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Thread: Your Opinion of a Strong Mayor

  1. #201
    Administrator tamtagon's Avatar
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    City of Dallas government would be a good format for a regional government, at least including Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton Counties - like, once the county's population exceeds 500,000 then it joins the regional planning govt.

    In Dallas, I still it's the elected officials which need to be replaced not the method.

  2. #202
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warlock55
    *cue circus music*

    That petition just keeps sounding more and more suspect.
    Yeah, this petition bulls**t is driving me crazy.

  3. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by tamtagon

    In Dallas, I still it's the elected officials which need to be replaced not the method.
    Yep, you said it!

  4. #204
    Smile... :) mikedsjr's Avatar
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    Let me sum this up in a nutshell.....

    Its the constituents, who vote the people in the people you say need to be replaced, that really drive the ills of this city. When you can't get the city united because of a sect of the population, then you need a strong mayor to shove it up their butts and tell them what they need because they don't know better.
    Listen to the Dividing Line, Pirate Christian Radio, CARM, White Horse Inn and RTS University the most nowadays.....

  5. #205
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    The Laura ad:


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    Quote Originally Posted by mikedsjr
    Let me sum this up in a nutshell.....

    Its the constituents, who vote the people in the people you say need to be replaced, that really drive the ills of this city. When you can't get the city united because of a sect of the population, then you need a strong mayor to shove it up their butts and tell them what they need because they don't know better.
    Which sect or sects of the population, just out of curiosity, have been fighting some of the city proposals over the years?

  7. #207
    Administrator tamtagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2112
    Which sect or sects of the population, just out of curiosity, have been fighting some of the city proposals over the years?
    My POV is probably out of focus, being more general to the political climate in any city and not specific to Dallas, but I think many squables sprout from traditional disagreements between specific class and/or race-based demographics. Either side of an issue gets inflated into an unmanageable problem as the power holders within distinguishable populations perpetuated inequities from the 50s/60s/70s. The style of city government operating in Dallas has the potential to eliminate many of these carry-over difficulties and generate greater mesureable improvements in the standard of living within the city, but without the propper representation at city hall, big decisions will be prone to bogging down due to tangential issues of society, rather than the specific challenges of the decision.

  8. #208
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    Quote Originally Posted by tamtagon
    My POV is probably out of focus, being more general to the political climate in any city and not specific to Dallas, but I think many squables sprout from traditional disagreements between specific class and/or race-based demographics. Either side of an issue gets inflated into an unmanageable problem as the power holders within distinguishable populations perpetuated inequities from the 50s/60s/70s. The style of city government operating in Dallas has the potential to eliminate many of these carry-over difficulties and generate greater mesureable improvements in the standard of living within the city, but without the propper representation at city hall, big decisions will be prone to bogging down due to tangential issues of society, rather than the specific challenges of the decision.
    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CTroyMathis
    The Laura ad:

    LOL!

  10. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikedsjr
    Let me sum this up in a nutshell.....

    Its the constituents, who vote the people in the people you say need to be replaced, that really drive the ills of this city. When you can't get the city united because of a sect of the population, then you need a strong mayor to shove it up their butts and tell them what they need because they don't know better.
    How very paternalistic.

  11. #211
    LH Copycat Columbus Civil's Avatar
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    then you need a strong mayor to shove it up their butts and tell them what they need because they don't know better.
    I can just picture Laura Miller with a strap-on now.
    Dallas uber alles

  12. #212
    Supertall Skyscraper Member texman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Columbus Civil
    I can just picture Laura Miller with a strap-on now.
    HAHA, omg..that was taken way to far but still funny.
    "And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed."-"Farewell to Penn Station," New York Times Editorial, October 30, 1963

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    Quote Originally Posted by texman
    HAHA, omg..that was taken way to far but still funny.
    Well, I think it's the lack of balls that's the real problem.

  14. #214
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Columbus Civil
    I can just picture Laura Miller with a strap-on now.
    WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT????????????????????

  15. #215
    Smile... :) mikedsjr's Avatar
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    Sure, what I said was. But I was trying to exagerate a little the issue. The problem is you expect the problem people to be voted out, but your also saying that the constiuents voted for these problem people for a reason. When you have problem people in office who continue to exacerbate the council and don't help direct the city as a whole as well as their constiuents, then you get many of the problems in Dallas you have had. Also, with the current setting, the Mayor has little authority but to act as the head that gets the blame for anything wrong with the city when it is the city manager who is to blame. Let the Mayor be responsible for much more. Let them be the one where everyone in the city is certain for where the blame lies. Let the mayor possession be the one where they get the right to gloat when things are going well. They are the icon of the city. Not a counciolmen.

    This would allow the councilmen to still be problem people for their constituents if that is what their constituents want but also let the mayor control the direction of the whole city, which councilmen are not elected to do, per se.
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  16. #216
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    ^ Word. I agree Mike.

