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Thread: Your Opinion of a Strong Mayor

  1. #351
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    It sounds like Trolleygirl and Warlock really want a strong city manager, but with this council that isn't going to happen. With ward politics the council members will hire someone they can control, who won't step on their toes, get favors from, etc etc. The way it is now the city manager has 15 people to try and please first and foremost instead of the citizens and businesses of Dallas. Now if the mayor had the power to appoint the city manager with council approval you may get a better pool of candidates.

  2. #352
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    ^ I worry that the opposite effect will occur. I worry that instead of allowing for "better" people, it will only allow for more monied people. Take me for example- I'm pretty sharp, pretty articulate, have a good grasp on this city's government system- and its history- and I'm just a lowley little director of a public improvement district in a blighted neighborhood, trying to effect some positive change for Dallas- oh and when I'm not doing that as my job, I'm doing it for free over in District 7, where I live, with a neighborhood, a coalition of neighborhoods, and a couple of non-profits that I started and rallied a bunch of support for. Right now it's taking tiny baby steps to get launched on these things, but we've got some good vision and some goos ideas and programs on the horizon. What I don't have is a whole bunch of money. I'm far from rich. All I have is ideas and the ability to get people to listen to them. That's a very grassroots, populist sort of thing. I think with the council manager system, there's a better chance for me to run for council- and maybe win- with very little capital and little clout. I worry that if it changes, the "better" kinds of people that will be attracted to the system will be our wealthy entrepeneurs and real estate developers and other businees people with more than handful of non-profits behind them to show for.

    And there are a least a few more folks out there like me, who are smart, have good ideas, and instead of complaining or expecting someone else to turn those ideas into action, go out and do it themselves- and consequently volunteer themselves into poverty- and they don't neccessarliy have all the clout and business acumen, and rub shoulders on a daily basis with the rich and powerful in this town. I don't own a business, I run a non-profit so the folks I tend to run with are social workers. The only time I'm around rich people, I'm asking them for money.

    I fear that decisions that might get made won't get made with the goal of the common good for the citizens of Dallas, but rather what's "good" for Dallas. Yes, we need to attract more businesses to this city, we need to strengthen our incentives in order to make those steps, but we also have to balance the needs of the average citizen who just wants his trash picked up on time and the neighbors dog to quit barking all night long. I think that with a strong mayor system and the people it will attract won't really worry about those "on the ground" daily issues but rather shifting all the focus over to business, business, business and to hell with that 14 acre wooded tract, and to hell with what the neighbors think about the importance of those trees, we need a new mall here.

    Then again, I do live in District 7 and there aren't very many rich people there either.

  3. #353
    Mile-High Skyscraper Member rantanamo's Avatar
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    Am I wrong in this thinking?:

    Most here FOR strong mayor don't want the mayor to have absolute power. They just want something similar to the federal checks and balances where the top figure has veto power or power to self appoint committees. But council still stays.

    Most here AGAINST strong mayor think the other side wants absolute power for the mayor.

    Seems to me like its a misunderstanding.

    Am I wrong?

  4. #354
    All Purpose Moderator warlock55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    My thoughts on the strong mayor have two main points.

    1) We need a system that makes someone/anyone acccountable for their decisions or non-decisions...and blah blah blah.

    Our current mayor and council members are weak on all fronts. They are all divisive, immature, short sighted, tactless, close minded, uneducated, racist (some..not all), lazy, argumentative, unethical (some...not all), and just plain bad for the city. How do these people get into government you ask? Because nobody else wants to be a part of a system wtih these types of colleagues in this type of system. It is always a stalemate. And voters don't care about these folks.

    2) So, I think that having a "strong mayor" form of government will encourage and demand a better breed of potential councilmembers and mayoral candidates.
    The council-manager system has very clear lines of accountability. The city manager is generally responsible for all city administration. If he/she does poorly, the council can fire him/her. The council and mayor are responsible for setting policy and judging the cm's effectiveness in carrying out that policy. Then the voters judge how effective the council and mayor are in setting policy.

    Once again you're making the argument that the system is bad because the people in it are awful - which is not the fault of the system. I really don't see how just changing to a strong mayor form would change how the voters behave.

  5. #355
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont....2c2c81c5.html

    City manager search suspended

    Suhm named acting administrator, promised a $100,000 bonus


    07:23 AM CST on Tuesday, December 21, 2004


    By EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News



    City Council members voted Monday to suspend Dallas' city manager search, naming interim City Manager Mary Suhm acting city manager and promising her a $100,000 bonus once the job is filled.

    The decision, made after a grueling three-hour meeting behind closed doors, was a rejection of Ms. Suhm's request for the full city manager title and accompanying salary.

