by Jim Schutze, September 3
Devil in Details
Toward the end of "The Mayor's Retainers" article Jim writes: "The real tragedy of the federal corruption trial, no matter what the verdict it produces, is that the behavior of the defendants has sullied and squandered the promise of the single-member district city council system."
Jim left out one critical word: "gerrymandered." It should have been placed in front of "single-member district." Dallas has never tried on the south side of Dallas, except for District 1, un-gerrymandered single-member city council districts, ones designed to have the shortest boundary lines possible and thereby preserve as many communities intact as is possible within each district.
The gerrymandered city council districts that were forced on the minority communities of Dallas were simply another attempt to keep the minority vote weak or under the power of people who donate to political campaigns. In a district that is not gerrymandered, it is less costly to run a political campaign because the voters are easier to locate and contact. Voters know more easily which district they are in and can watch the efforts of their representative more easily.
Gerrymandering gives more power to people who may be outside the district but have that power through campaign donations.
Jim must be more specific. There are single-member city council systems, and there are gerrymandered single-member city council systems. Dallas has never tried to allow all city council districts to be un-gerrymandered, only the "Anglo" ones with a few exceptions.
Bill Betzen, Dallas
The one thing that you can say about Angela [Hunt] is that she does her homework. She does not rely totally on the information staff gives her. She researches for herself, which is why most times she is correct. She also knew that there would be a budget shortfall because staff projections were too high. Mayor Leppert didn't make Angela chair of any committee because he sees her as his competition in the next election. Angela also speaks up for citizens when councilmembers are disrespectful and have the attitude that citizens shouldn't be heard at council meetings. She does not go along to get along and has no problem being the lone ranger.
Mary Hasan, via dallasobserver.com
by Jim Schutze, August 27
hope vs. reality
Just a minor clarification. I was the campaign manager for Annette Strauss on her mayor's race. Carol only ran the re-election, which is a piece of cake. She declined to run the hard race since the former Republican County chair was also running, and she didn't want to ruin her Republican credentials. Just wish I could get some of that consulting money, but my view is that I get them elected and hope they have sense enough to make good decisions.
Lorlee Bartos, via dallasobserver.com
"Politics in Dallas is 98 percent real estate." No wonder we are falling so far behind. What a ludicrous way to make money! How about making something useful for the 21st century?
Jim, via dallasobserver.com
by Patrick Williams, September 10
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Oh, No One Knows
Behind closed doors makes no sense. I was under the impression that City Hall was transparent to taxpayers. It seems I am wrong once again. The question is: What are they doing that they do not want us to know about? We know we have crooks in City Hall. That much has been proven time and again.
So let's put it in the public eye so every one and his dog can see it. When that happens, I'm pretty sure we will see better results from our "elected officials."
Scott Fraser, via dallasobserver.com