Workers' Reply to the Mayor?s State of the City Address
members of one of the City of Dallas? Employees Associations, see quite an
opposite reality than the one viewed by Mayor Laura Miller in her ?state of the
City? address. Yes, there is turmoil and conflict in the world, but we also
observe a measure of turmoil and conflict in the City of
Dallas, as well.
about the turmoil caused by the lack of timely police response-say about 45
minutes on average-as reported by many of our resident employees? What about the
inner turmoil and conflict caused by the lack of opportunity and decent housing
in the southern sector of the City?
about the turmoil and conflict caused by the drugs sold every day just two
blocks north of Vilbig and Singleton, as observed by City employees?
the disproportionate opportunities offered to mega-millionaires such as
Hicks, Ross Perot, Jr, the downtown business district moguls, or the Trinity
River development moguls compared to the hopelessness and lack of opportunity
that exists in many areas West Dallas,
South Dallas, Fair Park, Jaffee and other
such areas south of the Trinity River?
We see a
city, which the mayor has deemed as the greatest city in the United States, but
certain groups in the nation rank Dallas as the second lowest in the nation for
Cities of one million or more for ?livability? and is below average for the rate
of pay offered to city employees in the metroplex. Well, now we can rest on our
laurels, ?cause it doesn?t get any better than this!
In a recent
article in the Dallas Morning News,
Fortune 500 companies plan to increase employees benefits for
employees this year, but the City of Dallas is on an opposite inhumane path.
Mayor, you are choking the life out of City Employees by refusing raises for
four years, increasing pension deductions and boosting employees? cost of
health insurance, all while failing to adequately contribute to the pension fund
in such as manner as to cause a shortfall, which prompted State of Texas action.
Further, you had agreed in a Council resolution to contribute two dollars for
every one dollar by the employee to the pension fund, but now you have added
?administrative costs? to those numbers, which equals a 50/50% split, instead of
67/33% split as per the resolution.
Mayor, you failed to allow equitable (as we call it), or merit (as you
call it) raises for City employees, but have re-instituted the old system
of raises by ?cronyism? in which the manager?s favorites
(who are usually not the
productive employees) get raises that they don?t deserve.
This fact was brought
up by one of the council members who reported that Mary Suhm had expressed
the ?merit? system was broken for the same reasons cited above. But, you did not
Madam Mayor, when truth is spoken in the Council chambers,
you become mysteriously quiet and unconcerned. You have established uniformed
employees as a ?First class ? group (or ?A? team) and non-uniformed employees
as a ?Second class? group (or ?B? team) as evidenced by giving raises to the ?A?
team every year and short-changing the ?B? team? every year with lay-offs
and refusing to allow across-the-board raises to reward their good-faith
That?s right, what?s wrong with me? Government leaders are not required
to adhere to the same give a ?good faith? efforts that the law of the land
requires all the rest of us regular schmucks to do.
?Divide and conquer?. It?s
not a bad scheme when you at first conceive to deceive.
Non-uniformed City employees haven?t had a raise in four years, but
you don?t care. Oh, yes, you?ve made a few accomplishments, but only at the cost
of tremendous sacrifices by City employees. Attila the Hun had more regard
for his comrades than you.
You?ve made progress by terrorizing the City staff with layoffs, providing
raises for incompetent managers of the Hitler-youth caliber and by crushing the
hopes and dreams of the families of good City employees under your feet.
All the while, you're singing the budget blues (we call that term ?poor-mouthing? in the south).
Poor-mouthing means you are crying that you have no money, when you
sufficient money, but you don?t want others to know.
about NOT giving developers all the excess City funds that you have? The way you
give away money to developers, the City will soon be bankrupt.
You are SO eager
to give business whatever it wants, you forget your TOP PRIORITY
should be to protect
the interests of the citizens ABOVE ALL OTHER INTERESTS.
about your ?Renaissance? of Dallas? Is it the Housing Department?s plan to
replace about forty-five rotting hulks a year in the NIP areas? That?s not much
of a dent in the approximately 45,000 homes that need extensive repair or
ahead-an ?Emerald City? ? Seattle has been nicknamed the ?Emerald
City?, but Seattle has also been voted one of America?s most ?livable cities? of
cities with a population of over one million citizens in the past several years.
Seattle has more social programs, environmental protection, rainfall and more
governmental protection of citizens over the interests of private enterprise.
Mayor, just where are those ?psychedelic glasses? you wore years ago when you
first viewed the City of Dallas?
Mayor, you do have council camaraderie and some of your comrades evolved from
the same self-serving political ocean that you spawned in and whose every move
is orchestrated by the ?big business? interests of
embark on a search for a new City Manager, who will be cloned in the same image
as you. This will most certainly strike fear in the hearts of the few City
staffers who are not distraught or suffering from an advanced case of low
Let?s get the Dallas business sector to come up with a new City
manager. They are the same folks who brought us layoffs, ensured that good jobs
were sent overseas, created the 60-hour workweek, reduced benefits, promoted
diminished respect for the working class and elevation of the status of human
beings from noble hard-working creatures of God to mindless robots made of meat.
Mayor: Let?s examine your top (5) Priorities and assess your progress so far:
Not many problems, if you are talking about the area north of the
South of the Trinity River? Partly run-down neighborhoods, old
factories, several junk yards, lots of high weeds and grass, boarded-up houses
in most neighborhoods and the sewer treatment plant just west of I-45.
The smell of urban progress early in the morning wafting up from the west
of I-45 is such a delight to the senses!
Rank-and-file employees KNOW we are accountable, but
that privileged group of employees called management, are for the most part,
incompetent and always have had the knack for concocting some excuse for their
poor performance and for applying their Gestapo terror tactics.