    Also Online

    Video: Chris Heinbaugh reports

    Editorial: No More of the Same: Council was right to deny Suhm's request
    And members of the city manager search committee – the body that made the recommendation – say it will ensure that Dallas gets the top city manager candidates if and when the vetting process resumes. That process is on hold because of a local lawyer's proposal to strengthen the mayor's power by eliminating the city manager position. The proposal is almost certain to be on the May ballot.

    "There was a lot of discussion, and there were differing opinions," Mayor Laura Miller said. "It was a divided council, and at the end of the day, we came out and knew what we needed."

    Ms. Suhm, who spent the last several days lobbying council members for the city manager title, said she was disappointed but not surprised by the 10-3 vote. She said she had hoped to bring more stability to the city by having a permanent job title, even if she had to vacate the position after the search. And she wanted her $189,473 salary raised to $225,000 – comparable with a city manager's compensation.

    "I make recommendations to the council all the time," she said. "They get to make policy decisions, and I respect that."

    But council member Sandy Greyson said the vote – during which two members were absent – didn't reflect the extensive debate in executive session.

    "At this particularly difficult time, where we have major projects ... I believe we need stability," Ms. Greyson said. "I think the length of the discussion showed there was a greater division."

    TXU Corp. chairman Erle Nye said the search committee he heads did not expect its recommendation to "be so controversial." Members were offering Ms. Suhm a great deal, he said – more money and more stability. And they were trying to preserve the integrity of the city manager search during council candidate Beth Ann Blackwood's campaign to switch to a strong-mayor form of government, in which there would be no city manager.

    Ms. Blackwood turned in 30,000 signatures last month to bring the proposal before voters – a prospect that has spooked some of the top candidates for the city manager position, he said. Mr. Nye said the search committee feared that naming Ms. Suhm city manager – even for a few months – would be a major deterrent to those considering the job.

    "We certainly wanted to be fair with Mary, and we wanted to do what we thought was in the council interest – ultimately making a national search for the best person," Mr. Nye said. "We thought it was a sound proposal."

    Ms. Suhm said she's upbeat about getting the Dallas job – even after learning she had been ranked fourth out of six candidates interviewed by the search committee.

    "I know I can run this city," she said. "I love this city, and I love this job."

    And Mr. Nye said Ms. Suhm's challenge to the committee's recommendation wouldn't hurt her chances of being named city manager. He said committee members don't blame her for looking out for her own career.

    "She is a good candidate and will remain a good candidate," he said. "Certainly she's at liberty to pursue whatever ends she wants."

    In a Sunday interview, one search committee member said Richmond, Va., City Manager Calvin Jamison is the front-runner for the Dallas job. Mr. Jamison will lose his current job Jan. 1 – the result of a ballot proposition to strengthen the mayor's power. The decision effectively terminates the city manager position in Richmond, and the city's newly elected mayor has said he would not offer Mr. Jamison another job.

    Dallas City Secretary Shirley Acy said Monday that she and her staff have decided to count all 30,000 signatures submitted by Ms. Blackwood and her supporters – a change from her earlier decision to do a statistical sampling. But while 20,000 signatures must be verified by Thursday for the vote to be placed on the May ballot, city staffers have only counted 5,000.

    On Friday, Ms. Blackwood fired off a letter to the city attorney, accusing the council of trying to delay or prevent certification of the signatures. She said that she could take legal action if the signatures aren't verified by the Thursday deadline.

    Council member Mitchell Rasansky said his colleagues need to get used to the idea of seeing Ms. Blackwood's proposal on the May ballot.

    "I think there's going to be a ballot proposition," he said. "I think these signatures are going to be valid, and we're going to have a vote."

    E-mail eramshaw@dallasnews.com

  6. #356
    All Purpose Moderator warlock55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rantanamo
    Am I wrong in this thinking?:

    Most here FOR strong mayor don't want the mayor to have absolute power. They just want something similar to the federal checks and balances where the top figure has veto power or power to self appoint committees. But council still stays.

    Most here AGAINST strong mayor think the other side wants absolute power for the mayor.

    Seems to me like its a misunderstanding.

    Am I wrong?
    So you guys don't support the petition? It doesn't sound like mayoral "orders" do much for a checks and balances system.

    Actually, from what I'm hearing the strong mayor people say, it sounds to me like what you all really want is a new council. Which IS something we could all agree on. Maybe we should all join together in a true grassroots effort to unseat every current council member.

  7. #357
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warlock55
    So you guys don't support the petition? It doesn't sound like mayoral "orders" do much for a checks and balances system.

    Actually, from what I'm hearing the strong mayor people say, it sounds to me like what you all really want is a new council. Which IS something we could all agree on. Maybe we should all join together in a true grassroots effort to unseat every current council member.
    Unfortunatley for you Warlock, you'd have to move to Dallas.

  8. #358
    All Purpose Moderator warlock55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    Unfortunatley for you Warlock, you'd have to move to Dallas.
    Yeah, and change professions. I can offer moral support.

