Top Stories: Regulations For Bike-Share Companies In Dallas On The Horizon

Krystina Martinez / KERA News

The top local stories this morning from KERA News:

The Dallas City Council will vote at the end of the month on regulations for dockless bike-share companies.

City staff laid out the proposed ordinance at a council briefing Wednesday. If passed, bike-share companies would have to pay for a permit, provide ridership data to the city, and limit where bikes can be parked, among other things.

Five bike-share companies currently operate about 13,000 bikes in Dallas. That’s down from a high of 20,000 earlier this year, when residents complained there were too many bikes blocking rights-of-way.

Other stories this morning:

Texas pays $17 billion a year to private companies to handle care for Medicaid recipients. A Dallas Morning News investigation found those companies skimped on services for the most vulnerable patients – and made a profit. The Insurance Council of Texas says yesterday’s storms over the Dallas-Fort Worth area caused about $425 million in insured losses. Our Big Screen team spoke with the head of the Motion Picture Association of America’s diversity and inclusion initiative about making movies that tell everyone’s story.

You can listen to North Texas stories weekdays at 8:22 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.

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When will the Dallas Cowboys (and DFW) again host a Super Bowl?

(Photo: Getty)

The NFL has determined its host sites for Super Bowls through 2024. So, when is it North Texas’ turn again?

“It’s very competitive,” Dallas Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said. “We’re going to continue to compete for them. We know it’s a long ways out at this point, but it certainly doesn’t dampen our enthusiasm to continue to try to get one of these games.”

A "long ways out” indeed, as the NFL has locked in the hosts for the next six Super Bowls. It was previously known that the 2019 game will be hosted by Atlanta, with 2020 in Miami, 2021 in Tampa and 2022 in Los Angeles at the new Rams and Chargers stadium. And now the 2023 Super Bowl is going to Arizona and the 2024 game to New Orleans.

The Cowboys believe that their 90,000-seat AT&T Stadium remains a centerpiece of football mecca. But it’s no secret that in the minds of some, the Super Bowl XLV hosted here at the end of the 2019 season was marred by uncharacteristically wintery weather in DFW and by a seating snafu.

Jones, speaking on the subject a few months ago, said, "There has only been one snow in 100 years where the schools were out for a week, and it happened to be when we got the main event. You can’t believe it. But at the end of the day, I don’t think the NFL will pay that much attention to that week. Dallas isn’t really a threat to have another blizzard like that.”

Probably so. But it can’t just be a coincidence that the upcoming host cities include places like Miami, Tampa, Los Angeles and Phoenix — where the "threat of a blizzard like that” is somewhere below threat in North Texas.

Even once North Texas overcomes those memories, the Cowboys face another obstacle in serving as a host.

“With all the new stadiums that have come on, certainly everybody should have those opportunities,” Jones said. “And then you mix in the destination-type bidders, who traditionally are where fans like to go take vacations or like to get away — whether that’s South Florida, Southern California, New Orleans, Phoenix. Obviously those are places that are tough to compete against.”

Along with the weather and the "entertainment destination” issue, one of the ties that binds the Super Bowl to a city is that city’s building of a new stadium. It’s a "promise” of sorts … so look for Las Vegas to eventually get on this list, too. After all, there are no blizzards there and it’s a "destination-type” city. Additionally, there is a traditional rotation in regard to which cities get to host. New Orleans is a long-established favorite there. Oh, and there’s also a connection between host teams that accept the assignment of playing overseas, which means giving up a home game. Jones said that’s actually a rule now; the earliest a Super Bowl could be back in Arlington would be 2025, and by rule that won’t happen unless the Cowboys agree to playing a home game not at AT&T, but rather, in London or Mexico City or wherever.

Obviously, there is revenue to be sacrificed there. And then there is revenue to be had for a community that hosts a Super Bowl. And there is civic pride to be had by hosting a Super Bowl. But Cowboys Nation’s focus is on a complete different prize: For its Dallas Cowboys to actually play in one.

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It’s (almost) summer in Texas. Get an air conditioning inspection

DALLAS – At its worst, this heat can be dangerous. At its best, it’s uncomfortable.

