01/10/05 Good intentions don't
necessarily end in good results.
We are about to get right into the anti-strong-arm
mayor campaign. I'm going to be cheering on the aginners from the side
lines because there are plenty of qualified citizens ready to step up for this
There are so many reasons to fight this strong-arm mayor effort, but here are a
few specific reasons:
1. If Bah! Bah! Blackwood's plan were in effect last year, the street bums
would already be camping in the creek on Harry Hines with their camp grounds the
first thing visitors to our city see as they come in from DFW on I-35 to
Downtown. Very conducive to encouraging businesses to relocate to our
city. That's not even addressing the dangerous situation a day spa for
street bums would create for the thousands of children who live near the Harry
It would have been operating under a strong-arm mayor government because Our
Mayor was very supportive of the Weisfeld's property for the street bums' day
spa. Had it not been for the strong opposition of Councilman Steve Salazar
(District 6) and Councilman Mitch Rasansky (District 13), Mayor Miller would
have made Robert Decherd (Belo Corporation) happy at the expense of people who
overwhelmingly supported her in both of her mayor elections.
Our Mayor ran on a platform of smooth streets, green parks and fair pay for cops
and firefighters. We didn't know she only meant the smooth streets and
green parks to all be Downtown. If we were operating under a strong-arm
mayor system, the rest of the city would go begging -- but we would get to pay
100% of our property taxes. Under a strong-arm mayor system, the Mayor
could grant tax abatements willy nilly to get NEW companies to relocate to
Dallas, but homeowners and existing businesses would have to make up the
difference in tax revenue.
2. Our Mayor is totally behind the Trinity Project, even though it only
passed by 1% in an election based on fraud and deception. Not only is it
an environmental disaster waiting to happen in the not too distant future, but
the entire project is another land grab by Our Downtown Betters (the ODB).
Many property owners and area businesses naively think the Project will increase
the value of their property. If it happens (and that's a big IF), their
property values likely will be increased but they won't see the benefit. Their
property will be taken via eminent domain at rock bottom prices, only to be
re-sold at low prices to "stimulate" the desired development Our Mayor and
her crowd think is more appropriate for THEIR Trinity Project.
Don't take my word for it, it's already happening in Ft. Worth with their Big
Ticket version of our Trinity Bondoogle.
In 1949, the last great flood on the Trinity River in Fort Worth
washed away Teague Lumber?s first home. Now, a planned makeover of the river
north of downtown is threatening to wipe out the spot on White Settlement
where the lumberyard has done business for the last half-century ? and Jim
Teague?s not happy about it.
?I like progress,? said Teague, and
he?s not against the idea of creating a downtown lake and riverwalks.
But as for how the project is actually being planned,
he said, ?There?s nothing right about it.?
... The project, which includes the cutting of a
new diversion channel and lowering of the river levees,
would require taking the property of about 80 to 100
businesses. Kirk Blackmon, CEO of Blackmon Mooring Steamatic, whose
international headquarters property would be taken for the project, said
that when affected land owners met recently, he heard no support for it. ?I
can?t think of anybody [in the group] that wants it,? he said.
Although the ?Town Lake? project has
been discussed in public meetings and newspaper articles for several years,
many of the business owners feel blindsided ? few thought that their
companies on North Main or White Settlement, for instance, could possibly be
affected. And others object to what they see as taking
their property at rock-bottom prices so the Tarrant Regional Water District
can eventually sell the same property to some other private owner for
high-dollar riverfront or lakefront redevelopment.
... The Trinity Vision project, with a price tag now estimated
at $360 million, grew out of work originally done by the Streams and Valleys
volunteer group to improve local rivers, creeks, and hiking trails.
... City planners envision that the island created
by the new channel would eventually be redeveloped as an extension of
downtown, with restaurants, recreation facilities, condos, and offices. A
new bridge ? a very fancy bridge, based on the
project model ? would carry North Main Street across the new bypass channel
just before it rejoins the river.
