money seeds it, then after the program will grow. Despite, you know, surveillance cameras not affecting crime rates at all.

An ordinance amending Chapter 28 of the Dallas City Code to create a civil offense for a red light violation at a camera-enforced intersection; provide defenses and presumptions; provide requirements, procedures, and fees relating to the administrative adjudication of a civil red light violation; provide for an appeal to municipal court; provide powers, duties, and functions of the director, enforcement officers, and hearing officers; and provide for the imposition, collection, and disposition of civil fines, penalties, and costs for a civil red light violation - Financing: No cost consideration to the City

Translation: Establishment of unequal protection under the law for the purposes of revenue enhancement under guise of traffic safety. Those running red lights in sight of a cop will be fined under a criminal offense and charged more than $200, those running red lights in front of cameras will be fined $75 in a civil penalty. Reason? You’re more likely to just pay the $75 since it won’t go on your driving record.

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TAKES ON IMMIGRATION REFORM FROM CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE(S)
by Brian Bodine    Tue, Apr 11, 2006, 04:44 PM

DallasBlog recently talked to a local congressional candidate about the immigration debate in the House and in the Senate. After this past weekend’s nationwide “pro-immigration” demonstrations, it is apparent that two of the biggest controversies arising from the heated illegal-immigration debate are the attempts by the House to make illegal presence a felony and to criminalize aid to illegal aliens.

Wilson Aurbach, a U.S. District 30 congressional candidate who is in a runoff for the Republican nomination, said that he thought it was strange that so many people were protesting HR 4437 over the weekend since the House bill appeared to be dead in the Senate. Aurbach said that enforcing the current laws is the best solution. “I think turning our current laws toward making illegal immigration a felony isn’t practical. It’s probably too extreme a measure,” said Aurbach, when asked about controversial provisions of immigration reform legislation that have passed in the House but that have failed in the Senate.

“I think it was a poorly constructed bill, which is why it has failed,” added Aurbach.

Aurbach also said that declaring illegal aliens to be felons could result in mass deportations that would hurt the economy because it would hurt businesses.

When asked about increased punitive measures against those caught aiding illegal aliens, Aurbach indicated that he was confident that the final system that Congress agrees on would have penalties for people breaking current laws. Aurbach has frequently said that illegal immigration is a sub-issue of national security.

Aurbach’s opponent, Amir Omar, could not be reached for comment (yet).

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GINGRICH CALLS FOR IRAQI PULLOUT
by Special to DallasBlog.com    Tue, Apr 11, 2006, 03:10 PM

One of the leading proponents of the War in Iraq,  former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, has reversed course and is calling for a pullout of most of our US  troops from Iraq.  In a speech at the University of South Dakota, Gingrich stated that "it was an enormous mistake for us to try to occupy that country after June of 2003." (His statement on the war was reported by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.)  Gingrich was one of the original hawks who pushed strongly for preemptive military action to overthrow the Iraqi regime.  He has been closely identified in the past with the neoconservative architects of the War in Iraq. 

Gingrich's new position (calling for a pullout of most U.S. troops from Iraq)  sounds remarkably similar to the position articulated a few months ago by Democratic Congressman John Murtha, a Korean and Vietnam Veteran.  The former Republican Speaker, thus,  finds himself at odds with the reported Republican frontrunner for the 2008 Republican nomination, Sen. John McCain, who has advocated the continuation of a strong U.S. military presence in Iraq. Newt Gingrich has been considering the possibility of making a run for the Presidency himself in 2008.  If so, this could be the beginning of an attempt to distance himself from his former position in favor of the war.  It is yet another sign that more Republican leaders are distancing themselves from the policies of the Bush Administration in Iraq.  Just recently, conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr. announced that he had made a mistake in supporting the war.  He too called for a withdrawal of our forces from Iraq.

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MORE PROBLEMS FOR CHRISTIANS IN MUSLIM COUNTRIES
by Tom Pauken    Tue, Apr 11, 2006, 12:46 PM

A "Church of Pentecost in Gunung Putri, Indonesia" has been closed by authorities there after hundreds of Muslims interrupted Sunday services there on March 26th, according to World Net Daily. A new law in this Muslim-dominated country required that, before a Christian Church can be built in Indonesia, the following conditions must be met:

  1. Proof of at least 90 existing members with official ID cards
  2. Signatures from 60 neighbors of different faiths approving the establishment of the new Christian congregation.
  3. Approval from local authorities.

World Net Daily reports: "Indonesian Christians say the new law will make it more difficult to open new churches, especially in rural, predominantly Muslim areas. They also point to already-established churches which have tried for years to get government approval, without success."

reports: "Indonesian Christians say the new law will make it more difficult to open new churches, especially in rural, predominantly Muslim areas. They also point to already-established churches which have tried for years to get government approval, without success."

The Christian Church in West Java that was closed had been conducting services for nine years. Now, its pastor fears that it will not be allowed open again.

Meanwhile, the Asia News reports that the Saudi Arabian religious police arrested and deported a Catholic priest from India for celebrating a Mass before Easter at a private house for a group of Indian Catholics who work in Saudi Arabia.

Christians in that country are not permitted to hold religious services even in private residences. Muslims are free to practice their faith in the United States and in European nations. Shouldn’t religious liberty extend to Christians and Jews who live and work in predominantly Muslim countries?

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