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10/23/03   Arena Scheme was a Bad Deal!!

Jim Schutze has a great article (Sticker Shock) in the Dallas Observer that would make Bad Dealers snicker, except there's so much wrong on so many fronts it's hard to  grin -- much less laugh.  Schutze says Kirk and Ware's chickens are coming home to roost, but it's the Folsom/Taylor buzzards that may do us in.

Our "It's a Bad Deal!!" warnings proved truthful in just a few years.  We have a fancy new arena, but we are broke.

We have no new development.  We have no tax revenue.  Our bond rating has tanked.

We can't pay our police and firefighters what they could make in Grand Prairie. 

We may not be able to meet our obligations to retired city employees, much less adequately compensate our current city workers. 

Did you listen to the council this week?  More specifically, did you hear Councilwoman Garcia's administrative aide blasting the council?  That would be the same Yolanda Lara who used city computers to campaign for Mary Poss against Laura Miller.

Last I heard, our City Charter prohibits employee unions, other than for Police and Firefighters.  So, why would Yolanda Lara address the council as if she heads up some union and speaks for all civilian employees?  Who elected her?  What illegal organization does she represent?  She questioned the right of the City Attorney and City Auditor to control their budgets.  Neither the City Auditor and the City Attorney are under the City Manager, who is over Yolanda Lara.

Staff for the City Attorney and the City Auditor are specialists in their fields.  Lara is a secretary.  She may be a very good secretary, but she is not a lawyer or an accountant.  Does she even have a college degree?  Getting an accounting degree is not the same as earning a CPA.  Getting a law degree is not the same as passing the Bar. 

I worked for the city right after graduating from college.  When I wanted a raise, I took a civil service exam and applied for an opening in a different department.  It's not that different today. 

Can you imagine telling your boss who in your office gets a raise and who cannot -- or better some secretary telling the Board of Directors of her employer that she has a say in the decision making of a manager?  Not in the real world!

What makes things worse at City Hall is having 14 of the 15 council members forget the limits of their authority per our City Charter.  Councilman Rasansky may not have liked the way the council learned about promotions in the City Attorney and City Auditor Departments, but he did not question the right of those department heads to distribute their department budgets as they determined best to accomplish their responsibilities.

It sounded like Brain-Dead Thornton-Reese was going to have a stroke.  Must have been off her meds.  Normally looney, at the October 22nd council meeting, T-Reese was particularly disturbed.

Comments from several council members were no more sensible than those of T-Reese.  Some, particularly Lill and Oakley, made statements they knew were inappropriate.  It could have been worse, but Fantroy was absent. 

Frequently, council members and others have accused the Mayor of micro-managing and even blamed her for the City Manager firing Terrell Bolton.  Today, some council members suggested the City Attorney and City Auditor should consult the council before making promotions in their departments. 

It got worse as the day progressed.  Mitch Rasansky challenged a very bad deal the council was asked to approve with a Love Field tenant.  He carefully took them through the terms of the lease, explaining how it would not be good for taxpayers.  It fell on deaf ears.  How many lease and/or real estate deals has Housewife Extraordinare Veletta Lill done?  Yet, she was incredibly patronizing as she played down legitimate issues raised by Rasansky.  In the end, all attending council members except Rasansky (including the Mayor) voted to approve another rip off of Dallas taxpayers.

It was an appropriate vote on a day that began with a secretary telling off the council and making disparaging and untruthful statements against the Mayor.

None of it was as important as two Dallas police officers at Parkland Hospital recovering from buckshot wounds from a point blank blast from a drug dealer's shotgun.  The shooting occurred at an apartment complex just a few blocks south of my home.  When the shooting was first reported on TV, I called a neighbor.  He said police helicopters were over his house near Park Lane, several squad cars and a man face down in the street. 