    Thanks for staying on track here Mike.
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  17. #217
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    No Strong Mayor Here: Laura Miller needs to stop wavering and lead
    06:06 PM CST on Wednesday, December 1, 2004
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...yor.4c0ac.html

    Things are getting "curiouser and curiouser," as Alice in Wonderland would say. Initially, Mayor Laura Miller said she would oppose the strong-mayor proposal that seems destined for the May ballot, courtesy of a citizens' petition drive. Although she wants to broaden the mayor's powers, she said, the measure would go too far by abolishing – at least in the City Charter – the job of city manager. Now Ms. Miller seems to have changed her mind. If council members continue to reject her own not-quite-so-strong-mayor amendments, she says, she may support the petitioners' version after all.

    But – and here's where we really go down the rabbit hole – the mayor says she still wants to hire a new city manager before May. What's more, she is assuring potential manager candidates that "I'll still be the mayor in May, and [the person hired] would still have the same job the city manager has now." What does "strong mayor" mean if not that the job of city manager – perhaps recast as a city administrator or chief operating officer – is going to change, and change substantially? Even under Ms. Miller's scenario, the manager would be hired by the mayor, not the council, would not have primary responsibility for the budget, and would not hire the chief financial officer, who also would report to the mayor.

    No wonder potential city manager candidates presently regard Dallas' overtures as "humorous" – the description of the headhunter who's handling the search. There are many, many variations on the two common forms of municipal governance: council-manager and strong mayor. Most strong-mayor cities do have a hired administrator with broad responsibilities. That position does not necessarily need to be spelled out in the charter. But for Ms. Miller to assert that she wants to risk a political schism in the city by amending the charter, all for the sake of leaving everything the same, strains credulity. If she wants to maneuver the council into backing her proposals, she needs to build public support by presenting them forthrightly to the people of the city. Ms. Miller says her strategy at this point is to "stay open." She needs to make up her mind. She needs to lead.
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  18. #218
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    ^ Thabk you Dallas Morning News for spelling it out for us. I agree with this editorial. I hope people are paying attention.

  19. #219
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    Un-chartered Territory
    http://www.dallasobserver.com/issues...news/news.html

    Who's behind the strong-mayor petitions? That's a secret. What does it tell us that the mayor and city council can't even discuss a "strong mayor" charter reform without coming close to a food fight, but a total outsider with no experience in city government may succeed in a dramatic end run around all of them? Probably everything we need to know. Last week political novice Beth Ann Blackwood delivered 30,000 petition signatures to City Hall--10,000 more than the number required to force a May referendum on charter reform. Blackwood's petitions call for the complete abandonment of the city manager system in Dallas in favor of a strong mayor system.

    Blackwood, a lawyer and first-time city council candidate, believes her version of a strong mayor system would give City Hall a badly needed infusion of accountability by transforming the office of mayor from figurehead to true chief executive. "Whoever is the mayor, the bottom line will be that the mayor is responsible, that the buck stops with him or her," she says. Two weeks ago when Mayor Laura Miller attempted to talk the council into her own version of a strong mayor election, the debate broke into acrimony so bitter that the meeting had to be adjourned. The mayor seemed flummoxed by the Blackwood petition drive. She says Blackwood's idea is too radical: Dallas voters will never go for a change, she says, that includes ditching the statutory office of city manager.

    At the briefing two weeks ago Miller was still hopeful of getting her own version of reform on the ballot, in which the city manager would still exist but would be hired and fired by the mayor. She asked city staff to tell her what options she and the city council would have if the Blackwood signatures are certified. "What could we then put on the ballot, if anything?" Miller asked city attorney Madeleine Johnson. Johnson told the mayor she could only answer her question in a secret "executive session" because of "anticipated litigation." Later in open session the mayor and other council members peppered Johnson with a fairly bizarre range of questions. For example, Miller wanted to know if it would be legal to put conflicting propositions on the ballot so that voters might theoretically enact two different and conflicting forms of city government at the same time.

    Johnson diplomatically replied that it might be technically legal to do so but also might not be a smart idea. She and other staff, all of them speaking very gingerly, informed the mayor that Blackwood's petition drive may make it difficult--probably impossible--for any other strong mayor proposition to go on the ballot next May. In the hallways and cubicles of City Hall there is huge paranoia over the whole issue of strong mayor charter reform and who is really pushing for what. The morning after her own attempts went down in flames, Miller put more fat on the fire by cheerfully endorsing Blackwood's idea. The Blackwood plan, she said in The Dallas Morning News, was "better than no plan." It may have been an off-the-cuff remark, but it was taken by several minority council members as proof that Miller and Blackwood had been playing a bad-cop-good-cop game from the beginning. Minority council members, along with a few white members, fear that strong mayor reforms are all about undermining their own hard-fought gains, allowing the old oligarchy to regain control.

