City of Dallas employees accused in major theft ring

DALLAS — Dallas police have arrested several city employees and acquaintances around North Texas in a major theft ring involving those who maintain city-owned buildings and vehicles.

The department’s fugitive unit was sent out Thursday morning to make the arrests.

The Dallas Police Department’s Public Integrity Unit is in charge of the criminal investigation and found that the illegal activity took place between Jan. 1 and Aug. 19.

The following people were arrested:

Michael Golden for tampering with a government record Jeffrey Landsbaum for tampering with a government record and criminal trespass Alan Ramos for criminal trespass Nicholas Smith for criminal trespass Brian Mallett for organized criminal activity-theft and tampering with a government record Arturo Molinar for organized criminal activity-theft and tampering with a government record Hector Botello for organized criminal activity-theft and tampering with a government record

Sources said several employees with Dallas equipment and building services were stealing things like freon and air conditioning equipment then re-selling them at businesses they owned and profiting off the stolen items.

"But at the end of the day, we will not tolerate any of it and wherever we find it, there should be action and there should be immediate action, criminal action if necessary, and sending a signal that this will not be tolerated,” said Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway.

Some were allegedly falsifying time cards to reflect overtime hours they never worked.

“That’s frustrating but any organization of this size is going to have a bad apple or 2, and you have to have systems in place to weed them out,” said Councilman Phillip Kingston.

Dallas police said the ring had been operating from January 1 of this year until mid-August. The ring also included some former employees.

The investigation began after an audit was done of city departments, sources said.

"This might not be the only area, but this is a signal a very strong signal. Straighten up. We are being looked at and when it is found something will be done about it,” said Caraway.

At this time, police are not saying exactly how much was stolen and what the cost has been to taxpayers, but sources said it was a significant amount and the investigation is ongoing.

© 2017 WFAA-TV

Source Article

How can Texas end its bilingual teacher shortage? UNT-Dallas has an answer

Staff Photographer

One in five kids struggles with English in the state’s public schools, and they don’t have nearly enough teachers to help them all.

So the University of North Texas at Dallas is investing millions to build a bilingual teacher “superhighway” to train more of these badly needed educators through its Emerging Teachers Institute.

The institute is recruiting aggressively through grass-roots campaigns and now offers an accelerated pathway to a degree for some students.

That’s gotten the attention of Luis Borja, a Sunset High School freshman who already knows he wants to be a bilingual teacher. At just 15 years old, Luis recently attended a symposium organized by UNT-Dallas where he learned about a young Oak Cliff community activist who taught third grade at his old elementary school.

Luis can see himself doing the same. Growing up, he was frustrated for classmates who struggled to learn because there weren’t enough teachers who could speak to them in their native Spanish.

“Someone has to be the leader to help them get on their feet,” he said. “In elementary, I saw how some couldn’t communicate and had trouble speaking. I felt bad for them. How come there was no one to help them? How come no one could step up and be a leader for them?”

Luis is now on what educators hope will be a fast track for him to be that leader. Sunset’s new collegiate academy includes a focus on bilingual education that allows students to earn an associate’s degree from Mountain View College by the time they graduate high school. They can then seamlessly transfer to UNT-Dallas to earn a teaching certification.

Texas has 1 million students who struggle with English. Even as the number of kids needing assistance has grown, the pool of qualified bilingual teachers has been shrinking sharply.

In 2009, Texas had 24,500 bilingual or English as a second language teachers. That’s one for every 30 kids who needed them.

But last school year, the state had 21,144 such educators, or one for every 48 students who struggle with English.

The biggest challenge in finding bilingual teachers often isn’t pay, but getting would-be teachers interested in the profession. That’s where UNT-Dallas wants to start.

John Gasko, dean of UNT-Dallas’ Emerging Teacher Institute, said the goal is to get local students hooked on teaching early and keep them engaged.

“Bilingual education is an art form that requires a lot of skills,” he said. “It’s not just about language but about being relatable and understanding what your students are going through. Today’s middle school and high school kids here know what that means.”

The university’s innovative marketing includes developing an anime-style comic about a heroine who’s a teacher by day and superhero by night. The series — by popular local artist Hector Rodriguez, who is also a bilingual education teacher — aims to show how teachers help solve social issues affecting neighborhoods.

The aggressive recruiting campaign relies on nonprofits, church groups and volunteers to talk to families and teens about opportunities in bilingual education.

Florencia Velasco Fortner, president and CEO of The Concilio, said her nonprofit works with Spanish-speaking families dealing with health and education issues and sees first-hand their struggles to communicate in schools.

Members of the community group have visited shops along Jefferson Boulevard to talk to owners and patrons about encouraging kids to seek teaching as a career and return to their neighborhoods to work one day.

Competition for qualified bilingual teachers is so fierce that many are poached by recruiters from across the country who swoop into Texas to tap the state’s talent pool.

That means some school districts turn to Spain or other countries for bilingual teachers. But they may not be sensitive to the immigration or cultural challenges that the Latinos who grew up in Texas face. Those students who need bilingual education primarily come from families of Mexican or Central American descent.

“When you come up through the system here, you’re not leaving it up to chance that they will understand,” she said. “They’ve seen it or experienced it first hand.”

So far, UNT-Dallas has raised more about $2 million to build up the bilingual education program and make it as affordable as possible. H-E-B grocery store magnate Charles Butt made a donation that will allow some aspiring teachers to get full scholarships when transferring from community colleges.

UNT-Dallas’ efforts are part of amped-up efforts across the area to train more bilingual teachers.

Grand Prairie ISD has partnered with the University of Texas at Arlington to offer high school juniors and seniors dual-credit opportunities that also put them on an accelerated path toward becoming bilingual teachers.

And just this month, Dallas County Community College District officials approved an agreement that will let students take teaching courses from Texas A&M University-Commerce at the El Centro College campus in downtown Dallas. The plan is to eventually offer bilingual education and Spanish education certifications.

The amped-up efforts are essential to Texas, said UNT-Dallas’ Gasko. Many of the state’s largest school districts need about 300 new bilingual teachers each year, he said.

And since bilingual teachers tend to have their pick of job opportunities — with many districts offering up to $10,000 in stipends or signing bonuses to recruit them — getting them to teach in their neighborhood schools is a challenge.

That’s why helping students such as Luis get on the path toward certification more quickly — by repeatedly offering training and residencies at their local campuses — is key to keeping them engaged.

“We’re doubling down on these kids by honoring not only their language culture but investing in them so that they’ll be the ones leading their community,” Gasko said.

Source Article

North End Dallas: Tips for Finding a Moving Service

A good moving service can help you when you are moving. They have employees who know how to properly pack your belongings and they are good at moving delicate items.

