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Thread: Your Opinion of a Strong Mayor

  1. #551
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    I think people are just flat-out lazy.
    You got that right. So is most of the council!
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  2. #552
    All Purpose Moderator warlock55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by columbiasooner
    GC, sounds like voter accountability to me.
    Why go through all the fuss when you can have the best of both worlds with a professional administrator and accountability through the council.

  3. #553
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    He keeps harping on the voter accountability thing, but if we know that only 5% vote in municiapl elections, it seems to me that the voters really don't care about so-called accountability.

    But we'll see in May at the polls. I have a feeling it won't pass.

  4. #554
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    Bubble Brains
    Think a strong mayor is a good idea? See who agrees with you.
    BY ROBERT WILONSKY
    robert.wilonsky@dallasobserver.com
    http://www.dallasobserver.com/issues...news/news.html

    Al Lipscomb lost it last week. The former councilman with the fright-wig hair actually got up in front of the city council and compared his old nemesis Laura Miller to, wow, Adolf Hitler. "Even the Holocaust started somewhere," Lipscomb barked, comparing Miller's support of attorney and city council candidate Beth Ann Blackwood's strong-mayor initiative to the Nazi leader's seizure of power in 1930s Germany. "Hitler, he was one man obsessed with the need of more power," Lipscomb shouted, wagging his finger at Miller. "A power-crazed brute." That was Miller he was talking about. No, wait. He was referring to Hitler. Hitler. Got it. Then again...

    Lipscomb's January 5 meltdown, and the hear-hears offered by council members James Fantroy and Maxine Thornton-Reese, did no favors to those wishing for a "good, sound, intellectual debate" about the strong-mayor issue, as Miller put it immediately after Lipscomb's blitzkrieg. A story about race and wealth, and the lack of it, immediately turned into one about religion: Miller's a converted Jew, after all, and council member Mitchell Rasansky's father saw much of his family murdered during the Holocaust. Things are ugly, and the referendum's still four long months away.

    What everyone seems to be ignoring during all the shouting is just who it is who wants Dallas to have a strong mayor--aside, that is, from the mayor herself, who said last week she supports Blackwood's proposal that Dallas do away with the city manager and make the mayor the city's chief executive.

    Supporting Blackwood are five wealthy and powerful men who've given her and her husband, Tom Thomas, almost $150,000 to put this issue before the voters. Together, they've also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to, among others, President George W. Bush, Governor Rick Perry, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Tom Craddick, Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Senators Arlen Specter and Dick Armey and various local, state and national Republican Party committees--not to mention Miller and her husband, former state Representative Steve Wolens. In fact, former Dallas Times Herald managing editor Will Jarrett and Vance Miller (no relation to Laura) were part of the mayor's original campaign finance committee.

    At least two of their ranks were part of a campaign out to sink John Kerry by suggesting maybe he wasn't really in Vietnam after all. And two of them have given thousands to an ultra-conservative Dallas-based political action committee whose Web site tells you which GOP officials to pray for each day and, in 2002, sent out direct-mail campaign brochures charging so-called liberal Republican incumbents with "promoting the radical homosexual agenda," according to stories that appeared in the Austin Chronicle and The Dallas Morning News.

    Wait. Maybe Lipscomb's on to something after all. Now, nobody's saying the moneymen behind the initiative are bad guys up to no good. They would all insist theirs are the best of intentions: to fix an ineffective City Hall by giving the mayor, be it Miller or someone else, more responsibility with more accountability. Maybe this isn't the best plan, they would say, but it's the only one. Not even the most paranoid opponent of the strong-mayor initiative would go so far as to claim Blackwood and her supporters are hooded gay-bashing partisan extremists. "I don't even look at it as a Republican issue," says neighborhood activist Avi Adelman, who's running the Web site www.strongarmmayor.com. "It's five guys conspiring to turn around city government."

    Still, it's fascinating to connect the dots that link all these folks together. After all, Blackwood and Laura Miller keep insisting they've never spoken about the strong-mayor plan--yet they share, among other things, political advisers (Rob Allyn) and now financial backers. And now they share a desire to make Dallas a strong-mayor town, 15 years after U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer and the U.S. Justice Department made 14-1--14 single-member council districts plus one weak mayor--the law of the land. On December 28, the News revealed only the names of the major donors to Blackwood's campaign. Three of the five contributors donated $36,000 each: real estate bigwig Vance Miller, lead-smelter magnate and top George W. Bush fund-raiser Harold Simmons and Will Jarrett. Ray Wallace, the retired CEO of freight-train manufacturing Trinity Industries, gave $26,000, while $10,000 came from Albert Huddleston, the CEO of Hyperion Resources Inc. who also contributed $100,000 to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign, according to the Federal Elections Commission. Simmons also gave to the Swift Boaters, but his was a meager donation of $3,000.

    The News' story made passing reference to the fact that "some of the donors live in the Park Cities," meaning they can't even vote for Dallas mayor, but brushed off its significance. "They all own land and pay taxes in Dallas," the story noted, quoting Thomas, Blackwood's husband, who helped gather the 20,000 signatures to get the strong-mayor issue in front of voters this May. The Park Cities thing has gotten the gadflies buzzing, but it's one more distraction. For the record, the Park Cities residents are Huddleston, who lives in a $1.2 million University Park home on Colgate Avenue, and Vance Miller, owner of a $1.3 million Highland Park manse on Beverly Drive. And though both men live inside the Bubble, they have also contributed significantly to Laura Miller's mayoral campaigns: $20,000 from Huddleston, $10,000 from Vance Miller. In fact, according to campaign finance records, four of the five contributors to the strong-mayor movement were donors to Miller's campaigns: Harold Simmons has pitched in some $11,000, while Jarrett has kicked in another $8,600.

