If nothing else, considering what I would do if I were elected Mayor of Dallas succeeded in getting my mind out of my usual rut!
What follows is "Part Two" of my answer begun here yesterday:
9) Community unity and racial reconciliation would become a hallmark of the Mayor and the Council working in a deliberate and determined manner to stay on task. . .week by week in crafting a more inclusive and just community. The strength and power of diversity would be championed as a major asset in improving the quality of life in Dallas.
10) I would oversee the successful development of the new Homeless Assistance Center, including a management plan focusing on organizational excellence. The position of "homeless czar" would be made permanent, but nested outside of City Hall in a new "authority-type" space where public, private, for-profit, non-profit, business, arts, workforce training, housing and education sectors found places at a table of renewal. Homeless persons would be invited to the table from the beginning of the process and would remain involved so long as the HAC operates. In addition, I would make sure that permanent housing development continued for the extremely low-income citizens of Dallas.
11) I would continue the work begun by Mayor Miller in regard to air quality improvement in Dallas and the entire North Texas Region. I would explore with local federal and state legislators potential ways to incentivize citizen fuel economy, use of public transit and other energy saving, clean fuel solutions to our environmental crisis. I would oppose the development of new coal burning power stations unless they were outfitted with the latest and cleanest emissions control systems. Some of the current profit generated by energy companies should be invested in this manner for the good of every customer.
12) Dr. Ron Anderson and I would become even better friends. I would do everything in my power to support the work of the Parkland Health and Hospital System. At the same time, I would consult with Dr. Anderson and his team to consider the formation of major, city-wide, neighborhood-based wellness strategies to create a commitment to the long-term health and wellness of the citizens of Dallas. Such a commitment would involve every department in city government with special attention given to public safety and policing, parks and recreation, public infrastructure, code enforcement and community arts. My leadership groups would be invited into this important community wellness work. Alliances with the other hospital systems in the community would be developed and leveraged to achieve our goals.
13) I would find ways to reallocate and increase funding for crime prevention, community policing, neighborhood watch groups, community prosecutors and gang intervention and abatement. Organizations such as Dallas Area Interfaith and many other community based groups would be invited to coordinate efforts to work toward safer, crime-free neighborhoods. Such grassroots organizations would be welcome at City Hall. . .always.
14) I would work to make Dallas a model city in terms of connecting our neediest citizens to the public benefits designed to relieve need while offering the hope of an improved life. Dallas should become a city known for its streamlined processes in making possible swift and accurate enrollment, certification and deployment of these benefits. The city's health department should be redesigned to assure that the city leads the way in regard to securing these benefits for its weakest residents. Conversations should begin with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services to determine if that department's current reform efforts and technological redesign might take advantage of Dallas as a pilot city for some of the reform efforts in service delivery and automation. At the same time, as Mayor I would be relentless in my efforts in Austin and Washington to insure that Dallas gets its fair share of tax-generated dollars flowing back toward home, knowing that every dollar directed to our most needy citizens will quickly circulate in our economy, thus providing all of us a boost. Business leaders would be tapped to assist in this endeavor since they and their enterprises stand to gain a great deal from success in this neglected area of public policy.
15) I would work with other leaders to establish a minimum wage of $8.50 an hour for all workers employed by contractors working for the City of Dallas with a plan to see that wage marker rise as quickly as possible to $10.00 an hour.
16) I would consult with the Bush Administration and the Congress to offer Dallas as a "test site" for a comprehensive immigration stabilization strategy that combined increased border security, a new commitment to economic development south of the border in partnership with our city and a fair process for documenting persons already living and working in Dallas. A three to five-year plan outlining a process to integrate undocumented workers here might result in a very workable national plan.
In summary, the Mayor's office would be dedicated to the development of human and social capital to the end that Dallas would be known as one of America's friendliest cities for making a life and a home for everyone. Or, as we often say around Central Dallas Ministries, we would devote ourselves to "creating Mayberry" like communities and neighborhoods all over Dallas for the mutual benefit of every resident!
So, what would you do?