However, it is hard to find the right moving service in North End Dallas. A good moving service has a good reputation, has been helping people move for several years, and the workers behave professionally when they are helping you move.

Here are the best tips for finding a good moving service.

1 – Reputation

Check the reputation of the moving service you want to hire. A good moving service has a good reputation. It has been helping people move for several years and a lot of people love the moving service. In fact, if you read their reviews online, you will find that they have good reviews only.

2 – Experience

The best moving services in North End Dallas have been helping people for several years. They are experienced so the workers know how to pack your belongings properly. They have the best trucks and they store your fragile items safely. You won’t have to worry about losing some of your items when they are being moved. Avoid new moving services because they do not have enough experience.

3 – The Cost

Hire a moving service that you can afford. The good thing is that there are so many moving services in North End Dallas. Ask them for bids. Choose the best bids, but make sure that the moving service is right for the job. Avoid very cheap bids because the service may not be right for this job.

You now know how to find a good moving service in North End Dallas. Hire reputable moving service that has been in this business for a long time.

A one-two punch: Dallas must end housing segregation to reduce chronic poverty

Staff Photographer

Dallas is a city divided by bad housing policies. By intent or default, city policies encourage affordable housing in southern Dallas and market-rate housing in much of the rest of the city. That has resulted in concentrated, generational poverty in predominantly African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods south of the Trinity River.

Bottom line: Dallas will not address chronic poverty until it comes to grips with how housing policies have divided this city along racial and income lines.

In a new report, Mike Koprowski, executive director of Opportunity Dallas, a newly formed research and advocacy organization, echoes that conclusion. Dallas, he says, will remain unequal and become increasingly poorer until the entire community embraces a comprehensive housing plan. The plan needs to provide minority residents near the poverty line with the economic mobility that comes with living closer to “high-opportunity areas” in predominantly white and wealthier neighborhoods.

Those are tough words from the former chief innovation officer at the Dallas Independent School District, but the community needs to heed them. From our work on the Bridging Dallas’ North-South Gap and Finding Lifelines for the Working Poor projects, this editorial board has heard over and over again about the need to link low-income workers in high-poverty and minority neighborhoods with jobs, and their children with educational opportunities, that don’t exist where they live now.

African-American and Hispanic families, many of them of low-income, are concentrated in the neighborhoods in Dallas that have the fewest commercial and city services, the worst transportation and the worst schools.

Is it surprising that Dallas has the dubious distinction of having the highest neighborhood inequity of any city with more than 250,000 residents? Or a poverty rate that has increased 42 percent over the past 15 years? Children who grow up in poverty and attend poor schools are likely to become part of yet another cycle of generational poverty and massive neighborhood economic inequality.

To reduce poverty and improve economic mobility, this community must encourage more mixed-income neighborhoods and progressive housing policies to increase minority residents’ access to better opportunities. But this can’t be accomplished without a sea change in the way real estate developers, nonprofits, fair housing advocates, neighborhood associations and urban planners think about how racially divided housing patterns affect economic mobility.

And that’s where Opportunity Dallas can make a difference in driving this discussion forward by speaking truth to power.

The group has a host of smart proposals. Here are the most promising places to start:

Increase access to high-opportunity areas with federal housing vouchers

Research shows that low-income children who moved to a higher-income neighborhood before age 13 were more likely to attend college, get married, have children with a father present in the home, and live in better neighborhoods as an adult; they were less likely to be on government assistance.

Halt discrimination in rental vouchers

Dallas landlords routinely refuse to rent to voucher holders, even if the voucher covers the rent. Consequently, about 60 percent of vouchers are virtually worthless. And about 90 percent of those affected are people of color, most of them African-American. Ironically, some landlords accept the vouchers in low-income neighborhoods and reject them in wealthier neighborhoods, which perpetuates housing segregation.

Increase the supply and availability of mixed-income housing citywide

Dallas needs to develop city policies to encourage private-sector developers to build racially diverse mixed-income housing. This includes developing an ordinance to help people in gentrifying neighborhoods from being forced out of their communities. How? It could be accomplished through preservation districts, better home repair assistance, or using a portion of Tax Increment Financing district revenue to construct affordable housing and tax abatement for longtime residents.

Revitalize low-income neighborhoods

The city needs to make better use of its land bank program and develop a comprehensive housing policy and market analysis that considers the impact of development decisions on housing choices, employment and educational opportunities. Southern Dallas contains 60 percent of the city’s land mass but only 15 percent of the city’s property tax base, meaning that this is a growth opportunity. To its credit, the city manager’s office is formulating a market analysis to better understand this problem.

Flawed housing decisions that have divided this community by race and income must end. Once that changes, the entire city stands to gain.

Source Article

Dallas Prosecutor Fired After Clash With Uber Driver: Listen

DALLAS, TX — A Dallas County assistant district attorney was fired Monday after an Uber driver alleged that she berated him while riding in his car.

Shaun Platt, the driver, posted an audio recording of the incident to his Facebook and Reddit accounts in which Jody Warner, the 32-year-old now-former ADA, can be heard belittling the driver and calling him names.

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson announced Monday in a press release that she had decided to terminate Warner, saying, "her behavior is contrary to this office’s core principle of integrity, and it will not be tolerated."

In a press conference Tuesday, attorney Peter Schulte and Judge Elizabeth Davis Frizell came to Warner’s defense, saying that Johnson acted too abruptly in deciding to fire Warner.

"The reason for our conference today is to make sure that you understand that there are two sides to every story," Frizell said. "It’s concerning to me what I have heard about this particular case, because I don’t believe the current District Attorney’s office has all the facts. and I do believe if they had all the facts from both sides, not just from one side, a different decision would have been made in this particular case as to whether or not to terminate Miss Warner."


Warner addressed reporters at the conference, apologizing for her behavior.

"I just want to apologize for my language — to the district attorney’s office — for embarrassing the office that I love very much and respect very much. I embarrassed my family, I embarrassed myself. That is not who I am," Warner said.

Warner admitted she had been drinking at an East Dallas pub before Platt picked her up. She told reporters she began to feel "uncomfortable with the route that he had been taking" when the driver deviated from the directions his GPS gave him to get to her home. Warner, who has worked with sexual assault victims, said she is always more "on edge."

Platt told the Dallas Morning News Warner berated him before he pulled the car over, ended the ride and asked her to leave the car. About five minutes after he pulled the car over, Warner called the police, The News reported.

Platt said before he began recording the incident, Warner threatened that Platt was "never going to work again" and that she "knows people." Platt told The News that she said, "Who are they going to believe? I’m a district attorney."