    Adelman and fellow activist Sharon Boyd, a former Laura Miller supporter who believes her old pal has succumbed to the dark side of Big Money, have made a big deal out of the Park Cities connection. Boyd's Web site, www.dallasarena.com, refers to the five donors as staging a "Park Cities coup." Vance Miller, who says Blackwood and Thomas approached him about contributing to their campaign last summer, dismisses their concerns as paranoid nonsense.

    "Avi's gone off the deep end on this," Vance Miller says. "He's a friend of mine, but he ought to be for this thing. I don't know, maybe Sharon Boyd talked him into being against it...Some people who are against [the strong-mayor initiative] would try and make all this an issue, but I don't think you can fool people like that. We're activists in many areas, and it's a non-partisan issue. It is what it is. If I was opposed to the thing, I could say, 'Look at these rich Park Cities Republicans trying to run the City Hall.' Well, you know, that's just political B.S. You throw the mud on the wall, it's not going to stick, because it's not a partisan deal. Dallas city governance is non-partisan, and I'm very thankful for that...My entire net worth is tied up in this city, so I need to see it successful. It's important to myself and my family, friends and business associates. We thrive when Dallas thrives."

    But here's where the issue might get murky, especially for conspiracy theorists--and Al Lipscomb--who like to follow the money. Huddleston and Simmons have been generous contributors to a Dallas-based political action committee called Free Enterprise, which recently changed its name to Heritage Alliance PAC. Founded by Dallas couple Richard and Julie Ford in the late 1970s, the PAC is closely allied with the conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family, whose founder and leader James Dobson has given speeches demanding Bill Clinton keep gays out of the military and referring to Democrats as "anti-family."

    According to the Federal Election Commission's Web site, in January 2002, Simmons gave $10,000 to Free PAC, as it was known before the name change, and another $5,000 a month later. In April 2002, Huddleston donated $25,000 to Free PAC. Around that time, according to Austin-based watchdog organization Texas for Public Justice, Free PAC counted among its biggest contributors Dallasite James Lightner, a major contributor to the 1990, 1996 and 2000 U.S. Senate campaigns run by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. (Lightner gave so much money to Duke in 2000 that the FEC forced the Louisiana Klansman to refund the money.)

    In March 2002, Simmons' and Huddleston's donations to Free PAC helped pay for political fliers denouncing, among others, Republican state Senator Bill Ratliff, one of the few in the GOP to denounce redistricting, and Jeff Wentworth, another Republican senator who voted for a hate-crimes bill that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. Ratliff and Wentworth, and Plano's Brian McCall, a Republican state representative also targeted, weren't Republican enough for Free PAC and Richard Ford, whose fliers showed two men kissing, two other men cutting their wedding cake and a third picture of assisted-suicide doc Jack Kevorkian. Ratliff denounced the campaign literature as "political obscenity"; Ford told The Dallas Morning News he was simply playing political "hardball."

    Sounds familiar. And this particular game hasn't even started yet.

    dallasobserver.com | originally published: January 13, 2005
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  5. #555
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    United They Stand
    And the lion shall lie down with the lamb
    BY PATRICK WILLIAMS
    patrick.williams@dallasobserver.com
    http://www.dallasobserver.com/issues...news/buzz.html

    Who says Mayor Laura Miller is divisive? Under her watch--and thanks partly to her support of the strong-mayor initiative--North Dallas business people and the pro-business Citizens Council have aligned themselves with their historical opponents, Southern Dallas minority politicos and grassroots neighborhood types such as Sharon Boyd and Avi Adelman. Someone should nominate Miller for a Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe that's taking it a bit too far. Still, Buzz did a double take when we saw the disparate groups lined up against the strong-mayor proposal. Is the plan really so bad, or was something more cynical at work here? We went for cynical (natch). This sudden unanimity among the factions, we suspected, is less a matter of joining hands and singing "Kumbaya" than plain old distrust. For example, we suspect business folk might not object to a strong mayor as long as they were certain their guy would get the job, but they damn sure don't want a strong mayor coming from any competing group, and vice versa.

    We decided to run our theory by someone smarter than us, Cal Jillson, professor of political science at SMU. While fear of having the other camp's guy elected may be part of what motivates opponents, Jillson says, the real problem is the proposal itself. "There is a willingness to listen to arguments for a strong mayor, but not this strong," he says. "This proposal...would make the mayor in Dallas as strong as any mayor in the country.

    "I would favor something more along the lines of what Laura Miller herself proposed, which is a mayor that is strong enough to set an agenda [and] chart out a direction for the future development of the city, but then require majority-building on the council to approve that agenda...But this...thing is just so strong that virtually any sensible person who looks at it says, 'Wait, wait--this is just too much.'" Jillson says that selling a modified strong-mayor proposal to the Citizens Council might be doable. Selling it to minority leaders who were long shut out from power at City Hall might be tougher, though given the growing minority populations in Dallas, there's no real reason for them to oppose a stronger mayor outright. "I just think the proposal is overblown, so it's generating opposition from all points on the compass, except the mayor herself."

    dallasobserver.com | originally published: January 13, 2005
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  6. #556
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Looks like the Republicans aren't happy that they control almost everything, now they want to control the Dallas City Council............