"Nobody wants to sleep in the heat. It’s hard to operate in, especially with a baby, we need her to stay comfortable," said Stephanie, a stay-at-home mom in North Dallas who didn’t want to give her last name.

Stephanie is on the uncomfortable side. The problem? Her thermostat is set to the low 70s, but the reality is, it’s much hotter.

"It’s a lot to deal with, especially when we’ve had a forecast like we’ve had this week," Stephanie said.

It’s one of many stops in what will likely be a 12-hour day for HVAC Service Technician Christopher Shriver of Milestone Electric.

"It’s not too bad when the weather is cool, but then when the weather starts to heat up and there is extra heat load on the house, the system has to continually run. That’s when the weaknesses start to show," Shriver said.

That’s what happened to Stephanie’s air conditioning unit as record temperatures push the limits of systems across North Texas.

"This is the end of May, and it’s already started. We’re geared up, and we’re ready for it," Shriver said.

It’s not just about comfort. Heat can turn dangerous very quickly. In fact, this heat wave that has already placed as many as 20 people in the hospital and left one person in critical condition, according to MedStar.

It makes getting an air conditioning inspection that much more critical.

"It started to feel just not as comfortable as we typically like it, and we just wanted to be sure that everything is in tip-top shape before we head into the heat of the summer," Stephanie said.

Shriver and his crew head to the attic. Temperatures there can top 120 degrees – it’s all part of the job.

"I hope I have a really cool house by the end of the day, and that we can get through this super hot week coming up," Stephanie said.

By the time her house cools off, these guys will be off to the next call. Hard work that will continue as long as the temperatures cooperate.

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At sprawling VA hospital in southern Dallas, a righteous battle to keep the promise to care for America’s vets

Staff Photographer

America has made an expensive yet richly merited promise to its veterans. It works like this: If you serve our country and get injured or spend your career in uniform, then our country will pick up the tab for your medical care for the rest of your life.

That’s a two-way pact with our veterans that should find room in our hearts this Memorial Day weekend. The holiday is geared explicitly toward remembrance of those service members who did not survive the dangers we sent them to face, but it’s also fitting to recall the debt we owe those who returned home.

It’s an especially warranted reflection here in North Texas, where so many of those veterans have chosen to live. The Department of Veterans Affairs tells us that half a million veterans reside in the North Texas service area. Soon, officials told us recently, this region will boast the highest concentration of veterans living anywhere in the United States.

Increasingly, the story of America’s veterans, and how the rest of us are living up to our pledge to provide them medical care, is a Dallas story. Over at the sprawling and often surprising veterans’ hospital in southern Dallas, about 135,000 of those veterans were patients last year.

To get a better sense of the challenges they face, and of the challenges their doctors and nurses face in caring for them, we spent the day recently at the VA Dallas Medical Center. We left with a profound respect for the commitment and technological innovation on display — seemingly around every corner.

Roughly 5,500 full-time workers [or their equivalent] make their livings in those long corridors, and they do so amid an astonishing array of cutting-edge technology and emotional commitment. "We made a promise to our veterans," Dr. Stephen Holt told us during a sit-down interview after a tour. "And I firmly believe that when they come here for medical care they get care as good as they could get in any private hospital."

He said he has the means to go to any hospital he chooses to, but he firmly believes the care he received as an Air Force veteran in VA hospitals saved his life when his own health challenges threatened to sideline him.

Throughout the hospital we saw evidence of top-of-the-line care. There was a suite of rooms for women facing mammograms and other tests for breast cancer that looked more like a high-end spa than a room in a crowded and sometimes chaotic public hospital. It’s part of a system-wide effort to make women feel more comfortable in the often male-dominated world of veterans.

We saw bay after bay of dialysis stations, more than at just about anywhere in Texas, and each with privacy screens, high-end televisions and long views out the windows.

We saw an expanded Emergency Room ready to open in July. Soon there’ll be nearly twice as many beds available as there are now.

On another floor, there’s a wing of rooms dedicated to vets who are learning to deal with wounds that they almost certainly wouldn’t have survived in previous wars. As Holt told us, battlefield medical care is better than it has ever been, which means that veterans now routinely show up at hospitals like this with needs only barely imaginable in years past.

