After finally worming its way onto the Dallas City Council's briefing agenda, the newly revised transportation-for-hire ordinance, the one that's supposed to fix the whole Yellow Cab/Uber/Lyft mess, has been put off.
Despite protestations from Sandy Greyson, who headed the work group behind the new ordinance, and Dwaine Caraway, a majority of the council agreed to hear about the changes after the council's summer break.
The decision was made just before lunch, when Mayor Mike Rawlings seemed to realize that, because of the amount of time wasted bickering over changes to the city charter's term limit provisions, the meeting might last into Thursday morning if the sure-to-be contentious transit issues were discussed.
None of the term limit discussion was particularly useful. A motion by Rick Callahan to allow for two four-year terms rather than four two-year terms was roundly rejected, and the council also rejected the original suggestion of two three-year terms to voters.
The ineffectual debate was entertaining, at least. Dwaine Caraway suggested early in the discussion that the best move was to get rid of term limits entirely.
"If it were my druthers," he said, "as long as the voters want you, and as long as you were doing your job, you could stay."
Caraway also insisted that city staff conspire against council members who are unable to seek re-election.
"[Staff] will relax and play politics at the end of our term," he said. "Some folks can't wait until we are on our way out."
Lee Kleinman suggested that Caraway was attempting to build a career in a position that is supposed to be temporary.
"This whole drive to increase [council] salaries and get rid of term limits is clearly an opportunity to try and embed these positions for the long term," he said.
Having unlimited terms would allow for a concentration of power that "creates a ward system," he said.
If term-limited council members want to continue their political careers, Kleinmann said, they should run for county, state or federal office.
Clearly, Kleinman's comments upset Caraway, who minutes later went on a desk-slapping tirade.
"I take offense when we talk about career politicians with personal agendas," he said. "That's a slap in the face."
Because there is more work to do in South Dallas, Caraway insisted, he and his fellow southern sector council members must make a career out of trying to make things better, he said.
"Don't be labeling people about no career politician," he said, pointing at Kleinman.
After the hour-long back and forth, which again, changed absolutely nothing from the original charter modification proposal, the newly behind schedule council moved on to other business.
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