Recently, Laura Miller shocked the world of Dallas politics with her announcement that she would not seek re-election as Mayor of our city. Quiet an interesting development to say the least.
My buddy, John Greenan, quipped the other day that he figured he was the only resident of Dallas not running for the position now that Ms. Miller had bowed out!
All of the hoopla surrounding the Mayor's decision got me to thinking.
What in the world would I do, if I were elected Mayor of Dallas?
It actually turned out to be a fairly fun and distracting game, as we waited on some crucial decisions about two major housing developments currently in the works.
Here's what I've come up with so far:
1) I would declare a moratorium on talking about Southern Sector development and go to work to set in place an official "Southern Sector Authority" (SSA), complete with the funding ability to get to work and to stay at work for the next 15 to 20 years. This Authority would also be able to incentivize development in housing, retail and manufacturing/employment beyond what is possible today. For the sake of full disclosure--another extremely important value of my administration (!)--I must note here that the notion of a special "Authority" came to me from John Greenan!
2) I would make sure that the Trinity River redevelopment project continued forward on pace and that all efforts relative to the river development affecting the Southern Sector be coordinated with the new SSA. In view of the extreme importance of the river's development and face lift, I would make sure that we were talking a lot about it and its progress. In the process I would work hard to make sure that the new river development and its amazing hardwood forest emerged as both a major Dallas destination and a well-used amenity for our citizens.
3) I would become DART's biggest champion! I would throw a party for Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson in recognition of her stellar accomplishment in getting the latest appropriation approved for next steps and "stepped up" development of our regional transit system. Further, I would press leaders in non-participating municipalities to join the DART family or find ways to connect to it to other existing transit resources for the sake of community integration and enhanced economic, educational, civic and cultural progress.
4) I would begin formal and on-going talks with leaders of the Dallas Independent School District in an effort to forge stronger ties and accountabilities between the City and our public schools. The intention would not be to control public education, as is the objective of some mayors in some cities today, but rather to support, enhance and advance the quality of public education in our city. I would make it my practice to meet on a regular basis with the Superintendent of the DISD to discern how the city could be a more effective partner in our ongoing work of making the city as strong as possible. The partnership would involve city leadership working hard to leverage strategic alliances with area businesses, corporations and leaders from the private and public sector both inside and outside Dallas.
5) I would pursue the same sort of relationship with our highly effective Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD). In this connection, I would dust off the employment/jobs creation report commissioned and completed at Mayor Miller's insistence almost two years ago. I would take steps to see that the city partnered with DCCCD and Dallas WorkSource to draw as many of our citizens as possible into training programs leading to employment that paid a livable wage. WorkSource funds should be strategically aligned for great impact among those who need better jobs the most.
6) The County Judge and the County Commissioners would become very well acquainted with me and my team. I would attempt to initiate regular meetings with the Judge, as well as informal social and brainstorming sessions involving members of the City Council and members of the Court. The city and the county need to work together more closely to achieve beneficial synergies around many issues. Leaders of the Council Districts should interface on a regular basis with the Commissioners who also represent the same areas for the County.
7) I would create a "Dallas Leadership Panel" involving city, county, business, health care, housing, education, arts, religious and non-profit leaders. The panel would meet six times annually and would be directed toward key issues facing the city. Meetings would include thorough briefings on issues and challenges, brainstorming and relationship building. Think tank organizations, like the Foundation for Community Empowerment could play a vital role in informing meaningful conversations and in shaping clear action plans and accountabilities.
8) I would establish a "Religious and Non-profit Leaders Roundtable" involving faith leaders and non-profit executives of all traditions and of diverse missions. The purpose of this special group would be communication, understanding, information exchange and community engagement and reconciliation among people of faith, action and charity related to clear city challenges, problems and opportunities.
Tune in for Part Two tomorrow!