    Blackwood hasn't helped by not providing information about her own support base. Her most recent campaign finance report improperly omits the source of more than $28,000 she has spent on her District 14 council campaign so far. She also has refused to name the committee behind her petition drive, other than to describe them tantalizingly as "wealthy businessmen." In a city where the term "wealthy businessmen" still evokes the era of white citizens councils, Blackwood's description of her own support is either brazen or very naοve. Blackwood seems to regard curiosity about her support as nosiness. "I think most people are just trying to look for a way to shoot at the petition campaign," she says. "They'd like to see some list that they hope gives them some ammunition to use, which frankly isn't there." That attitude doesn't comprehend, of course, that in politics the better ammo is in the fact the list is secret, not who's on it. But she's getting there.

    "I think the real question that people are asking is 'Who is behind this?'" she says.

    Bingo.

    "Who is behind this really, when you get right down to it," she says, "is myself and my husband [lawyer Tom Thomas]. Now, that's about to change, because now that the signatures have been filed, we have had a lot of other people call." She promises the names of those people will be forthcoming. The Dallas Observer is aware from other sources that those names will include some former major financial backers of the mayor. Of these, some have become quietly disaffected from the mayor because of what they see as her abandonment of core principles, especially with regard to the Trinity River project.

    Blackwood insists that her petition campaign is exactly and only what she says it is--an effort by a total outsider to do something about the stalemate at Dallas City Hall. "This was something my husband and I talked about a year ago in the context of 'Surely there is some way to get this issue on the ballot without going through City Council.' "We went and looked it up and found out that it's a 20,000-signature requirement." City staff began verifying signatures on the petitions this week. If the 30,000 submitted signatures include at least 20,000 good ones, the Blackwood proposal goes on the ballot next May. And she and her husband didn't even have to go into executive session or have a food fight, that we know of, in order to get it done.

    --Jim Schutze
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  20. #220
    All Purpose Moderator warlock55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikedsjr
    Sure, what I said was. But I was trying to exagerate a little the issue. The problem is you expect the problem people to be voted out, but your also saying that the constiuents voted for these problem people for a reason. When you have problem people in office who continue to exacerbate the council and don't help direct the city as a whole as well as their constiuents, then you get many of the problems in Dallas you have had. Also, with the current setting, the Mayor has little authority but to act as the head that gets the blame for anything wrong with the city when it is the city manager who is to blame. Let the Mayor be responsible for much more. Let them be the one where everyone in the city is certain for where the blame lies. Let the mayor possession be the one where they get the right to gloat when things are going well. They are the icon of the city. Not a counciolmen.

    This would allow the councilmen to still be problem people for their constituents if that is what their constituents want but also let the mayor control the direction of the whole city, which councilmen are not elected to do, per se.
    Well heck, it seems like there's plenty of blame to go around, and it's obvious who should get what blame for what failure. I don't see how changing a person's percentage of blame helps at all.

    Even with a strong mayor, the same council has to vote to approve everything. And they'll still fight with each other, and you know they'd fight with the mayor. Seems like the only real change here is that they mayor, who had previously been unfairly blamed for administrative problems, would be fairly blamed for administrative problems. While we're being idealistic why not just have everyone learn their proper role in a council-manager government, follow those roles, and hire a good city manager? Remove the problems and you don't even have to worry about blame.

  21. #221
    The Urban Pragmatist Mballar's Avatar
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    Laura Miller = A "Strong-Mouthed" Mayor.
    A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something. - Plato

  22. #222
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    Just last night, I was reading a book I own on Mexico City, which had a section on its history from the Aztecs all the way to today's leadership. I couldnt help but notice that during President Diaz's dictatorship, around the late 1800's and early 1900's, much got accomplished in Mexico City. He spent much effort and money on the city building great parks and such, whether anybody liked it or not. I would imagine there was little opposition during his dictatorship.

    So, maybe, a Strong-Mayor Miller wouldnt be such a bad idea, eh?

  23. #223
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2112
    Just last night, I was reading a book I own on Mexico City, which had a section on its history from the Aztecs all the way to today's leadership. I couldnt help but notice that during President Diaz's dictatorship, around the late 1800's and early 1900's, much got accomplished in Mexico City. He spent much effort and money on the city building great parks and such, whether anybody liked it or not. I would imagine there was little opposition during his dictatorship.

    So, maybe, a Strong-Mayor Miller wouldnt be such a bad idea, eh?
    Well there were some armed revolutoinaries stirring up trouble in the northwestern part of Mexico during that period..........I'd say a revolution amounts to some kind of opposition.
    Last edited by trolleygirl; 03 December 2004 at 11:45 AM.