He then began recording the incident. In the recording, which contains graphic language, Warner can be heard berating Platt and calling him names like "idiot" and "retard."

Read the transcript from an excerpt of the exchange:

Warner: "Oh my god you’re an idiot. You are a legitimate retard. What a joke. I want to go home so badly, but you’re so stupid I want the cops to come so that they can f*ck you up. That’s what I want. Like, you’re such an idiot. I want the cops to come."Platt: "Ma’am, please."Warner: "Dude, you’re all — everything is being recorded. I’m an assistant district attorney, so shut the f*ck up. You had the opportunity to take me home. I think this might be kidnapping right now, actually."Platt: "It’s not kidnapping, ma’am. You’re free to leave."Warner: "It is, ’cause there was an Uber — I’m pretty sure our destination — and you have not taken me to the destination. You’re holding me here. So why don’t you take me to that g*ddamn destination?"Platt: "Ma’am, please leave my vehicle."Warner: "Why don’t you take me to that destination?"Platt: "Ma’am, exit my vehicle please."Warner: "So you’re kidnapping me?"Platt: "I’m not kidnapping you."Warner: "Do you know where my — I had — so like — you know when you picked me up? I gave you a destination; you’re not taking me there. Under the law, it’s recklessly keeping me from where I was going, and you haven’t done that. So you’e kidnapping me right now. You’re committing a third to a first degree felony. So do you want to take me home? Or do you want to stay here? We can hang out; I’m not scared. It’s cool. I was trying to be nice to you. Do you want to take me home, or do you want to — it’s weird. [Unintelligible speaking]."

Platt told The News that a police officer showed up after Platt switched off the recording and took Warner aside. Platt told The News, "She said ‘I’m the DA,’ and she said [to the cop], ‘Can I speak with you?’"

The officer spoke with Warner, then asked Platt, "You good?" Platt replied "I guess so," but told The News, "I should have said, ‘No, I’m not good.’ It was intimidating. I was intimidated."

Warner left with the officer.

Platt said he reported the incident to Uber, who assured him the app would not match him up with Warner again. Platt told The News he forgives her for her behavior.

"I’m sure she’s a good person when she’s sober," he said.

Listen to the recording here (graphic language):

Image via YouTube, Dallas Morning News

Source Article

Late Dallas mayor’s 107-year-old home to be reborn as North Oak Cliff eatery

This time next year, give or take, there will be a new restaurant in a very old North Oak Cliff home — a home built in 1910 by the former Chief Justice of Dallas’ 5th Court of Appeals who would become Dallas’ mayor during the Texas Centennial of 1936. For that, you can thank the Dallas City Council and the developer for which several council members had nothing but kind words when blessing his project — and its parking requirements — at the end of Wednesday’s council meeting.

Developer Jim Lake, who helped reshape and remake the Bishop Arts District and the Cedars, bought the residence and the archives of Mayor George Sergeant six years ago from the family’s longtime caretaker. And it was always Lake’s intention to convert the house into a restaurant — because, as he told the council, he needed to “make a reasonable return on our investment.”

But there was one significant hang-up: parking requirements.

City regulations, and the plan commission, said because of the way the property’s zoned for mixed-use, Lake needed 30 parking spaces before he could get the OK to convert the home into an eatery — or, one space per 125 square feet of restaurant floor area. But, Lake has long argued, there isn’t enough room around the historic house to accommodate that many cars — especially given the crush of development devouring that part of Oak Cliff near Bishop Arts at Zang and W. Davis Street.

“We were trying to squeeze them in there,” Lake said. “But it didn’t work.”

Nearby residents, complaining of the congestion in their single-family neighborhood off W. Neely Street, came to council Wednesday to reiterate their demands for more parking spaces, not fewer. And in documents sent to the council, city staff said it was “understanding and sensitive” to their concerns.

However, staff said Lake could make do with 22 spots, especially given the property’s proximity to the Oak Cliff-to-downtown free streetcar line. Documents prepared for Wednesday’s meeting said that was the only option left for a tumbledown house whose sole salvation was the restaurant being proposed by the developer.

“In order to revitalize the building and allow for the creation of a high density business,” staff told council, “a parking reduction can be the trade-off for preserving and updating a structure that is important to the history of the City of Dallas.”

In the end, the council sided with city staff — and Lake. The home of The Centennial Mayor will be spared.

“I think this building is significant to the character of Oak Cliff and our heritage,” said North Oak Cliff’s council member Scott Griggs. He lauded Lake as “someone willing to make this investment as a passion project.”

The council was ultimately faced with two choices: approve the parking and give the house a shot at a second life — “the hallmark of the entire Bishop Arts District,” Griggs said — or vote no and allow Sergeant’s home to continue to rot. Lake, whose investment is surrounded by new multi-family construction, even considered moving the house out of the city limits.

“We’ve been offered three times what we paid for that property,” Lake said in an interview. “We could have sold it a long time ago. If the council had voted no, we would have relocated the house to another site — somewhere. And then we would have sold the site.”

And if Lake had parted with the property, the next developer could have built, by right, a three-story mixed-use structure that would have brought even more traffic into the already overwhelmed neighborhood.

The house, which Lake said Wednesday had been abused over the years by the homeless and vandals, has long been on preservationists’ most-endangered lists. Lake said after the council meeting Wednesday that renovations will begin within the next 60 days following the unanimous vote in favor of lowering the parking needs.

“This particular project is historically significant and has so much history behind it,” Lake said, “we thought all the citizens of North Oak Cliff and Dallas should come visit.”

Its name, for now, will be The Mayor’s House Restaurant.

Source Article

Cowboys push through bizarre plays to topple Chiefs

Check out the top moments that helped define the outcomes of Sunday’s NFL matchups.


(Photo: Tim Heitman, USA TODAY Sports)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Just two seconds were on the clock before halftime when the Kansas City Chiefs dialed up the perfect play to foil Rod Marinelli’s prevent defense.

With eight Dallas Cowboys defenders stationed inside their own 10-yard line — looking for a Hail Mary — Alex Smith took the snap from Kansas City’s 44-yard line and flipped a pass over the middle for Tyreek Hill.

Tyrone Crawford, the Dallas defensive end, was assured as he turned back to watch the play develop.

“Oh, man, we’ve got this,” Crawford remembered thinking, flashing back in the boisterous locker room following the 28-17 victory.

“All those guys are down there.”

No matter.

Hill, the lightning-fast receiver who doubles as one of the NFL’s most dangerous returners, had a convoy of blockers in his midst. He went into full punt-return mode, darting and dashing to a stunning, 56-yard touchdown.

