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COMMENTARY: STRONG IS WRONG - HERE IS WHY By Bob Stimson Print E-mail
by Special to DallasBlog.com    Sun, Oct 30, 2005, 03:51 PM

Prop. 1 gives too much power and responsibility to an amateur politician instead entrusting our professional public administrators. In a disaster, who do you want handling your rescue?

  • It’s WRONG to give the mayor sole authority to hire the city manager.

The manager – responsible for providing services equally to all 14 City Council districts – is to be selected by none of the 14 representatives. Prop 1 allows a majority of them to FIRE the manager, however. This all but guarantees more conflict, more division. That breeze you feel is the revolving door Prop 1 installs in the city manager’s office at City Hall.

  • It’s WRONG to let the mayor alone to decide what to pay the manager.

Pay and pay raises are among the tools our elected representatives now use in evaluating management performance. A power-hungry mayor can use Prop. 1 to hold a paycheck hostage to an agenda our representatives may not support. And what if the City Council votes against the mayor-imposed pay package at budget time? Would you work for free?

  • It’s WRONG to force the manager to get the mayor’s OK when hiring two department heads: the police chief and the fire chief.

With this scheme, the two top officials responsible for public safety won’t know who’s their boss. Prop. 1 creates a classic “Mommy, Daddy” conflict and installs two more revolving doors at City Hall.

  • It’s WRONG to take away the little power our elected representatives have to influence what issues get attention.

Prop. 1 forces council members to win the mayor’s approval before they can raise an issue, perhaps one important for your neighborhood, to the full council. Instead of being accountable to those who elected them, council members will be busy working to please the mayor. That’s not our idea of representation.

Prop. 1 will increase your tax burden, cost us $7.5 million in 10 years and untold millions of tax dollars to fight futile legal battles that will come if it passes.

  • It’s WRONG to legislate a 100% pay raise for the mayor and create entire new and expensive bureaucracies. Especially since the new bureaucrats won’t have anything to do.

Prop. 1 requires us to pay an amateur politician $120,000 a year. It creates two new “super committees” of the council with additional staffing that duplicates existing committees and staff. Ironically the main purpose of the new bureaucracy is “budget oversight,” but Prop. 1 changes the budget process and makes it the joint responsibility of the mayor and city manager. The council and their budget bureaucrats are cut out of the equation.

  • It’s WRONG for the Dallas business climate by installing a political “boss” in our mayor’s office that invites backroom deal-making.

You’ve seen it in smokestack cities where some business leaders know they only need to see “da maya” if they want to cut corners or dodge the rules. In Dallas they know they’ll get at least a spirited debate from a watchful council and management staff.

  • It’s WRONG, and we’ll be paying for the courts to tell us so.

The city’s 14-1 single-member council district system, which helps ensure fair representation at City Hall, came at a cost. It was well over $2 million in legal fees that Dallas paid fighting for alternatives that would have concentrated power among a few, privileged elites. The same forces that fought that fight are lining up to take Dallas back to the courts and to the taxpayer piggy bank if Prop. 1 passes.

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