  24. #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    Well there were some armed revolutoinaries stirring up trouble in the northwestern part of Mexico during that period..........
    All I’m saying is that when you have a little concentration of power, big projects may be more feasibly accomplished. You don’t have as much dilution and bickering. This could be just what Dallas needs.

  25. #225
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    Quote Originally Posted by warlock55
    Well heck, it seems like there's plenty of blame to go around, and it's obvious who should get what blame for what failure. I don't see how changing a person's percentage of blame helps at all.

    Even with a strong mayor, the same council has to vote to approve everything. And they'll still fight with each other, and you know they'd fight with the mayor. Seems like the only real change here is that they mayor, who had previously been unfairly blamed for administrative problems, would be fairly blamed for administrative problems. While we're being idealistic why not just have everyone learn their proper role in a council-manager government, follow those roles, and hire a good city manager? Remove the problems and you don't even have to worry about blame.
    I agree with this.

  26. #226
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    Well there were some armed revolutoinaries stirring up trouble in the northwestern part of Mexico during that period..........I'd say a revolution amounts to some kind of opposition.
    Oh, I agree there was eventually problems. But the big projects got done in the mean time during Diaz' dictatorship.

  27. #227
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2112
    Oh, I agree there was eventually problems. But the big projects got done in the mean time during Diaz' dictatorship.
    Big projects got done is Dallas in the '30's too. We didn't have a strong mayor then. Big projects also got done in Dallas in the '50's. We didn't have a strong mayor then either.

    You know what scares and saddens me the most about this? Is that the people pushing for it are not Dallasites and they don't understand this City's rich history. The people fighting against it were born and raised here- and they all happen to be minorities too. I mean, think about it.

  28. #228
    All Purpose Moderator warlock55's Avatar
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    One of the things that bothers me the most is the readiness of the strong mayor proponents to dismiss minority concerns about the change. The minorities may be paranoid somewhat, which I'd say is darn understandable considering Dallas' history, but they don't act the way they do just because they're trying to be jerks and hold up city progress. A lot of people have concerns about equitable treatment (under both the new and current systems) which are being dismissed instead of being seriously considered. This is troubling because one of the fundamental principles of government is to provide equitable treatment, and not to pull off big development projects. I think the strong mayor proponents are getting some basics of governmental responsibility seriously confused. If these people want to bring some real change to Dallas, maybe they should start thinking about why the minority groups are so upset most of the time, and look at the situation from the minority point of view.

    This is really where the council fails for its part, because they don't treat each other as equals, and they don't see each member's constituents as equals. It's a very me-first atmosphere, and the mayor is certainly not exempt. In this kind of situation it's extremely important to have objectivity, and this is exactly where a good city manager, along with the vital completion of the new comprehensive plan come in. Me-first reigns supreme where there are no neutral criteria to prioritize and guide city projects. Putting this objectivity in place is the first step to educating the policy makers that there really are some areas of the city that have more fundamental needs than others - needs that need to be addressed to bring the neighborhoods to parity. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if an independent assesment would place most infrastructure needs in minority neighborhoods. And right there you start addressing minority outrage and paranoia - not because they complained the loudest, but based on neutral criteria that show they have the most need. You have to have this neutrality to convince the other council members that those needs are legitimate. Also, who is the best person to present this information? Not an elected council member or the mayor because that looks like political preference instead of objectivity. The best person is the professional city manager, and even better if he or she is hired by the entire council because they have a stake in the manager's objectivity and performance that they wouldn't have if they mayor hired the manager.

    Basically, the mayor and council need to hire a good manager and finish the comprehensive plan so that they will be forced to start weaning themselves from policy decisions - with resulting administrative actions - made by personal preference and replace them with decisions based on objective, equitable standards. Once that starts, it'll be much easier for the council and citizens to see what courses of action best help the entire city and at the same time everyone will be more comfortable with the process and the results.

  29. #229
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2112
    Just last night, I was reading a book I own on Mexico City, which had a section on its history from the Aztecs all the way to today's leadership. I couldnt help but notice that during President Diaz's dictatorship, around the late 1800's and early 1900's, much got accomplished in Mexico City. He spent much effort and money on the city building great parks and such, whether anybody liked it or not. I would imagine there was little opposition during his dictatorship.

    So, maybe, a Strong-Mayor Miller wouldnt be such a bad idea, eh?
    During Diaz dictatorship he did many great things from development to making Mexico's economy better. All the great things he did only benefited the landowners or wealthy people. Even though the economy was better people in poverty could not tell because they were in the same situation as before.

    Diaz did have some opposition, I want to say that circa 1910 a wealthy land owner decided to go against the grain, after seeing that he was not getting anything accomplished he made a call for revolution. Guerrilla armies gathered both in the north and south of the country.

    A stronger mayor system can be a double edge sword; he or she could either be pro or anit development.