In recent years, the VA has rated the Dallas facility as not performing well. But from 2016 to 2017, the Dallas VA went from a 1-star rating to a 3-star rating. In most measures that assess patient safety, the Dallas VA outperformed other facilities nationwide. In addition, a 2017 RAND Corp. study found that on average, and in most categories, patient care at VA hospitals is as good as or better that provided by public and private hospitals outside the VA system.

All of this left us hopeful about the care veterans in our midst can receive.

But there is still work to be done. For starters, the VA has also found that patient satisfaction rates at the Dallas VA hospital are low. That could stem from long wait times, issues with parking, or, in a problem the VA is confronting nationwide, delays in setting appointments. Or it could stem from specific cases where the care provided fell far short of what should be expected. Word travels fast within the veteran community, and many veterans we know are unsparing in their criticism. If you are veteran, please send us a letter about your VA experience (dallasnews.com/sendletters). We want to hear from you.

The good news is that the Dallas VA is working to address clear problems. New parking has been added and the lobby will soon be renovated to accommodate more patients and reduce wait-times.

We were proud to see some of that work in action. But we are also mindful that it is essential that these efforts succeed and that the VA provide the quality care our veterans need and deserve. Our veterans served our country, and now it is our turn to serve them.

Steps in the right direction:

The VA Dallas Medical Center has tried to improve perceptions of care lately:

1. It’s added to new parking garages.
2. An $10 million expansion of the E.R. will be complete by July.
3. Plans to completely overhaul the lobby and waiting room experience are underway.

What’s your view?

Got an opinion about this issue? Send a letter to the editor, and you just might get published.

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Letters: North Korea, Robert Jeffress, Nikki Haley, SMU student newspaper, Dallas Convention Center

AP
We shouldn’t be surprised

Re: "North threatens to cancel summit — It isn’t interested in ‘unilateral abandonment’ of its nuclear program," Wednesday news story.

Kim Jong-un’s change of tune about further talks with South Korea and a summit meeting with President Donald Trump should have come as no surprise. What’s distressing are reports that the administration apparently was "caught off guard." Is it possible our leadership was beguiled by Kim’s charm offensive in South Korea, replete with smiles, handshakes, and gestures of good will? If so, it does not speak well of our foreign policy apparatus.

In baseball, a catcher knows he’ll receive plenty of curves from the mound, and he knows how to handle them.

Bill Corporon, Dallas

Jeffress’ behavior appalling

Re: "Texas represented," Tuesday news story.

It is appalling that Robert Jeffress continues to verbally spew his poisonous and hateful beliefs in the name of faith. It is pathetic enough that our president panders to the lowest common denominator of bigotry, lies, fear, lies, racism and more lies, but when denominational leaders of faith communities do not lead by moral example and dissenting courage from such behavior, then we are truly in a quagmire.

The fact that over 60 people were killed in demonstrations while Jeffers lavished praise upon Israel, and that he wholeheartedly endorses the president’s behavior, should give all people of conscience a serious reason to truly wonder what is happening to this country.

Rick Halperin, Dallas

Haley can’t even listen?

What was U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley doing? She says Israelis and Palestinians need to work together, yet she walks out of the chamber when the Palestinian spokesperson is up to speak. If she cannot bear to be in the room to listen, how will the Israelis and Palestinians even attempt a resolution?

Kurt Wolfenbarger, East Dallas

U.S. is to blame, too

In my opinion, the United States’ continuing enabling of the apartheid regime in Israel is only the latest chapter of infamy and human suffering unleashed upon the indigenous Palestinian people by a mostly white, Northern European colonial occupation begun at the end of World War II. The objective of the Israeli government seems to be nothing short of the annihilation of the Palestinian people.

To continually defend behavior that mirrors that which was inflicted upon Jews by Nazi Germany by calling detractors anti-Jewish is obscene. It is sadly not surprising that the United States, which has never atoned for its history of genocide of millions of Native Americans and enslavement of millions more Africans, would support similar behavior on the part of the government of Israel.