    Lots of posts today...does everyone else have as little to do at work today as I do? I'm ready for Friday!

  9. #359
    Mile-High Skyscraper Member rantanamo's Avatar
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    probably the snow, you bastards!!!!!!!!!! money sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. #360
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    Schutze has an interesting article in todays Observer...will post tomorrow
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  11. #361
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    Schutze has an interesting article in todays Observer...will post tomorrow
    I thought it was funny.

    http://www.dallasobserver.com/issues...s/schutze.html

  12. #362
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    Fifteen Stooges
    The Dallas City Council does a comedy campaign for its critics
    BY JIM SCHUTZE
    jimschutze@mindspring.com
    http://www.dallasobserver.com/issues...s/schutze.html

    Take this apart: A citizens group brings forward petitions calling for a vote to gut the Dallas City Council and concentrate power in a "strong mayor." Naturally, the council resents the suggestion. Who wants to be gutted? So they're going to come up with a strategy to fight it.
    But when they start debating a strategy to head off the strong mayor referendum next May, the council members run around like chickens with their heads cut off, propose 85 different hare-brained schemes and then fail to agree on anything.

    I swear, if the backers of the strong mayor thing had hired actors and made a TV ad like the council session I attended last week, people would have accused them of exaggerating the problem.

    But you almost can't exaggerate the problem.

    District 11 (Spring Valley and Hillcrest area) council member Lois Finkelman said: "I would love to be able to find a way to put the burden of the cost of this process back on the petitioner and those supporters who funded this effort."

    Great idea. Impose stiff fines on people for exercising their right of petition. A media wag in the corridor afterward suggested, "And if that doesn't work, how about a poll tax?"

    Here's another idea the council came up with. And you kind of have to follow me closely on this one. I can't decide if this is tricky or dumb or both.

    Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Donald Hill (District 5, mid-Southeast) asked if it was true the signatures on the strong mayor petitions--30,332 in all, filed with the city secretary November 23--had to be verified by a deadline of December 23. City secretary Shirley Acy and City Attorney Madeleine Johnson said yes.

    Hill and Mayor Pro Tem John Loza (District 2, Central Dallas) grilled Acy on the method she was using to verify the signatures. She conceded that, given the press of time and the large number of signatures, she was verifying a 25 percent statistical sampling--a method expressly allowed by the Texas election code.

    OK, now here's the beauty. They asked, what if the council ordered Acy to verify all 30,000-plus signatures, instead of just 25 percent? And what if that additional burden caused her to miss her December 23 deadline? Would that disqualify the petitions?

    Think of this in terms of something more familiar in the law, the rule of habeas corpus, an ancient principle that says a jailer or police official must produce a prisoner within a reasonable time so a judge can determine if the person is being properly held.

    Under the John Loza/Don Hill doctrine, if a jailer doesn't make the deadline--he was supposed to get the prisoner down to court by 5 p.m.; it's 5:15 already; the bailiff looks up and down the corridor; still no sign of them--does that invalidate habeas corpus and at that point can the prisoner just be taken out back and shot?

    Hey, wait a minute: I am not making this stuff up. I have documentation.

    Hill asked City Attorney Johnson if the council could set added conditions for the verification process: "But if it doesn't meet it by that time, then that's the end of it?"

    Johnson had to answer this question. You know, so many people say they hate lawyers. Me, I feel sorry for lawyers, because they have to answer questions like this from their clients. Plus, Hill is a lawyer himself. If I were a lawyer, I would say, "You know, this is the kind of thinking that gets people into trouble."

    Johnson tried to convey that the law might frown on officials who attempt to thwart a legal process by deliberately failing to carry out their sworn duties: "I don't think the result would be that it would invalidate it," she said. "There might end up being a presumption."

    Yeah. Like the judge sets the election date himself and then sentences you to write on a blackboard 500 times, "I am not good at tricks."

    District 14 (horseshoe around the Park Cities) council member Veletta Lill got back on her hobby horse--the idea that the people who carried the petitions didn't truthfully explain the full meaning and potential impact of the proposition. "We don't believe that these signatures were signed under truthful circumstances," she said. "Nobody has come forward and said they understood what they were signing. This is a mockery of democracy."

    Mockery schmockery. If you sign, you sign. I signed. I have already confessed that I did a less than diligent job of parsing the proposition, and I might not have signed had I better understood it. But I signed.

    That's my fault. I was a dingbat.

    Look, these petitions aren't carried around by law professors. This is like arguing you've been defrauded because the lady in the red suit with a bell and a pot in front of Wal-Mart failed to accurately advise you of the Salvation Army's investment policies.