    If a stronger mayor helps only the wealthy and developers, then I can tell you that the minorities will not be bickering any more. Minorities will do what they have to do and if they cannot get anything accomplished the right way, who knows what will end up happening.

  30. #230
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsantiago
    Minorities will do what they have to do and if they cannot get anything accomplished the right way, who knows what will end up happening.
    What exactly does that mean?
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  31. #231
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsantiago
    During Diaz dictatorship he did many great things from development to making Mexico's economy better. All the great things he did only benefited the landowners or wealthy people. Even though the economy was better people in poverty could not tell because they were in the same situation as before.

    Diaz did have some opposition, I want to say that circa 1910 a wealthy land owner decided to go against the grain, after seeing that he was not getting anything accomplished he made a call for revolution. Guerrilla armies gathered both in the north and south of the country.

    A stronger mayor system can be a double edge sword; he or she could either be pro or anit development.

    If a stronger mayor helps only the wealthy and developers, then I can tell you that the minorities will not be bickering any more. Minorities will do what they have to do and if they cannot get anything accomplished the right way, who knows what will end up happening.
    Those are very salient comments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    What exactly does that mean?
    If people feel they are being screwed sometimes they do not react in civil ways.

    But on a more literal sense, who really knows what is going to happen? not me...

  33. #233
    Administrator tamtagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warlock55
    One of the things that bothers me the most is the readiness of the strong mayor proponents to dismiss minority concerns about the change. The minorities may be paranoid somewhat, which I'd say is darn understandable considering Dallas' history, but they don't act the way they do just because they're trying to be jerks and hold up city progress. A lot of people have concerns about equitable treatment (under both the new and current systems) which are being dismissed instead of being seriously considered. This is troubling because one of the fundamental principles of government is to provide equitable treatment, and not to pull off big development projects. I think the strong mayor proponents are getting some basics of governmental responsibility seriously confused. If these people want to bring some real change to Dallas, maybe they should start thinking about why the minority groups are so upset most of the time, and look at the situation from the minority point of view.

    This is really where the council fails for its part, because they don't treat each other as equals, and they don't see each member's constituents as equals. It's a very me-first atmosphere, and the mayor is certainly not exempt. In this kind of situation it's extremely important to have objectivity, and this is exactly where a good city manager, along with the vital completion of the new comprehensive plan come in. Me-first reigns supreme where there are no neutral criteria to prioritize and guide city projects. Putting this objectivity in place is the first step to educating the policy makers that there really are some areas of the city that have more fundamental needs than others - needs that need to be addressed to bring the neighborhoods to parity. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if an independent assesment would place most infrastructure needs in minority neighborhoods. And right there you start addressing minority outrage and paranoia - not because they complained the loudest, but based on neutral criteria that show they have the most need. You have to have this neutrality to convince the other council members that those needs are legitimate. Also, who is the best person to present this information? Not an elected council member or the mayor because that looks like political preference instead of objectivity. The best person is the professional city manager, and even better if he or she is hired by the entire council because they have a stake in the manager's objectivity and performance that they wouldn't have if they mayor hired the manager.

    Basically, the mayor and council need to hire a good manager and finish the comprehensive plan so that they will be forced to start weaning themselves from policy decisions - with resulting administrative actions - made by personal preference and replace them with decisions based on objective, equitable standards. Once that starts, it'll be much easier for the council and citizens to see what courses of action best help the entire city and at the same time everyone will be more comfortable with the process and the results.
    word

  34. #234
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    Those are very salient comments.
    I learned a new word today, or at least I think I did.

  35. #235
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    The buck has to stop with one person. Now both the blame and the credit for a project is diluted among many different people. If we had one person who was chiefly responsible for the city, it would help us get things done. Companies would have one person to deal with.

    We have too much bickering at the city council. What sane company would want to go before this group of people? When a white person opens his mouth, his every plan is deemed racist by some members of the council.

    Dallas has thrived in spite of our weak mayor system. Not because of it.
    DAGNABBIT!

  36. #236
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    I do not think there is anything wrong with our current system of goverment. The problem is the people elected and in place not the system.

  37. #237
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamiltonpl
    The buck has to stop with one person. Now both the blame and the credit for s project is diluted among many different people. If we had one person who was chiefly responsible for the city, it would help us get things done. Companies would have one person to deal with.

    We have too much bickering at the city council. What sane company would want to go before this group of people? When a white person opens his mouth, his every plan is deemed racist by some members of the council.

