Welcome back to Wednesdays at City Hall, Friends. It's the full council's first voting session at the horseshoe after their summer vacation, and no doubt all of them labored for hours last night trying to figure out what they were going to wear this morning to show their friends how much they'd changed over the summer. Will the football team go all the way this year, despite the budget shortfall?
After an opening prayer and pledge of allegiance, things got underway with a discussion about senior services in Dallas. Martha Blaine, executive director of the Community Council of Greater Dallas and Trinidad Garza, of Oak Cliff, both asked that the city not cut funding to transportation and health-related services provided to seniors.
(Blaine and Garza were separated by a speech from Rich Sheridan about The Bridge and money. He called the place a "toilet bowl with money in it." Everyone took the opportunity to try and raise their high scores on Fruit Ninja and call their mothers.)
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Leppert assured the senior-concerned speakers that no services would be cut beyond a reduced budget for the senior dental program. "All the other programs are in a status quo position," Leppert said. There was much applause. A jester ran through and did a back flip into a hand spring. We all got free cotton candy and high-fives from Oprah. It was amazing.
But other city services -- libraries, rec centers -- that aren't senior-specific are still being reduced, and those have a significant effect on the quality of life. Carolyn Davis took up the issue and in further response to the senior situation, she spoke in triplicate: "I will continue to promote a tax increase, a tax increase, a tax increase for the City of Dallas," so that rec centers and libraries can re-open with normal hours. Tennell Atkins spoke after her and was all, What she said.
Dwaine Caraway's getting in the Davis-Atkins boat, wherein council members are starting to come around to the idea that people get angry when you take away their pools and their libraries and their park access. Says Caraway: "If the majority of the people in this city are telling us that they support it, then we need to report that back, and then we need to do what the people are saying."
The people are saying, specifically, that they'd like the parks and centers to be open early in the morning so they don't have to get their exercise in the heat of the day. Caraway was inspired: "No 2:30! Seniors want to get out in the morning when it's cool," Caraway said, gesturing for the attention of Tennell Atkins, who'd gotten out of his chair to speak to someone behind him. "No 2:30! I want your attention! No 2:30!" 'Cause we all know what 2:30 in the afternoon feels like: tripping balls on K2.