  7. #557
    High-Rise Member columbiasooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    He keeps harping on the voter accountability thing, but if we know that only 5% vote in municiapl elections, it seems to me that the voters really don't care about so-called accountability.

    But we'll see in May at the polls. I have a feeling it won't pass.
    If voter accountability didn't matter then 14-1 would have never been instituted.

    Your "feelings" aren't seeing any poll results.
    Last edited by columbiasooner; 13 January 2005 at 11:25 AM.

  8. #558
    LH Copycat Columbus Civil's Avatar
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    I think everyone is afraid to address the real problem: too many districts.
    Dallas uber alles

  9. #559
    High-Rise Member columbiasooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    Looks like the Republicans aren't happy that they control almost everything, now they want to control the Dallas City Council............
    Exactly how are they going to do that? The voters in the City of Dallas have elected Democrats to city-wide elections for the last decade. Speaking of knee jerk reactions.

  10. #560
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by columbiasooner
    If voter accountability didn't matter then 14-1 would have never been instituted.

    Your "feelings" aren't seeing any poll results.
    You're not referring to the "poll" posted on this forum, are you?

  11. #561
    Trouble maker GRAYWOLF's Avatar
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    the braindead voters of Dallas will get what they deserve. They keep electing this anti-business bimbo as mayor running off as much of the commercial tax base as she possibly can. If they increase her power, it will only get worse.

  12. #562
    Administrator tamtagon's Avatar
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    Welcome GRAYWOLF. The more opinions we get here the better.

  13. #563
    Trouble maker GRAYWOLF's Avatar
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    Thanks...I probably should have introduced myself somewhere, but I didn't see a thread for that.

    maybe at some point I will tell everyone how I feel about Dallas' mayor!

    I moved to FW (from Carrollton) a year and a half ago and haven't looked back.

    This is an interesting board, a bit dallas centric, but interesting.

  14. #564
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAYWOLF
    Thanks...I probably should have introduced myself somewhere, but I didn't see a thread for that.

    maybe at some point I will tell everyone how I feel about Dallas' mayor!

    I moved to FW (from Carrollton) a year and a half ago and haven't looked back.

    This is an interesting board, a bit dallas centric, but interesting.
    I think there's a thread on this forum- Mayor Miller, Has Your Opinion Changed?" so you can post Laura Miller opinions all you want. Of course, I can't really understand why you need to complain- I mean Fort Worth has no anti-smoking ban and aren't y'all building a city-owned hotel for convention busiess to catch all the conventions that are vacating Dallas? Seems like, from your perspective, you should be thanking Laura Miller.

  15. #565
    Trouble maker GRAYWOLF's Avatar
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    The part about Laura was tongue-in-cheek regarding my previous post.

    As for the rest of your post...I don't follow.

  16. #566
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by columbiasooner
    Exactly how are they going to do that? The voters in the City of Dallas have elected Democrats to city-wide elections for the last decade. Speaking of knee jerk reactions.
    If a bunch of Republicans want to get together and fund a strong mayor and then back their Republican canditae, it could get partisan. Look at the article, some of these guys paid to smear their own people who wern't "Republican enough", and accused them of "promoting the homosexual agenda" and crap like that. Just over two years ago we passed a non-discrimination ordinance in the City to include gays and lesbians.

    An example: What if these same backers of the strong mayor plan, the ones who used the "homosexual
    agenda" smear tactics, decide to run a candidate for Mayor who forms a new commission- the "Morality Commission" and appoints all of the commission members, and they decide to declare homosexuality as unprotected in employment, housing, etc?

    I mean think about it- the council spent a half day last summer debating the Patriot Act. If the strong Mayor presents the Morality Commission's findings on homosexuality to the full council, they could debate that too and maybe pass it. Who knows what the council will look like in a few years? Almost three years ago when Miller ran her first campaign, there was much talk about her partisan politics. Some of her conservative North Dallas base were concerned about it. When I did door-to-door campaigning up there, several people flat-out stated to me that they could not bring themselves to vote for a Democrat so they were staying out of the election. If this happened two years ago, and now in 2005 there are more vocal- and downright hostile in some cases- Rebpublicans in this city, then folks just might start asking about political affiliation in their council candidates and basing their decisions on those. Not really a knee-jerk reaction but a "what-if" and considering how hard these guys play ball, not entirely inconcievable. They could- given a moralist conservative Mayor, start running two Republicans in every district so that no matter who wins, they get their candidate.

    At any rate, that article in the Observer really surprised me and I got to think about it all night.

  17. #567
    Trouble maker GRAYWOLF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    If a bunch of Republicans want to get together and fund a strong mayor and then back their Republican canditae, it could get partisan. Look at the article, some of these guys paid to smear their own people who wern't "Republican enough", and accused them of "promoting the homosexual agenda" and crap like that. Just over two years ago we passed a non-discrimination ordinance in the City to include gays and lesbians.

    An example: What if these same backers of the strong mayor plan, the ones who used the "homosexual
    agenda" smear tactics, decide to run a candidate for Mayor who forms a new commission- the "Morality Commission" and appoints all of the commission members, and they decide to declare homosexuality as unprotected in employment, housing, etc?
    You sound as if you are of the naive belief that this is a one way street. Don't let your political blinders get in the way of reality....both parties pull that kind of crap. Neither one is better or worse than the other!

