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01/01/03 May 2003 Be the Best Year Ever for Dallas 

2002 is gone.  It went by too fast for me.  

New Year's Eve, I reflected tonight on how our city had a reputation as the "can do" city.  What happened?  

I think the decline when citizens started to accept mediocrity.  We got lazy and did not want to get involved or hold people accountable.  

I am thankful that we have an excellent mayor.  Mayor Miller has done an outstanding job since her election, but I am disappointed she has not taken a stand replacing people who have constantly cost the city money and respect.  Mayor Miller has the potential of being the best mayor Dallas has ever had.  It all depends on making tough changes at City Hall, changes that take 8 votes of the City Council.  She does not have the votes now but with the May elections in 2003 this should change.  

I am tired of what we have.  It is time for our city to get ethical and honest citizens representing taxpayers down at City Council.  City Council was never meant to be a monarchy like some people think.  

Police Chief Terrell Bolton is at the top of my list of people who need to go.  I feel the frustration of many officers who tell me they do not respect their boss.  One even told me he has given instructions to his family that if anything ever happened to him Chief Bolton is not to be allowed to visit him.  Who can blame my friend's attitude when Bolton charged overtime for visiting injured or dead officers?

Statistics on crime are always down.  And the reason is that the numbers are not reflecting the crime we have. This all started since Bolton became boss.  For example a "NO CODE" is when several crimes have been committed at one time/location.  Only one event is documented (robbery at gunpoint & theft of a vehicle would be written up as only one of the two offenses).  This is not honest and does not reflect what really is going on.

In December, Police Officer Leon Brannon (who worked at Love Field) died of a massive heart attack.  He called in sick the day he died.  His death was not widely reported by the news media because it was not in the line of duty. However, I believe the stress of being a police officer contributed to his death.  He was only 51 years old and was looking forward to retiring in nine months.  I hope that this does not happen to another officer who has given his life protecting us and in the end will not get to enjoy retirement.

A good chief is on the front-line fighting for his men.  Not so with Chief Bolton.  A former officer told me when he joined the force being a Dallas officer carried a lot of prestige.  Now, they have a hard time hiring good officers. Why did Benavides pick Bolton and never interview anyone from the outside?  I attribute this to some current politicians forcing their will to have the city hire people they like hired.  This would be all right if that person is the most qualified.  That was never the case with Bolton.

1.  Police officers for years have accumulated sick leave.  For many years, they were encouraged to do this. To use one's sick leave would mean you might not be considered for promotion.  This common practice for many years was to go to work even if you were sick.  Accumulation of sick leave is something many citizens want to do away with.  If the sick leave policy changes it should be applied only to new hires.  In other words don't change the rules and penalize those who have been faithful officers doing what they were told to do.  This is not fair because one should honor benefits that are given at the time of being hired.  

2.  Police officers have gotten a bad rap about being greedy.  Unhappily for too long the police officers have been promised more money.  Due to many tax financial shortfalls this has not happened. Too many lawsuits that the city has had to pay has caused this shortfall.  Most of these lawsuits would have cost the police chief his job. Not so with Bolton.  Several lawsuits have been caused directly or indirectly by Chief Terrell Bolton.  Time and time again he has shown us he is incapable of running the Police Department.  I like Chief Bolton, but he needs to go.  We need a strong leader to head this important department.

City Manager Ted Benavides also needs to go.  I do not dislike him, but he is not the type of person we need to hold that office.  We need someone who is willing to take a stand against the powers that be and say NO if it is something that will cost the taxpayers money.  

1.  City Hall continues to lose revenue by allowing too many tax abatements to companies at the expense of average citizens like you and me.   Benavides has hurt us financially by allowing too many astute companies coming in and getting favors at taxpayer expense.  It is through favoring tax abatements at the expense of Dallas homeowners that our city continues to be short of money. This needs to stop.  The infrastructure of the city needs to be taken care of before helping these companies get freebie's in the form of tax abatements.  This practice has caused the layoff of city employee's and cutbacks of city services to save money.   Benavides needs to lead or be replaced.   

It is encouraging to see our country is no longer tolerating unethical people. Time Magazine awarded the much coveted Man of the Year award to three Whistleblowers.  These women never forgot that doing the right thing is important no matter the consequences.  They risked everything by doing what few people are willing to do in speaking against the corruption going on in their companies. We too must follow suit and not allow the current practices that have been tolerated for too long in our city.  

My prayer is that 2003 be the best year Dallas has ever had.  This will  only happen if citizens demand accountability from those who are in charge of our city.  Our city has a great history of being able to do great things.   We can do anything, but we must start with the best people in positions of leadership.  

People like to make changes with a New Year.  Dallas needs to make changes.  We have a great future ahead of us but only if people get involved and do the right thing.  I have voiced the changes I want to see now you decide what changes you want.  I wish you and yours all the best in 2003.

      Mary Lou Montes Zijderveld

                                        

    





                            

 

  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