In the brand-new issue of Governing magazine, which is published by Congressional Quarterly, there's a 3,000-word piece that asks, "Can Dallas Govern Itself?" Hard to imagine it takes 3,000 words to say "no," but we read on anyway and found a few things to share--not the least of which is the third-paragraph reference to "Jim Schutze, the sharp-eyed and curmudgeonly public affairs columnist for the weekly Dallas Observer." (Yeah, but they just took that off his business card.) Click here to read the entire piece.
But here's the short version: Last year, Dallas was broken (the city was "sunk in a morass of racial discord, skyrocketing crime, hard economic times and distracted public officials, amid an unbroken exodus of businesses and middle-class residents to the suburbs...several members of the city council were under federal investigation...a state legislative committee was looking into charges that city officials had used a nuisance abatement law to carry out politically motivated vendettas against certain businesses"). Now, it's fixed ("Dallas has begun to act like a city that knows what it wants"). Or not ("The city's political leadership still has not demonstrated that it can engage these energies and focus them over the long haul. And this makes the city vulnerable to back-sliding should anything go wrong--a fresh scandal in one of its departments, indictments stemming from the FBI investigation or infighting on the council when the new budgeting process forces uncomfortable decisions upon important constituencies"). Yeah, that about covers it. --Robert Wilonsky