  18. #568
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAYWOLF
    You sound as if you are of the naive belief that this is a one way street. Don't let your political blinders get in the way of reality....both parties pull that kind of crap. Neither one is better or worse than the other!
    I agree but right now, from the Fed down to the texas Lege, the Democrats are the minority and control virtually nothing. It's not political blinders, it's a reflection of the current political landscape in America. And the Dallas City Council has been dominated by Democrats for the last 20 years. The stupidest thing these idiot Democrat Council Reps did last year was debate the Patriot Act! Do you think that might have pissed off a few Republican (and some independant and some democrat) Dallas voters?

  19. #569
    Trouble maker GRAYWOLF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    I agree but right now, from the Fed down to the texas Lege, the Democrats are the minority and control virtually nothing. It's not political blinders, it's a reflection of the current political landscape in America. And the Dallas City Council has been dominated by Democrats for the last 20 years. The stupidest thing these idiot Democrat Council Reps did last year was debate the Patriot Act! Do you think that might have pissed off a few Republican (and some independant and some democrat) Dallas voters?
    I didn't hear about that...what did they end up deciding about it? My guess is they spinelessly wimped outand caved to the will of the national political machine. As far as the PA being a republican tool, you might want to look at how many democrats voted in favor of it!
    In the end, "not Kerry" edged out "not Bush."
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  20. #570
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAYWOLF
    I didn't hear about that...what did they end up deciding about it? My guess is they spinelessly wimped outand caved to the will of the national political machine. As far as the PA being a republican tool, you might want to look at how many democrats voted in favor of it!
    Oh, they decided they didn't like it.

  21. #571
    Trouble maker GRAYWOLF's Avatar
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    That's a good start, but what did they decide to do about it?
    In the end, "not Kerry" edged out "not Bush."
    -David Boaz


    "Currently you have a choice between one bunch of people who wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire, and another bunch who would set you on fire specifically so they can refuse to piss on you. Which is which depends on your leaning."
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  22. #572
    Mile-High Skyscraper Member rantanamo's Avatar
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    Dallas is anti- business, but continues to succeed somehow. Maybe it should be called anti-certain businesses that will leave them for the suburbs in 5 years, leaving a path of death and destruction.

    Don't know what moved from Carrollton and haven't looked back means.

  23. #573
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAYWOLF
    That's a good start, but what did they decide to do about it?
    I think they just passed a resolution to not agree with it. Total waste of time. They declare more resolutions than anything. If we wrote a resulution declaring Jan. 15 DFW Forum Day, they would probably sign off on it.

  24. #574
    Mile-High Skyscraper Member rantanamo's Avatar
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    [Avery Johnson]get er done[/Avery Johnson]

  25. #575
    Lakewooder Lakewooder's Avatar
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    From what I've seen Carrollton is no paradise. I only make dreaded visits to the Sears Outlet way up there to buy appliances for my rent houses - so maybe I haven't seen the best part.

    Is Fort Worth much of an improvement? I rarely leave the confines of East Dallas/Lakewood except to go to Oak Lawn, Uptown or Downtown. And I rarely enter freeway except to go to DFW Airport. Do tell.

  26. #576
    dallacentric drumguy8800's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LakeWooder
    From what I've seen Carrollton is no paradise. I only make dreaded visits to the Sears Outlet way up there to buy appliances for my rent houses - so maybe I haven't seen the best part.
    If you are talking about the Sears Outlet near Marsh & Belt Line, and that's the only part you've seen, then you've only seen the industrial underbelly of it. Unlike Addison, Carrollton didn't exactly capitalize on Belt Line.. they let factories and warehouses set up shop on it. Anyway, the nicer areas of Carrollton are generally the areas north of Keller Springs.. north carrollton (north of frankford) is very similar to plano, middle carrollton (south of frankford, north of keller springs) is late 80s-early 90s housing with parks and creeks.. typical suburb, very similar to residential areas of Richardson, and south Carrollton (south of Keller Springs) isn't exactly very nice. It's very similar to other declining innerburbs lke the rough areas of Farmers Branch, Irving, Garland, Grand Prairie, etc. They are making improvements though, at least, in terms of infrastructure. The portion of Belt Line that you most likely drive on (west of Midway, east of Belt Line) is hell. They will start reconstruction at the end of this year, I believe.. they reconstructed a portion west of Josey earlier in the year, and it looks very nice.

  27. #577
    High-Rise Member columbiasooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    I agree but right now, from the Fed down to the texas Lege, the Democrats are the minority and control virtually nothing. It's not political blinders, it's a reflection of the current political landscape in America. And the Dallas City Council has been dominated by Democrats for the last 20 years. The stupidest thing these idiot Democrat Council Reps did last year was debate the Patriot Act! Do you think that might have pissed off a few Republican (and some independant and some democrat) Dallas voters?

    I agree with your landscape comment but, if you really study the demographic breakdown of the voting trends for Texas, the Democratic base falls in the Urban Areas (Dallas, Houston), the Hispanic areas (San Antonio, El Paso, The Valley) and some places where Dems just own the political process (Austin, East Texas). Dallas is still controlled by the Democratic Party. Your idea of a Republican takeover is hogwash.

