Category: Dallas

Animal Style at In and Out Burger, Dallas

4 lanes waiting to go through the drive through, notice the lince under the canopies waiting to go inside.

 

My son and I went to Guitar Center to get my son a new acoustic 12 string guitar today and decided afterwards we would hit In and Out Burger, since it is next door practically. The wait was about 25 minutes and the place is a zoo. Once you actually get off the police directed service road at IH75 and into In and Out’s parking lot you are shuttled into a 4 lane wide waiting area where they take your order and then release each lane to move to the regular drive through when they are ready. It was a lot of waiting for a burger, but not terrible.
My opinion, the burger is quite good. We both ordered a double double, animal style, and an order of fries. I put the burgers up there with Burger House’s burgers, the fries on the other hand were terrible. My son and I both thought they were dry and crunching. It may be because of the massive volume they had to deal with that quality suffered, I don’t know. Would I go through the wait again?  Not unless I was right next door. I’m going to venture a guess that the mob of cars and people you see in the pic below will fade in a few more weeks, this ain’t Bob’s Chophouse, after all.

Shot Gun Shells, Stupidity, and Intoxication,

It’s Friday Morning and I am driving my son to school on Skillman, like we do everyday.  But, today I notice something that really concerns me in the southbound lane, just after Mockingbird, near my favorite donut shop. Scattered all over both lanes are dozens of shotgun shells, which look brand new and ready to shoot. Brain dead commuters heading down Skillman don’t seem to be giving them any thought, driving over them like large chunks of gravel. Being the concerned citizen I am, I decide to call 311, but after being on hold for 5 minutes, I opt to call 911. Maybe I’m a tad paranoid but I don’t want to read in the news about some tragic shooting as a result of shotgun shell rounds going off under oblivious commuters tires and I don’t want my precious donut shop destroyed either. So I call 911, which puts me on hold and dumps me back over to 311, where I sit on hold for 25 minutes.

After I drop my son off at school, I decide that if I happen upon a cop I will ask him what he thinks. Luck is with me because I spot one a few minutes later sitting in a parking lot, in front of a donut shop (go figure). I pull up and tell him my story, all the while still on hold with 311. He makes a call into Central and they tell him they will send a car to check it out. About this time 311 picks up and proceeds to tell me they don’t have the intersection of Skillman and Mockingbird in their system. Then they ask me if it is in University Park? Are the city’s GIS systems so bad that they can’t find a major 90 year old intersection to fix a problem, or can’t this operator spell her way out of a wet paper bag? If I robbed stores this would be a great intersection to hit, the system wouldn’t know what to do with the request. Anyway, I digress, 5 minutes later and apparently requiring a MAPSCO, the operator tells me the street crew will respond in 1-24 hours. Realizing the whole neighborhood could be swiss cheese by then, I hang up and expressed my frustration to this cop. He proceeds to tell me how stupid people can be and imparts this funny story on me, which I will try to regurgitate below.

Last night while patrolling around White Rock Lake (which is his beat), he spots a car sitting in one of the open park areas. As he moves in to check it out a suspect runs off and disappears, leaving behind a t-shirt and one puma tennis shoe. The officer uses his detective skills and decides to pull back a block and watch and wait for the suspect knowing he will return for his shirt, shoe, and car. He parks in front of a house and while waiting notices someone coming up the street to his car from behind. The man asks the officer what he is doing there and if there is a problem. The officer responds that he is just observing a situation and that there is no problem.  The man starts to walk off, but the astute officer notices that the man has no shirt on and is missing a puma tennis shoe. A light bulb goes off in his head and he decides to get out of his patrol car and ask the man where his shirt and shoe are. The suspect responds that they were in his parents house, which happens to be the house the patrol car is parked out in front of. The officer knowing he is lying decides to play along.

It is also obvious to the cop at this point that the man is intoxicated and tells him that he needs to go home and sleep it off.  The drunk man tells the cop that he really doesn’t want to disturb his parents and would sleep in their backyard. The officer responds to him that it is not safe and insists on knocking on the door to speak with his parents. So the officer goes to the front door, knocks, and after several minutes an elderly woman answers the door. When the officer tells her that her son is drunk and needs to come in, she responds ” son? what son?” At that moment an elderly man comes to the door and the officer asks him about his “son” and shines his flashlight at the suspect’s face.  The old man curtly responds, ” he isn’t our son, and he isn’t from around here!”  At which point the cop goes back to the suspect and decides he is going to arrest him for public intoxication. The suspect knowing what is coming preemptively faces the cop car and puts his hands behind his back and says ” I really wish you hadn’t bothered them.”

The officer finishes this story to me with, ” people really are dumb, this guy practically arrests himself, and then is upset that I knocked on these people’s door to check out his story.”

