05/07/04 Nothing under any Option
You know we're in trouble when newcomers from Houston
start giving us advice. There was a letter from a newcomer to Dallas
touting the new mantra at The Dallas
Managed News that the cure all for all
our problems in Dallas is to have a strong mayor form of government:
Letters for Monday
12:01 AM CDT
on Monday, May 10, 2004
Dallas vs. Houston
We relocated from the Woodlands (north of Houston) to Dallas a year
... Dallas government has its "head in the sand" ?
they're in almost total denial and living on past glories.
concerns ? like pollution and recycling ? again almost total denial.
up, Dallas City Council.
We feel helpless electing a mayor who has no power.
Laverne Wiginton, Dallas
First off, being "north of" or "south of" is not being from anywhere.
Living in the Woodlands and knowing beans about the inner workings of Houston
government or the realities of living and paying taxes in Houston are two
entirely different realities. My sister and her grown children live in
Plano, and they know who the players are in Dallas, but that doesn't mean they
understand the consequences of the games our leaders play.
The last time I was in Houston (two or three years ago) left me with no better
an opinion of the city than any other time I've been there. It's hot, it's
humid, it's difficult to get around if you don't know the streets. Once
you get where you're going, it looks like every place else.
I can't speak to their recycling efforts, but Houston certainly has nothing to
tell us about environmental issues. Houston's air quality is so bad, they
got the same kind of ridiculous exemptions from the Feds as Los Angeles because
it would take too long to get either city up to Federal stands -- if ever.
Even though Dallas was in bad shape when compared to Houston, we were "fixable"
and given a very short time to get it done. The problem is that Houston is
Harris County and the source of much of the area's bad air. Much of the
problems in the Dallas air quality come from Ellis County. That's not to
say we don't need to be addressing the problem, but please don't hold up Houston or
its suburbs of examples of communities who are dealing with their "environmental
We don't need to look to Houston for any advice on anything. Their strong
mayor form of government hasn't done all that much for them. They have no
zoning, and someone can open up a plumbing business in the house next door to
you. They have two football stadiums, but their employee pension plan is
so under-funded it makes the Dallas pension mess look solvent. All they
have over Dallas is that it's been bad for so long, people are accustomed to it.
|If you have lived in Dallas for 1 year, you have no frame of reference except
wherever you left. If you don't like Dallas, go back where you think
things are better.
If you have lived in Dallas for 10 or 20 or 30 or more years, you know it has
not always been as bad as it is today. Our Big Ticket Mayor who ran on a
Back to Basics platform frequently mentioned as a candidate how beautiful and
clean and green Dallas looked when she first moved here.
Our problems started when real estate developers began using the Mayor's office
to make their Far North Dallas projects happen back in the 70's. That's
how we got all that Renner land, which is outside Dallas County, into the City
of Dallas. What sealed our fate was the election of Mayor Annette Strauss
who let her husband and others convince her that we could continue to neglect
our infrastructure and spend our way out of our problems with elitist facilities
like the Meyerson and the DMA. Style over Substance!
You and I have been subsidizing Downtown property owners to the tune of millions
in one failed pipe dream after another since the 80's when Council first
approved the Downtown PID (Planned Improvement District). Since the City
owns the streets and large parcels of land Downtown, Dallas taxpayers kick
into the improvement fund as well as other property owners.
This was an especially good edition.
I read the other features in the e-mail and had no idea things were
getting so crazy out there. You would think our
only paper (loosely used) would report things better! What do they have to
lose? Even by accident they should have a higher "get it right" record than
Thanks for all you do.
You are a very hard friend to lose because you
give people the benefit-of-the-doubt, a second and
third time. They literally have to hit you over
the head with a baseball bat before you suspect MAYBE they are not worthy of
being your friend. Laura and Ed did that you.
I wonder how Laura got so far off
track. The back to basics approach would have worked had she stuck to it.
Yes, it is not glitzy. Yes, it will not leave the kind of legacy
of a Meyerson Hall. But, if having people and
businesses move BACK into Dallas, stay in Dallas
and expand in Dallas over the next 20 years is a measure of success,
then Laura Miller just blew the golden opportunity of her
While I think
Dallas County voters will not approve a tax-supported stadium, we
must stay the course and assure a "slam dunk" victory that sends a firm NOT
JUST NO, BUT "HELL NO", message to Jerry Jones and company.
In all of the debates and discussions,
we must know "up front" Jerry's fall back position. We
should demand the discussions play out to the very end.
So far, supporters say if we do not
approve this, the Cowboys will go somewhere else (yeah, RIGHT). OK,
WHERE? With so little time remaining for an
election and striking a deal, who else is out there with a 70/30 deal that
will delight Jerry and company?
We need to stop acting like such
suckers! [I almost said two-dollar crack whores -- but I did not want to
offend two-dollar crack whores .]