Rev. John D. Zeigler, Denton

Remembering a college free press

Re: "This is why colleges need student media — Fourth Estate’s training ground must be allowed to flourish uncensored, Meredith Shamburger says," May 7 Viewpoints.

As a 1954 journalism graduate, I’d like to add my voice to the letter writers responding to Shamburger’s article about SMU’s administration take over of its student media, The Daily Campus.

In the 50s, we met in post World War II’s left-over prefab classrooms. We wrote our articles on ancient typewriters, but we studied a free press under professional newsmen like E.L. Callihan and Martin Reese and the famous sports photographer Jimmy Laughead of Doak Walker photo fame.

We studied type setting, hand setting of the metal letters to produce a line of type, although the Merganthaler linotype machine invented in 1886 had taken over the typesetting art.

SMU supported The Daily Campus and used it as a teaching aid and an early example of a free student press. "Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end". . . but they did.

Deirdre Brummage Day, Prosper

Save ‘The Daily Campus’

The independence of the press is critical to well-informed, thoughtful civic community. A collective of knowledgeable, well-trained and broadly experienced journalists, fully committed to probity, integrity and the determined and fair representation of a broad range of perspectives, remain key to the practice of a healthy, robust democracy.

As a professor at SMU for 28 years, I hope that the alumni, students, faculty and staff will rally to support the preservation of the autonomy of our student newspaper, The Daily Campus.

Students look to and at the leaders of their community — their mentors, teachers, administrators and respected peers — to uphold the highest values and model the best practices espoused by their university.

We all know and value the distinguished heritage of SMU. Now is the time to reinvigorate our legacy and assure that world leaders are indeed shaped by the valorous ideals of our well-esteemed and cherished institution.

Shelley C. Berg, Dallas, SMU professor

Thanks for the good news

Re: "Good things are happening," by Linda Gober, Tuesday Letters.

Thank you, Linda! So many wonderful things are happening under the current administration and they are being completely ignored by the main stream meadia. Thank you, Dallas Morning News for publishing her letter. Maybe you will take heed and start writing something positive.

Sue Reed, Richardson

People see what they want to see

I think a better fairy tale to consider is The Emperor’s New Clothes. Millions of people in this country have convinced themselves that the leader of this country has integrity, honesty and actually cares about anything other than himself. People see what they want to see, even when it’s not there.

Jane Fueller, Plano

A six-letter word

Re: " ‘These are animals,’ Trump says — Attack on Mexicans, government stands out amid full day of news," Thursday news story.

Donald Trump thinks immigrants are "bad people… animals." His paternal grandparents immigrated from Europe. Were they bad people? Several world-class scientists and mathematicians, including Albert Einstein, migrated from Germany during World War II. Were they animals? Trump’s third wife migrated from Europe. Is she an animal?

No, he surely didn’t mean these people, because their skin is white. We can be pretty sure he had in mind Mexicans, Central Americans, Haitians, Africans and Asians. There’s a six-letter word beginning with "r" to describe someone who thinks this way. You know what the word is, and so does Trump.

Roger T. Quillin, Dallas/Lake Highlands

Suggestions for the convention center

Plaudits and pans on the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

Plaudits: Beautiful facility in a nice, parklike setting and great staff who were very polite and helpful.

Pans: 1. Signs directing drivers need to be bigger and more numerous; 2. Inside the building, large signs on the upper part of the walls should indicate locations for exits, front of building, restrooms and concessions. With the floor crowded with exhibits, it is difficult to find those things. I needed a very helpful Dallas Police officer to follow in order to find my way out. Who knows what would happen in the event of a major problem like a fire?

Otherwise my visit to the center was excellent. It was good to see the growth in the downtown area so many years after I had worked in Dallas.

Hope this is helpful.

Tim Kirland, San Antonio

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College Graduates Finding a Stellar North Texas Job Market

College Graduates Finding a Stellar North Texas Job MarketResearch says what many in North Texas already know. The job market for college graduates in Dallas-Fort Wort is robust. (Published Friday, May 11, 2018)

It’s a big graduation weekend in North Texas. For many college grads that means a whole new adventure in the workplace. Those staying here in Texas are finding a job market with lots of options.

