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  06/26/06  Subject: Bond Proposal -Mo money

Per the DMN, the junkies at City Hall will not be satisfied with a $1.3 billion bond proposal and they are jonesing for even more money, putting the 2006 bond proposal to even higher historical levels - all for Dallas taxpayers to foot the bill.
David Tuthill

Priorities down at City Hall have the basic necessities (mosquito/West Nile spraying, adequate police staffing/ response to crime, etc.) taking a back burner to projects, such as a grossly over budget suspension bridge projects (3 of them) and the Hanging Gardens of Woodall Rodgers FreewayI regret only having a few hours to compose and address the issues that have been in the news regarding city priorities.

I could rant about how the city each year waits until the very last to address the mosquito problem and the disease that it carries or that the police do not respond to many types of calls anymore.  It seems that you have to kill somebody in order to get them out, as they do not respond to traffic accidents or property theft crime anymore.  I wonder what they do respond to? 

One could go on about how suspension bridges bring to mind graceful structures spanning vast quantities of water (something that the Trinity river lacks), and about how other cities that have had structures by this noted architect all have been grossly over budget.  Perhaps Dallas officials thought that they would be the exception in the budgeting process or perhaps they just closed their eyes and chanted amongst themselves "it will be on or under budget" till they believed it (something that is very common to those in marketing and advertising-the ability to disassociate reality with their dreams).

In the 2003 bond proposal, I noted various improvements to be made to a local park.  In relation to this rant, I revisited the park with the list the city provided.  Many items that were to be addressed with that bond proposal have not been accomplished (painting rusting light poles and new structures). 

It is a relief that many items that I personally judged to be overkill (replacement instead of repair), and had expressed to park officials my concern, seem to have been addressed in a fugal fashion.   

But, one of the major key points for all of the parks in the city was new expensive designer picnic pavilions to replace existing structures that seemed to still have a useful life left in them.  I still feel the existing structured are adequate.  But, if the bond proposal passed, where did the money go and are these items sill on the wish list?

How many of the items proposed for 2003 have actually been completed and do not need add ional funding?   Some of them I hope have been dropped like the designer pavilions (they wanted 2 for that park).  This amongst other wish list items that would completely rebuild a park that in 2003 was in great condition and still remains so in 2006.   This is just one park.  What about the other parks? 

In my biking journeys on White Rock Trail, I have noted constant litter in the creek and uncut grass as I make my way down to the lake.  However, I am very pleased with the new Mockingbird/White Rock Lake bridge and the additional refurbished trials, but the litter and the vagrants. 

In 2003, I got the impression that Dallas is so big with so many projects that the city cannot effectively match financing to the projects for cost controls.  Dallas needs a transfusion of funds to the general financing pool of money.  I do not wish to just single out the park system,  but use it as one example of the city's departmental structure that is vying for bond money.  I doubt that other departments are any better nor any worse.

What I look for is responsible evaluation of needs and the ability to distinguish them from wants and respect for the funds that the city is entrusted to by investors and taxpayers.  I do not see this in town meetings that have the flavor of "we got a pile of your money now help me spend it". 

In short, I see a city with many needs and also many wish item wants.  It cannot distinguish between the two classes, but wants to have it all and with the taxpayer footing the bill

I might be more receptive to this bond proposal, but for

  Numerous tax abatements given to developers who should be able to fund for themselves but feel they are needy enough to be subsidized by the city's taxpayers.
     
  Shenanigans with Tramell Crow and the Timbers apartments, a complex with a vast wooded area, in good condition and low in crime compared to other Dallas apartment complexes.
     
  The council ignoring the City Plan Commissioners' recommendations regarding Forward Dallas plan.
     
  The city's inability to collect parking fines and pay its vendors in a timely fashion.
     
  The impression that citizens' problems are left to fester until they become unbearable because the city turns a blind eye to them.  For example, noise issues in my neighborhood due to construction, an issue that I see echoed down in the entertainment districts on Greenville Ave. that have been in the news. 

I have observed the difficultly for citizens when they petition the council about their problems by poor scheduling of meetings (running late or postponements or just plain ignoring them).  I observed one issue that had plagued residents for over 3 years concerning a dance hall that even after the council addressed it was  back in the news again. Ineffectual! 

Do I dare mention the FBI scandal too?

An idea that perhaps this bond proposal and all other bond proposals be affirmed by the voters by a 2/3 majority for passage much like the city council set up for neighborhoods if they wanted to regulate the size of new McMansions in their community.  

For me, the 2006 bond proposal seems like it needs more work and a reality check with a reorganization of the city's priorities.  Indeed the town meetings I have attended have been more like a spend fest orgy with the city missrepresenting the effect on the homeowners' tax bills by taking into account only the tax rate increase and omitting the rocketing valuation increases that exceed the 10% per year or 30% over 3 years.

I could cite other examples of poor management by the city.  It is in this regard that I must turn a "thumbs down" on this bond proposal.  It seems that the city government is trying to outdo the Dallas Independent School District in your tax bills and in leadership.

Finally, as we are talking bond proposals, let me mention the word is that next year the DISD will be hoping Dallas taxpayers have forgotten about the yacht trips, golf trips, cell phone bills, car allowances and other revelations that have been in the news to pass another bond proposal for them, too.  After all, their past antics have been for the good of the children and not themselves.

Remember that this spring's Republican Party (the majority political party of the state) non-binding referendums about limiting appraisal valuations to 5%, and property tax relief were overwhelmingly passed but ignored by the DMN and by elected officials.  "They want us to control ourselves and not go whole hog wild with taxpayers money!"

David W. Tuthill
 

                                        

    





                            

 

  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8