    It's all wriggling. It's backing and filling, crab-walking, slithering. They're trying to sneak away from the fight. It's political mopery. These signatures will be good. There will be an election. The remedy for people who oppose the strong mayor idea is to go fight it at the polls. The people on the city council trying to weasel out of this are insulting the democratic process and providing their critics with a free media advertising campaign against themselves.

    Plus, they're giving me heartburn. I feel their pain. I know a little more than I did a week or so ago about the support for this proposal. Next month when Blackwood is forced to lift her stubborn veil of secrecy, you're going to see a lot of early support from hugely wealthy arch-conservatives whose other great accomplishments in life have included the Swift Boat Veterans crusade and a campaign two years ago accusing moderate Republicans of "promoting the homosexual agenda."

    Not too close to my own point of view. But my point of view doesn't necessarily count on the question of petition and referendum in Texas. We will find out in the end that Blackwood and her supporters were pretty scrupulous about making sure their campaign fell within the letter of the law.

    Maxine Thornton-Reese. Oh, my goodness. I've bitten my tongue long enough about her. Council member Thornton-Reese was upset to learn that very few of the signatures were accompanied by voter registration numbers.

    Johnson explained several times that the Supreme Court has ruled there is no requirement for voter registration numbers. If the city secretary can check the voting status of the signer from other information on the petition, that's enough.

    Thornton-Reese asked if the council could require the numbers anyway, thereby invalidating almost all of the signatures and...heh-heh...killing the election.

    Johnson answered, "If we were, Dr. Reese, not to follow what the Supreme Court has said that we have to do, we will get challenged, and we won't be able to prevail."

    Run it down: It's against the law. If we do it, we'll get caught. We will be sued. We will lose. I don't know how much more emphatic it could be. But it wasn't enough for Thornton-Reese. She wanted to know if somehow the statistical sampling could be used as an excuse for requiring the voter registration numbers in spite of the Supreme Court.

    Yeah, I know. Pardon me while I turn my head around 360 degrees. But I think that's what she was saying. She wanted to insist that all of the lines on the petitions be filled out, including the space for voter registration number. The exact tape-recorded quote:

    "But either they can sample and let them all be there," she said, "but not sampling and still not let them all be there. The petition, when they check all of those, and they did not have all of those, so they're not checking each and every one of those, and that's what makes the difference.

    "When you're sampling, other times when you sample the referendum, did they have all the lines filled in? That's what I'm saying. They either have to have the lines filled in, if they're going to do sampling, or if they're going to check every one of them, maybe it would do that."

    I'm sitting out there just squeezing my brain trying to follow this, but it's like somebody is twirling the dial back and forth on an AM radio. I worry that when I begin to find meaning, then I truly will be lost.

    But she was not the corker. The corker, for me, was District 14 (Royal and Marsh area) council member Mitchell Rasansky, who gave the lawyers a nasty tongue-lashing for not having anticipated all of these questions before the meeting so that they could have been better prepared to answer them.

    "I am just a little upset," Rasansky said. "These are questions you should have had your staff look into and be prepared for us."

    How can you anticipate questions this dumb? Hey, speaking of which, here's my own strategy: The proposition is all about changing the form of government in the city of Dallas, right? So: We wait until the week before the election. Then we change the name of the city to El Perro Amarillo! The referendum is invalidated! Huh? What about it? Hey, city attorney: Anticipate this!

    There were council people who did not jump into this mess and should not be blamed. But as for the ones who did: The more the public sees of this, the more support will coalesce around the strong mayor proposal, especially if it involves reducing the power of the city council.

    The Thornton-Reese quote keeps working on me relentlessly, like something out of Edgar Allan Poe: The petition, when they check all of those, and they did not have all of those, so they're not checking each and every one of those, and that's what makes the difference.

    Please, please, make it go away.

    dallasobserver.com | originally published: December 23, 2004
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  13. #363
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    ^ Thanks JS...I didn't think I could get until thursday...i.
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  14. #364
    High-Rise Member dallastophoenix's Avatar
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    hilarious - and very sad - article!

  15. #365
    Administrator tamtagon's Avatar
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    Someone should start a petition for a special election to replace every city council member.

  16. #366
    dallacentric drumguy8800's Avatar
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    15 voices are drowning out the voices of 30,000. No. Wrong. Our council is trying to find a loophole so that they can ignore us. How is this even possible?

  17. #367
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    Quote Originally Posted by drumguy8800
    Our council is trying to find a loophole so that they can ignore us.
    When did this become a discussion about Red Oak?

  18. #368
    dallacentric drumguy8800's Avatar
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    ^- Oh shove it.

  19. #369
    High-Rise Member Foucault's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drumguy8800
    ^- Oh shove it.
    TERAAYZA IN THE FO-RUUM!!!!
    "There is much to admire, but little to deplore,—many things to enchant, but few to offend,—and for the people, and their institutions, there is a splendid future, behold what you may, see what you can, believe {what you} have a mind to. . .I have given you a very reliable description of the country in which I live and am unwilling to exchange for the frozen North."
    —M. J. Mathis of Dallas County, writing to friends in 1859

    www.haribon.org.ph

  20. #370
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    That's the great thing about having a city attorney. Most of the council people are not lawyers. Of course they would try to ask every question they can, find any loophope that may be out there.

