Big D Dirt: PR help for Dallas, NTTA investigation, Gingrich, NAFTA, strippers and charity

It’s time for another round of Big D Dirt! Welcome to my weekly round up of Dallas politics and city government happenings. Let’s begin.

Dallas City Council got feedback from two PR pros on it’s image. At the annual city council retreat, held this year at the Delgoyer Estate at the Arboretum, the council heard from Mary Foley of Next Generation Consulting, and (more interestingly) Frank Luntz, who is famous for such things as telling W. Bush to call global warming “climate change” and Republicans to refer to the estate tax as the “death tax.” Foley presented a PowerPoint on how to bring Millennial workers to the Big D. She urged councilmembers to “create a culture in Dallas that’s positive, vibrant and fun” because, says Anna Merlan of the Dallas Observer, “we Millenials enjoy Facebook, Twitter, coffee bars that are open late, dog parks and not working very much. It was like Stuff White People Like done up in PowerPoint.” Luntz, whose presentation was controversial from the start. He was paid a total of $30,000 ($15,000 from the city and another $15,000 from an anonymous donor), which is, needless to say, a hefty price tag. He presented an overview of Dallas citizen views on the city council, and even presented a slid of “better” words to use. They included things like “partnership” instead of “working together” and “community/neighborhood” instead of “society.” Yippee.

The FBI is mounting an investigation of a few North Texas Transit Authority board members, on allegations including conflict of interest. The investigation was disclosed by NTTA in a two-paragraph statement in a 596 page document for investors on its $700 million bond offering slated to close next month. A statement from the FBI was less than conclusive on the actual aim of the investigation. It reads “The Federal Bureau of Investigation has recently interviewed several officials of the Authority regarding any knowledge the officials may have concerning the conduct of certain current and former Board members, including possible conflicts of interests pertaining to Authority business.”

Newt Gingrich brought his campaign to Dallas. In a filled-to-the-brim ballroom in North Dallas, 300 supporters gathered to hear Gingrich talk about his campaign. The former speaker of the House said he believed Rick Perry is running the state well. So well, in fact, that he wants him to stay here. Laughs were had, food was munched, but no one could have possibly walked away thinking Gingrich stood a chance. His current poll numbers stand at about 9 percent.

The NAFTA agreement allowing Mexican trucks to haul goods deeper in the U.S. finally broke through. The provision, which was supposed to give Mexican trucks unrestricted access to border states’ highways by 1995 and full access to U.S. highways by 2000, had been put on hold amidst security concerns and fear of U.S. job loss. The provision finally ended it’s long delay last week, and the first shipment rolled into Garland.

Three strippers have taken their fight for minimum wage to Dallas Federal Court. The three women, who work for a club called Jaguar, argue that they are workers due minimum wage and not contractors that shake it for tips. The suit also goes over how the dancers divvy up their tips at the end of the night (to the DJ, the bartender…etc). The women hope to make it a class action suit, which as Robert Wilonsky from the Observer notes, that shouldn’t be too difficult in one of the nation’s largest strip club markets.

In a striking moment of niceness from the otherwise testy Dallas County Commissioner’s court, Commissioner Elba Garcia has donated $20,000 of her salary from the city to charity. While Garcia certainly won’t be missing the money (she earns $126,800 as a commissioner, owns her own dental practice on the side and her husband is a pretty successful personal injury lawyer), it was a nice act anyway in a city whose budget is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Here is a list of where the money went.

Posted by on October 23, 2011. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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