 

Dallas City Hall’s Moronic Budget Crisis

Dallas, like so many cities, is in crisis over a money shortfall from a drop in tax revenue. At first glance this seems reasonable, given the economic situation the entire country is in. But, the reality is quite different.
Here are the facts:

City’s budget for 2008-2009 $ 2.7B
City’s budget proposal for 2009-2010 $ 2.72B
Budget estimated Shortfall $190M
Jobs cut as a result 900+

If you want to see a pdf by the city here it is. The first thing you notice is that the city’s budget still went up by 20M this year. Which seems odd considering the 900+ layoffs. So the city manager and city council approved a budget increase last year, in what was obvious to everyone else, a major recession. I was aware that we were heading into a recession in 2007. So how is it that city hall did not even think to be conservative in its figures in 2008 when planning for 2009? More interestingly is to look at the city’s budget over time. Looking back at the previous few years:

Year Budget Increase over previous year
2002-2003 1.72B na
2003-2004 1.92B 10%
2004-2005 2.05B 6%
2005-2006 2.22B 8%
2006-2007 2.34B 5%
2007-2008 2.65B 12%
2008-2009 2.7B 2%
Total Difference $980M 64% Total Increase in 7 years

So the city has increased its’ budget $1B in 7 years, which is a 64% increase. Does that number seem really high to anyone else? But, lets take a look at the population estimates for Dallas. In 2002 the city had a population of 1.19M. The Census Bureau estimates the city had a population of 1.279M in 2008. Now that number really jumps out at you. The city’s population has only increased by roughly a 89K people in the same time frame, which is only a 7% increase. So our city budget went up 64% over the same time period that our population increased 7%. That in my book is out of control spending. That should indicate that the city’s taxes are too high to begin with. So using the Census Bureau’s data I thought I would look at a couple of cities of similar size to Dallas. San Antonio is slightly larger than Dallas at 1.3M and has a 2010 budget of 885M, that is a whopping $1.8B less than our budget.  San Diego, which has essentially the same population as Dallas, ( but a much higher cost of living) has a 2010 budget of $3.01B.  Houston with a population of 2.2M, quite a bit larger than Dallas, only has a budget of $2.3B, $400M less than Dallas.

So our city is laying off people and screaming about a drop in tax revenue, when the reality is it has been over taxing its citizens and spending like mad. Having lived in Houston for 4 years, I can’t say Dallas has any real advantage over that city’s level of service. So why is the discrepancy so large? What is our city wasting our money on? The really profound thing to me is I have noticed no changes with an extra billion in “services” the city is spending. There are still potholes everywhere, crime is out of control and response times suck. My car had both windows smashed out by thieves the other day and the police no longer even come out to take a look at the crime. All these extra cops on the streets and no service. It is a joke and so is the city council.

Dallas Childrens Theater Center Rant

My son has been taking the Actor’s Studio class at the DCT for 2 weeks this Summer. He is finishing up his second week this week and came home with some disturbing news. Apparently a “Teacher” named Anthony ( who is apparently the owner’s son)  blew his top over my son’s tennis shoes and his lack of interest in putting them on, as well as his smart remarks ( something about shoes being a conspiracy). My son is hard headed, no doubt, and you have to hold a line with him, but a teacher screaming “put on your shoes, now” at the top of his lungs is way over the top.  This so called “Teacher” yelled so loud that Teachers from other rooms came rushing in to see what had happened. Anthony was pulled out into the hall and then came back in to apologize for yelling at my son. My son apologized to him for being a smart aleck.

I, of all people know how difficult my son is, but losing your top over bare feet is ridiculous. To make matters more disconcerting, Anthony apparently teaches the younger kids. I can only imagine what he must do when they won’t sit down or any other misbehavior. My son appears to be fine about the issue. Which is good, but I am concerned for other kids who next get this small, angry man’s rants directed at them for little more than not reacting quick enough.

Real Estate Crisis hits Dallas

I was stunned to see the 33% drop in Real Estate sales in the DFW market place today. Home prices are down a whopping 15% from their highs. I think we Texans’ were naive enough to think we were not going to see the worst of this economy in our state. Oil and Gas seemed to give us a nice buffer for a while, but my have the mighty fallen. I can get gas for under a buck fifty. Who would have thunk it? I don’t think we have seen the bottom of the oil barrel either. It looks like it is having trouble holding on to $50 a barrel.

Of course the cause of this whole mess is spending more than we make. Everyone seems to have decided to spend 1.25 for every $1.00 they made and the result is a lot of worthless noncollectable debt and many over priced houses that should never have been built for people spending too much. The bottom line is the housing market and a lot of other goods to have to depreciate to a point where the average American can afford them again. So 15% seems like a lot but I am going to guess the number is closer to 20-25% in the drop of home values in DFW. Of course that varies greatly by neighborhood. I wouldn’t expect anything inside the loop to drop more than 5-10%.