At the very start of this year, January 2, the New York Times warned us of the coming battle with a front-page story, “Public Workers Facing Outrage in Budget Crisis.” The Economist, in its January 8 issue, gave us “The battle ahead: confronting the public-sector unions.” And the January Time Magazine? “Public Employees Become Public Enemy No. 1.”
So nobody should have been surprised when public employees became enemy number one in Wisconsin, whose governor and Republican-dominated Legislature are pressing a bill that would eviscerate most of the unions representing that state’s employees.
It's called the Kalamazoo Promise and it is funded entirely and in perpetuity by private, anonymous donors. Their goal - to send every school-aged child attending Kalamazoo Public Schools to community college, college or a university in the state of Michigan.
Many observers called it 'groundbreaking', 'a bold new experiment', and 'a model for America'. I call it a 'no-brainier'.
If Dallas' budget were a severely wounded patient and City Manager Mary Suhm a surgeon, those screams coming from the operating room would be due to amputations performed without the benefit of anesthesia. Even though she's pared a $130 million budget shortfall to just below $19 million, the reductions still necessary are approaching the point of cutting fat and muscle and sawing too close to bone for comfort.
With the mayor and several city council members seemingly opposed to any tax increase, Suhm is left with little choice but to consider budget cuts in numerous categories: public safety, the arts, libraries, parks and recreation, streets, garbage collection and code enforcement. This amounts to no good choices for citizens or the slashed departments.
The time has come to stop delaying the inevitable and include a tax increase in this budget.
Sometimes I hate to admit that I once voted for Kwame Kilpatrick. But why wouldn’t I? Young, charismatic, intelligent, and driven -- he possessed all of the qualities that I believe I wanted in a mayor of a city on the rebound. Not only did I vote for him, I convinced others that I knew to do the same. I ignored their comments of “he’s too young”, “he doesn’t have enough experience” or “there’s something funny about a career politician.” Again, I didn’t care. I felt that the enthusiasm and his determination for change would be enough.
Boy was I wrong. In the past few years, former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has gone from Democratic darling, surely on his way to congress (by way of his mother’s old seat), to a current felon recently indicted by the Feds. But the most criminal of his behavior was his ability to squander an awesome opportunity.
I grew up two blocks from my small town's public library. The Independent Township Library, to be exact. I always wondered why the library had such a strange name, not knowing the history of townships in our state or why they were formed, way back when. At any rate, I would stagger home with my arms full of books from the time I could read. By the time I graduated from high school, I had read every book in the building, plus hundreds more that the interlibrary loan van would bring every couple of weeks. I taught story time to 3-year-olds, and led the summer reading program. The library was my window to the world, and through its treasures it made me realize that the world was a big place with a lot of opportunities.
This is to show appreciation for a person who leads with the people and for the people in a way that engages all of the people.
I don’t remember the first time I heard about Cory Booker, but I remember being fascinated by him when I heard he became the Mayor of Newark, NJ and moved into a housing development in the city. Beyond that, I cannot remember what else attracted me, but I was truly intrigued.
I really thank Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow, for posting this on the Dallas Metro Blog. It's a great story. Peter Johnson, a friend of mine, has told me about this and it always makes me proud to see how some in Dallas stood up to establishment leaders, in and outside of our community. But more importantly, the stood up with South Dallas residents in recognition of their dignity. Those of us working now, stand on their shoulders.
By the way: it was a very proud moment for me, when I ended up sitting at a table with J.B. Jackson (mentioned later in Steve's post). Mr. Jackson (who has a street named in his honor in South Dallas), said when I introduced myself, that he had read about me, heard about me and encouraged me to keep up the good work!
Ms. Mattie Nash was a former Dallas City Councilwoman and a tremendous force for good in West Dallas. She died this past Sunday night at the age of 87.
I got to know Ms. Nash when we served together on our city's Urban Rehabilitation and Standards Board. She inspired all of us with her energetic presence, her wisdom, her compassion and her relentless advocacy on behalf of her community.
I know its a trite saying, but its true: those of us who seek to provide any leadership in low income communities, 'stand on the shoulders' of such stalwart leaders like Mattie Nash. I was blessed to know her. Dallas was blessed to have her in our midst.
Unify South Dallas, continues its meetings after a successful effort in bringing before South Dallas residents, Mayor Tom Leppert to address an agenda of issues which they developed.
These are clips from that the meeting in November in which the tenor and tone of the meeting is laid out and the Mayor responds to agenda items that relate to the city's role in supporting the Dallas Housing Authority's application for HOPE IV funds; transportation and neighborhood redevelopment issues and the proliferation of liquor related businesses in South Dallas.
Years ago, when those of us who worked for single member representation in Dallas were successful, we looked forward to the day, when mature politicians would represent their districts responsibly. I think everyone knew it would take time.
Along the way there have been accusations of 'fiefdoms' being established. There have been criticisms about 'ward politics'; a lack of concern for 'Dallas as a whole'. Then, of course there has been the corruption. But now something totally out of left field!
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