In North Texas, other cities are
thrilled they are not being considered by the Cowboys. Irving is
being so quiet because they know the Cowboys have to stay
there. If so, Irving can negotiate a much
better deal than before and balance some of the excesses of the past
30+ years of the Cowboys organization sucking the
life's blood out of them.
We should call Rob Allyn's
bluff and ask him to tell us exactly what Uncle Jerry does
when we say no!
As far as any Texas legislator
who votes to allow a change to allow this to
happen to Dallas County, I say "VOTE THEM OUT -- and QUICK"!
There may be more
people living Downtown, but it looks shabby and seedy when I'm down there on
occasional trips to City Hall. There's a whole other issue of how it
The last thing we need Downtown is one more park, or a series of small parks,
that we cannot maintain or police.
Unfortunately, the same woman who duped us with her Back to Basics,
pro-neighborhood spiel now thinks the only thing that matters in Dallas is
spending all our money on tourist attractions, revitalizing Downtown and getting
the Cowboys to Fair Park. One former supporter calls Laura Miller "Kirk in
a Skirt". I won't go that far because it would be disrespectful to Ron
Ron Kirk or Con Jerk never pretended to be a man of the people or concerned
about basic quality of life issues. He was a lobbyist who was always in
the right place at the right time -- until he ran for state wide office.
His job was to placate the minorities and get the job done for Our Downtown
Betters (the ODB). If you crossed him, you got punished -- nothing
personal (except maybe for a couple of particularly uppity White Women).
Nothing good happened under Ron Kirk. He left the city in the hands of Ted
Benavides, who he picked. He left the DPD in the hands of Terrell Bolton,
who he told Benavides to hire. He led the campaign to inflict the
Hicks/Perot sales tax on our tourist industry, which has all but destroyed our
convention business. When Laura Miller is out of office, there will be
even less good to say.
It's not just she abandoned her campaign promises, she has caused such
disillusionment in the activists community it will be hard to ever get them
unified behind another candidate again. We really and truly believed in
My attitude toward Our Big Ticket Mayor is nothing personal. She sold us a
bill of goods and used honest, trusting and loyal people to get it done.
She thinks people supported her because she snowed us with her wit and charm and
fashion sense. She thought we were a bunch of idiots who once enchanted
would stay mesmerized as she morphed into the ODB's kind of Mayor.
A few weeks ago, the Dallas Observer
had a little tidbit about the rift between Laura Miller and me.
The more things change;
Sharon Boyd visits the
land of disenchantment
|BY PATRICK WILLIAMS
Orwell and his political fable Animal Farm, about animals that
stage a revolution and take over a farm. ... ends
with poor, hungry livestock peering through a window at the pigs who assumed
power, as they share drinks with neighboring humans: "The creatures outside
looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but
already it was impossible to say which was which."
... Mayor Laura Miller, and to be honest
we've had this bit stored away since she first announced she was running for
city council in 1997.
... So why now? Because we just got off the phone
with political gadfly and Web publisher Sharon Boyd, after we spent
the morning looking through her Web site
unofficial voice of conservative North Dallas. Boyd, it seems, has joined
the list of former Miller supporters who have become disenchanted with the
"I'm convinced that aliens got
her," says Boyd, who was an early and ardent grassroots volunteer for
Miller's mayoral campaign. "That's just the only explanation, because she
doesn't act like the Laura Miller I knew."
Boyd and other contributors to her
Web site are particularly puzzled by Miller's push to complete the Trinity
River project and its ornate suspension bridges--the "string thing"
bridges, Boyd calls them. They are angered at the mayor's comments
concerning disability pay for injured police and firefighters. They're
annoyed at the possibility the city may construct a homeless center
on Harry Hines Boulevard in Northwest Dallas. They're suspicious of her
attitude toward public financing for a new Cowboys stadium. Where's the old
Miller who would have rained vituperation down on the head of Jerry Jones?
... "This whole Trinity project is really what's
broken my heart," Boyd says.
... We asked her if she thought any local
politician anywhere could ever forego putting his or her name on a brass
plaque on some big, honkin' shiny doodad for posterity. Forgetting that Boyd
is conservative, we pointed out that even former San Antonio Mayor Henry
Cisneros, a good mayor and Democrat, had his Alamodome. (Long story short:
Many thought San Antonio needed a domed stadium the way Dallas needs a
"Henry Cisneros has always been an
arrogant self-promoter, but that's not who Laura was," Boyd shot back.
Honestly, I was not surprised
Laura Miller went out of her way to endear herself to the ODB. She's
smart. A smart politician follows the rule "Keep your friends close, and
your enemies closer." She just forgot to keep her friends close.
