It's much more convenient when he tries to make it a conspiracy headed by the Dallas Morning News. The attempt to cloud the real issues with childish name calling is something I would expect from a high-school newspaper.
And if the best he can do is refer to me as a "little hench guy," then I'll just keep responding with facts. For a so-called investigative reporter to use such a tone in such a serious issue makes him seems irrational and ridiculous. It's par for the course; the bully can't take a punch back.
To claim that a council member can't meet with a business owner "outside of the process" is one of the most ignorant comments I have heard about the zoning process. So businesses should just apply for zoning and never meet with council members? Such a process doesn't happen in his district or others. Ask your councilperson if they've ever met with a business owner before the case got voted on. In fact, he should ask his own councilperson that question. And in cases where a business lies near multiple district boundaries, the business will take the time to meet with all of them. It's perfectly acceptable and passes any ethics sniff test. Caraway was with the council member from that district at the time he was in front of Oak Cliff Metals.
What also is blatantly clear is that for someone that writes a political column as if he is a zoning expert, Jim Schutze has little actual knowledge of actual city zoning rules. Regardless of what citations they do or don't have, the fact remains that they are operating illegally and are too close to residential zoning to get a Specific Use Permit. This map proves it. The pictures show it. The City's zoning rules, to which I've linked below, does not allow it. Period. End of story. I guess this means he'll finally attend one of the hearings involving this case, since he hasn't been at any to date.)
So Jim Schutze writes another article with a negative slant about what's going on in Oak Cliff (He calls the area South Dallas, which it's not. It's Oak Cliff, which is inside Southern Dallas. But I digress). So what else is new? They had a bunch of lead-up blog posts over the last month acting like they had a bombshell on their hands. Not so much. Maybe he's auditioning to be in a movie version of the book to the right. Who knows.
For whatever reason, Jim Schutze has had an agenda regarding Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway for the last two years or so. I have talked about it from time to time this blog. He claims to be even-handed, but the truth is the last decent story he wrote involving the Caraways was in March of 2006. I only bring up this fact because he did. Moving on.
A lot of things are left out of this week's article in his paper, most of which is either by convenience, lack of investigation or both.
The truth is that Oak Cliff Metals is three blocks from the boundaries of District Four along Cedar Crest. District Four residents are the ones that drive by these properties every day.
While Schutze was busy interviewing the security guard for Oak Cliff Metals, did he cross the street and ask the owner of the barber shop about Oak Cliff Metals? No. Did he interview the pastor of the church directly across the street? No. They would've told you about Oak Cliff Metals being a bad neighbor for as long as they can remember.In fact, they were at the City Plan Commission hearing.
While he claims this is Dwaine's one-man crusade against the "fantastic" business that is Oak Cliff Metals, did he look at the minutes of the City Plan Commission during which multiple residents and business owners said that they were against the zoning application? No. Did he even attend the meeting that day? No. Did anyone at the Observer write about the issue on that day, despite it being a contentious and contested vote at the City Plan Commission? No.
Did he writer ever have a problem with council members in North of East Dallas rezoning entire areas or streets? No.
Did he miss the entire process undertaken by the City Council more than two years ago against metal theft and metal salvage yards, on which Dwaine was the lead? How many times was Oak Cliff Metals mentioned during that process as one of the most egregious of violators? Countless.
Even the owners of Gold Metals on South Lamar are willing to talk to the press about their business. Why does Oak Cliff Metals continue to hide?
Here are some facts about zoning in Dallas: A metal salvage facility must have a Specific Use Permit to operate (zoning rules), and even at that point can only have such a permit on land zoned Industrial Manufacturing. Such a business cannot exist 500 feet from residentially-zoned land. Oak Cliff Metals is less than 500 feet from such property. By that definition alone, the permit should not be granted.
Did Schutze mention anything about the fact that Oak Cliff Metals skirted the law by getting a CO for outside storage instead of their true use which is metal salvage? Did he mention that they currently do not have the Specific Use Permit needed to legally operate? Nope.
As mentioned by the Dallas Morning News two weeks ago:
City code enforcers warned Falcon Transit's owner about several potential infractions last year. "Violation confirmed" and "illegal land use" appear on one Sept. 27 code-enforcement report. A separate notice of violation, addressed to Mr. Smith, lists an invalid certificate of operation.
Did Schutze mention that in addition to their application for a Specific Use Permit, Oak Cliff Metals wants to take land zoned Community Retail along Cedar Crest and zone it Industrial Manufacturing? No. Then his story would be that much more meaningless. All facts conveniently left out of his article.
I openly wonder how Schutze writes articles bemoaning "ward politics," and then write an article about a councilman that has the supposed nerve of speaking out against a problem business that is blocks from his council district. So which one is it? Are you for or against so-called ward politics? You can't have it both ways.
Schutze mentions that he doesn't live on land zoned for industrial uses. Of course he doesn't; he lives in East Dallas where no such zoning exists on main corridors. Let's see how his neighbors feel if someone wants to take some of their best land on Live Oak or Gaston near his house that's zoned retail and make it industrial.
Why most of land that is zoned industrial is south of I-30 and not in his high-income neighborhood is a discussion for another day.
As I have mentioned before, they resent the fact that we are as educated about the process of improving our neighborhoods as any other area, and that we address problems. Oak Cliff Metals, Texas-by-Products, and others are on a long list of bad actors. Clean up takes time.
They use their paper for undercover political motives as well. I can't respect writers like Schutze because they have no goal; it's all about burning people with no real positive goal to bolster their efforts, while hiding behind the cloak of "good reporting."
Keep writing, keep lying, and keep hating. We'll keep cleaning up our neighborhoods.