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Councilman Salazar
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02/23/04  Earth to Laura Miller -- Can you hear us?

When Pete Sessions stuck his partisan nose into the city council race between Roxan Staff and Gary Griffith, I was sure never to support him again.  It wasn't going to be an issue because I wasn't in his district anyway.

Then my neighborhood winds up in the District 32, which Sessions decides to represent -- but not live in.  (Domingo Garcia should have run for US Congress and could have lived anywhere he wants.)
 
Then Martin Frost files against Sessions. 
  Then Frost and Our Mayor have their little PR stunt with HIS $32 million of OUR transportation tax dollars going to her Trinity Project, but not where District 32 or the city needs the money spent -- LBJ and DART light rail.

I called the campaign office for Pete Sessions to explain my dilemma:

Can't stand Pete Sessions. 
Can't stand Martin Frost. 
Don't want limited transportation dollars going to the Trinity Project or those String Thing Bridges. 
Give me some reason to support Sessions.

The Sessions campaign spokesperson who called back gave a somewhat comforting response.  Subsequent public comments from Sessions himself about funding for the Trinity Project have been very Frost-like.  The Sessions campaign guy lives in Oak Cliff.  The Oak Cliff Chamber wants the Trinity Project regardless of whether it divides the city further, consumes all of our future municipal borrowing power for decades or denies dollars to complete DART light rail North or to Love Field or out to DFW. 

The Oak Cliff Chamber is not Oak Cliff.  Oak Cliff is not an homogenous community of thought or anything else.  The OC Chamber people are not the community.  There are polar opposites living in Kessler and Stevens Park neighborhoods: conservatives, liberals, gays, straights, multiple ethnic groups.
 
OC Hispanic "leaders" have different priorities than the OC Chamber and frequently different priorities than Hispanics who live in Oak Cliff.  OC environmentalists are shut out of decision making processes at most levels.

Some of the most ardent Trinity Project opponents are environmentalists who live in Oak Cliff, and would normally be rock solid Democrat votes.  They were thrown a gut punch by Frost and Our Mayor with their PR stunt.

The Northern end of gerrymandered District 32 is NW Dallas, which votes strong whenever someone calls an election.  NW Dallas came out hard for Laura Miller, but that was before we knew our low status on her priorities.

We thought Our Mayor understood how important North Dallas is to the entire city's budget.

We thought Our Mayor understood how important it is to North Dallas to get something done about LBJ and to get our DART light rail line funded.   It's important to the entire city to get something done about LBJ, which carries people East/West across the city and to DFW.   The LBJ bottleneck is a bigger obstacle to the city's prosperity than anything that may or may not ever happen in the "Southern Sector".  We are the city's tax base, whether Our Mayor or Frost or Sessions want to acknowledge that or not.

Again, I'm no big fan of Pete Sessions after what he did to Roxan Staff.  That's not to say Gary Griffith has been so bad on the council.  I agree with Griffith about Fair Park being the right site for any new football stadium.  Still, Roxan Staff would have been better and bolder on the council. 

This city needs a bold Fiscal Conservative -- not a bold Limousine Liberal.

My issue with Sessions is his interference in a non-partisan election.  My issue with Frost is his offering PORK dollars for partisan purposes.

Sessions may try to match Frost in Pork Dollars on the Trinity Project, which would be a huge mistake.  His campaign consultant said Sessions would be allocating HIS share of our transportation dollars to several area projects.  Has anyone heard that commitment from Sessions himself?

  Still, this is Our Mayor's fault.  Or the fault of those aliens who have taken over her body and soul.

Those aliens have caused Our Mayor to become obsessed with those String Thing Bridges and leaving her ego monument stamped on this city

Those aliens are causing Our Mayor to stomp on the folks who brought her to the dance -- fiscally conservative voters.

Our alien-possessed Mayor has gotten so far afield from the populist we supported, it's hard to know where she's going next.  The Trinity River Project was not high on her priorities in either of her Mayoral elections, or a lot of us would have sat out both campaigns.  Spending millions on a day spa for street bums was not a part of her campaign agendas either.

I'm convinced if it's not aliens that have possessed Our May, it's the water at City Hall.  Someone or something is controlling Laura Miller.

If we were taking care of our basics and were flush with money, it might be OK to be squander our future borrowing resources and waste state and federal funds on a PIPE DREAM.  That's not the case.

We cannot even take care of our employees or police and firefighters injured protecting us.
 

Cyberletters for Sunday
12:10 AM CST on Sunday, February 22, 2004
Mayor Miller: How much is my son's life worth?
   Being the father of a Dallas police officer, it totally amazes me that the Dallas City Council regards city employee sick leave as a "one-size-fits-all" policy. Council members evidently place a city employee missing work due to a cold or sore throat in the same category as an officer getting severely wounded during a November standoff with a guy who killed two men and held three children hostage.
   Mayor Laura Miller states that "that is what you have sick time for ? for times, whether you're a civilian or a sworn employee, when you can't come to work." Therefore, after an officer has missed 13 weeks of work due to being injured while protecting the citizens of Dallas, he or she must automatically heal and return to work or else lose any sick leave and vacation time previously accrued. And if the wounds don't heal fast enough, then the officer is simply out of luck ? and salary. Other major city police departments (Fort Worth, Austin, Houston) extend such salary compensation for the standard 52 weeks, but Dallas City Manager Ted Benavides says Dallas sees it strictly as a "cost issue" and that it saves the city $900,000 a year.
   As a parent of a Dallas police officer, I certainly appreciate the city telling me how much my son's life is worth.
               Doyle Walker, Plano, Texas
Letters for Monday
12:04 AM CST on Monday, February 23, 2004
Shameful treatment
   I am a proud father of two healthy Dallas police officers.
   The city of Dallas should hang its head in shame at the treatment of its Police Department. How can the city administration question the reasons for low morale when they won't support its employees who are injured on the job?
   I appreciate Mayor Laura Miller's spirit, but to see her defend this position makes me ashamed to be associated with the city of Dallas.
   I am amazed at the city's irresponsible position.
               Timothy Conway, Heath