  28. #578
    High-Rise Member columbiasooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    I think they just passed a resolution to not agree with it. Total waste of time. They declare more resolutions than anything. If we wrote a resulution declaring Jan. 15 DFW Forum Day, they would probably sign off on it.
    Every major city in the U.S. debated this. This is not unique to Dallas. Take a look at the waste of time Austin spent. http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news...t-493025.shtml

  29. #579
    High-Rise Member columbiasooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    If a bunch of Republicans want to get together and fund a strong mayor and then back their Republican canditae, it could get partisan. Look at the article, some of these guys paid to smear their own people who wern't "Republican enough", and accused them of "promoting the homosexual agenda" and crap like that. Just over two years ago we passed a non-discrimination ordinance in the City to include gays and lesbians.

    An example: What if these same backers of the strong mayor plan, the ones who used the "homosexual
    agenda" smear tactics, decide to run a candidate for Mayor who forms a new commission- the "Morality Commission" and appoints all of the commission members, and they decide to declare homosexuality as unprotected in employment, housing, etc?

    I mean think about it- the council spent a half day last summer debating the Patriot Act. If the strong Mayor presents the Morality Commission's findings on homosexuality to the full council, they could debate that too and maybe pass it. Who knows what the council will look like in a few years? Almost three years ago when Miller ran her first campaign, there was much talk about her partisan politics. Some of her conservative North Dallas base were concerned about it. When I did door-to-door campaigning up there, several people flat-out stated to me that they could not bring themselves to vote for a Democrat so they were staying out of the election. If this happened two years ago, and now in 2005 there are more vocal- and downright hostile in some cases- Rebpublicans in this city, then folks just might start asking about political affiliation in their council candidates and basing their decisions on those. Not really a knee-jerk reaction but a "what-if" and considering how hard these guys play ball, not entirely inconcievable. They could- given a moralist conservative Mayor, start running two Republicans in every district so that no matter who wins, they get their candidate.
    At least reference the article that you are talking about....http://www.dallasvoice.com/articles/...rticle_ID=5440 The whole notion of that is just the "chicken little" way of opposing it.



    Also take a look at this letter from a prominent gay leader in Oak Lawn...

    In favor of a strong mayor
    Ed Oakley’s comments about his opposition to the strong mayor proposal have a familiar ring of entitlement. His Chicken-Little pronouncement plays more to gay hysteria than reason.
    The current weak-mayor system has become infected by infighting, cronyism and inflated egos. As a result, nothing gets done. Everyone is so busy protecting their piece of the city that the city as a whole is suffering.
    Yes, it’s important that we have a voice, and that we not lose any momentum we have gained. But we run the risk of being labeled obstructionists.
    Gays should earn their right to be named to boards, commissions and other appointed positions and not depend on handouts from “gay-friendly” department heads and politicians.
    Personally, I’d rather have a competent straight person making decisions about our city than an incompetent gay or lesbian who was appointed through social or political connections.
    I know city council candidate Beth Ann Blackwood to be very gay-friendly. Could it be possible that the gay establishment’s opposition to her strong mayor proposal has something to do with the fact that she will be running against a lesbian candidate in the May 2005 election?
    George Henson
    Dallas, Texas
    Last edited by tamtagon; 16 January 2005 at 11:43 AM.

  30. #580
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    CS- Whay are your litlle highlighted links driving people to porno sites?

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    dallacentric drumguy8800's Avatar
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    oh. heavens.

  32. #582
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Hey did anyone else hear about Beth Ann Who? panning a press conference where the media people can only ask pre-submitted questions and then cancelled it because the meadia balked?

    Oh well I'm sure we'll read about it tommorrow.

  33. #583
    Administrator tamtagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    Hey did anyone else hear about Beth Ann Who? panning a press conference where the media people can only ask pre-submitted questions and then cancelled it because the meadia balked?

    Oh well I'm sure we'll read about it tommorrow.
    Sounds like she just wanted free publicity. What's up with the pre-submitted questions? To me as a voter and concerned citizen, the press conference is the only place politicians are available to give unscripted answers to John Q. Public.

  34. #584
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    CS- Whay are your litlle highlighted links driving people to porno sites?
    That is a good question. I never followed the hyperlink until now. Why is that CS?
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  35. #585
    Oak Cliff Resident
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    I think this is a first porn links on this forum.

  36. #586
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    ^ Links removed. Please let me know if I missed any.
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  37. #587
    Supertall Skyscraper Member texman's Avatar
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    What the heck did I miss here?
    "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

  38. #588
    LH Copycat Columbus Civil's Avatar
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    TemptAsian
    Dallas uber alles

  39. #589
    High-Rise Member columbiasooner's Avatar
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    Sorry that was unintentional...Virus on my computer. I believe it's been fixed.

  40. #590
    Trouble maker GRAYWOLF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rantanamo
    Dallas is anti- business, but continues to succeed somehow. Maybe it should be called anti-certain businesses that will leave them for the suburbs in 5 years, leaving a path of death and destruction.
    Laura isn't just striving to run off businesses she thinks might leave anyway, she is trying to run off long established businesses that have no intention of going anywhere.