According to research by LinkedIn, Dallas/Fort Worth is the seventh-best market in the country when it comes to jobs for recent college grads. Austin is ninth on the list. New York City has the most job opportunities.

At University of North Texas, the end of college — is also a beginning. Not only for parents seeing their children off, but for business majors who graduated Friday; they are about to write their own story.

"I don’t know exactly where I’m going yet," said Scotty Cook, who is continuing his career in the Army. "I’m hoping one of three — California, Germany or Japan."

Cook studied entrepreneurship. He hopes to return to his home state, eventually.

"Most of the people I’ve seen have been Texas-driven," he said. "That’s just how Texas is, I think. It’s one big family."

Cook is not alone. Many grads say they already have jobs lined up in North Texas.

"There are a lot of jobs in DFW," said Marne Davidson. "So it’s not too difficult."

Davidson moved here with her husband to get away from cold Utah winters. She interned at a mechanical construction company here in Texas, which offered her a job.

"I fell in love with it and I’ve been hired on with their marketing team," she said.

Triple the surprise, then triple that surprise. Three moms in New York welcomed triplets at the same hospital, all within weeks of each other.

(Published Friday, May 11, 2018)

Imeon Holmes’ job search includes Texas and the Carolinas, but he’s narrowed his choices down to Dallas.

"It’s been interesting," said Holmes. "With my degree, you can fit into any industry."

The job market in North Texas, for these grads, is full of potential. They may not know where life’s road will eventually lead them.

But they appear to be on the right path.

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Eagles get tight end Dallas Goedert at No. 49

Former Philadelphia Eagles player David Akers announces South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert as the Eagles’ selection during the second round of the NFL football draft Friday, April 27, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles and their former kicker stuck it to the Cowboys by drafting a kid named Dallas.

The Super Bowl champions selected tight end Dallas Goedert after trading up three spots in the second round to make their first pick in the draft. Six-time Pro Bowl kicker David Akers needled Cowboys fans when he made the announcement in their stadium.

"Hey Dallas, the last time you were in the Super Bowl, these draft picks weren’t born," Akers shouted before announcing the selection.

After trading out of the first round Thursday night, the Eagles gave Indianapolis a second-round pick (No. 52) and fifth-round pick (No. 169) to get Goedert at No. 49. The 6-foot-5, 256-pound Goedert played four seasons at South Dakota State and is known for his pass-catching ability.

"Dallas is a blue-collar kid who works extremely hard. This was a guy we felt dominated at that level," said Joe Douglas, the executive vice president of player personnel. "He can separate at the top of routes and he’s a guy who is going to be a friend to the quarterback."

The Eagles jumped ahead of the Cowboys with the trade, taking a player who could’ve been on their radar after tight end Jason Witten announced his retirement.

Goedert, who grew up a Packers fan even though he got his name because his dad is a Cowboys fan, said he thought Dallas was going to draft him.

"I think Philadelphia might have thought that as well," he said.

Howie Roseman, the Eagles executive vice president of football operations, said stealing Goedert from the team’s division rival wasn’t part of the thought process.

"We wanted to get one of the guys we had from yesterday’s list," Roseman said.

Goedert had 72 catches for 1,111 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior after posting 92-1,293-11 as a junior. He’ll team with Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz to help Philadelphia’s offense create mismatches. The Eagles released veteran tight end Brent Celek and allowed Trey Burton to leave in free agency.

"It’s going to depth and competition to the position," coach Doug Pederson said. "He’s a tremendous weapon we can utilize. It’s exciting to have a pick like this to add."

Goedert shares the same agency with Carson Wentz, who went to North Dakota State. Wentz texted him after he was picked.

"Carson has talked to us about him and he’s excited," Roseman said.

The Eagles didn’t have a third-round pick. They’ll enter Saturday with two picks in the fourth round and one each in the sixth and seventh.

———

For more NFL coverage: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP—NFL

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Trump says that he’s set a date and location for landmark North Korea summit

President Trump talks to the media at the White House as he leaves for Dallas to address the National Rifle Assn. on Friday. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

President Trump said Friday that the time and place have been set for his landmark meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un — but kept the world guessing for now about the when and where.