These two dads are right.  Our Mayor is wrong.  Martin Frost is wrong. 

It's not just that we can't meet our current basic needs or the needs of our sworn or civilian personnel.  What Our Mayor and Frost propose for her Trinity Project will bankrupt this city.  If not outright bankruptcy, her Trinity Project will cost us a minimum of $4 million or more annually just to maintain those fake lakes. 

Where do we get the extra $4 million?  Oh, yeah, the tourists who will come to Dallas to see our string thing bridges and gawk at our fake lakes!

Our Mayor can't find $900,000 to protect our police and firefighters who are injured protecting us, but she would throw away $4 million or more annually on fake lakes! 

Where have those aliens taken our back-to-basics Laura Miller?

If Our Mayor will drop her Trinity Project and her Day Spa for Street Bums and refocus on our basic necessities, I might support her building ONE String Thing Bridge -- provided we can keep the Houston Street Viaduct.  It would be an enormous waste of our resources, but it would be much cheaper than all the stuff in her Trinity Project Pipe Dream.  Wouldn't expose us to the environmental and flooding disasters she knows will follow.  Besides, Our Mayor's String Thing Bridge doesn't go anywhere.

The Trinity Fest financial fiasco is indicative of the future for Our Mayor's Trinity Project.  Lots of hoopla, lots of public relations, lots of wasted money -- and lots of unpaid debt.
 

$80,000 owed for Trinity Fest
11:16 AM CST 2/20/04 -
 
DAVE LEVINTHAL/The Dallas Morning News and CHRIS HEINBAUGH / WFAA-TV
Debt tied to parking lot use; organizers to repay city, plan for '04 event
  
The organizers of Trinity Fest 2003 still owe Dallas $80,000, more than seven months after the Independence Day celebration.
. . . "If there's a special event that owes us money, we won't issue them a permit again," First Assistant City Manager Mary Suhm said Thursday.
   The $80,000 debt stems from the Trinity Festival Corp.'s use of a Reunion Arena parking lot during Independence Day weekend,
. . . 
Ms. Suhm said she has spoken with Carol Reed, Trinity Festival Corp.'s president,
. . . 
Ms. Reed vowed that Trinity Fest 2004 would go on.
. . . 
"This is an important signature event for the city," Ms. Lill said.
. . . "The city can't forgive the money ? it's money that's owed to the city," Mayor Laura Miller said.
. . . Ms. Reed, a Dallas political consultant, argued that her corporation produced Trinity Fest 2003 with little help from the city ? financial or otherwise ? even if the event proved an economic and social boon to downtown. City memorandums indicate that Dallas contributed about $61,000 in various support services for the event.
. . . Ms. Lill said the $80,000 owed to the city may be reduced because Trinity Festival Corp. repaved parts of the parking lot.
   In 2002, officials estimated that nearly 300,000 people packed Reunion Arena parking lots and the nearby area for the free Trinity Fest celebration. In 2003, organizers charged $3.50 for general admission and up to $125 for an air-conditioned skybox. About 75,000 to 80,000 people attended, organizers said. . . .
 
A drop off from 300,000 to 80,000 people in one year does not bode well for Trinity Fest 2004.  If they charged $3.50 to 79,000 attendees, that's $273,000. 

Wonder how much they spent on the fireworks show alone?  It was a good show because I watched it from Mark Shekter's highrise balcony in Oak Lawn. 
    Rad Field:
  
If the City puts $60,000 into the Trinity Fest event for purposes of security and fire prevention, and the backers of the event have not paid their $80,000 rent, I don't call the event a "huge" success. 
   Dallas does not appear to be in a financial condition to "gift" City property to those who must have made profits and placed it into their own pockets. 
   Does the City Manager watch out for the interests of the citizens or just those business enterprises with their hands outreached for donations? 
   And do I hear that the City is "anxious" to do it all over again?
 

What was it Our Mayor said as a candidate?  Something about ---
 
You have to eat your spinach before you can have desert.

If we cannot afford to take care of police officers and firefighters injured in the line of duty on our behalf, we cannot spend money on entertainment.

Interestingly, Con Jerk's Large White Shadow (Carol Reed) is behind this past due bill to the city.  It's the kind of thing we would have expected from Ron Kirk when he was Mayor.  He has never really worked for a living, so wasting someone else's money (taxpayers' money) is second nature to him. 

Didn't you expect more from Laura Miller?

Being demanding about $80,000 just doesn't cover her rear over the billions in city and taxpayer money she intends to waste on her Trinity Project.

Laura Miller has got to come back to earth. 

 

                                        

    





                            

 

  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