GLBT Job Expo Returns To SMU

April 27, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Praveen Sathianathan
psathianat@smu.edu

In a move to bring diversity to the workplace, the Office of Diversity at SMU’s Cox School of Business is hosting the 2011 GLBT Job Expo.

The Job Expo, organized by the Resource Center Dallas and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, will be from 2 to 6 p.m. on April 27 in the ballroom of Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Free parking is available on Bishop Boulevard.

The expo, in its sixth year, gives LGBT jobseekers an opportunity to meet with gay-friendly employers, and to hone their skills in career-enhancing workshops such as resume writing, interviewing and networking.

For job seekers the expo offers them the chance to look for a better job, re-enter the workforce or look for that first job.

Although, the expo is open to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, Rafael McDonnell, strategic communications and programs manager for Resource Center Dallas, said it was extremely needed for the GLBT community.

“The expo is important for members of the GLBT community to find places where they are allowed to work freely and openly as who they are,” McDonnell said. “These are employers who are interested in doing just that.”

This year the job expo features many new companies including DFW International Airport, United Way of Greater Dallas and Plano and Texas-based apparel retailer J.C.Penney.

Other companies on hand are American Airlines, Bank of America, Capital One, Prudential and Texas Instruments.

Dallas agencies include the City of Dallas, the sheriff and police departments and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

This is the third year the expo will be held at SMU. In 2009 it was held at the Cox School of Business. Last year it was in the atrium of the Meadows School of the Arts.

“The last few years we have had such great demand that we have had to move to larger venues on the SMU campus,” McDonnell said.

The expo is part of the Resource Center’s initiative to build awareness on how by supporting others one can also benefit.

For additional information on the job expo visit the Resource Center’s website at www.rcdallas.org, or call 214-528-0144

Southwest Skyline: Dallas’s Landscape

December 14, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Joe Richardson
joeyr@smu.edu

Many people know Dallas as the place where Kennedy was assassinated or where J.R. Ewing held court. Where the citizens are oil tycoons, debutantes and cowboys.

What folks don’t usually think of are theaters hidden in the woods, flying red horses and old vaudeville acts. But they should.

Dallas has a number of architecturally significant buildings dotting its landscape. Perhaps one of America’s best-known architects designed Kalita Humphreys Theater tucked away on Turtle Creek. The Magnolia hotel on Commerce Street was once the tallest building in the state. The Majestic Theater on Elm Street is the only historic theater in that area. Famed architect I.M. Pei designed Dallas City Hall and the Meyerson Symphony Center.

Three of the most significant buildings in Dallas are also three of the most unique. The Kalita Humphreys Theater, Magnolia Building and the Majestic Theater are all historical pieces of architecture that still have significance today.

Darwin Payne is professor emeritus at Southern Methodist University. He has written much on the city of Dallas. He said that all three are very important buildings.

“They all represent a great time in Dallas history,” Payne said. “And they were the best of their kind at the time.”

Kalita Humphreys Theater

Kalita Humphreys Theater is hidden in a wooded area on Turtle Creek Blvd. The theater once housed the Dallas Theater Center and still continues to hold performances.

The theater opened in 1959 and was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is the only surviving building designed by the architect.

Payne felt that the theater is not only architecturally important. But it is also important to the arts of Dallas.

“The center began mounting boldly conceived productions,” Payne said. “It was cited widely as proof that a good professional theater could be found in places far from Broadway.”

Payne went on to say that an important memory he has of the theater was when he was a reporter for The Dallas Times Herald.

“They caught a burglar who was trying to desecrate the building for showing, what he called, a communist play,” Payne said.

Magnolia Petroleum Building

The Magnolia Petroleum Building is a Dallas icon. It sits at the heart of downtown on Commerce Street. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places, according to Payne, and was once the tallest building in the South. Today it houses the Magnolia Hotel.