Trump also said that withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea was "not on the table" as he looks to get Kim to give up his nukes at what will be the first summit between a U.S. and a North Korean leader.

The New York Times reported that Trump has asked the Pentagon to prepare plans for scaling back the U.S. military presence in the allied Asian nation. Some 28,500 U.S. forces are based there, a military presence that has been preserved since the Korean War ended in 1953 without a peace treaty.

Trump suggested Monday that he was looking for his historic meeting with the North Korean dictator to be held at the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas. That’s where Kim met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27 — a summit that has paved the way for the U.S. president’s planned face-to-face with Kim.

Trump also said then that the Southeast Asian city state of Singapore was also in the running to play host.

"We now have a date and we have a location. We’ll be announcing it soon," Trump told reporters Friday from the White House South Lawn before departing for Dallas.

Trump on Friday also heavily hinted that the release of three Americans by North Korea was in the offing, but again was sparing on the details.

"We’re having very substantive talks with North Korea and a lot of things have already happened with respect to the hostages, and I think you’re going to see very good things. As I said yesterday, stay tuned," Trump said, referring to an earlier tweet on the issue that has also weighed on U.S.-North Korean ties.

Although Trump has placed considerable faith in South Korean leader Moon’s efforts to patch up relations with North Korea, the U.S. president has long complained that South Korea does not do enough to financially support the American military commitment. Still, it would be a quixotic move as he enters into negotiations with Kim.

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Eagles trade up in 2nd round to select tight end Dallas Goedert

Welcome to Philly, Dallas Goedert

The Eagles traded up in front of Dallas in Dallas to take a tight end named Dallas.

Got all that?

The Eagles came into Friday’s second round with the No. 52 pick but traded with the Colts to get into spot 49, just in front of the Cowboys, and selected tight end Dallas Goedert (GOD-ert) from South Dakota State.

In order to move up three spots, the Eagles had to give up the No. 169 pick (fifth round).

“He was among the players we had grouped at 32, so we wanted to make sure that we got one of those guys,” Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said. “And that’s why we made the move up.”

When the Eagles traded out of the first round on Thursday night, Roseman felt confident that the Eagles would be able to get a comparable talent with the 52nd pick, 20 spots later. But as the second round progressed, the Eagles saw names they liked come off the board.

During the day on Friday, the Eagles’ brass had conversations about the possibility of moving back up if it didn’t look like one of their guys was going to make it to 52. That’s what happened.

“We didn’t have a lot of picks and we didn’t want to go into anything next year,” Roseman said of the 2019 draft, when the Eagles already have nine selections. “We didn’t want to give up something if we didn’t have to, but at the same token, once guys started to go on our list of guys we were considering at 32, we wanted to make sure we came out with someone we feel really good about. That’s why we made the move here to go get Dallas.”

The Cowboys took tackle Connor Williams from Texas with the next pick at 50, but it would have made sense if they wanted Goedert. Earlier in the day, it was reported that veteran Jason Witten is retiring after a tremendous career in North Texas.

When asked if that was part of the reason the Eagles jumped the Cowboys, Roseman said they were just concerned about getting one of the guys they once targeted at 32.

After moving their fifth-round pick, the Eagles have four more selections for Saturday: two in the fourth round (125, 130), one in the sixth (206) and one in the seventh (250).

Goedert (6-5, 260) finished his college career with back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons in college. Personnel head Joe Douglas seemed impressed with Goedert’s college tape and his performance at the Senior Bowl.

“Dallas is a blue-collar kid who works extremely hard,” Douglas said. “This was a guy we felt dominated at that level of play.”

Goedert, 23, is the first tight end the Eagles have drafted since Zach Ertz in the second round of the 2013 draft. Goedert will help fill the void left after Trey Burton went to the Bears in free agency and after the Eagles cut Brent Celek.

Head coach Doug Pederson said the Eagles will bring Goedert along slowly in his complex offense but expects his new tight end to fill some of the void left by Burton. Roseman said Pederson was thrilled about the pick.