    And you know something else, I'm just a little tired of people calling this a "citizens" or "grassroots" petition. Anyone who's been around Dallas politics know what this is- a few rich Park Cities people hired a bunch of people and paid them per signature. If so many citizens really wanted a strong mayor, we all would have gottn off our butts a long time ago. Anyone knows that petitions are hard to pull off- especially legitimate ones because you have to do your homework. Unless you have $20,000 to kick around to hire a company to do a petition for you.

  21. #371
    Mile-High Skyscraper Member rantanamo's Avatar
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    OK, so no one wants strong-mayor. What will the council do to improve the slowest sunbelt sprawler in America?

  22. #372
    Supertall Skyscraper Member texman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rantanamo
    OK, so no one wants strong-mayor. What will the council do to improve the slowest sunbelt sprawler in America?
    Hahaha! Hey well we don't know if no one wants a strong mayor, thats why you let the people vote. Why is everyone complaining so much about giving the people a chance to speak? So what if this "grass roots" campaign was cheap. Well see what the people really think when they step to the polls.
    "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

  23. #373
    Mile-High Skyscraper Member rantanamo's Avatar
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    Its not Dallas style to let people decide for themselves.

  24. #374
    Smile... :) mikedsjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rantanamo
    Its not Dallas style to let people decide for themselves.
    True. You would think that there was a mafia behind the scenes deciding who gets picked for each council seat.
    Listen to the Dividing Line, Pirate Christian Radio, CARM, White Horse Inn and RTS University the most nowadays.....

  25. #375
    All Purpose Moderator warlock55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikedsjr
    True. You would think that there was a mafia behind the scenes deciding who gets picked for each council seat.
    There might not be for the council, but there sure will be for a strong mayor. And then with the backing of the mafia and their money, the mayor will be able to rule by fiat, ignoring the council and their constituents, thus solving the issue of Dallas not allowing people to decide for themselves.

  26. #376
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    Anyone who's been around Dallas politics know what this is- a few rich Park Cities people hired a bunch of people and paid them per signature.
    TG, can you prove this claim? Or are you just mad that it is going to the polls?


    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    If so many citizens really wanted a strong mayor, we all would have gottn off our butts a long time ago. Anyone knows that petitions are hard to pull off- especially legitimate ones because you have to do your homework. Unless you have $20,000 to kick around to hire a company to do a petition for you.
    Maybe so....but maybe not. In the words of our favorite Aceplace....voters may not really care or perhaps they feel that they feel it does not matter. And, if it was started by someone who has the funding power, so what? Just because someone is rich or is has the ability to get funding doesn't mean it is not "grassroots".

    Another curious question. If you guys feel so strongly that this petition is crap and nobody wants this, then why are you afraid for it to go the polls?
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

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    Mrs. Blackwood was on TXCN today.

  28. #378
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    Voters to get strong-mayor initiative
    Petitions certified for May 7 ballot; both sides look to frame debate
    09:03 AM CST on Friday, December 24, 2004
    By CHRIS HEINBAUGH / WFAA-TV
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...ong.168d1.html

    Dallas voters will get the last word in the strong-mayor debate. City Secretary Shirley Acy said Thursday that her staff checked all 30,000 signatures on the strong-mayor petitions submitted in November and found enough registered Dallas voters to put the issue on the May 7 ballot. "We found 20,000 good signatures," Ms. Acy said. The proposed change to the city charter would strengthen the mayor by eliminating the position of city manager. The petition drive was spearheaded by Beth Ann Blackwood, president of Citizens for a Strong Mayor who's also a candidate for Dallas City Council.

    Ms. Blackwood said she expects strong resistance, especially from council members, almost all of whom oppose the initiative. "I don't know if it's going to be a bruising fight," Ms. Blackwood said. "I think that leads to people getting to know about the issue and being able to make an informed decision when they go to the polls in May." Ms. Blackwood may find an ally in Mayor Laura Miller, who was unavailable for comment Thursday but has said she is leaning toward supporting the initiative. Rob Allyn, the mayor's campaign adviser, could play a role in the drive. He said he believes the debate will focus on whom voters want to hold accountable: the mayor or the City Council. He said he thinks voters will choose the mayor.

    "There is widespread feeling that status quo is not working, that the current council-manager system is vapor-locked." Mr. Allyn said. But council member Veletta Forsythe Lill said she fears voters will choose change without not realizing the consequences. "Now it will require an educational process to explain to people why it is perceived as an extreme change," Ms. Forsythe Lill said. "It does concentrate all the power in the city of Dallas in a single person's hands." Veteran campaign consultant Carol Reed said that if opponents wish to defeat the proposal, the debate must focus on the issues, not on personalities. The influence of residents' representatives would be diminished, she said.