Crawford’s next thought: “Are you kidding me?”

It was that kind of day at JerryWorld. Strange things happened.

The much-maligned Dallas defense essentially kept one of the NFL’s highest-scoring offense in check, regaining its groove after the mid-game lapse — Dallas gave up a 62-yard TD drive to start the second half to fall behind for the only time in the entire game, 17-14 — to pass a major test.

If you saw this coming, you should hang out with Tony Romo, Nostradamus in a broadcast booth.

But there they were. This rebuilt defense, applying heat from the front with the likes of Crawford, NFL sack leader DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving and rookie Taco Charlton. Kareem Hunt, the NFL’s rushing leader, ran for just 37 yards. Kansas City was 4-for-11 on third-down conversions. Smith, the NFL’s highest-ranked passer, threw his first interception of the season.

If Dallas (5-3) is going to stay in the thick of the race, this is the type of defense it will need.

“I think we’re starting to get close to the type of defense we want to be,” linebacker Sean Lee said.

More tests await: Next up, Atlanta. Sure, the Falcons are sputtering, but they’ll be at home. Maybe reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Co. are poised for a flashback. Then Philadelphia comes to North Texas. The Eagles, the hottest operation in the NFL, put up 51 points against the Denver Broncos’ top-ranked defense Sunday.

No, this road will not get any easier for the Cowboys — especially if they’re without Ezekiel Elliott. Dallas had its star running back in the mix Sunday, after his six-game suspension was put back on hold by an administrative stay ruling Friday — another entry into the saga that is Elliott legally fighting the NFL’s contention that he violated the league’s domestic violence policy. But despite limited practice time, he rushed for 93 yards on 27 carries, with a touchdown, to provide his typical foundation for the Dallas offense.

But with his on-again, off-again suspension drama flowing with the rulings from the four courts that have touched his case since the suspension came down in August — prompting Fox analyst Terry Bradshaw to crack on a studio show that he’s been the NFL’s comeback player of the year three times over this season — there’s a different layer of inspiration with Elliott’s presence.

When Elliott returned Friday, wideout Dez Bryant reports, “He got a standing ovation when he walked into the meeting room.”

Still, while hoping the suspension is nullified, the Cowboys have all along braced themselves for the possibility that Elliott’s appeals will be exhausted and he’ll sit for six games. The deeper this uncertainty goes into the season, the closer the possibility that Elliott will miss some, if not all of the stretch run in December that could determine a playoff berth.

With that scenario in the air, the Cowboys need to prove they can win games like they did Sunday, when the defense dominated and Dak Prescott played splendidly. Prescott passed for an efficient 249 yards (2 TDs, 0 INTs, 106.8 rating) and had three timely runs (27 yards) that included a 10-yard TD scramble and two scampers for first downs.

Also, while Bryant caught six passes for 73 yards, it was Terrance Williams with the 100-yard game (9 catches, 141 yards) and Cole Beasley with a pair of TD catches.

All of that balance on offense, all-around defensive effort, a special teams lockdown. A complete game, to run the winning streak to four games. If they ultimately lose Elliott, is this the formula for the Cowboys to keep winning?

“No, we won with him,” Bryant pointed out. “We need him.”

Having Elliott, Bryant added, creates the matchups for everyone else. Yet not having him might represent the adversity just around the corner.

After the crazy touchdown before the half — some serious in-game adversity — the Cowboys demonstrated a certain resilience.

“Let it go, we can’t change it,” Crawford said of the mindset. “We just have to keep playing.”

They’d better keep that mantra in mind.


PHOTOS: Best of NFL Week 9

Source Article

20 Years: FC Dallas Homegrown Players

Tailyr Irvine/Staff Photographer FILE – FC Dallas forward Jesus Ferreira (27, left), age 16, scores his first-ever goal — making him the youngest player in team history to score — during a game between FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake at Toyota Stadium in Frisco on June 3, 2017. (Tailyr Irvine/The Dallas Morning News)

As we continue our celebration of 3rd Degree’s 20th birthday, today we’re going to look back at 20 years of Homegrown Players signed by FC Dallas.

Since the creation of the Homegrown Player signing category in 2008, FCD has developed a reputation as having one of, if not the, best academies in MLS. Dan Hunt has stated the dream of an entire starting 11 of Homegrowns.

20 players have been signed by the Huntsmen from their Academy system, that’s a remarkable feat. While some have been massive success, not all of them have made it in MLS.

Let’s take a look back at each of them in order of their signing.

20 Homegrown Players

1. Bryan Leyva – (Chihuahua, Mexico) Attacking midfielder. First came on the soccer radar when as a kid he was invited to train with the Mexican National Team when they visited Dallas. After joining the FCD Academy in 2008, he became the first Academy player signed in 2009 at the age of 17. Leyva played for Mexico in the FIFA U17 World Cup in Nigeria in 2009. Made 9 appearances for FCD before being let go at the end of 2012. Leyva has been held back by injury and his size (5’6") and his career has never reached the heights imagined. Invited by FC Dallas Head Coach Oscar Pareja to FCD spring camp once or twice, he was last seen playing for Dallas City FC in the NPSL.

2. Victor Ulloa – (Wylie, Texas) Holding midfielder. Singed by FCD in 2010 for the 2011 season. Released by the club after the 2013 season but immediately brought back by Pareja for 2014. Including regular season and playoffs he has made 125 appearances for the club. In many ways he represents everything the FCD Academy and FC Dallas is in the Pareja era.

3. Ruben Luna – (Ciudad Victoria, Mexico) Forward. Luna has an amazing youth career. Named U16 Developmental Academy Player of the Year in 2009 (38 goals in 27 games) and U18 DA Best XI in 2010. Made one appearance with Mexico U20s. Signed with FCD the same day as Ulloa and Hernandez. Played 27 games for FC Dallas, scoring 3 goals, before being released at the end of 2012. During his time at FCD he scored 2 goals in a CONCACAF Champions League game and led the reserve league in scoring with 10 goals in 9 games in 2011. In 2013 led the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL to their first ever championship. Played with Inter Playa del Carmen in the Mexican 2nd division in 2014 and 2015. Currently plays for Rio Grande Valley FC Toros in the USL scoring 11 goals in 35 games in his time there.

4. Moises Hernandez – (Seagoville, Texas) Outside Back. Signed with Luna and Ulloa in 2010. Made 33 appearances for FC Dallas before his release at the end of 2016. Was sent on loans to Comunicaciones (Guatamala), Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica), and Rayo OKC (NASL) during his FCD days. Returned to Comunicaciones for the 2017 season making 26 appearances. Represented USA at the U20 level and Guatemala with 15 caps on the senior level.

