Mary Lou Montes Zijderveld
02/19/04 Let them eat cake?
Do you ever find yourself in an impossible position
of having to defend a friend when you know they are doing wrong? What do
you do if it happens over and over? Welcome to my world.
No one worked harder to get Laura Miller elected than me -- some worked just as
hard, but not harder. I don't know if Tom Dunning would have been
any worse than Laura Miller has been as Mayor, but I know Domingo Garcia or Mary
Poss would have been disastrous for this city. Of course, there are those
who think same can be said of Laura Miller.
Better still --
Let them eat those string thing bridges.
A Mayor Tom Dunning might have been able to find some better management or
business approaches to our city problems. He certainly would have been
more sensitive to personnel issues than is Our Mayor. Of course, he would
have been ready to give Jerry Jones the key to what's left in our city coffers
after his buddy Tom Hicks has robbed us blind.
A journalist friend says of Our Mayor, "she doesn't respect working people."
That may sound simplistic, but sometimes the truth is simple.
Many police and firefighters will never forgive me for standing with Our Mayor
when she flipped them after her first mayoral win. Those guys worked their
tails off for her. She really never knew how much work anyone did in her
campaigns because she had never worked in anyone else's campaign before she ran
for office. She didn't know how many officers and firefighters delivered
and put out yard signs. She never asked who they were or for a list so she could
thank them personally. She certainly never knew how many of them and their
spouses were calling voters for her. She never asked for a list so she
could thank them personally. I knew because I coordinated much of that
effort in the first election and runoff.
I was wrong to make excuses for what she did to the cops and firefighters in
their pay referendum. Had she not asked for and received their help in her
election or had she not signed their petition to get a referendum for a 17% pay
raise, it might have been different.
Then, while they were reeling from that betrayal and her effective campaign
against their pay raise, the Mayor went after employee SIP pay. She still
doesn't understand why you give an employee a bonus for loyalty and longevity.
After all, they should be thankful for a job!
Like most everyone else, I was aware council changed the rules on time off for
on-the-job injuries to city employees, but it never crossed my mind that such a
change would include cops or firefighters injured while protecting our lives and
property. I should have paid more attention.
So, here we are. Three
men who placed their lives and family's financial security on the line to
protect others are reduced to taking handouts from the same guy who passed out
money to Old Al Lipscomb all the years he was taking bribes at City Hall from
others. I am glad Old Al's benefactor is helping these officers after what
his largesse helped Old Al do to this City for so long. I am ashamed that
Our Mayor and City Council have put our police and firefighters in such a
The arrogance and flippancy of our Mayor is right up there with Marie
Antoinette. She's all but saying -- so what if these guys are laid up from
shooting injuries and have no income and can't feed their families --
Let them eat cake.
Disability review is demanded;
injured officers makes council members rethink limits on pay
12:22 AM CST Wed, 2/18/04
A local businessman's
donation to three police officers has prompted several Dallas City Council
members to call for a review of a policy that limited supplemental
disability pay from a year to 13 weeks.
. . . "That is an embarrassment to the city
that the private sector has to step in and pick up," council member Mitchell
Rasansky said after a Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday.
Other committee members agreed
that the council should revisit the new policy, which went into effect Oct.
1 in an effort to balance the budget.
But Mayor Laura Miller said the
council might run into money problems if it were to extend the pay past 13
"I think that
whoever wants to put it on the agenda needs to figure out how we're going to
come up with the million dollars to pay for it," she said Tuesday. "All of
this is a juggling act in terms of the budget."
. . . The issue has been pushed by
local police associations that say the policy change has hurt officer morale
and represents a lack of support from City Hall. Other major cities such
as Houston and Fort Worth offer supplemental pay for at least a year for
officers injured in the line of duty.
Injured city employees receive
medical benefits and 70 percent of their salary from workers' compensation,
which is not taxed. The city then makes up the final 30 percent of their
regular wages for 13 weeks.
Sgt. Michael Flusche, Officer
Douglas Brady and Officer Eddie Coffey received $650 checks this weekend
from Pete Schenkel, . . . said he plans to
continue to supplement the officers' income each month until they can return
The three officers were shot
several times in a November standoff with Francisco Fuentes, who killed two
men and then held his ex-wife and three children hostage.
"You should not have to suffer
financial hardship for voluntarily putting yourselves in harm's way to save
the lives of children," Mr. Schenkel wrote . . .
The officers have been unable to return to work and
must use their sick and vacation time to make up the difference between
workers' compensation and their usual salaries.
. . . Ms. Miller disagreed with comments
that the private donation makes City Hall look bad.
"We have turned
to our private sector over and over and over again in the last two years
because of our budget problems," she said. "This is a city policy that we
currently have, and if anybody wants to come in and help these officers out,
I think it's terrific."
If Our Mayor would be consistent
in her approach to the city's needs, I might not feel so responsible for what
has been done to these officers. I wanted someone to be Mayor who would be
careful with our tax dollars. I voted for someone who promised her
priorities would be smooth streets, green parks and fair pay for our cops and
Instead, Our Mayor is out chasing millions for bridges to nowhere. After
all, working stiffs are just temporary blips on the landscape. Bridges are
permanent monuments to a Mayor's legacy. If not permanent, at least for a
long time. Those civic leaders in 1912 thought future generations would
appreciate and maintain the viaduct they sacrificed to build.
The Mayor may not get her legacy bridge.
Bridge funding at risk;
Rep. Johnson says she'll pull high-dollar
request if colleagues hesitate
09:19 PM CST Wed, 2/18/04 b
U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson,
D-Dallas, says she will withdraw her multimillion-dollar Trinity River
bridge funding request if her congressional colleagues don't commit to
supporting the project.
. . . "It's not there at this point," said
Ms. Johnson, a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure who has pledged $15.3 million in federal funds that she
controls. "If it's not there ... I will remove my funding."
. . . latest indication that partisan
politics ? most notably the race between sitting congressmen Democrat Martin
Frost and Republican Pete Sessions ? are threatening financing for one of
the centerpieces of the city's Trinity River plan.
. . . the bridge project,
which Dallas Mayor Laura Miller has deemed the "most
important public works project the city of Dallas will ever undertake."
. . . The bridge project's magic number is
$75 million ? the amount needed in federal funding to get it built. Dallas
city officials have secured $55 million through other federal, state and
. . . But Ms. Johnson said Mr. Young told her last
week that he understood the bridge project's importance to Dallas ? despite
his displeasure with Mr. Frost's actions.
Mr. Sessions and Ms. Johnson have
spoken with each other, and both say they're "on the same page" and working
together to ensure that the bridge project is funded.
. . . Ms. Miller and Mr. Frost have, through their
actions, driven the project "off kilter a bit," Ms. Johnson said. "I would
have preferred it was done in a different way."
. . . Ms. Miller said. "I do look forward to
the rest of the delegation telling us that we've made our $75 million goal."
Who is the person pretending to be Laura Miller?