    "I think the people think that drastic change is needed. And that may be true," Ms. Reed said. "But they need to understand this wipes out their council member." Ms. Blackwood said the debate over the next five and a half months will be good for Dallas. "I am confident that after the discussion has taken place, that the people will decide that they want to have greater accountability in the government," Ms. Blackwood said. "They want to actually be able to elect or not elect the person in charge of the city."

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  29. #379
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    "It does concentrate all the power in the city of Dallas in a single person's hands." Veteran campaign consultant Carol Reed said that if opponents wish to defeat the proposal, the debate must focus on the issues, not on personalities. The influence of residents' representatives would be diminished, she said.

    "I think the people think that drastic change is needed. And that may be true," Ms. Reed said. "But they need to understand this wipes out their council member." Ms. Blackwood said the debate over the next five and a half months will be good for Dallas. "I am confident that after the discussion has taken place, that the people will decide that they want to have greater accountability in the government," Ms. Blackwood said. "They want to actually be able to elect or not elect the person in charge of the city."



    That's what I'm afraid of.

  30. #380
    High-Rise Member columbiasooner's Avatar
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    You are scared of accountability to the voters?

  31. #381
    Supertall Skyscraper Member texman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by columbiasooner
    You are scared of accountability to the voters?
    Ohhhh, TG you gonna take that?
    "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

  32. #382
    Mile-High Skyscraper Member rantanamo's Avatar
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    I know TG will have a good one for that. She'll hit that big softball that was lobbed up there out of the park.

  33. #383
    Supertall Skyscraper Member texman's Avatar
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    Well when the posts end up being longer than a Tom Clancy novel, I don't even bother reading them..
    "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

  34. #384
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    How many ways should I S-P-E-L-L this out???

    Beth Ann Blackwood's proposal would eliminate the City Manager. Without a professional CEO running all the departents at City Hall, then we are left to the voting public to elect a "strong mayor".

    So, what does that mean exactly? It means that we'll have to know the Mayor to be a true business person. Someone who can run a big corporation (or, as I like to refer to it- a big multi million dollar non-profit). Since most corporate executives aren't politicians- and don't have to stump for their jobs- then where would that leave us?? Do you honestly think that we'll get the Herb Kellihers running for Mayor? Or maybe we'll have to settle for lotto mentatlity politicians like, oh I dunno, John Loza, who once said, "If they (the Hicks/Perot arena backers) see that I can work with them, then maybe they'll send me some money? What can one possibly infer from that statement???

    It's not about trusting or not trusting the voters to vote for somebody. Wre already do that. We could forseeably run Donald Duck for Mayor and I bet you he would get at least .05% of the vote. It's all about setting up the stage for what's the most democratic process. And if all you have to choose from- becasue the system's set up that way- is between a one-armed paperhanger and a dancer with two left feet, well guess what? Somebody's gonna vote for either one of the two!

    Let me pose that another way: Laura Miller would be the CEO. What is her experience in managing people? Anything? Has she ever has to professionally oversee a staff of 10, 20, 150, 15,000? If she applied for a job as the Chief Executive Officer of Dallas-based Bonzo, Inc., leading maker of spridgets and wockets, provider of 2,500 jobs from manufacturing to delivery to customer service, based on her experience, do you think you would hire her? If so, why? If not, why?

    The other scary thing is that her proposal asks the Mayor to appoint ALL commission and board members. Now, how stupid is that? Let's say Joe Smith, who has a very large and successful bank at Preston and Inwood, gets elected as Mayor? And Mayor Smith has a lot of connections.......all over North Dallas. And Mayor Smith appoints his supporters to various boards and commisions- and there are lots........and there is not one person in the whole entire city that Mayor Smith knows who lives anywhere near Red Bird. In fact, the closest to that area of town he knows of lives in Kessler Park. And you can count exactly two of them. That hardley seems democratic.

    Let me ask this: how many people do you know who live in every single (that's 14) council districts in this city? Do you- or anyone else that you know- know people who live in in all 14 council districts? Look at a map and ask yourself?

    Not many people do.

    In fact, with this ridiculous proposal, why in the world would you even need your council rep? If your council rep can't appoint his of her Park Board appointee, his or her Plan Commissioner, his or her Environmental Health Commissioner, his or her Airport Board Commissioner, etc., then what's the point of even having any local representative if the Mayor is busy doing all the thinking for your council rep? For that matter, what's the point in even having 14 different people from each sector of the city on these boards?