    Don't know what moved from Carrollton and haven't looked back means.
    Just making a point that I am not just someone over in FW looking over the midcities and talking about D. I have lived there (not n the city limits) and moved away. I moved here and do not miss the uptight area I left.
    In the end, "not Kerry" edged out "not Bush."
    -David Boaz


    "Currently you have a choice between one bunch of people who wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire, and another bunch who would set you on fire specifically so they can refuse to piss on you. Which is which depends on your leaning."
    -Anon

  41. #591
    Trouble maker GRAYWOLF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by columbiasooner
    I agree with your landscape comment but, if you really study the demographic breakdown of the voting trends for Texas, the Democratic base falls in the Urban Areas
    That is true of most major urban areas.
    In the end, "not Kerry" edged out "not Bush."
    -David Boaz


    "Currently you have a choice between one bunch of people who wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire, and another bunch who would set you on fire specifically so they can refuse to piss on you. Which is which depends on your leaning."
    -Anon

  42. #592
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by columbiasooner
    At least reference the article that you are talking about....http://www.dallasvoice.com/articles/...rticle_ID=5440 The whole notion of that is just the "chicken little" way of opposing it.



    Also take a look at this letter from a prominent gay leader in Oak Lawn...

    In favor of a strong mayor
    Ed Oakley’s comments about his opposition to the strong mayor proposal have a familiar ring of entitlement. His Chicken-Little pronouncement plays more to gay hysteria than reason.
    The current weak-mayor system has become infected by infighting, cronyism and inflated egos. As a result, nothing gets done. Everyone is so busy protecting their piece of the city that the city as a whole is suffering.
    Yes, it’s important that we have a voice, and that we not lose any momentum we have gained. But we run the risk of being labeled obstructionists.
    Gays should earn their right to be named to boards, commissions and other appointed positions and not depend on handouts from “gay-friendly” department heads and politicians.
    Personally, I’d rather have a competent straight person making decisions about our city than an incompetent gay or lesbian who was appointed through social or political connections.
    I know city council candidate Beth Ann Blackwood to be very gay-friendly. Could it be possible that the gay establishment’s opposition to her strong mayor proposal has something to do with the fact that she will be running against a lesbian candidate in the May 2005 election?
    George Henson
    Dallas, Texas
    I wasn't referencing a Dallas Voice article but the Dallas Observer article posted above. I have no idea what point you are trying to make about this letter, I was merely using an example of something that might happen. "What if". I never said anything about gays needing to oopse the measure, did you not understand that? I was simply using an example for illustrating why I said it looks like a Republican take-over of Dallas City Hall and you're all defensive. Personally, I could care less about the gay establishment's opposition because I think their reasons are ridiculous, just as I think the reason to oppose it on rasicm is ridiculous.

    But back to the technical aspect. A couple of other things occur to me- the Mayor appoints the Police Chief. So what if that means our next Cheid of Police ends up being the Mayor's most loyal contributor? What if it's the Mayor's brother or sister?

    One last thing: under this proposal it would take a 3/4 majority vote of the council to remove a Mayor on condition of "neglect" (whatever that could be construed as). Do you think it's fair or even right or ethical for 10 people to have the power to remove the one person that all the citizens voted for?

    Whay not have 14 people agree on the best candidate for CEO of the City and let that person do his or her job?

  43. #593
    The Urban Pragmatist Mballar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R. Mbala
    How about this?

    Since everyone considers the city manager position to be an important one here. And since columbiasooner (and I'm sure many others) sees a problem with accountability of whomever is in that position (i.e how we hire and fire the city manager). Why not change how the council hires and fires the city manager to something like:

    - required two-thirds vote from council to hire the city manager with the Mayor having veto power.
    - If the mayor vetos the council's original two-thirds vote then the council can override the mayor's veto by a unanimous vote.

    And

    - The mayor can fire the city manager "for just cause" if he/she gets fed up with the city manager's performance-\
    -but the council can override the mayor's "just cause" firing by a two-thirds vote

    What do you think?
    ^Again, I propose the above.
    A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something. - Plato

  44. #594
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...cks.24d6a.html


    Maybe strong-mayor plan will redefine consensus in Dallas

    06:10 PM CST on Tuesday, January 18, 2005


    By VICTORIA LOE HICKS



    First, let me correct something I wrote last week: that if voters approve the strong-mayor proposal on the ballot May 7, the City Council can later pass an ordinance altering a certain provision. That was a misreading of the legal language in the proposal, which stipulates that the mayor would appoint all board and commission members "except as may be provided otherwise by this Charter or by ordinance."

    "Ordinance," in this case, means state law, not a city ordinance. The council does not have the power to alter charter provisions approved by the voters – as common sense dictates.

    So, if the referendum passes, it will be up to the mayor to make appointments, and up to the council to confirm or reject them. One hopes the mayor will seek advice from council members in choosing appointees, in the interests of diversity and political back-scratching, but there's no guarantee of that.

    Anyhow, my error sparked a very interesting e-mail dialogue with the council member who brought it to my attention. In the course of the conversation, she asked me two pointed and pivotal questions.

    •Do I disrespect the members of the council (whom I described as "squealing like stuck pigs" and behaving with "their usual faulty instincts")?

    •"Do we want to create a system of conflict and challenge over consensus?"

    Let's deal with the second one first. Do I think Dallas needs less consensus? Yes, I think Dallas needs less consensus. (Slight pause here while I wait for lightning to strike. ... No? Well, then, let's proceed.)

    Too often in Dallas, "consensus" means that we talk something to death and water it down to the point that nobody in his or her right mind has any objections. Or we bully people into silence by branding them as obstacles to consensus – a huge offense in the canon of Dallas civic virtues.

    Real consensus, where everybody compromises but everybody feels they've won, is a great thing. But we need less of the empty consensus that eviscerates substance and breeds silent, simmering resentments. It's always good to work for consensus. It's not good to fixate on achieving it at any price.

