In my article for the January edition of the Advocate, I mentioned a number of area volunteers who serve on various City boards and commissions. I left out two people on purpose for this month’s article.

I know this sounds like a cover-up, but I really did plan on writing about one of them this month (the other one serves on the Dallas County Appraisal District Board).

That individual is the person who hears your appeals on whether your property value is too high or not, and I will leave her name anonymous, but she is married to the other one that I am going to write about.

Dean Vanderbilt is going to be the District 10 representative on the redistricting commission for the City of Dallas. The results of the 2000 census will be out April 1 and the redistricting commission will redraw the district boundaries for our city. This is an extremely important duty as it will determine how much of the Lake Highlands community we are able to keep in one council district.

I cannot begin to tell you what an advantage it is to be able to represent the interest of Lake Highlands as a whole community. The only area currently not in District 10 that funnels into Lake Highlands High School is part of the Akin Elementary service area. The reason our council district is this compact and community-based is due to Dean.

Dean served on the Dallas City Council from 1983-1988. He then served on the committee that came up with the 10-4-1 configuration that evolved into our current 14-1 – 14 council members elected from single member districts and the mayor elected at large.

I fear that this year’s redistricting is going to be a very unpleasant process because of the anticipated changing demographics over the past 10 years that Dallas has encountered. We needed someone who knows Lake Highlands and understands what our community is about, and I am extremely grateful that Dean is representing you and I on this important commission.

The City of Dallas has a May 5 election planned for city council and possibly a charter amendment. The charter amendment being discussed currently refers to council pay. Councilman Laura Miller has solicited council support for a pay scale of $50,000 to $60,000 for council members and $100,000 plus for the mayor.

I do not support this effort. I do believe that the current $50 per diem established in 1968 is too low and needs to be adjusted to better reflect current value of 2001 dollars. But I absolutely believe that the city manager form of government serves us well and having 15 full-time council members would weaken our manager.