    Dallas has thrived in spite of our weak mayor system. Not because of it.
    I disagree, and you sort of make my point here. One person cheifly responsible for the city = the city manager. It's sort of like a non-profit board of diectors- they all get together and hire an operating officer or an executive director- someone who know knows the business and can get things done. They (board of directors, city council), answer to their constituents- the people who elected them and put them there to serve their interests. The Mayor (Chairman or President of the board) serves as the great communicator and is supposed to have this vision to pull things, ideas and people together and guides the rest of the council (or board members). They all agree on something and give the Executive his/her marching orders in the form of a mission/vision statement. The person should know how to do his/her job without being pushed or pulled. And when s**t happenes- and it always does- that person also should be able to come to his/her board members and seek guidance or alert them of possible pitfalls or deficencies. The Mayor should be able to keep a cool head and step up as a leader to direct and manage people in times of crises.

    I think this system has served us very well in the past and will continue to do so in the future- especially in the future with our rapidly changing demographics. We shouldn't go back to a paternalistic way of doing things. We should be more inclusive and open to our municipal governmnet, not less.

    By-the-way, is anyone planning on attending the debate on Monday, Dec. 13 at the Walnut Hill Rec Center? It's about this issue and it's between Mayor Miller and Pro Tem Hill.

  38. #238
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsantiago
    I do not think there is anything wrong with our current system of goverment. The problem is the people elected and in place not the system.
    Agreed. That point has been made several times, but let's assume the the "strong mayor" issue is not an issue right now. How do wew get better people in place? How can we encourage better individuals to run for office? How can we ensure cooperation? How can we make sure that the elected councilmen do what is "best" for the city? The councilmen are correct to remain loyal to their constituents, but at what cost? Nobody wants to ruin their "rep" in their neighborhood, right? South Dallas is never on the same page as North Dallas and vice versa and there are enough perfect "alliances" to give us a stalemate on so many important issues.

    What gives?
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  39. #239
    Administrator tamtagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Agreed. That point has been made several times, but let's assume the the "strong mayor" issue is not an issue right now. How do wew get better people in place? How can we encourage better individuals to run for office? How can we ensure cooperation? How can we make sure that the elected councilmen do what is "best" for the city? The councilmen are correct to remain loyal to their constituents, but at what cost? Nobody wants to ruin their "rep" in their neighborhood, right? South Dallas is never on the same page as North Dallas and vice versa and there are enough perfect "alliances" to give us a stalemate on so many important issues.

    What gives?
    There is no trust between North and South Dallas power holders.

  40. #240
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Agreed. That point has been made several times, but let's assume the the "strong mayor" issue is not an issue right now. How do wew get better people in place? How can we encourage better individuals to run for office? How can we ensure cooperation? How can we make sure that the elected councilmen do what is "best" for the city? The councilmen are correct to remain loyal to their constituents, but at what cost? Nobody wants to ruin their "rep" in their neighborhood, right? South Dallas is never on the same page as North Dallas and vice versa and there are enough perfect "alliances" to give us a stalemate on so many important issues.

    What gives?

    I do not know what gives.

    In south Dallas many people are not voting, and many council members have a seat because nobody else runs against them. What if people from the north started to invade the south? Buying up houses and running for a seat on the council. All you need 1 person to run and a few to vote for him or her. That way we keep the current system and have more people with the same vision on the council.

    (gc: my bad I have not read the entire thread, I started reading it when 2112 talked about Porfirio Diaz)
    Last edited by js; 03 December 2004 at 04:00 PM.

  41. #241
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsantiago
    I do not know what gives.

    In south Dallas many people are not voting, and many council members have a seat because nobody else runs against them. What if people from the north started to invade the south? Buying up houses and running for a seat on the council. All you need 1 person to run and a few to vote for him or her. That way we keep the current system and have more people with the same vision on the council.

    (gc: my bad I have not read the entire thread, I started reading it when 2112 talked about Porfirio Diaz)
    The War of Northern Aggression- Dallas Style!!

  42. #242
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Agreed. That point has been made several times, but let's assume the the "strong mayor" issue is not an issue right now. How do wew get better people in place? How can we encourage better individuals to run for office? How can we ensure cooperation? How can we make sure that the elected councilmen do what is "best" for the city? The councilmen are correct to remain loyal to their constituents, but at what cost? Nobody wants to ruin their "rep" in their neighborhood, right? South Dallas is never on the same page as North Dallas and vice versa and there are enough perfect "alliances" to give us a stalemate on so many important issues.

    What gives?
    That's when a strong-mayor comes in, takes all perspectives into account, makes the descisions, and executes them.

  43. #243
    Smile... :) mikedsjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tamtagon
    There is no trust between North and South Dallas power holders.
    EXACTLY!
    Listen to the Dividing Line, Pirate Christian Radio, CARM, White Horse Inn and RTS University the most nowadays.....

