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William Wallace

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 fight.

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 Hines site.

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.

A Rising Tide of Protest; Business owners may fight the loss of their property to the Trinity River project.
   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 they?re doing.?
... 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 city.






  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