Today, we learned one of the wounded officers is our former neighborhood ICP officer who only recently transferred to deep nights.  This part of town is the most dangerous area of a city with the nation's worst crime rate.  Sure makes crooked arena deals, bad city leases and insolent employees seem mundane.
  Mary Lou Zijderveld:
One of the officers who was shot was our own Lance Crawford.  I am sick to think while these officers were trying to make this neighborhood a better place to live, they could have lost their lives less than two miles from my home. 
Please be in prayer for both officers.
Linda Neel:
We don't need to write an article about how great our NW Police Officers are, but Lance Crawford has consistently gone above and beyond for all of us.  Recently, he was transferred to night duty, so we've missed seeing him around.  But, he's still been there for us, working the more dangerous shift, trying to keep Bachman a little safer place for all of us.
Barbara Miller:
Lance Crawford was our ICP officer for several years until recently assigned from ICF (interactive Community Police) to his current position.  Lance worked very closely with us community members for years.  He is a real asset to the DPD. 

The horrible crime rate in NW Dallas is a direct result of bad decisions made under former Mayor Bob Folsom and Mayor Starke Taylor.  Neither were bad men -- they just allowed and/or created environments where very bad things happened to this city.

Most of the sprawling apartment complexes that plague the area between Bachman Lake and Walnut Hill were built during the terms of Folsom and Taylor.  Anyone who questioned the over-development was considered anti-Dallas. 

Real people now must live with mistakes made 25 and 30 years ago.  Real police are being shot in those poorly planned apartment complexes.  Real bad situation.

Schutze talks about chickens coming home to roost from the bad deals made by Ron Kirk and John Ware that will cost you and me way into future years.  The impact of their slimey regime pales as compared to what NW Dallas is enduring right now.

We could fix some of our problems in NW Dallas by closing down apartment complexes with a history of crime and violence.  The Chase Place Apartments, like many NW Dallas apartments, are no strangers to crime and violence.  Some properties look acceptable from the street until you get inside and see the lack of maintenance and damage.  This glut of aging and poorly maintained apartments is compounded by their over-population.

Families and even multiple families live in one bedroom units.  My neighborhood's little school, Burnett Elementary, is overwhelmed with children from nearby apartment buildings, children who are themselves overwhelmed with their day-to-day existence in those hell holes.

Much of the crime in NW Dallas and the Vickery Meadows area of NE Dallas is caused by the over-population and existence of too many apartment buildings, built in the Boom Boom days of Wes Wise, Robert Folsom and Starke Taylor. 

More people did not make Dallas more prosperous. 

Packing humans into shoe boxes with no outside recreation areas creates pockets in this city where only the most desperate or the most dangerous will live.  One such area is Webb Chapel/Lombardy, where two officers were shot Tuesday, October 21, 2003.

Our situation is as much a lack of code enforcement as it is a crime problem.  We have code enforcement directors who do not think it is important to monitor the number of people existing in these aging apartment buildings. 

The City Manager is not responsible for the City Attorney's staff or the City Auditor's department.  The City Manager is responsible for code enforcement and assigning staff to the city council.  The City Manager could direct Code Enforcement to do their job and close down problematic apartment complexes.  The City Manager should fire Yolanda Lara.  He is likely to do neither.

If we were to close and demolish a couple of the worst apartment complexes, it would send a message to the others to shape up.  If the City Manager were to exert some control over out-of-control employees like Yolanda Lara, it would send a message to other employees to focus on their job and leave decision making to department heads and council.

DPD Sr. Corporals Lance Crawford and Jeff Eggleston are never going to be the same men they were before they were shot.  They will have physical scars, aches and pains, not to mention nightmarish memories.  They were doing their jobs.

The chickens have come home to roost from John Ware and Ron Kirk diverting tax funds from our everyday needs to the accounts of Tom Hicks and Ross Perot, Jr.  We don't have enough police officers to protect themselves while they try to protect us and our property.  Those officers who will work for us are not being paid what they deserve to face the potential of a shotgun blast behind an unlocked door.

Compared to the impact of aging apartment monsters from the Folsom/Taylor era, Ware and Kirk's bad deals add up to chicken feed. 

Yes, Ware and Kirk's chickens are coming home to rest and are going to be a problem, but NW Dallas has Folsom and Taylor's buzzards circling our neighborhoods right now!






  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