Liveblogging the Council Briefing During Which They're Discussing Hiking Your Water Bill
If you've never met the director of Dallas Water Utilities, here she is: Jody Puckett
Walked into today's city council briefing a couple minutes late to catch Tennell Atkins talking about how Dallas needs "classy," and then they gave a long and lengthily introduced award to Wal-Mart wherein everybody was really enthusiastic and in no way embarrassed that they were giving an award to Wal-Mart. (Atkins was actually saying "classics," which I think has something to do with music. Tik tok.)
Following, an award was given to some girls from Hockaday who started a club called "Hang In There" for cancer patients, to whom they give sock puppets. You, like me, probably think there's a joke in there somewhere, but we are too classy to make fun of high schoolers and cancer, right? Right.
Then Dwaine Caraway talked about his Teen Summit and how awesome he-slash-it is, and everybody patted him on the back, and we all drew pictures of rainbows and picked some tasty berries and saved some kittens from trees.
And then it was time to let the public talk, giving many members of the council a chance to check Facebook, play some Angry Birds and pick out new tile. First up, a guy named Gonzalez who seems like he could give Avi Adelman a run for his rabble-rousing money.
His speech was about the "lyin' cheatin' sneakin' deceitful police department," and their presumably lyin', cheatin', sneakin', deceitin' activity in Northwest Dallas, specifically, "cops sneakin' around our neighborhood." Literally no one listened to him, which I thought was surprising, because Lakeview Terrace was a pretty interesting movie.
Then, dude named Randall White hopped up to the podium and everybody stopped playing Angry Birds and picking out tile and paid attention to him, because he's in charge of the Fort Worth Avenue TIF district in Oak Cliff. (He also was the mayor of City Hall on Foursquare until about 30 minutes ago, when I ousted his ass. Sorry, Randy.) He was politely pissed that the Dallas Housing Authority is moving some people from The Bridge into some low-income housing into his proverbial backyard.
Dave Neumann joined in the politely pissedoffness, asserting "sheer indifference, SHEER INDIFFERENCE!" on the part of the DHA for moving the poor/crazy folk into the rich/sane folk neighborhood, noting that they already have plenty of that in the Oak Cliff, TYVM. Much discussion ensued, with Leppert closing by saying we all need "good communication," which is sure to end class wars the world over.
Then, in a surprisingly effective and moving moment, community members and activists who run summer programs for kids brought a whole passel of them into the meeting and had them stand up to demonstrate the impact of closing libraries, public pools and parks and other rec facilities due to Dallas' giant budget fustercluck. Where will the kids go? What will they have to do? Atkins got his rhetorical question on, asking, "When you stop one thing, what do it affect down the road?" which is a pretty damned salient point.
Jody Puckett, the water utilities director was up next, talking about their proposed 4.2% rate increase for the next fiscal year, which will likely raise your water bill by one PBR ($2), so be sure to factor that into your budget. They've got a number of improvements and maintenance projects planned, and while they're short, budget-wise, right now, that's alright because, per Puckett, "Ideally we'd go fix it all at once, but then the whole city would be torn up." Dallas Water Utilities' gift to you, friends!