My greetings to all of you in this fine month of February. The time has really flown over the past 17 months, and I hope you are beginning to see some improvement across the district and neighboring areas.

I promised you I would attack the run-down multi-family complexes, and their ownership, through code changes and improved police involvement. I believe we are making progress on all fronts. On Sept. 1, 2004, the new multi-family code for Dallas went into effect, allowing for an improved multi-family Code Department (increased by 14 thanks to your vote for a tax increase). The city has begun enforcing a stricter and more financially costly code compliance. Along with representatives of the Greater Dallas Apartment Owners Association, I was able to be instrumental in writing the new code that was accepted and implemented by the Council. I pledge to you that we will win this battle one skirmish at a time, if necessary. We are just beginning to see the results of our efforts. Ownerships are sending their management teams to meetings at the Northeast Police Substation once a quarter to share information on bad tenants, security information and drug trafficking.

D.I.S.D. has torn down three complexes to the west of us for three new schools. Their completion will change the Vickery Meadows area forever. The Abrams/Forest area has seen a tremendous change thanks to Bill Baldridge and his company. The Town Center project has gained a new lease on life thanks to five new development prospects who, like me, are not going to let the dream die without going the last mile available to us today (see related story, page 20). The police department, under Chief Brown, has just completed a very successful sweep of two complexes north of LBJ for drugs and guns, with 54 reported arrests. This sweep was done in conjunction with the ATF, DART police and Dallas vice officers. There will be more, and they will be unannounced. Slow progress hopefully means lasting change because of thorough planning.

There will be many challenges this spring for the Council. I must tell you that I will be opposing the Strong Mayor petition. Dallas has had many strong mayors in our history. They were all aided by an equally strong city manager who was – and should be – the chief operating officer of this city. It keeps politics out of day-to-day operations! If I do not agree with the mayor on a subject vital to this city, I do not want my vote on that topic to jeopardize this district and our needs. No matter how the opposition spins Blackwood, it creates a dictatorship environment in this city that we do not need today. Yes, we have problems at City Hall. This proposal is not the answer.

I thank you all again for giving me the opportunity to represent you downtown. By the time you read this, I will have asked you to let me do it again by supporting me in May.