Five stories that have North Texas talking: Dallas lawmaker calls on mayor to address gentrification; one Texan was hurt in Alexandria; Houston has an Erykah Badu Day, but Dallas doesn’t; and more.
State Rep. Eric Johnson lost his battle in the 85th Legislature to address gentrification in West Dallas, but he’s not done fighting. The Dallas Democrat sent a letter to Mayor Mike Rawlings challenging him to take the lead and offered three suggestions on how to begin.
Johnson, who grew up in West Dallas, introduced House Bill 2480, which, among other provisions, would have set aside a fixed percentage of affordable housing across the board and provide some property tax relief for existing residents. The bill was blocked from a key House vote and died.
- All four Texans on the Republican congressional baseball team were safe after Wednesday’s shooting. Zack Barth, a staff member of U.S. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Austin) was shot, but he’s expected to make a full recovery. U.S. Reps. Joe Barton, Kevin Brady, Mike Conaway and Williams were at the morning practice in Alexandria, Va. when a gunman started firing, the Texas Tribune reports. The shooting suspect was identified as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill. President Trump announced Hodgkinson died from his injuries. [The Texas Tribune]
- Charges have been dropped against Miss Black Texas 2016 in her East Texas arrest. Carmen Ponder, 23, was arrested on May 20 after allegedly evading arrest by Commerce Police Chief Kerry Crews. Ponder initially thought Crews was a white driver who allegedly made racist and sexist comments after a traffic-related dispute, WFAA-TV reports. Authorities later determined the confrontation in a Walmart parking lot between Ponder and an irate motorist involved a different white man. Crews was off-duty, in plainclothes and in the store when he learned of the dispute. [WFAA-TV]
- The NSA contractor accused of leaking a classified report on Russian election hacking has Texas roots. As Texas Monthly reports the U.S. Justice Department is accusing Reality Leigh Winner, who worked as a contractor for the National Security Agency, of giving classified documents about Russian hacking efforts in the 2016 election to the Intercept. She was denied bail Thursday after pleading not guilty to charges under the Espionage Act. The 25-year-old faces up to 10 years in prison. Read more about Winner, who grew up in Kingsville in South Texas. [Texas Monthly]
- So, Houston has an official Erykah Badu Day, but the singer’s hometown of Dallas does not. And a Dallas teenager helped make it happen. According to Central Track, Moriah Osley, 16, and her friend Rye’Ann Earls, 17, from Houston, reached out to the local government before Badu’s Houston concert on May 27. Not only did they pull it off, but also they wrote the text on the official city document. So, every May 27 going forward, Houstonians will recognized Erykah Badu — and if Osley and Earls can manage it, Feb. 26, 2018 (Badu’s 47th birthday) could be Dallas’ day. [Central Track]