“I think you saw in our draft room, we were excited about it. That’s part of this moment. We sat down this week and just tried to make a list of guys we’d be excited to get. We want to come down after every pick and be excited to get him. That’s always the focus of when we go into these days. Excited from a front office/scouting perspective, from a coaching perspective. When you get that, you feel really good about it.

Having Sidney Jones lessens blow of small Eagles draft class
Eagles strutting around with Super Bowl swagger

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Deep-State Dallas City Hall, More Tenacious Than You Might Believe

One thing about segregation never changes: the money.
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AA

Dallas City Hall is like Washington. We have a Deep State, and for all the same reasons.

A new regime is in charge here, too. It’s making big policy changes. Those new policies have serious consequences in the real world. Some people in the real world are very unhappy, so those people are looking for the soft spots, the handles, the backdoor accesses they need to defeat the new policies.

Is this about philosophy? Yes and no, but on the surface anyway, mostly no. The immediate battles here are about deals. The new policies are a threat to some people’s old deals. They just want to keep the gravy train on the tracks.

Coming soon to an airport near you – subsidized affordable housing! Because Deep State.

An almost hilarious — because it’s so stupid — attempt to do a Deep State end-run around the new regime is a behind-the-scenes effort gathering steam as we speak to get the city to build affordable housing at airports. Because, you know, that’s really where poor people with kids need to be, at the airport.

You think I’m making this up? Listen, I probably can’t even express to you how much I wish I were. I’m not. It’s surreal, but it’s real: Coming soon to an airport near you, subsidized affordable housing! Because Deep State.

We’ve actually seen round one of this publicly in The War of the CHODOs. CHODO is City Hall slang for a community housing development organization. CHODOs are nonprofit groups that get federal grant money channeled through City Hall to build affordable housing.

The CHODOs and some for-profit developers have built most of the city’s subsidized housing for decades in the city’s poorest, most racially segregated neighborhoods in southern Dallas. That pattern violates all kinds of federal laws and administrative rules, flies in the face of a recent landmark Supreme Court ruling and also doesn’t make much sense.

If you’re going to spend tax money building homes for people, hopefully you’re doing it to achieve some measure of social good. Otherwise, just don’t spend the money. But definitely don’t spend tax money to make things worse.

Building subsidized housing in historically segregated, very poor neighborhoods has the effect of tethering poor people to those areas. Especially for children, not much good and a whole lot of bad tends to happen to them there.

Dallas City Manager T. C. Broadnax and a top staff of newcomers to City Hall are proposing a radically new policy designed to correct past mistakes and also try to get Dallas right with federal law. Many of of those people bring prestigious credentials from posts at other city, state and federal agencies. The new housing policy they propose would be a rational analytical system, not a simple decree or fiat.

Under the old regime at City Hall, everything was good-old-boy. You got a deal because you were one. If you weren’t one, you didn’t get a deal.

Under the proposed plan, all of these investments — because, you know, that’s really what they are — would be carried out according to a rational framework that would aim to put new affordable housing where it will do the most good. That means almost entirely north, almost never south. And, by the way, I am hearing a whole lot of very interesting thinking going on, a lot of it aimed at avoiding the total gridlock and defeat that can be threatened by NIMBYism.

NIMBY — not in my backyard — is real. Organized affluent neighborhoods with political clout are going to fight some forms of public housing. That’s just how it is.

That does not mean a housing policy should be passive, crater and give into NIMBYism without fighting back, but less money spent fighting legal battles is more money for housing.

So, for example, one of the better ideas being floated out there these days involves building affordable housing on or over the parking lots at Dallas Area Rapid Transit stations. The housing wouldn’t be ramming head-first into established neighborhoods. A transit station seems like a convenient place for working and poor people to be near, although I admit that’s a very unexamined assumption on my part.

Another great idea is coming from the private sector and involves targeting some forms of affordable housing to public servants. Between the real estate market and the city’s pension problems, we have gotten to a point where too many firefighters, cops and teachers have to get out of town at the end of every day in order to live somewhere they can afford.

In other words, Broadnax’s proposed new housing policy already is spurring a lot of creative thinking, all of it aimed at ameliorating the deeply entrenched, socially corrosive effects of race and income discrimination and segregation. A growing consensus in the city sees solutions ahead to what used to feel like intractable problems. That consensus provides wind beneath the wings of the new regime’s ideas.