    What's so awful about a 10-to-5 vote? Or a 9-to-6 vote? Or even an 8-to-7 vote? Democratic institutions the world over survive those kinds of calamities every day. People debate proposals, they take a vote, and the side with the most votes wins. Then they go on to the next issue.

    Some fear that the Dallas council will split into permanent, hostile factions along racial and ethnic lines. But, despite its occasional shouting matches, the council is not prone to bloc voting. At any rate, that's a subject that demands detailed discussion at a later date.

    The point today is that a strong- mayor system won't create "conflict." In instances where conflict already exists, the new system might bring it out into the open rather than papering it over. And, yes, I think that's good.

    As to the other question, about disrespecting the council, allow me to quote from my e-mail to the aggrieved council member:

    "I respect you and [a specific colleague she had named] a great deal. I know you work extremely hard and often quite effectively for your constituents. ...

    "As a policy-setting body, I think the Dallas City Council is frequently ineffectual, self-absorbed and mired in trivialities. A case in point is this very discussion. Appointments to boards and commissions matter to council members, because many of you came up through that system and use it to bring new talent into city government. But if you asked the average citizen how important boards and commissions are to the life of the city, she'd say 'not very.' ...

    "Will the new system require stronger political skills and more fortitude from council members? Yes. Is that necessarily bad? I don't think so.

    "I'm sorry my words stung. I genuinely think the current system is unworkable and unfixable – not least because, too often, the talents of people like you are wasted."

    Victoria Loe Hicks is an editorial writer and occasional columnist for The Dallas Morning News. Her e-mail address is vloe@dallasnews.com.

  45. #595
    The Urban Pragmatist Mballar's Avatar
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    ^Send her an email TG, and set her straight!
    A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something. - Plato

  46. #596
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R. Mbala
    ^Send her an email TG, and set her straight!
    I think Victoria wants micro-management. We need consensus but not this kind of consensus, we need to behave more professionally and bring things into the open to achieve consensus, but not paper over it, but we need to make sure that people are not branded as obstacles to consensus.

    What all this says is we need people who can be easily swayed and who won't scream out (as we know at least two council members do lately), but we don't need "empty" consensus.

    You don't have to have a strong mayor system in order to build consensus, but you do need a strong leader as mayor who can build consensus among their collegues.

    Again (and again and agian and again), what was wrong wit the system three years ago when Ron Kirk was Mayor?

  47. #597
    Trouble maker GRAYWOLF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    what was wrong wit the system three years ago when Ron Kirk was Mayor?
    the same thing that is wrong with the legislature and Congress...the people occupying the chairs at the desks!
    In the end, "not Kerry" edged out "not Bush."
    -David Boaz


    "Currently you have a choice between one bunch of people who wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire, and another bunch who would set you on fire specifically so they can refuse to piss on you. Which is which depends on your leaning."
    -Anon

  48. #598
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAYWOLF
    the same thing that is wrong with the legislature and Congress...the people occupying the chairs at the desks!
    So why weren't the geniuses who brought us the strong Mayor referendum in 2004 wise enough to bring it to our attention four years ago? Maybe becuase there's really nothing wrong with the system, just the current people occupying the chairs.

    So, let's throw the baby out with the bathwater and start over because some people in Dallas (and the Park Cities, as the case may be) don't like who a whole bunch of other people in Dallas voted for.

  49. #599
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    The Juice
    If you got it, you can get what you want from City Hall
    BY JIM SCHUTZE
    jimschutze@mindspring.com
    http://www.dallasobserver.com/issues...s/schutze.html

    Hate to do this to you. I don't like it when I read stories by other reporters based on unnamed sources. I have an ungenerous tendency to wonder if they made it all up. But in this case, the only people I could talk to were sources who would rather eat chalk than see their names in my column. In the next 16 weeks Dallas voters must ponder the biggest change in city politics since 1931--a charter election May 7 to abandon the city manager system in favor of much greater powers for the mayor. A standard cliché in this debate, one I probably have helped propagate in my own small way, is the notion that Dallas City Hall is broken, stuck in the mud, can't get anything done to save its life.

    Here's my secret dilemma: I know people--great sources, folks I have known for years--who work City Hall like a gumball machine every day of their lives, all day long. I'm talking about people who go to City Hall seeking deals: zoning changes, street closings, conservation districts, historic markers, tax breaks, whatever. And they would tell you City Hall works like a Swiss watch. For them. Some of them would disagree with what I'm going to say next, and some would agree. I would say next that City Hall works for a limited group of insiders--I think they would prefer the title "informed citizens"--who know how to work it. But not for the person who has a job or kids to take care of or who wants to go fishing and just doesn't have time to become a Ph.D. expert. Last week I spoke with several people who are Ph.D.s-times-10 at dealing with City Hall. I can't name them; I can't even characterize what they do, because they operate in a tiny universe, and someone would figure out who they are.

    What I can do--and I think this might be genuinely helpful in figuring out what really goes on down there--is summarize what they told me about how they get what they want from Dallas City Hall. Almost all of them agree on this: If you want to get something from City Hall, the first thing you need to do is put the whole city manager thing right out of your mind. Forget it. It will only confuse you. The mythology of the manager system, after all, was that it removed politics from city business. Or, as one wag put it to me, "It was supposed to remove politics from politics, which may have been its problem." The deal now at City Hall, most of my sources agree, is that you will not get off square one--no, wait, they said you won't even get on square one--until you do the politics. Politics is first and foremost. City staff, no matter what they tell you, will not lift a pinkie finger in your behalf until you show them the juice. And the juice is a city council member.

