Dallas Drops The Hammer on Slumlords, But Drops the Ball on New Year’s Eve.

Welcome to D-Rated, in which we try to determine if the quality of life in Dallas and its surrounding areas is moving up or down by arbitrarily awarding and subtracting point values to our living situation based on current events.

Downtown Blues: 1401 Elm Street has lain vacant since 2010. Proposals to turn it into a ritzy mixed-use site haven't taken off, and now one of the skyline's tallest buildings is headed to the auction block. Developers from New York have backed out, so the former First National Bank Tower will be sold in foreclosure next month. Complicating matters is a set of Chicago investors who are suing the developers, claiming fraud. It's a sad end for a project that could have added another feather in the cap of a revitalized Downtown. Minus 2.

Clampdown: Mike Rawlings is out to finish what his predecessors started. In a massive lawsuit filed by Assistant City Attorney Melissa Miles, the city is looking to seize control of 190 low-income rental properties owned by Dennis Topletz and his family. Dennis took over the family business from his father who died in 2013. And what a nasty business it is! Many of the houses have been the scenes of numerous drug busts over the years, and yet, despite numerous lawsuits filed, the Topletz family has skated by all the accusations. But Rawlings pledges to put a stop to their shady dealings once and for all, as part of the city's High Impact Landlord Initiative. Hopefully they actually make a case against the family whose patriarch was labeled a Slumlord by the Dallas Observer all the way back in 1999. Plus 3.

PC Police: There's low, and then there's low. Michael Briggs (not the Denton producer/former Macaroni Island proprietor, a different, far scummier one) has been arrested for allegedly stealing 20 laptops from the Veterans Resource Center in South Dallas. Stealing is bad, obviously, but stealing from veterans who are looking to get back on their feet? That's slightly better than kicking a puppy. Minus 2.

Turn the Beat Around: As predicted by just about every baseball writer, Texas Rangers' General Manager Jeff Bannister won the American League's top honors. The Rangers lost 95 games in 2014, thanks to a barrage of injuries. But Bannister led the team to an amazing turnaround, winning the AL West and coming one insane inning away from the AL Championship Series. It's a much-deserved honor. Maybe we'ere a baseball town after all. Plus 5.

New Year's Leave: If you enjoyed attending (or gently mocking) the Big D NYE celebration on New Year's Eve over the years, your luck is up. WFAA's agreement with the American Airlines Center ended and they haven't been able to come to any new arrangement. It was the perfect location for the city's most prominent NYE festivities, both for Channel 8 and partygoers. They're looking for other venues, but that probably won't happen with only a few weeks to go before 2015 ends. Minus 2.

This Week's Total: Plus 2.
Last Week's Running Total: Even.
This Week's Running Total: Plus 2.

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