  44. #244
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    In south Dallas many people are not voting, and many council members have a seat because nobody else runs against them. What if people from the north started to invade the south? Buying up houses and running for a seat on the council. All you need 1 person to run and a few to vote for him or her. That way we keep the current system and have more people with the same vision on the council.
    I really don't think that South Dallas is the problem North, East, and West Dallas needs just as much focus as the South. So I don't feel pointing a finger at South Dallas Council members will solve any problem Dallas has, it is the complete council that is in much need of help, most on the council needs to be replaced as well as the MAYOR. That is the problem with Dallas We point fingers at one area and FAIL to see the big picture of whats really wrong

  45. #245
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ParkCitiesTexas
    I really don't think that South Dallas is the problem North, East, and West Dallas needs just as much focus as the South. So I don't feel pointing a finger at South Dallas Council members will solve any problem Dallas has, it is the complete council that is in much need of help, most on the council needs to be replaced as well as the MAYOR. That is the problem with Dallas We point fingers at one area and FAIL to see the big picture of whats really wrong
    Welcome to the forum ParkCitiesTexas. Could you possibly be more specific please?
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  46. #246
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ParkCitiesTexas
    I really don't think that South Dallas is the problem North, East, and West Dallas needs just as much focus as the South. So I don't feel pointing a finger at South Dallas Council members will solve any problem Dallas has, it is the complete council that is in much need of help, most on the council needs to be replaced as well as the MAYOR. That is the problem with Dallas We point fingers at one area and FAIL to see the big picture of whats really wrong
    Those are good points, however the southern half of the city only contributes 11% to city's total tax base, so what's going on down there? I think all the council has a vested interest is helping the southern sector succeed because it hits their constituencies bottom-lines-- increased property taxes to support the whole city when the southern part isn't doing enough. But instead, everyone not representing a southern district- and that's at least 10 council members- just buries their heads in their own districts instead of working together to achieve common goals. And when-if- they do try to stick their noses in the tent, the southern council representatives scream about it- so there's a pervasive attitude that if it's not in your own district, then say nothing, do nothing and defer only to the wishes and the desires of the council member whose district is in question. The council should have a better sense of accomplishment and pride in working together by utilizing all the human resources available. A businessman from a northern council district might have some really great ideas and tools that a former DISD employee or attorney who represents a southern district might not have.

  47. #247
    Mile-High Skyscraper Member rantanamo's Avatar
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    Are there not committees that cross district lines?

  48. #248
    The Urban Pragmatist Mballar's Avatar
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    Miller backs strong-mayor change
    She says strong-mayor system more effective; council disagrees
    07:05 AM CST on Wednesday, December 8, 2004
    By EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...yor.3404b.html

    Mayor Laura Miller initially blasted a resident's far-reaching plan to bring a strong-mayor form of government before Dallas voters, later presenting a "reasonable" alternative of her own. Now, she's shifting her strategy. Faced with a City Council uninterested in strengthening mayoral power, she said she sees little choice but to support the plan she once opposed – a measure that eliminates the city manager position and that will probably appear on the May ballot. Ms. Miller said Dallas' former system with at-large City Council members, which was replaced by single-member districts through a series of lawsuits, "probably worked better than what we have today."

    Although the 14-1 system is here to stay, the mayor said, it is all the more reason Dallas needs a powerful leader at its helm. "I feel 100 percent confident that unless we change the form of government, we will continue to give mediocre city services and will continue to have a complete logjam when it comes to ... creating a budget," she said. "It just isn't working." But Dallas residents who waged legal battles for equal representation on the council say the current system is finally fair. "Heretofore, African-Americans, Hispanics and middle-income Anglos had no voice at City Hall," said Roy Williams, whose lawsuit resulted in single-member districts in Dallas. "We opened the doors, opened the process up. ... We don't need a dictatorship."

    Others fear that a strong-mayor system would upset the balance of power and allow decisions to be made without thorough consideration. "What would happen is that civic engagement would be muted," council member Leo Chaney said. In October, Ms. Miller criticized council candidate Beth Ann Blackwood's strong-mayor charter amendments, calling them "not workable" and saying it was irresponsible to abolish the city manager position. But after the mayor's colleagues publicly trashed her own strong-mayor proposal – and about the time Ms. Blackwood turned in 30,000 signatures to put her charter amendments on the May ballot – Ms. Miller had a change of heart.

    While the mayor won't take an official stance on the proposal until Ms. Blackwood's signatures have been verified, she said she is "leaning toward" supporting it. And she said she's working to determine how much public support there is for the measure. "Would I prefer to have done this the other way? Yes," Ms. Miller said. "But why would I, knowing this current system doesn't work, go out and oppose the proposal?" If the signatures are authentic and voters approve the measure, Ms. Miller said, she would have enough power come September to re-create a city manager-type position. And she would personally reap the benefits of increased mayoral power – something she offered to forgo under her own strong-mayor proposal.