    "They are afraid of city council members," one man said. "That's all they're afraid of." If you want the city to do something for you--a zoning change, a street closing, a conservation district--you need to show the staff your city council person. Your little bottle of juice. You must demonstrate to the staff that the council person for the district where you want your deal is on your side. If you can do that, if you can put the juice on the table, then step out of the way: City Hall is gonna work for you. "It's the red carpet," a developer said to me. "They're under so much pressure to do deals, once they know you have the council lined up, they can't wait to help." Now, the second level. What if you want something from City Hall that involves more than one council district or maybe all of them--something beyond the borders of an individual council member's duchy? How do you do that? Eight little bottles of juice on the wall. You have to show that you have an eight-vote majority of the 15-member city council going for you. Then you get the red carpet. Three votes? The cold shoulder.

    The real-world system at City Hall is the direct contrary of the official mythology. Far from barring politics from the door, city staff won't let you in the door unless you've already done your political homework. The system was always political, because public business in a democracy is inherently political. Back when people thought the city manager system worked so well, that was because the politics all got done behind closed doors by five or six blue-suit cigar butts downtown. Moving effective control to elected council members was a step in the right direction. So maybe the system we have now is a move in a better direction, away from the days of the smoked-filled room. But we ain't there yet. Take the eight-vote dilemma, for example. How do you get eight votes? How do you make that big train go down the tracks? What I'm told is that you work through a broker. Someone brokers the eight votes for you. It might be the city manager. Might be an individual council member. Probably not the mayor, because she has not shown much ability to get eight votes together even for her own deals.

    If you're worried about getting lost in someone else's political agenda, then you hire a lawyer or a lobbyist--a paid pro--to broker your deal. At least that way you can be reasonably assured your broker has your interests first in mind. That takes money. It all takes savvy and patience. It may require a certain humility--a willingness to roll up one's sleeves and get one's hands dirty. People who do this stuff for a living, for example, always contribute to every council member's officeholder account. It's not that two grand to an officeholder account buys a council person's vote, but it does buy a call-back. And you're not in the game if you can't get a call-back. The rules are wobbly and uncertain. Not everyone is allowed to use a broker, for example. I'm told Robert Decherd, CEO of Belo Corp. (The Dallas Morning News) hasn't done better in his own City Hall initiatives precisely because he has insisted on using brokers rather than pressing the flesh in person. "Some council members are offended by that," a source told me. They want to see the Prince of Belo humble himself a bit, make an appointment, sit across a desk in a squeaky chair and ask for it the way regular people do. Democracy's not easy for princes.

    If you're an ordinary mortal, on the other hand, people at City Hall are reassured to see you using one of the regular brokers. It shows you know the rules and can be counted on to behave yourself. The thing we need to understand, in sizing up the debate on a strong-mayor system, is that the system we have now works just fine for individual council members and for lots of people who have business with the city. We see them already coming together in an otherwise almost incomprehensibly diverse coalition. What they have in common is that they know how to work the locks.

    So what is it that City Hall can't do? The system at City Hall cannot effect change that transcends narrow interests. Take the debate on doing something about the homeless. The juice system is great for stopping things you don't like, for people who want to prevent the city from locating a new homeless intake center in their part of town. No eggs get broken. But it doesn't provide the kind of overarching leadership that can say, "Sorry, gotta get this done, gotta break some eggs. Here's where it goes. If you don't like it, vote me out of office." Which leads to my second point. There's no one to vote out of office. I get letters and calls and e-mails from people who are furious that the city isn't building the park we were promised in the 1998 Trinity River bond election and is building a freeway instead. They want to know whom they can fire. Nobody. The Trinity River project has been cobbled down into dozens of mini-deals, each of them brokered by a different interest group. Let's say you get really serious about this, and you drive down to the Trinity River project office, and you tell the people there that you want a full accounting of the decisions that led to the current situation.

    Watch the eyes. You know how sometimes you're at a party, and you're talking to somebody, and you notice they're pretending to listen but sort of looking around for somebody else. I can tell you exactly who they're looking for.

    The juice.

    You want something? You want a report or a study or something on the Trinity River project? Answers: That's what you said you wanted. Sure, we can do that. We can buckle down and go to work like a bunch of busy bees getting those answers for you, but...ah...

    Where's your juice, man? Where's your council person? Well, actually, now that we think about it, the Trinity project is a citywide issue, so before we could actually acknowledge your existence here in the office too much, we would need eight little bottles of juice on the wall. There are smart people who will argue passionately to you that this is the best system we can have: It gives everybody access, at least theoretically, and it doesn't allow any one group or person to dominate. Others will argue that this is a system designed for special seekers. It allows everybody to get but requires nobody to give. It belches steam and toots the whistle but can't move the train down the tracks.

    That's up to you.

    dallasobserver.com | originally published: January 20, 2005
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  50. #600
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc
    There are smart people who will argue passionately to you that this is the best system we can have: It gives everybody access, at least theoretically, and it doesn't allow any one group or person to dominate. Others will argue that this is a system designed for special seekers. It allows everybody to get but requires nobody to give. It belches steam and toots the whistle but can't move the train down the tracks.

    That's up to you.
    ^ You got that right.
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

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