5. Jonathan Top – (Fort Worth, Texas) Forward. Signed with FC Dallas in 2011, made 4 appearances. Loaned to Arizona United in 2014, joined them in 2015 after release by Dallas. Joined Comunicaciones in 2016 but is unaffiliated in 2017. A former US U20, Top earned one cap with Guatemala back in 2015.

6. Richard Sanchez – (Mission Hills, California) Goalkeeper. Sanchez played with Texas FC and Atletico Madrid’s U16s before joining the FCD Academy. Sanchez has represented Mexico at the U17, U20, and U21 levels; winning the FIFA U17 World Cup in 2011 (4-0-0), played in FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey (1-3-0, 1.25 GAA), and won the CONCACAF U20 Championship in 2013 (5-0-0, 0.20 GAA). After a loan stint with Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Sanchez was sold by FCD to Tigres UANL for a reported $1 million. Loaned by Tigres back to FCD then to Tampico Madero for two seasons. Released by Tigres this summer, rumors floated of a return to FC Dallas since the club was in need of a keeper. Instead Sanchez signed with MLS and was taken by the Chicago Fire via the MLS Allocation process.

7. Bradlee Baladez – (Mesquite, Texas) Forward. The slightly rarer Homegrown Player who played in College first. Part of the FCD Academy team that went to the USSDA Finals in 2009 and 2010, Baladez played three seasons at the University of South Carolina. Signed as a Homegrown prior to the 2013 MLS season. Made one appearance for FCD while spending most of 2013 on loan to Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Released by FCD at the end of 2013, Baladez played with Arizona United in 2014 and Carolina Railhawks in 2015. Current whereabouts unknown.

8. London Woodbury – (McKinney, Texas) Outside Back. Another college homegrown player. A former US U18, won a gold medal at the Australian International Olympic festival in 2008. FCD Academy in 2008-2009, played college soccer for Maryland where he was a 3rd Team NSCAA All-American in 2012. Played PDL with the Baltimore Bays that year. Signed to a Homegrown deal January 2013 and played one season with FC Dallas (8 games). Released in early 2014, played with Arizona United that year. In 2015 Signed by the New England Revolution for whom he still plays, making 43 appearances in 3 seasons.

9. Coy Craft – (Abingdon, Virginia) Forward, Midfielder. Joined FCD Academy in 2011 and won 5 consecutive USSDA Texas/Frontier Division titles. Signed a homegrown deal in 2014 and has made 6 appearances with FC Dallas. On loan to OKC Energy in 2016. A US U18 and U20, won the 2017 CONCACAF U20 Championship. Still plays with FC Dallas.

10. Kellyn Acosta – (Plano, Texas) Holding Midfielder. Born 13 miles from Toyota Stadium. Joined the FC Dallas Academy in 2009 and named USSDA Central Conference Player of the Year in 2011-12. Sign with FC Dallas in late 2013. Although he has represented the US at the U17, U18, U20, U23 and senior level he could have chosen to play for Japan as his father was born there. Played in the 2011 FIFA U17 World Cup and was the youngest member of the US team at the 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup. Has made 110 regular season and playoff appearances for FC Dallas. Arguably the best player produced by the FCD Academy to date.

11. Jesse Gonzalez – (Edenton, NC) Goalkeeper. Grew up in Dallas where he played for CD Independiente prior to joining the FCD Academy in 2011. Signed with FC Dallas in March of 2013. Loaned to Pittsburgh Riverhounds in 2015 but only played one game. Became a starter for FCD in the final run of 2015 and has made 50 starts in goal total for Los Toros. Led all MLS goalkeepers with a 0.91 gaa in 2015. Played for Mexico at U18, U20, and U23 level, started for El Tri at the 2015 CONCACAF U20 Championships and the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup. In 2017 opted to play for USA at the senior level as part of the Gold Cup and is now cap tied to them.

12. Danny Garcia – (Dallas, Texas) Midfielder. Joined FCD Academy in 2012 helping them win the U18 DA title that year. Played one season at UNC and was named ACC Freshman of the Year when he scored 4 goals and 6 assists. Signed with FC Dallas in 2013. Loaned to Arizona United in 2015. Released at the end of 2015. In 2016 played with San Antonio FC, which is owned by the Spurs. A former US U18 and U20 including the 2013 CONCACAF U20 Championship and the 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup. Unattached in 2017.

13. Alex Zendejas – (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico or El Paso, Texas) Winger. A.k.a. Alejandro Zendejas Saavedra. Born in El Paso, until he was sold by FC Dallas to Chivas after which they listed him as being born in Juarez (because of the Chivas fielding only Mexican players thing). Joined FCD Academy in 2012 and signed with FC Dallas in late 2014 making him the first Homegrown signed from an FCD affiliate, FC Dallas El Paso. Made 8 appearances with FCD over 2 seasons before being sold for $500,000. A former US U15 and U17, as part of signing for Chivas, Zendejas says he will only play for Mexico from now on. Has played 4 games for the Mexico U21s as of this writing. Currently on loan to Zacatepec

14. Aaron Guillen – (Chihuahua, Mexico) Defender. Moved to El Paso when he was 8. FC Dallas Academy 2011 and 2012, joined from El Paso affiliate. Won the 2012 U18 DA National Championship with FCD. Played four years of college ball at Florida Gulf Coast University where he was named 2015 Atlantic Sun Conference Defender of the Year as a senior. Signed homegrown deal with Dallas prior to 2016 season. Played PDL with Austin Aztex in 2013. Loaned to Tulsa Roughnecks in 2017 for a few games. Has made 8 appearances with FC Dallas and is still with the club.

15. Reggie Cannon – (Chicago, Illinois) Right Back. Played recreational level soccer with Predators prior to joining the FCD Academy for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Played one season at UCLA. Signed a homegrown deal prior to 2017 season. A former US U17 and U19. Has made one start for FCD. Remains with FC Dallas.

16. Paxton Pomykal – (Lewisville, Texas) Midfielder. FC Dallas Academy 2014 to 2016 winning national championships at U16 and U18. Signed as a homegrown player in September of 2016. Has made two appearance with FCD and remains with the club. A former US U18 and U19. At his request he currently wears FCD’s #19 dedicated to the memory of Bobby Rhine and assigned only to homegrown players.

17. Jesus Ferreira – (Santa Marta, Colombia) Forward. The son of former FC Dallas midfielder and 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira. An FCD Academy player from 2009 to 2016, Ferreira signed his homegrown deal at age 15. Scored a goal in his professional debut becoming the 2nd youngest player to score in MLS history. He’s been called into a US U17 team but has yet to play in an official game.