    Most people get on a board or commission for these reasons in this order: they are good, loyal supporters of their representative and should be rewarded; they are loud mouth squeaky wheels who just might have enough clout to run against you- and win (so you need to give them something constructive to do). Either one of those, AND the fact that they have some background or related experience in that particular field, and they are appointed. You wouldn't appoint a Save Open Spaces board member to the Police Review Board; conversely, you wouldn't appoint the Chairman of Southwest Airlines to the Parks Board. Make sense?

    Those two things are two reasons enough for me to oppose Bethann Blackwood's proposal. And the cincher for me is this: where is her credibility? Who does she represent? Has she ever been to a citizens/grassroots/neighborhorhood/preservation/city hall meeting? I want to know where she has gleaned her civc experience?

    You have got to know something about the people whom you seek to represent. She is a city council candidate. The most public forum that we've had in this city since the last elections was the recent Comprehensive Land Use Study Workshops. There were eight of them across the city. I saw several council candidates, out there shaking hands with Average Dallas Citizen and Joe Q Real Estate Developer at every workshop that I attended. I know, I went. I talked to them. I also saw current council candidates. I saw people whose constituent base would be at those meetings. I didn't see Beth Ann, although I did see Veletta Lill and Angela Hunt at a couple. Curious.

    Did I just say this: You have got to know something about the people whom you seek to represent? But see with her propsal, you really don't have to get out and attend meetings and know your contituents because well, as a council reprepentative, it would be pointless, your decisions would be made for you by the Mayor.

    Which brings another question to mind: she's running as a city council representative. Has anyone yet asked her this question: "As a City Council Representative for the City of Dallas, how do you feel that this Strong Mayor form of Government will enable you to better do your job of serving your constituents, as opposed to the current council-manager form of government? What are the pros and cons of each?" Has anyone heard her answer that? I'd like to know what she thinks the differences are between each, especially since she is, after all, the author if this proposal and claims that she and her husband sit around talking about how better our Dallas city government could be. I would assume that she's got to have some opinion. And as a council candidate, she should be stumping for this like crazy. I don't see that either.

    One last thing, the rhetoric: We do not have a "weak mayor" system in this city because there is no such thing. We have a council- manager form of government.
    Last edited by trolleygirl; 27 December 2004 at 04:39 PM.

  35. #385
    The Urban Pragmatist Mballar's Avatar
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    ^TG, keep pointing out the flaws and inconsistencies with this proposed ballot measure and the council member-candidate behind it. I'm 110% behind you.
    A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something. - Plato

  36. #386
    LH Copycat Columbus Civil's Avatar
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    Well when the posts end up being longer than a Tom Clancy novel, I don't even bother reading them..
    She should learn to highlight so I can skim, like with Lake Highlands's posts.
    Dallas uber alles

  37. #387
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Columbus Civil
    She should learn to highlight so I can skim, like with Lake Highlands's posts.
    Oh you mean that comment was directed at ME?

    Doesn't matter, if you don't want to read it , then I wasn't talking to you.

    So there.

    PS- my rants are more clearly defined than Tom Clancy's.

  38. #388
    High-Rise Member columbiasooner's Avatar
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    What was Guiliani's "CEO experience" prior to becoming mayor? I know you are anti-big business, but there is a reason CEO's hire CFO's, COO's, CTO's, and vice-presidents on down the line.

    Who has more power, the City Manager or the Council? When was the last time a city manager was fired?

    Why are you making this about Beth Ann Blackwood and Laura Miller? We are talking about how the government should run long after we are all gone.

    Have you actually read the ENTIRE proposal? Compare it with Chicago, NYC, LA, and Houston. You will see that it goes no where near the extent that these do. For example, the Houston Mayor can veto any expediture by the Houston ISD. Now that's extreme.

    How many appointments does the Governor of Texas make? How many does the State Legislature make? The answer is 3,000 (all) and none.

  39. #389
    LH Copycat Columbus Civil's Avatar
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    I read it anyway, trolleygirl

    By the way, I got to drop your name today at work.
    Dallas uber alles

  40. #390
    Mile-High Skyscraper Member rantanamo's Avatar
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    who are you, Newey Scruggs?

  41. #391
    LH Copycat Columbus Civil's Avatar
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    Call me Col-dawg
    Dallas uber alles

  42. #392
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Columbus Civil
    I read it anyway, trolleygirl

    By the way, I got to drop your name today at work.
    Should I be scared?? "Name dropping" in the same sentence as my (actual, real) name?

  43. #393
    The Urban Pragmatist Mballar's Avatar
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    Now time for some maximum exposure

    Quote Originally Posted by columbiasooner
    Have you actually read the ENTIRE proposal? Compare it with Chicago, NYC, LA, and Houston. You will see that it goes no where near the extent that these do.
    Well, since you apparently read it, what, if any, are the flaws that you see in the ballot measure?
    A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something. - Plato

  44. #394
    High-Rise Member columbiasooner's Avatar
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    I did read it on barkingdogs.org as well as the other 4 cities mentioned. Actually I don't have a problem with too much of it. I believe the salary should be higher for a "strong" mayor though. But then again, it's not like anybody would actually do it for the mayor.