But, oh yeah. We were going to talk about affordable housing at airports, were we not? Where does that one come from? I can tell you.

CHODOs, by federal regulation, spring from specific neighborhoods and communities. The original idea was to foster neighborhood improvement through empowerment. The CHODOs are anchored to the neighborhoods that give them birth. Some of these outfits have done multiple millions of dollars in development business with the city over time, all of it in their target areas. Some have done good work in terms of construction, but even those good projects have had the effect of reinforcing segregation.

The southern Dallas CHODOs are looking at the proposed new housing policy, and of course what they see first is financial support being directed out of their turf. The reaction of some of the CHODO leadership, on view at a recent hearing on these issues at City Hall, has been to argue against some basic precepts of the new plan. Steering this important source of public support out of poor neighborhoods, some said, is another bitter nail in the coffin of the city’s most beleaguered neighborhoods.

That’s fair. That’s debate. That’s how we’re supposed to do things in a democracy. The Broadnax proposal, no matter how smart it may look at first blush, needs to stand up to honest challenge. Can’t argue with that.

That’s not what the airport thing is. The idea of building subsidized housing at an airport is focused on one airport only, Dallas Executive Airport in southwest Dallas, and on one agency of city government only, the city’s Department of Aviation.

Somebody thinks the aviation department offers an end-run around Broadnax. Aviation falls squarely within the city manager’s domain, but the department has always enjoyed a good deal of informal autonomy because it makes its own money, mainly from concessions, landing fees, rents and parking at Love Field.

It’s not just about getting out from under the thumb of the new regime. It’s a thumb in the new regime’s eye. It’s the City Hall Deep State telling the new city manager that people like him come and go but the Deep State is forever.

Because of its close ties to the airline industry, especially Southwest Airlines, the aviation department has always had powerful friends in its corner. Many view it as as a fiefdom apart and out from under the immediate thumb of City Hall.

The scheme to build affordable housing at Dallas Executive Airport, when it emerges more fully and gets fleshed out, will be a plot to build affordable housing apart from and out from under the thumb of the proposed new housing policy. Dallas Executive Airport will provide a haven for the CHODOs that want to keep doing what they’ve always done — getting money from the city to put new subsidized housing in already segregated areas.

It’s not just about getting out from under the thumb of the new regime. It’s a thumb in the new regime’s eye. It’s the City Hall Deep State telling the new city manager that people like him come and go but the Deep State is forever. Give the old patronage machine the time it needs, and it will find its way to water.

The idea of poor people living at the airport is only an opening move. Beneath it, pushing it along, is a rejection of the value of assimilation. Ahead of it lie decades more of racial segregation, rationalized and justified as empowerment.

Some people might even advise Broadnax to let this one slide. Let the southern Dallas CHODOs have a bite. Let them build affordable housing at a southern Dallas airport. It’ll keep them busy. Maybe it will keep them off the new regime’s back.

Of course, allowing this luridly stupid plan to go forward also spares the most important legacy of the old regime — the dual sets of rules, one north, one south. It’s always been that way in Dallas, part of the racial truce that defined the old regime at heart. But this would be the old truce with a new twist.

Under the original setup, before the Latino community was a big factor, the clear division in the city was between the old white oligarchy and the segregated black community. Justice, education, economic development: All of it was one way south of the line, another way north, based on race. Guess which side had the money.

If the Deep State stands and the old southern Dallas leadership is allowed to find a way around the new regime at City Hall, then we will still have a north-south divide. But different things will be divided.

South of the new line, we will have yesterday. The legacy of racial segregation will be reinforced and fortified, emboldened by its ability to flout the policies of the new regime.

North of the line will be tomorrow. Hopefully, the Dallas of tomorrow will be a city where people really are empowered, not by the false comfort of separation but by the challenge of full citizenship, full access, full participation, full and equal right to everything that’s on the table to be won. And guess which side will have that money.

So, yes, we have a Deep State here, too. The difference for me is that I like the one in Washington.

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