The building was finished in 1922 and the architect was Alfred C. Bossum. Several years later, the red Pegasus was placed on top of the building. The very same Pegasus has become a symbol for Dallas.

Milton Anderson is vice president and the director of design with Merriman Associates Architects in Dallas. He has lived and worked in Dallas for 25 years.

In a recent email interview, Anderson wrote that going into the Magnolia building is like going back in time.

“Its rich ornate facades are very special,” Anderson said. “This was one of the early high rises in Dallas.”

Juan Morales is the general manager of the Magnolia Hotel. He has worked for the hotel for ten years and feels that the building is incredibly significant.

“For the generation before mine it was the building. It was the landmark. It’s what they remember from when they were kids,” Morales said. “They would see that horse and exactly know what it is.”

“The building might be overshadowed by taller buildings, but it will always be treasured,” said Payne.

Majestic Theater

The Majestic Theater has been on Elm Street since it opened its doors in 1921. It was built by Karl Hoblitzelle and designed by John Eberson. The theater began as a vaudeville house and turned into a movie theater. It is now owned by the City of Dallas.

Maria Munoz-Blanco is the director of Cultural Affairs for the city of Dallas. She has lived and worked in Dallas for five years. In an email interview recently she wrote that the building was both architecturally and historically significant.

Architecturally because John Eberson was, “one of the foremost designers of theatres in the early part of the 20th Century,” and historically because the theater is one of the last of its kind.

“It is the only surviving theater of what was once ‘theater row’ on Elm Street (all other historic theaters have been torn down),” Blanco said. “Today, the Majestic is the oldest of all performing arts facilities in Dallas.”

Blanco, whose office is in the Majestic, went on to say, “it is always thrilling to see how visitors are fascinated by the elegance and history of the Majestic.”

Other places of interest

The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center on Flora Street was designed by I.M. Pei and opened in 1989. The building has been critically acclaimed since it opened.

“The Meyerson is one of the best venues in the world for an orchestra,” said Payne.

Another I.M. Pei design is the Dallas City Hall. The slanting front that made it seem like it would topple over any minute is one of the most unique features of any building in the city. The building opened in 1978 and immediately divided people. According to Payne, people were either enthusiastic or thought it was too unconventional.

A new addition to the Dallas Skyline will be the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

According to the Trinity River Corridor Project website, the bridge will be designed by famed architect Santiago Calatrava. The website also states that the bridge will cross the Trinity River Corridor between “the Continental Avenue and Union Pacific Railroad bridges, and will link West Dallas and North Oak Cliff with Downtown Dallas.”

Although these buildings are not often talked about, most feel that they have not been forgotten.

“They’ve been here so long that you don’t see anything written about them, but if you’ve been here long enough you appreciate them,” Payne said.

Dallas Votes: Are ‘Dry’ Neighborhoods on Their Way Out?

October 22, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

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Beyond the Bubble
Editor’s note: With early voting now underway for the Nov. 2 general elections, Dallas voters are deciding whether to eliminate ‘dry’ areas for alcohol sales. SMU journalism students examine the wet/dry debate, which supporters say will provide an economic boon but critics worry will bring more crime to their community.

(OVERLAY MAP OF WET/DRY DISTRICTS PREPARED BY THE CITY OF DALLAS)

(OVERLAY MAP OF WET/DRY DISTRICTS PREPARED BY THE CITY OF DALLAS)

By Ariana Garza
agarza@smu.edu

Dallas voters will head to the polls on Nov. 2 to determine whether alcohol “dry” neighborhoods will become a thing of the past.

The two measures up for a vote would eliminate dry areas for alcohol sales. The first measure would allow the sale of beer and wine – but not liquor – at grocery and convenience stores throughout Dallas. Stores that now sell liquor would not be affected.

The second proposal would eliminate the “club card” requirement at restaurants in dry areas. Currently, restaurants may not allow customers to buy drinks unless they show an i.d. and join a private “club.”