18. Bryan Reynolds – (Fort Worth, Texas) Winger. As an FCD Academy player won the 2015-16 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Championship. The youngest player ever signed as a homegrown by FC Dallas. His father Keith played at SMU under Schellus Hyndman and was a US Youth International. Reynolds’ younger brother is also with the FCD Academy. Has yet to make his pro debut spending most of 2017 with the US U17s in preparation for the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup.

19. Carlos Avilez – (Dallas, Texas) Goalkeeper. Not technically a Homegrown Player as he was signed to a "USL affiliate" deal through the club relationship with OKC Energy. He’s essentially a training player and isn’t on FCD’s senior team roster. A player signed for FCD’s U23 USL team… that they don’t have. FCD Academy player since 2012, started for FCD’s 2016 USSDA Championship team. Remains contracted to FC Dallas.

20. Eduardo "Pollo" Cortes – (Zapopan, Mexico) Goalkeeper. Played three seasons with the FCD Academy, 2009 to 2011, starting in FCD’s first USSDA U18 Championship. Played four seasons at IUPUI from 2012 to 2015. Signed with St Louis FC in 2016 but did not play. Trialed with Indy Eleven in 2017. Not officially a homegrown player due to some roster technicality, but is on the FC Dallas roster in the supplemental section as their 3rd keeper.

What Else

"But wait," you say, "you said 20 years of homegrowns!"

True, I did.

But homegrowns have only exited since 2008. So let’s look back at what came before, Nike Project-40 and, as it’s called today, Generation adidas.

The Project-40 now Generation adidas program exists to sign "professional-ready players in the US developmental system not yet eligible for the MLS SuperDraft." The original idea being to allow MLS to compete with foreign clubs for young US kids and to help develop players for the US National team. Eligibility for US teams has been dropped as a qualifier for the program. Now the program signs up young talented players in this country of any nationality who aren’t homegrowns.

Importantly GA players don’t count against the MLS Salary cap. Since they are automatically professionals, they can’t ever play college soccer and thus a college scholarship is written into their contracts.

There is also a new Canadian Generation Adidas program, which will come into play late in this FC Dallas list of players.

Nike Project-40 players drafted or assigned to the Dallas Burn (1997-2005)

Juan Sastoque (1997) Midfielder. The Brooklyn native grew up in California and played one season for Cal State Northridge before joining DFW Toros in the USISL. Signed P40 and assigned to Dallas, Sastoque was sent on loan 5 times before being released in late 1998. Made 5 appearances for the Burn. He kicked around the mid-tier professional league for 10 years and is now a real estate agent in Allen, Texas.

Scott Vallow (1999) Goalkeeper. The Cally native played college soccer for Bowling Green State University before signing P-40 in 1999. Played for the Dallas Burn for only one season, most of it on loan to MLS’s P-40 USL team. In 2000 signed with Rochester Rhinos where he played most of his career. Vallow had short stints without playing with New England and Dallas before landing with Colorado for two seasons. In all he played 167 games with Rochester. He has been a professional soccer assistant coach since 2011 currently with the North Carolina Courage.

Eddie Johnson (2001) Forward. Arguably one of P-40s biggest success stories. Signed with MLS out of the US U17 residency program at IMG in Florida and drafted by the Burn. Scored 24 goals in 84 games for the Burn before being traded to Kansas City in a salary cap move. After leaving the Wizards at the end of ’07 he signed with Fulham in England who loaned him out to Cardiff City, Aris, and Preston North End. Johnson returned to MLS in 2012 with Seattle before playing the last 2 seasons of his career with DC United. A US U17, U20, U23, and senior international (19 goals in 63 caps) highlighted by the 2006 World Cup. Once famously said, "I don’t play video games. I’m a grown-ass man."

Miguel Saavedra (2001) Midfielder. He was kind of a mystery signing by P-40. Although he had been a fringe US U20, no one really knew why he was signed. Dallas selected him in the 6th round almost as a favor to MLS. The Burn loaned him to both Atlanta Silverbacks and Nashville Metros in 2001. Traded to Chicago along with Aleksey Korol for a 6th round pick in Jan 2002. Chicago that season loaned him to the Milwaukee Rampage. Waived in 2002 without playing a single MLS game he did appear in a 2002 CONCACAF Champions Cup game for the Fire. Current whereabouts unknown.

Jordan Stone (2002) Holding Midfielder. An Allen native, a US U17 and U20, Jordan signed P-40 in 2002 when he was selected by Dallas. He never reached his potential and retired after three seasons to attend college at Texas Tech. Stone has been a pastor at several churches since he retired.

Jason Thompson (2003) Forward. Garland native, played at Eastern Illinois from 2000 to 2002. As a freshman led the NCAA in scoring with 21 goals and was named MVC Newcomer of the Year. Injured in 2001, he rebounded in 2002 with 14 goals and 4 assists. Played with the US U23s that year and was signed P-40. Drafted by Dallas, Thompson tore his ACL with the U23s and missed the entire 2003 season. Traded in DC United in 2004 and was waived at the end of 2005. Completed his Doctor of Medicine at the UT School of Medicine in San Antonio and is currently an Orthopedic Surgery Resident there.

Clarence Goodson (2004) Center Back. Won the 1999 U17 National Championship with the Braddock Road Warhawks then played three years at Maryland. He also played in the offseason with Boulder Rapids Reserve, a U23 PDL team. Signing P-40 in 2004, Goodson was drafted by the Burn. He played 74 games in Dallas before being selected by the San Jose earthquakes in the 2007 expansion draft. Dallas had led left him exposed because Goodson wanted to sign in Europe, which he did with IK Start of Norway. In 2011, Goodson signed with Danish club Brøndby before returning to the Quakes in 2013 where he played till the end of 2016. Goodson is a US International having made 46 appearances with the US, including scoring in the 2009 Gold Cup semifinal against Honduras and being part of the 2010 World Cup squad. He also made one appearance on HGTV’s House Hunters International where he and his wife looked for an apartment in Copenhagen. Currently involved with the US Soccer Foundation and the effort to bring training fields to places in the US.

FC Dallas drafted Generation Adidas players (2005 to Current)

Drew Moor (2005) Defender. First started training with Dallas Burn as a teenager. One season at Furman and two at Indiana where he won back to back NCAA titles. 2004 PDL with Chicago Fire Premier. Drafted in ’05 by Dallas after signing Generation adidas. Played 123 games for Dallas before being traded to the Rapids for Schellas Hyndman’s favorite Ugo Ihemelu. Allowed to leave Colorado as a free agent, Moor signed for Toronto FC in 2016 where he still plays despite his heart arrhythmia diagnoses. A US U20, Moor has 5 caps for the senior US side. In 2011 he set the MLS record for consecutive games played by a field player with 68.