    I encourage everyone to sit down and read it. You can get through it in about an hour or so, seriously. Why take somebody's (Veletta Lill, Sharon Boyd, Avi Adelman) word for it?

  45. #395
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by columbiasooner
    What was Guiliani's "CEO experience" prior to becoming mayor? I know you are anti-big business, but there is a reason CEO's hire CFO's, COO's, CTO's, and vice-presidents on down the line.

    Who has more power, the City Manager or the Council? When was the last time a city manager was fired?

    Why are you making this about Beth Ann Blackwood and Laura Miller? We are talking about how the government should run long after we are all gone.

    Have you actually read the ENTIRE proposal? Compare it with Chicago, NYC, LA, and Houston. You will see that it goes no where near the extent that these do. For example, the Houston Mayor can veto any expediture by the Houston ISD. Now that's extreme.

    How many appointments does the Governor of Texas make? How many does the State Legislature make? The answer is 3,000 (all) and none.
    I don't know what Guliani's experience was or was not. I don't live in New York City. I never have. I have always lived in Dallas, Texas. I am not attempting to compare Dallas, Texas with other cities that do nat share many similarities with Dallas, Texas. Nor am I trying to compare Dallas with any other city, in fact, because Dallas is not another city in the US. It is Dallas, and I am trying to convey my opinions for why I think that Dallas does not need to change its governance system to this one.

    It's about Bethann and Laura Miller right now because our only Mayor counldn't get the council to agree on her version of a srong mayor, which is a lot more democratic than this draconian thing that Ms. Blackwood has proposed.

    As far as the City of Houston's charter vs. Dallas, I'm pretty sure that the Dallas ISD and the Dallas City Council are mutually exclusive. I don't know how that could be changed, but I'm also pretty sure that Houston's charter with its ISD are set up a bit differently than Dallas'.

    It's unfortunate. Bethann's thing is downright scary. I'm trying to show why. At this point, given a choice between the two, I would go headlong for our only Mayor's proposal. But sadly, we won't have that choice to make.

    The Governer of Texas has the whole State from which to choose appointments. The President of the United States has the whole country. I'm an appointee to a City of Dallas commission. Are you aware of how many boards and commissions are available in Dallas? There are 50. There are 14 council districts and one at-large district. That's a total of 750 appointees to a city with 1.2 million residents.

    There are 22,118,500 residents in the State of Texas. How many appointments per capita does that make when comparing City of Dallas Mayor's appointment ratio to the State Governer's? I did the math, can you?

    And by-the-way, whoever said I was "anti big business"? The last time I checked I was on the stump for economic development in South Dallas.
    Last edited by trolleygirl; 27 December 2004 at 06:43 PM.

  46. #396
    LH Copycat Columbus Civil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    Should I be scared?? "Name dropping" in the same sentence as my (actual, real) name?
    Well I didn't say "trolleygirl".
    Dallas uber alles

  47. #397
    High-Rise Member columbiasooner's Avatar
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    I agree with some points TG. But don't you believe that its time we start looking at what other successful cities are doing? We are in bitter competition with every major city in the U.S. and are failing miserably. The NY Times did a good job of pointing this out. I don't know what is so drastically different about Dallas and other major cities.

    It is not about personalities, it is about the concepts.

    Read the Houston charter and you will see that the relationship between the City of Houston and HISD. Read the Chicago and NYC charters and you will find ultimate veto power in the mayor's office. Read the Blackwood amendment and neither exist. By the way, P&Z board remains unchanged.

    Are you saying that the voters are incapable of voting in a competent mayor that is able to make meaningful decisions and appointments?

    As far as choices, aren't you happy that we get a choice?

    The bottom line is you have your opinions and that is great. You really need to spend a little more time on in depth research. I am not sure that you will change your mind but at least you will have better standing in your arguments for not making one person accountable to the voters. That is not a personal attack, I promise. This is a good dialogue.

  48. #398
    Eulogize the FW Streetcar Haretip's Avatar
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    You think reading TG is hard, I'm talking to her on the phone and haven't had to say anything for the last 5 minutes. HA, just kidding TG.

    Anyone hear about the www.strongarmmayor.com ? It's been all over WBAP.com today.

  49. #399
    Administrator tamtagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haretip
    You think reading TG is hard, I'm talking to her on the phone and haven't had to say anything for the last 5 minutes. HA, just kidding TG.
    hahahaha

  50. #400
    Supertall Skyscraper Member texman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haretip
    Anyone hear about the www.strongarmmayor.com ? It's been all over WBAP.com today.
    What a load of propaganda.
    "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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