An example of
this scenario would be the recent Code Enforcement fiasco. Most inspectors were given impossible production quotas.
When you give people an impossible task, they?ll find some way to get it
done (or make it appear to be done).
Once again, the benign intelligence
of management insures that egg production will be increased by strangling the
Quality of Life:
In Oak Cliff west if I-35, if you walk some of the same
areas as Mary Suhm did without an armed escort and walk them after dark,
you?ld quickly and savagely find out just how good the ?neighborhood quality?
is. We can picture an un-escorted and confident Mary Suhm waiting for a bus
at the intersection of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King at 1:00 am on Sunday
Ditto #1 and #3.
An improved smelly river park with civilized
amenities in which muggers can have a nicer place to mug citizens.
will appreciate that. No one will notice the
signatures (graffiti) on the new
bridges as they speed past at 70 miles per hour. In a few years, grime and trash
will cover the glitter of these white elephants. Remind
you of Reunion arena?
more people downtown will be nice. We?re sure the wide array of
supermarkets, drugstores, theatres, shopping malls and ample
parking and numerous nearby gas stations will surely reel ?em in.
downtown cultural facilities certainly do rate some merit.
But, like the visitors
who travel to the convention center, who wants to barge past the
homeless who still constantly pester pedestrians for money and still camp
out under nearby bridges? Have you noticed all of the trash and tent cities
under the nearby downtown I-45, I-30 and I-75 bridges and just east of Dolphin
Road next to White Rock Creek?
of jobs? Lots of low-paying service jobs
were created at
American Airlines Center. A husband and wife, working at minimum wage, still can?t afford to
buy one of the so-called ?affordable? $80,000 homes which the developers are
building south of the Trinity. This does not bode well for the hard-working
Homelessness? It?s true that the
street people need help, but can?t a facility be
built in the far south area of the City with full service facilities? Downtown
tourism and business will never be good, until aggressive panhandling and
squatting on public land downtown is eliminated.
Accountability? We don?t know of any areas of private industry
without some ?deadbeat? employees. Most
city employees have spouses or relatives working
the private sector. We know what is going on out there.
Madam Mayor, lowering the boom
on a group of employees (such as Code Enforcement, Animal Control and Housing),
you have ?thrown out the baby with the bath water?. Such ?blind
sweeps? of employees is reminiscent of the old movie ?The Grapes of Wrath?.
Madam Mayor, you have been heavy-handed, callous and reprehensible for
ejecting the good employees with the bad ones.
say you want to reward employees. Such diametrically opposite approaches to
personnel management smacks of a Jekyll and Hyde. Your
merit increase only rewards those who are popular with the management, but
will not reward the most productive employees.
Which sort of
employee aligns himself/herself with (mostly incompetent) management? The
hard-working ones? Hardly. Management?s judgment in most of these cases will
be subjective. Employees who ?kiss-up?, play politics will be the winners, not the employees who get the job done.
You have filled some potholes, but the same ones open back up, due to improper repair
technique. Have you noticed that when a utility contractor tears up the street,
the demolished area is NEVER repaired as well as the surrounding street?
a major source of new potholes. Per
city regulations, utility company street repairs
are to be as good as the surrounding street, but the city
requirement is not enforced.
Housing has made some strides, but many of the houses that were repaired should
have been replaced. Take TV cameras to a bunch of those Basic Services
Repair Houses, and you?ll see many of the same houses still in poor condition
on the inside.
Greenville Avenue for months and homeowners still grumble about the noise.
police who beat up their wives, crooked cops, cops with criminal records, etc.
We still see
lots of aggressive panhandling downtown and at intersections, but none of us who
drive around the City have ever seen an arrest for this violation. We also still
see shopping carts being pushed by homeless people within sight of the Canton
install signs at apartments to tell the folks to hide their belongings, after
all, no police will be watching your car to ensure security.
Crime may be
slightly down from last year in a few categories, but you?ll never make an
impact in the crime rate until there are police assigned to ?walk the beat? in
CNG police cars
won?t catch ?the fast and the furious?, but they?ll pollute less while losing
the chase. Did you ever drive a GNG vehicle? No power and you can?t pass a gas
station, ?cause you?re out of fuel! They?ll only go sixty to one-hundred miles
without re-fueling (down to I-20 and back two times).
a signature bridge?
Do we need to pay 50% MORE FOR A PRETTY DESIGN OVER A SMELLY
Is prestige important enough to shell out that much money, or do we
smell the scent of big bucks flapping in the back pockets of greedy developers?
While we have our near-empty City wallet out, why not shuck out a couple of
hundred million dollars for the Cowboys? Stadium?
Jerry is certainly
hard-pressed for the money. We?re sure that he?ll give us the same good deal
that we got at the hands of the good folks at the American Airlines Center.
is in ruins, why not pave it over?
last thing: Thanks to McKenzie and company for their tireless work. Aren?t they
the same ones who brought us a privatized Minor Home Repair program ? We have
heard that this efficient creation has not spent over 25% of its allotted funds,
due to ?heel-dragging? by the company which now administers the program. It is
now unlikely that thirty to thirty-five percent of the funds will be spent
before the end of the current fiscal year. Ten months into the fiscal year and
only 25% of the work is done! Even a group of the mythical so-called ?lazy City
Employees? can do better that that!
Madam Mayor, you?ve certainly earned the trust of the citizens, but we are not
so easily swayed by your well-crafted speech.
way, maybe we should ALL quit the City for more lucrative careers as lobbyists,
developers, consultants or contractors, who can then work for the City for more
money than average folks can make in the private sector!