2005 Advocate cover

2005 Advocate cover

Today on Flashback Friday, we look at a 2005 cover story called “Dallas for Dummies” — an outline of good things to know if you aim to be a contributing, responsible, safe and relatively comfortable resident of Dallas.

It is a guide to navigating our city and the services it provides. A few things have changed since the article was published. For example, city services are easier to access through digital offerings like iWatch. The police department has become a prolific user of social media for communicating with the public. In this blog post last week we show some of the ways Dallas police are using Twitter.

In fact, digital innovation has so significantly impacted all of the things mentioned in the 2005 story, that we did a follow-up of sorts in 2011 called “Facebook is the new front porch.” For that, we explored the ways social media is used in everything from neighborhood crime watch groups to pothole repairs and crime fighting.

That story is actually a good companion piece to the “Dallas for Dummies” story.

Find Dallas for dummies here.

Find Facebook is the new front porch here.

Some of the fundamentals

Some of the things city employees cannot help you with, from the Advocate’s 2005 “Dallas for Dummies” story.

The only major change since the 2011 social media story is the emergence of nextdoor.com as a neighborhood communication tool. When we researched the 2011 story, we found Preston Hollow was the only area already using nextdoor.com. Now all of the neighborhoods we cover as well as the police department are involved in the networking site. If you’re not using it, visit nextdoor.com and enter your address to join your neighborhood’s group.

We’ve also noticed the boom of garage sale, nostalgia and general discussion neighborhood groups on Facebook. Facebook use seems to be at an all-time high for things like this. The Lakewood, Dallas discussion group has more than 8,000 members who pepper the page with nonstop, engrossing, neighborhood-specific discussions. The Lake Highlands online garage sale page has 7,000 members, and it is one of the smaller “garage sale” pages.

Despite the handy digital tools changing the way everyone operates, the fundamentals of our 2005 story still check out.

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Just the basics: The role of city manager, council representatives, the mayor and citizens as well as term limits and population stats are explained in this section from the 2005 Advocate magazine.

The answers to the following questions, all addressed in the 2005 piece

Have you ever driven down the street past a burst water main and wondered who to call to report it — or even if it was worth bothering to call anyone? Or been stopped at a stop light while another driver makes a rolling right turn on red into oncoming traffic — yet the police car on the other side of the intersection seems to ignore the violation and drives off in the other direction? And that seemingly abandoned car on the side street near your home — how long does it have to sit there before someone comes and tows it away?

remain the same.

We’ve lived through many city elections (I am proud to say, citizens have increasingly learned that reading the Advocate during election season makes them the best-informed voters in the city) and seen several changings of the guards.

Beginning in Lakewood, but also now working in Lake Highlands and Preston Hollow, the Advocate has employed a pig to pursue pothole repair.

Help us update the story: What major changes have you noticed in the past 11 years? Are there any life hacks you’ve learned in your time as a Dallas resident that might be useful to your neighbors? Do you have any questions that you want us to attempt to answer?

You know the drill  — let us know in the comments section.