Dax McCarty (2006) Midfielder. US U17 residency then UNC for two seasons, along with PDL with Ajax Orlando Prospects. Signed GA and drafted by Dallas in 2006. Selected by Portland with their #1 expansion Draft pick at the end of the 2010 season he was immediately traded to DC United and then traded again midseason to New York Red Bulls. 169 games later he was once again traded, this time to Chicago where he still plays. A US U20 and U23, McCarty has 13 caps with the senior US side.

Blake Wagner (2006) Defender, Midfielder. Another IMG residency player, Wagner signed GA after playing in the 2005 FIFA U17 World Cup. Selected 18th overall by Dallas in 2006, he played 37 games for the Huntsmen before his contract expired at the end of 2009. In 2010 Wagner signed with Vancouver Whitecaps in the NASL. He was again signed by Vancouver, the MLS version, in 2011. In 2011 he signed with RSL, in 2012 with San Antonio (played 2 seasons), in 2014 with Tampa Bay Rowdies, and in 2015 with the Carolina Railhawks. In 2017 he became an assistant coach with Tampa Bay’s U23 team. Wagner was a US U17, U20, and U23.

Anthony Wallace (2007) Left Back, Holding Midfielder. Another IMG residency player signed GA and drafted by Dallas in 2007. Traded to Colorado in 2010 and taken by Portland in the 2010 expansion draft only to be immediately traded back to Colorado for allocation money. Wallace played with Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2014, New York Red Bulls in 2015, Jacksonville Armada in 2016, and OKC Energy in 2017. A former US U17 and U20, Wallace has one cap with the senior US team.

Fuad Ibrahim (2007) Forward. Born in Ethiopia but raised in Richfield, Minnesota. Yet another IMG residency kid. Signed GA and taken by Dallas in 2007. 0 games for Dallas before being traded to Toronto. After 26 games for Toronto over two seasons, Ibrahim did not play in 2011. He played with Minnesota Stars (future United) in 2012, then with AC Kajaani in Finland for two seasons, before re-joining Minnesota United in 2015 for one season. Current whereabouts unknown. A former US U17and U20, Ibrahim has 10 caps for Ethiopia at the senior level.

Eric Avila (2008) Forward, Midfielder. Another US residency kid, Avila played three seasons at USCB. Signed GA in 2008 he was drafted by Dallas 19th overall. In later 2011, FCD traded Avila to Toronto for Maicon Santos and an international roster spot. Since then Avila has played for Chivas USA (’12-’14), Santos Laguna (’15-’16), on loan with Orlando City (’15), with Tampa Bay Rowdies (’16), and is currently with Phoenix Rising FC. Avila is a former US U17 and U20.

Josh Lambo (2008) Goalkeeper, NFL Kicker. A former Chicago Magic youth player, Lambo was in US Residency when he signed GA. Drafted by FCD in 2008 he never played in an MLS game but did play in friendlies for the club. Missed second half of 2008 after breaking his jaw in a reserve game. Loaned to FC Tampa Bay in 2010. Waived at the end of 2011. He "retired" from soccer at 21. In the Fall of 2012, Lambo enrolled at Texas A&M where he became a kicker for the football team. In 2015, Lambo was signed as a free agent by the San Diego Charges where he kicked for two seasons and is now kicking with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lambo is a former US U17 and U20.

Brek Shea (2008) Defender, Midfielder. The College Station native played for Texans SC (the Houston club) before joining US Residency. Signed GA in 2008 and drafted 2nd overall by FC Dallas. 98 games and 19 goals later, Shea signed with Stoke City in the EPL. After loan stints with Barnsley and Birmingham City, Shea returned to MLS and Orlando City in 2015. Shea was traded to Vancouver prior to the 2017 season. A former US U17, U20, and U23, Shea has 34 caps with the senior US team.

Peri Marosevic (2009) Forward. Born in Bosnia prior to the Bosnian War, Marosevic and family moved to German and then Illinois to escape the conflict. After playing youth soccer for Rockford Raptors and Chicago Sockers, Marosevic played three seasons and Michigan as well as PDL ball with Chicago Fire Premier. Signing GA in 2009, he was selected by FC Dallas. After a loan to Austin Aztex in 2010, Marosevic asked for his release in 2011 and was granted it by FCD. He then signed with Toronto FC where he finished the season. He has since played two seasons for Junak Sinj in Croatia, two seasons for New York Cosmos, and in 2015 played for Michigan Bucks of the PDL. Marosevic is a former US U17, U18, and U20. He’s currently a Development Academy Coordinator at U.S. Soccer.

Andrew Wiedeman (2010) Forward. An NSCAA All-American at Cal, Wiedeman signed GA after his junior year and was drafted by FC Dallas 21st overall. He was traded to Toronto in 2012 as part of the Julian de Guzman deal. After three season with Toronto he signed with the Ottawa Fury where he played one year. In 2016 he was one of the first 11 signings made by USL expansion team FC Cincinnati where he still plays. Wiedeman is a former US U18.

Walker Zimmerman (2013) Center Back. Out of the Gwinnett Soccer Association academy team in Georgia, Zimmerman played two seasons at Furman before signing Generation adidas. Drafted by FC Dallas 7th overall, Zimmerman remains with the club today. He’s made 89 regular season appearances for Los Toros. Zimmerman is a former US U18, U20, and U23. He recently received his first US senior cap.

Adonijah Reid (2017) Forward. Last, but not least. One of the new Canadian Generation adidas signings, picked by FC Dallas 40th overall. Began playing soccer age 5 with Caledon SC, later joining ANB Futbol Academy. In 2015 with ANB Futbol scored 20 goals in 20 games in League 1 Ontario. Reid spent 2017 on a season long loan to Ottawa Fury where he made 12 appearances scoring 1 goal. Reid turned 18 in August and is, as they say, one for the future. Reid has participated in developmental camps for Canada’s U18s and U20s, both while he was 16, and is also eligible for Jamaica.


3rd Degree is an independent FC Dallas blog. Founded in 1997, 3rd Degree has been in partnership with the Dallas Morning News since 2012. You can always find us at and follow us on Twitter @3rdDegreeNet.

Source Article

D-Link renewal and reroute gives Dallas council members another excuse to complain about DART

Staff Photographer

A free downtown Dallas circulator bus will soon take a shorter, simpler route. That decision came only after a long, tortuous Dallas City Council discussion Wednesday.

