The Dallas Museum of Natural History and Science Place have decided to merge. Both museums currently are located in Fair Park. But the new organization will be called the Museum of Nature and Science. The merger of the two organizations is a major step toward the construction of a new museum in downtown Dallas next to the Victory development. The 200,000 square foot facility will be located on a four and a half acre lot on the northwest corner of Field and Woodall Rogers Expressway.
The new facility will be similar to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The Houston museum of a significant facility that draws more than 2 million visitors each year with world call exhibits. Combined the Science Place and the Museum of Natural History draw about half a million visitors to Fair Park each year. It can become a destination facility drawing visitors from far outside the city.
The downtown museum will be a family oriented facility that can become a key element in downtown's revival. However, the impact on Fair Park is not clear. The Houston museum has an IMAX theatre as a part of its core but the Science Place in Fair Park already has the TI Founder's IMAX theatre and it duplication appears too expensive.
Still, mergers of non-profits is difficult and the leadership of both organizations are due considerable credit for pulling it off.
Pat RobertsonThe BBC is reporting that the Israeli government has cancelled a deal with Pat Robertson to "provide land and infrastructure" for the building of a "Christian heritage center in the Galilee." The deal was terminated about Robertson was quoted as saying that Ariel Sharon’s stroke "was a punishment for Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza."
Four days after you read about it here at Dallasblog, the Dallas Morning News got wise to Terrell Bolton being an applicant for the top cop job in San Antonio.
Anyway, given the former chief's uncanny capacity for self-deception, it's fun imagining how he spun his resume.
*Enacted policies that resulted in a "significant" change in Dallas' crime rate (the highest crime rate in the nation)
*Oversaw high-profile management reorganization (multimillion dollar lawsuit over his demotions and firings)
*Effectively ended gypsum drug trade before it could get a foothold in Dallas (drywall, crack, what's the difference?)
*Earned unique title bestowed by Mayor Miller ("idiot")
When - not if - Terrell's application gets round-filed, it begs the question of what job opening he will wander to next, and if he's going to become like a latter-day law enforcment Norma Desmond from "Sunset Boulevard."
Scott Henson, a blogger down in Austin, has a great piece today arguing that Texas’ policy of prison for non-violent offenders is making Texans less safe. He argues that because Texas prisons are full – in a state that had its prison capacity grow five-fold since 1980, mind you – we’re making room for thousands of new, non-violent offenders through the brilliant expediency of releasing violent offenders. Scott quotes former House Corrections Committee Chairman Ray Allen (R-Grand Prairie) who is fond of saying Texas should imprison only people "who we're afraid of, not those we're only mad at."
The Dallas City Council gave the first stage of go ahead Wednesday to a program to install red-light cameras at a number of Dallas intersections, joining six other North Texas cities with an automated ticketing system in place or in the works.
The bidding authorization process begins next week for cameras and the private companies to run them, with the possibility of having them installed and operational as soon as late summer.
Dallas will follow the model of having an independent private company install the cameras at certain intersections, and the company will then collect fees from the owner of any registered vehicle that runs the red light. The private company will get a portion of each $75 fine – which is a point of contention for critics of the system.
Backers of the of red light cameras point out that it is safer to monitor red light violations by camera than for police to issue tickets, since the latter usually involves a police officer following the violator through the red light.
Red light cameras appear to be effective. A 2005 Federal Highway Administration report, drawing information from more than 130 sites, found that the cameras were associated with a decrease in right-angle crashes. A 2005 Cochrane Review found that red light cameras can reduce the number of injuries from car crashes at intersections by up to 30 percent, though the article's authors also noted that most studies did not account for the spillover effect, in which the presence of cameras at intersections might cause different crash rates at those nearby.
But then there are the other issues. Is it equal protection when running a red light in front of a camera results in a $75 administrative fee, while doing it in front of a flesh and blood cop is a substantially higher penalty? What about concerns from privacy advocates who see the cameras as further proof that “Big Brother” is watching, and voice concerns that private companies have access to government databases? And some are concerned that red light cameras take the emphasis off safety and focus it more on revenue generation.
More to come as this bidding process gets under way.
Dallas is the “Meanest City” in all of Texas -- and the sixth meanest in the nation when you throw in cities from the Other 49 -- for homeless folks, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless in a study published today.
In a report oddly titled “A Dream Denied: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities” – begging the question of whether anyone’s dream really is to be homeless – Dallas is knocked for ticketing panhandlers, outlawing the taking of shopping carts from store grounds, and the current proposal to ticket people who give to panhandlers.
Leaving aside broader philosophical arguments over civil liberties, police priorities, and the seemingly random battles that Mayor Laura Miller chooses to cling to – who wants their hometown known as “Most Welcoming to Scary Street People?”
The full report can be found here and the page on Dallas can be found here