... Oliver and Christian emphasized that the water
district is not planning, in effect, a repeat of the North East Mall
project, in which the city of Hurst took an entire
residential neighborhood by eminent domain, in order to allow an expansion
of the mall.
... However, the new bypass channel and an eastern
extension of White Settlement Road to cross the river would require
extensive purchase of privately held land, ....
U. S. Rep. Kay Granger, who has been the most active
proponent of the project, in November pushed through legislation providing
$110 million in funding for it. But she also has referred to the areas
affected by the project as being ?blighted,? ?unsightly,? and ?mostly
vacant.? Those adjectives don?t sit well with business owners like Serena
West-Snipes and Kenneth Snipes, who own L?Air International on North Main,
which manufactures suspended floor systems for performing arts and
entertainment venues worldwide.
?Interestingly, the only blighted property [in the area] is owned by the
city,? Kenneth Snipes said. ?Several companies here are major employers.
You?re talking about businesses that, together, employ thousands of people.?
...?If you look at the definition of theft, this is theft,? Kenneth
Snipes said, ?because no one wants to sell their property.?
... ?doesn?t seem like what should happen in
America. ... My attorney feels that it is probably not constitutional, what
... Several business owners also objected to the
Trinity Vision plan being characterized in part as a flood control project.
Jim Teague, who owns Teague Lumber with his father, company founder Raymond
Teague, said flooding hasn?t been a problem on this part of the Trinity
since Benbrook Lake and the levees were built after the 1949 flood. ?It has
nothing to do with flood control,? he said.
... Richard Carroll owns Welding Specialties Inc.
and the property along White Settlement Road where the company is located.
?I don?t know what to do,? he said. ?We?ve been here since 1948.?
Why would anyone relocate to
Dallas? Right now, there are some checks and balances at City Hall (not
enough, but some). If we have the strong-arm mayor system Bah! Bah! and
Our Mayor want for Dallas, it is a complete dictatorship. If we have some
nice person like Annette Strauss as Mayor, we still are vulnerable because she
was so controlled by her husband, who was not so nice. What if we have
another Ron Kirk with the power Our Mayor wants for her office?
Laura Miller wants us to think of her as a benevolent dictator who will not
abuse her powers, but it's not about Laura Miller, whichever version we have at
the time. Ask the police and firefighters about how comfortable we should
be with her assurances.
I'm very confident this poorly thought out Park Cities coup d'?at will fail.
I am very confident in the groups that are coming together to oppose it.
When you have South Dallas united against it and North Dallas very strongly
against it, where does Mayor Miller get her votes? There is grassroots
opposition, but there is also establishment opposition in the form of the North
Dallas Chamber and other business groups.
Look what "It's a Bad Deal!!" did against a $4 million campaign. I don't
think Bah! Bah! and her Cabal are going to be able to raise a million for their
campaign, much less $4 million. The people opposing this Park Cities coup
d'?at can raise several million.
Some think the opposition ought to unite under one captain and banner. I
disagree. Each group will have its own constituents and will know best how
to communicate with them. This is not a one-size fits all issue.
Different groups will have their own reasons for not wanting to do away with the
city manager and the city council.
Make no mistake, what Bah! Bah is proposing and Our Mayor is supporting will not
only do away with the city manager but will effectively eliminate the city
council as well.
We are better off with council representatives who answer directly to our
communities and a city manager, than having our entire city government
controlled by one person who may or may not have the expertise and training to
run a billion-dollar enterprise.
I would give the Bah! Bah!'s Park Cities Cabal the benefit of the doubt that
their original intentions were good and altruistic, but I don't believe that is
the case. I am certain their intentions were about greed and control and
ego. Still, what may or may not have started with good intentions will cause more harm than good.
It all comes down to a personality conflict. We should not change our form
of government just because we have had a couple of unsatisfactory city manager
or because Our Mayor can't get along with enough council members to get things
done the way she wants.
Ironically, Laura Miller and Bah! Bah! are uniting disparate groups in this