Council members approved another year of the D-Link, which is meant to connect convention center visitors and downtown to central Dallas hotspots such as the Farmers Market, Deep Ellum and the Historic West End. But they took time first to vent about what they believe to be Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s shortcomings.

North Oak Cliff council member Scott Griggs said DART “is failing this city.” His western Dallas colleague Omar Narvaez said DART “has failed us.” Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano implored his colleagues to hold DART accountable, but still approve D-Link for another year.

City taxpayers, DART and Downtown Dallas, Inc., share the cost of operating the $1.6 million D-Link bus route. DART pays more than $1 million of the cost. For now, D-Link serves as a precursor to a new downtown streetcar that will connect existing streetcar lines in North Oak Cliff and Uptown.

Ridership on D-Link, which operates seven buses, has been meager. DART says about 300 people ride the bus on an average weekday and more than 400 ride on the weekends. But the pink-and-yellow buses, which pass by stops every 15 minutes on weekdays, can often be seen empty or near empty as they run through downtown streets.

Downtown Dallas, Inc., hopes the new route — which eliminates a trip through Ross Avenue in the West End and a foray into Uptown — will help increase ridership and efficiency. The new route begins in January. Kourtny Garrett, the group’s CEO and president, said the new route will help serve “most of the major entertainment areas downtown in a more simplified and user-friendly manner.”

Only council member Adam McGough voted against D-Link. McGough said he was excited for D-Link when it first began in 2013, but didn’t believe it has worked like it should. The city has too many other needs and D-Link is not the “highest, best use of city funds,” he said.

“I just have not seen this particular item be worth the funding we’re putting into it,” McGough said.

Several council members wanted D-Link or another free bus to come to their part of town. Garrett said she was open to expanding to Trinity Groves and welcomes other connections. But she said the city or private partners need to pitch in if they want to expand the service.

But other council members simply veered off topic and took turns beating up on DART. They said potential riders don’t feel safe and that they can’t get to work and that the city needs a new high-frequency, grid-based bus system. Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway even asked for new bushes instead of “dead grass” in his district. And Mayor Mike Rawlings didn’t slow his colleagues, waiting until afterward to note that the council had gone off topic too much.

DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said in response Wednesday that the agency is “continuing to work with the city on their concerns as we continue deploying the expanded and improved bus service in Dallas in the coming months.”

But the council members had been buoyed by a recent University of Texas at Arlington study that gave them data showing transit-dependent Dallas residents struggled to use DART efficiently to move around. Council members on Wednesday leveled a series of criticisms of DART’s bus service and rail expansion in the northern suburbs.

They also lauded the city’s new transportation director, who will start in two weeks, and City Manager T.C. Broadnax for creating the position. Sandy Greyson, who represents Far North Dallas, said she can’t wait for the director to start so the city can “become masters of our own fate for a change.” But she said the D-Link is at least one DART bus that is working properly.

“It’s doing what it was meant to do,” she said. “It’s a downtown circulator. And that’s what we were asking for, and that’s what has been provided.”

Source Article

North Texas Applies For Amazon’s Second Headquarters, But Details Remain Scarce

Fort Worth City Manager David Cooke discusses the North Texas bid for Amazon’s second headquarters at a regional chamber of commerce luncheon.

Amazon set off a big, public scramble when it announced last month it was looking for sites for a second North American headquarters.

It’s quite a prize: The e-commerce giant expects the new HQ to house up to 50,000 workers with salaries averaging $100,000, and it plans to spend billions of dollars building it. Thursday was the deadline to submit proposals, and North Texas has high hopes to land the company.

“I’m confident we’ve shared with Amazon all the things that have made this region a great place for corporate headquarters location,” Mike Rosa from the Dallas Regional Chamber said in a news release.

The proposal came with a video touting the region, apparently on the theme of “&” – as in “Amazon & DFW.” In the video, inspiring music plays over shots of iconic landmarks like Reunion Tower, the Fort Worth Stockyards, AT&T Stadium. People hold up signs with an ampersand and a handwritten word to describe North Texas.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price picked "&VIBRANT."

“I love D-FW because it’s vibrant,” Price says in the video. “If you can’t find it here, you can’t find it anywhere in the world.”

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings chose “&EASY” because, he tells the camera, “It’s easy. It’s a great place to live.”

Others point to innovation, acceptance, low cost of living, education and margaritas.

All of the hype leaves many questions

Officials are tight-lipped about the details of the Dallas-Fort Worth proposal. Economic development proposals are usually quiet affairs, but Amazon gives the competition for its second headquarters a bit of reality TV flair.

Competition is expected to be fierce among American cities, but Amazon won’t go just anywhere. The company said it wants a metro with more than a million people, an educated workforce, good schools and strong public transit.

The company’s also very interested in tax credits and other financial enticements, which critics have argued could leave cities on the hook for building infrastructure to host the massive development but not bringing in enough cash to pay for it all. It’s too early to know how much money North Texas is willing to throw at Amazon.

It’s also not clear how many potential sites that the Dallas-Fort Worth proposal contained. Communities across North Texas have been laying out the case for a host of locations.

In Dallas, those include Trinity Groves just west of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, north Oak Cliff, Deep Ellum and Exposition Park. In Fort Worth, leaders have said Panther Island, the massive project north of downtown, would be a great site for Amazon. And there’s been a push from throughout the Mid-Cities and cities in Collin County as well. Frisco even made its own video a month ago.

Making adjustments to fit the bill

Amazon also gave a fairly short timeframe – just six weeks – for metro areas to make a pitch for such a massive development. Fort Worth City Manager David Cooke says it’s forced cities across the region ask important questions about its competitiveness.

“How strong is your tech work force? How strong is your transit system?” Cooke said. “And so those are areas that we have to look at ourselves and say ‘Are there areas we need to be improving on both on the education side or the transit side?’”

On transit, Cooke says there’s room for improvement, especially on the Fort Worth side. But he says the region’s transit network is growing.

Brandom Gengelbach from the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce said he thinks the region’s actually doing pretty well.

“From a D-FW perspective, I would put our transit against everyone,” Gengelbach said.

Maybe not the big, big cities like New York or Chicago, he conceded, but Gengelbach said the region is competitive with smaller, big cities like Nashville or Cincinnati or Indianapolis.

“The big thing that we talked about in our RFP is we’re really at the cutting edge of transit moving forward,” Gengelbach said. “We’ve got Uber Elevate; we’ve got driverless cars being tested in Arlington. And we can work with Amazon. We can work with other companies really to drive the future of transit when it has to do with our region.”

Amazon hasn’t said much about its timeline. Gingelbach says the next step is finding out whether North Texas makes the shortlist to host the headquarters.

Source Article