Straight-up solid story by Emily Ramshaw today on how some Dallas City Council members want to take the arguably lean proposed 2006 capital bond program and load it down with discretionary pork that they may not be in any rush to spend and that doesn't need council approval to be doled out.
Why any councilmember should get money that doesn't require full, public council approval is a mystery, and while every single councilmember is a man or woman of unquestionable honor well above reproach, suspicion or federal investigation, ahem, imagine if someone with less than their perfect integrity were elected to the horseshoe.
Several acres of valuable state-owned property sit vacant and undeveloped at the corner of Carroll Ave and the North Central Expressway. If the Dallas County Judge has her way, the lot will be used for a housing project that is financed by county bonds.
Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher and Commissioner John Wiley Price are believed to be the two chief supporters of building an apartment project at the vacant spot. Other commissioners on the court are either opposed to or undecided on the project. If sold by the state, the property could turn a substantial profit.
The project would be managed by the Housing Finance Corporation of the county and it would be financed by Bank of America.
The project would have 320 units that would be sold at market rate. An additional 32 units located on the property would be used to house approximately 60 youth aging out of foster care. According to a document released by Judge Keliher’s executive assistant Bob Johnston, these additional units would be subsidized by the rental of market-rate units and would “promote the integration of youth aging out of foster care into the larger community.”
Speaking to DallasBlog, Johnston said that the use of the bond money is a non-recourse debt and thus, there is no financial risk to the county. Johnston explained that the market-rate rents would eventually pay off the bonds.
“That’s the beauty of it all,” said Johnston. “The market is being used to pay for this at no cost to the tax payers.”
“There is no tax money at all in this,” added Johnston.
According to Johnston, Central Dallas Ministries is located nearby and will act as a source for medical, legal, and job training services for the youth. Central Dallas Ministries is run by liberal activist Larry James.
Other commissioners could not be reached for comment.
The Special Legislative session has adjourned after after passing a group of bills that Texas Gov. Rick Perry says will cut school property taxes by one third, create a new Business Margins Tax, provide an across-the-board pay raise for teachers and make several far reaching changes in public education. Upon adjournment Texas Comptroller and gubernatorial candidate Carol Strayhorn urged the governor to veto his own tax plan. In a letter sent to the governor today she claimed that the plan was "irresponsible" and "unconstitutional." The Governor's spokesman dismissed the Strayhorn letter as an attempt to stay "relevant."
The Daily Telegraph has cited a new report from the American Journal of Clincial Nutrition which claims that drinking "one to three cups of coffee a day may protect people from heart disease and strokes." The report was based on a study of 27,000 older women in Iowa who participated in the survey over an extended number of years. The Telegraph noted that antioxidents found in coffee "protect cells from damage and reduce the inflammation that encourages arteries to narrow." Drinking red wine in moderation also is helpful in this regard.
As the Telegraph notes, there have been numerous studies in the past "that have suggested that coffee is bad for you." It is hard to know who to believe about what to drink and eat in order to reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), President Bush's chief political advisor Karl Rove blamed the unpopular war in Iraq for the President's declining poll numbers. The AP quoted Rove as saying about the American public's attitude towards the President, "They're just sour now on the war...I think the war looms over everything. There's no doubt about it." AEI is the leading neoconservative think tank in the country; and the public policy intellectuals associated with that Washington-based institution have been among the strongest advocates for military action in Iraq and Iran.
Rove, who remains under investigation for his alleged role in the "outing" of CIA operative Valerie Plame, declined to answer a question from a member of the audience about his role in the ongoing CIA-leak investigation, "saying he would not go beyond statements by his attorney," according to the AP report. The prosecutor is expected to announce within the next week as to whether Rove will be indicted. The President's political advisor recently testified for a fifth time before a Washington grand jury.
And here she is, the full breakdown of the proposed $1.28 billion bond package that the city manager's office has put together, based on input from the council and from town hall meetings, filtered through the new "budgeting for outcomes" process the city is using to move away from baseline budgeting.
This will be presented to the council in briefings on Wednesday. After that, councilmembers will hold more town hall meetings to discuss the plan with residents. Neither the proposal nor the total amount is set in stone - councilmembers can recommend changes - but it is a good outline of what will finally go before Dallas voters come November.
The Dallas Morning News has a host of Blogs - although they aren't too easy to find. Their Editorial Page has one and now the Metro columnists have one. It is called Bold Types. Here is what D Magazine's Front Burner blogger Rod Davis has to say:
"Apart from the really scary photos of its Metro bloggers, the latest persuasive evidence that the DMN is completely losing it is the blog itself. Read any entry. Better yet, don't. Tragic, I tell you. Not even that. Just lame."
Vince Leibowitz is a liberal Blogger (Capitol Annex) who provided our readers with an excellent view of Texas political Blogs left and right last week. Those of you who are into school finance may want to check out has analysis of the recently passed school finance bills. The article is lengthy but good and at the end you probably would be hard pressed to guess Vince's politics. He raises a lot of fair points.
Ryan Goodland writes for the liberal Burnt Orange Report and has offered up a good first hand story about FEMA's fumbling, dissembling, and Clintonian hairsplitting. The folks at FEMA appear to be tossing Katrina victims out when they said they would provide a year's rent and utilities. Now FEMA says that it promised those two things for "up to one year" which means they can cut off aid at any time. No doubt there are some who don't need the money. Goodland knows one who does.