Tuesday, August 22, 2006

If I Were Elected Mayor. . .Part One

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!

23 comments:

RC said...

Anyone with a plan this detailed and proven leadership ability who chose not to run really has some explaining to do. I have read you blog for a few months now. I often do not agree with you, but you get things done. There arn't many people in government who have not only concern for the poor, but passion for the poor. I really don't think it is something that you can just brush off.

Mike said...

I want to know where to mail the campaign contribution.

David U said...

Larry, maybe you have a calling!

DU

Rhonda said...

So when's the filing deadline? Sounds like you need to get the ball rolling ASAP!

Daniel Gray said...

Sounds to me like you're running...

Stephen Bailey said...

I am a Tarrant County guy. I love Fort Worth! But if you were elected Mayor of Dallas, even I might be convinced to move east.

scott said...

I have some influence in the Dallas area. I can probably bring in 2-3 votes for you.
Seriously, you sound like my kind of candidate.

Chris Field said...

I will take a weekend off of law school study t come help with the campaign, Larry.

And I'm here if you need any advice: I ran for mayor of College Station at the ripe age of 19!!!

Arlene Kasselman said...

Obviously your experience runs both deep and wide and thus you come to these issues with insight and foresight. But, here is the question - if you can come up with this stuff by sheer "imagining" why can other city leaders not do it when it is their job!

owldog said...

Where do I send the bumper stickers.

"James gets the Job done new Dallas Mayor"

Mike said...

So should I go ahead and announce it on my blog -- that you're running for mayor?

Here's the thing: we're NOT joking. You bring the very knowledge and experience to office that is desperately needed in our urban centers.

RC said...

If Mike says he is not joking, the man is not joking. Larry, people are so sick and tire of the same old thing over and over and over. You can't tell a Democrat from a Republican. I don't see how you can throw out a post like this just for fun. And by the way, who out there will accomplish what you believe needs to be accomplished? I think that for starters everyone who reads this blog should post today. Today should be a record for posts.

Steve Puckett said...

Don't know Dallas and its politics, but certainly sounds like you have a passion. Is there someone already running who shares your passion that people could get behind if you don't run?

Peace.

Mike said...

Ok. Last thing today from me. Maybe.

I think RC's first comment says a whole lot. He often doesn't agree with everything you say. And yet he has confidence in you and your ability to get things done. That's a powerful statement.

I think you would find lots of people like that. They may not agree with every opinion you have, but they're tired of blowhard politicians on both sides of the aisle. And they're ready for someone with some concrete plans of how to make a more just society.

Larry James said...

Thanks for the posts. . .I was actually doing what I said, just thinking through the challenge.

Chris Field said...

Does this mean you're not running :(

owldog said...

When is the deadline to register and when is the election?

Larry James said...

Not sure. Today has made me think hard. I wonder if this is the time. . .so much is going on at CDM. I have to admit, the post have caused me some pause. . .we'll see. . .

RC said...

Larry,

As far as I know we have met one time. We took a van ride to Pepperdine from Lax many years ago. I say that to say that I only know you from afar. When I started reading your blog I was a party line Republican. I don't really know what I am now. What that means is that you have the ability to make people think and in some cases change. When I first started reading your blog you at times made me angry. I still don't like your post on Borg, but I simply could not ignore your passion for the very people who have no voice, the poor, and precisely the same people Jesus became a voice for. You have a gift and I believe that in many ways a mayor has much more power to bring about real change than a congressmen or even a senator. You have the organizational ability, the passion, and the ability to draw support across racial lines. In Memphis a white Jew was just elected as the democratic nominee to replace Harold Ford. He was elected because he had built credibility in the whole community, black and white. People of any ethnic background will vote for someone purple if that person possess credibility. I think you probably have a boat load of credibility. Now you have to decide if you really want to make a difference. I don't want to sound too strong, but I can spot a real leader a mile off and you are one of those rare breed of people who seem to know how to get things done. I do hope you will at least give it serious thought. Grace and peace from a Republican who can see a good thing in the works.

MarkS said...

I'll bet J. Don Williams would help. He knows everyone in Dallas and everyone knows him. In fact, I think there was a campaign to draft him as a mayoral candidate a few years back. Go for it!

Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

Larry you know my Lipscombite leanings when it comes to politics, but such a platform just might get to campaign for you.

I salute you for you leadership in this area. May it rub off on many.

Shalom,
Bobby Valentine

Larry James said...

Thanks to all who posted today.

RC, your comments meant a lot to me personally. I remember a few van rides at Pepperdine. Were you on the one we had to get out and push because it ran out of gas? I think Brother Cope was aboard that one! Had lots of fun with Rushford that year! Thanks for your encouragement here.

DougM said...

Larry,

My dad (Randy) told me to take a look at your blog. I am not in Dallas, but from there. He was right, you care about the things that need to be cared about. I am looking forward to hearing whether or not you are going to run.

Doug