    "I could basically take ... [Ms. Blackwood's] proposal and do what I think makes the most sense, at least while I'm mayor." Several council members said this week they are disappointed the mayor seems to be considering a plan nearly all of her colleagues oppose. They said it shows a sense of desperation and is a last-ditch effort to increase her power. "It's disturbing she's not listening to what her colleagues are saying," council member Elba Garcia said. "This is not the democratic way." But Wick Allison, publisher of D Magazine, said the mayor is listening to a public outcry. He said dissatisfaction with city services and the slow pace of downtown redevelopment is widespread.

    Mr. Allison said the mayor's changing opinion of Ms. Blackwood's proposal is "just her taking what's going to happen and facing reality." He said the city needs energy in its executive office. "It's just adjusting and saying, 'To hell with our idea; this is the one that's going to be on the ballot,' " he said. "What we've got now doesn't work." When Ms. Miller was elected mayor, she had dreams of marked improvements – streamlined city services, a top-notch police force, a budget fully aligned with council priorities. But her first months in office were a wake-up call. "I got here and I immediately hit my head against the wall," she said. "I had a nonresponsive city manager who had all the authority, and I couldn't even have a conversation with that person."

    For the first two years she was mayor, Ms. Miller said, former City Manager Ted Benavides prevented her from achieving her goals. Her ideas were shot down or tied up in bureaucracy, she said. "I could've been off and running a lot faster if I had been able to come in and put in a city manager to be my teammate and run with me," she said. Mr. Benavides said he and his staff worked hard to help the mayor achieve her goals: "We tried to help her be a successful mayor." But if Ms. Miller feels a different form of government is better for Dallas, she and the council have every right to try to change it, he said. "I think the [council-manager] system is still the best one for the city," he said. Some say it's the mayor's leadership style – not the form of government – that needs reworking. Instead of building coalitions and drawing out support from her colleagues, they say, she has become a lightning rod for controversy.

    "She's always confrontational," council member Maxine Thornton-Reese said. "If we just disagree with her, it gets emotional. She knows how to push people's buttons." "She should be a uniter, not a divider," Mr. Chaney said. "She needs to stop pointing fingers. She thinks she can't get anything done. But that has to do with people skills." Ms. Miller said it's nearly impossible to get things done when a city manager has to divide attention and resources equally among 15 masters. "You've got to have priorities, to triage your resources, and someone's got to create a vision going forward," Ms. Miller said. "There's no vision when everything's chopped up into 15 pieces."

    She hopes she can convince council members that they will get more for their constituents if the elected mayor – not the tenured city manager – is held accountable. "City services haven't worked in the six years I've been in the building and the seven years I covered the building as a journalist," Ms. Miller said. "Why does anyone think the current system should stay the way it is?"

    Blackwood's Proposal

    -Eliminate the city manager position and turn over the majority of the manager's responsibilities – including overseeing city departments and crafting the budget – to the mayor.

    -Authorize the mayor to create new departments and offices other than those stated in the city charter.

    -Give the mayor the authority to hire and fire the city attorney, city secretary, police chief and fire chief.

    -Allow council members to remove the mayor by a two-thirds vote.

    -If voters approve the amendments in May, they would go into effect on Sept. 1.


    E-mail eramshaw@dallasnews.com
    A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something. - Plato

  49. #249
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    I guess I don't see how a strong-mayor will dilute minority interest representation. Why can't you have a strong mayor, without the manager, and still have representation with the counsil members? Beleive me, being hispanic myself, I would be the first to oppose any structure that would dilute minority representation. I just dont see how the proposed change would harm that. It just seems a strong-mayor would have more power to get things done and arbitrate a little bit between the various constituents. Hey, but like someone else here implied before, since I dont live in Dallas, then I shouldnt get to voice an opinion. Good luck.

  50. #250
    Feisty Ol' Coot hamiltonpl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2112
    I guess I don't see how a strong-mayor will dilute minority interest representation. Why can't you have a strong mayor, without the manager, and still have representation with the counsil members? Beleive me, being hispanic myself, I would be the first to oppose any structure that would dilute minority representation. I just dont see how the proposed change would harm that. It just seems a strong-mayor would have more power to get things done and arbitrate a little bit between the various constituents. Hey, but like someone else here implied before, since I dont live in Dallas, then I shouldnt get to voice an opinion. Good luck.

    I don't see it either, 2112. You have every right to give an opinion. (Especially when you are right. )

    A Dallas white person sneezes and some council members consider it biological warfare on minorities.

    My Quaker ancestors were the "underground railroad" during the civil war. Today, I stand up against oppression as a lawyer. I'd raise hell about this if it was intended to disinfranchise members of racial or ethnic groups.

    Changing the form of city government in the city is not racist. Continuing to cry "racist" when there is no racist is like crying wolf. When meritorious discrimination claims come to the courthouse or brought to the attention of an employer, people believe its just another kid crying wolf.
    DAGNABBIT!

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