The measures would not affect bars currently operating legally, nor would they allow new bars to open where they are currently prohibited.

The first measure has become a source of conflict between wet and dry Dallas leaders and residents. Some anticipate new tax dollars from the sale of beer and wine while others fear that an expansion in sales in their neighborhoods would cause an increase in crime, prostitution and loitering.

In 1843, Texas passed one of the first local option measures in North America. The measure allowed local communities to vote on the sale of alcoholic beverages in their area. After Prohibition ended in 1933, some communities voted to go wet while others remained dry. But community members could still petition to hold a local option election to challenge the wet/dry status of their community.

Since 1937, twenty-nine local option elections have taken place, according to Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission reports. Some areas saw more than one election over the years and went back and forth between wet and dry. Today, many pockets of the city are dry.

“The local option election in Dallas next month is the largest we have seen in recent years,” said Carolyn Beck, director of communications and governmental relations of the TABC. “We eagerly await the outcome.”

Gary Huddleston, chairman of pro-alcohol group Keep the Dollars in Dallas and director of consumer affairs at Kroger, outlined two reasons the City of Dallas should abandon dry neighborhoods.

First, customers want the convenience of a nearby grocery store that sells beer and wine. Second, the passage of the proposal would contribute to an increase in sales tax revenue for the city.

“We think the residents of Dallas deserve the right to make the decision to sell beer and wine in convenience stores,” Huddleston said.

Formerly known as Progress Dallas, Keep the Dollars in Dallas began petitioning in April for a wet Dallas. The group’s website claims that making Dallas wet would attract more grocery stores, large retailers and, ultimately, “level the playing field and allow all neighborhoods equal access to economic development.”

The pro-alcohol website also argues that if Dallas becomes wet, the city could recover $20 to $30 million in sales taxes, mend its budget shortfall and prevent a tax increase for homeowners.

Dallas City Council member Steve Salazar, who represents District 6 and serves West and Northwest Dallas, including dry neighborhoods, opposes the upcoming election.

Salazar recalls his father’s description of West Dallas before the area went dry as impoverished, where “saloons,” prostitution and other vices were not uncommon.

“When it went dry, the place cleaned up and went somewhere else,” Salazar said. “A lot of people probably already forgot what it was like back then.”

Salazar spent his childhood in West Dallas and said that the area had a history of high crime before alcohol was banned. He worries that if Dallas becomes wet, a high concentration of beer and wine stores will accumulate in the western neighborhoods, as opposed to in North Dallas, which is also dry. Salazar said the proposal does not provide neighborhoods any protection against oversaturation of sales. He believes the high cost of starting a business in affluent North Dallas will discourage an influx of alcohol retailers there, sending them instead to lower income areas.

Salazar has seen wet areas where competing beer barns coexist.

“Even when its 40 degrees outside, you’ll see girls standing in their bikinis with furry coats on—across from the McDonalds Playplace—enticing people to come in and buy,” Salazar said.

Salazar fears that if West Dallas becomes wet, every corner gas station will soon become a beer barn and will deter prospective residents from moving there.

While the majority of Salazar’s constituents are against the proposal, a significant percentage is in favor.

Salazar attributes the pro-alcohol percentage to voters who are not well educated about the issue and may not realize the potential consequences the proposal could have on their neighborhoods. He also worries that some precincts and boundaries on the current wet/dry map are ambiguous. If that is the case, he fears that residents will unknowingly vote on the issue when the result will not affect them.

While North Dallas may see new or expanded grocery stores like Tom Thumb and Kroger, these businesses have already stated that they have no intention of developing stores in West Dallas, Salazar said.

Huddleston disagreed with Salazar’s claim that Kroger does not plan to build in West Dallas.

“The passage [of the alcohol proposal] would open up more areas for development,” Huddleston said.

Kroger does not restrict its development to certain parts of Dallas and looks at sites within the entire city, according to Huddleston.