During the past few weeks, a couple of people have asked me if I’m going to run for mayor, now that Laura Miller is stepping down.
At first, I was flattered. But then, I noticed that everyone considering a run for mayor is telling the media they’ve also been encouraged by “others” to run. And since the “others” who talked with me didn’t offer any campaign contributions and weren’t family members, I’ll be sitting out this election.
But there are plenty of issues that need to be discussed, and here are some starting points. In the interest of full disclosure, some are already being done in other cities, while some are specific to us…
• Let’s put the whole Trinity River bridges/park/town lake thing back on the ballot. So far, it seems like a giant boondoggle that has deviated significantly from the beautiful master plan pictures voters approved years ago. Why not lay out the current plans clearly and see what happens this time?
• Dallas city government is long overdue for a “sunset law” review of major departments, and there’s plenty of hardworking, thoughtful city employees who know what it would take to streamline city hall — their voices just can’t be heard over the bureaucracy. The new mayor should appoint small groups of city employees and private citizens to figure out why it’s so hard to fill potholes and fund library books and community centers. And then let’s do what they say.
• It’s time to re-examine paying tax dollars to subsidize developers wanting to build on their own property. I’m not saying we walk away from commitments already made. But it’s time for our market, particularly downtown, to stand on its own.
• Thanks to a previous legal snafu, we’re limited in how we can increase officer pay. So why not instead offer our cops — many of whom live in lower-priced suburbs — a once-a-career home down payment of 25 percent (max subsidy: $100,000) for officers with five years on the force if they buy a house in Dallas, remain an officer, and live in it for at least 10 more years (no high-rises or mansions, please). Sure it will cost some money, but so do the Trinity bridges, developer subsidies and city hall waste, and I would feel better knowing we were using some of that money to instead help our cops afford to make the same personal investment in our neighborhoods as we do. And who wouldn’t feel safer with a cop living in the neighborhood?
There has already been a lot written and said about the upcoming election, much of it negative and little of it productive. Let’s hope in the upcoming nine months, the real candidates actually talk about the issues and what we can do to solve them, rather than continue to accept things at face value and hope someone else will solve our problems for us.