Our Big Ticket Mayor is likely annoyed that anyone is paying attention to what a
nobody like Sharon Boyd might be saying with Miller's world so removed from
common people. After all, I didn't win my city council race. That
worked out just fine for me. I questioned a couple of decisions my
councilman has made since last May, but more often than not he has been very
protective of his NW Dallas constituents. Unless something horrendous
happens between now and May 2005, I expect to endorse and support Steve Salazar
for a second term. Our Mayor asked me to run, and I did. It would
have been a real coup for a White Woman to win a district drawn so surgically to
be a safe Hispanic district, but I tried. My supporters prayed that God
would do what's best for me -- they forgot to pray that he would let me win.
Laura Miller's endorsement did not hurt or especially help me in that race.
Her No Smoking Ordinance actually cost me more votes than anything. Won't
even touch the Police Unions backlash. Laura Miller gave me a large
contribution campaign contribution, but I worked untold hours in her first
campaign for nothing. My anger with Our Mayor is over her flat out
deception of me and many other campaign supporters.
Now, the Dallas Voice
has done a story about the Miller/Boyd rift.
Miller loses key supporter as Boyd jumps ship;
Grassroots activist attacks
mayor?s support for tax to help fund new Cowboys stadium in Fair Park
By David Webb,
Mayor Laura Miller responded this week to growing criticism from some former
supporters who complain she has failed to keep her ?back to basics? campaign
promises and has deserted them in favor of big business interests and
?When you are the mayor you have to have a citywide perspective,? said
Miller, who noted that the downtown skyline is dotted with buildings that
are near-empty. ?That?s got to change, and I?m focused on doing that,? she
Miller said that revitalization of downtown Dallas and development of the
Trinity River basin are essential to luring new businesses, conventions and
tourists to the city. Without those improvements Dallas will continue to
stagnate, she said.
?We just fell off the list of the top 25 cities in America to go to,
according to Travel and Leisure magazine,? Miller said. ?People say they?re
not going to come to Dallas because there is nothing to do here.?
... Miller?s remarks came in response to
criticism from former campaign volunteer and failed city council candidate
Sharon Boyd, who operates the Web site Dallasarena.com. Boyd, a community
activist who has worked closely with Miller for several years, recently
began targeting the mayor in columns posted on the site.
In one column, ?Duped: Was Laura Miller Ever Sincere?? posted on April 26,
Boyd accused the mayor of turning her back on her most ardent volunteers
... ?I?ve had a year to adjust to the reality of
the real Laura Miller versus the person we thought we were electing,? Boyd
... The mayor bitterly fought an arena sales
tax five years ago to help support the construction of the American Airlines
Center in downtown Dallas, the activist noted.
... In an interview this week, Boyd said she felt
compelled to go public about her unhappiness with the mayor?s agenda because
she had worked so hard to help Miller get elected. ?I?ve run out of excuses
and stood by her as ?I?m not mad at Laura, [but] I don?t know who she is
anymore,? said Boyd, who complained that Miller was not elected to
revitalize Dallas. ?She was elected to do the basics. We believe that if she
did do the basics that the other stuff would happen.?
... ?I think there is something in the water at
city hall,? Boyd said. ?You drink the water, and you get big ticket fever ?
and it?s not curable.?
Miller defended her support of Jones? plans, saying that it would be good
?I know they [the supporters] would just like me to say that in principle I
don?t want to give a nickel of tax money to a sports team,? Miller said.
?That?s not my position.?
... The mayor said that she still enjoyed
significant support from average residents of the city. Her visits to the
grocery store and other routines remind her of it on a daily basis she said.
?People admire that I am honest, that I am ethical and that I don?t talk
like a politician out of both sides of my mouth,? Miller said. ?I tell
people what I think on every single subject, and I have not one hidden
What can you add to that?
Here are some comments from other former Miller backers who read David Webb's
Laura is just delusional about herself.
The Voice article "kind-a" says it like it is.
Jerry is too greedy on this venture. He will lose,
hopefully by at least a 60/40 split. If
Jones loses, Laura loses.
North of LBJ, there are not many at all who
support Laura's viewpoint on the Stadium.
JP : The Pothole Queen has no hidden
agenda because she's all me, myself, and I.
Downtown Dallas will only be fixed when there is a development
authority in place like Central Houston, Inc. to
fix it. The City has failed to revitalize
downtown. It's time to privatize that process. Another photo
op for the PQ, then get the h.... out of the way.
There are still a lot of former
Miller backers who are complaining, but still fence-sitting on Laura Miller.
There are others who backed her opponents who are now on her team. She
thinks she can trust them and count on them later on -- yeah, right!
I believe in good government and there are people who want to do what's right.
Unfortunately, they may not be electable. We don't need to change our form
of government at City Hall. We need to change the players. We need a
capable and competent City Manager, and we need a Mayor who can work within the
confines of her powers and responsibilities to lead and promote the city.
We don't need someone with no experience in management running this city.
In 2002, we had a shell game with three choices. In 2003, we had a shell
game with two choices. What we didn't know when we make our choice was
there nothing under any cap on the table.