City News Roundup
Park Board members get a little crazy and more Dallas city news
There's another toll road in the works for Dallas. The State Fair of Texas doesn't like to answer questions. And the city says bye to its top manager. Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
Learn your role
The Park Board is one of many citizen boards appointed by the City Council, with a focus on the Park & Recreation Department. At a meeting on January 26, a few members revealed that they don't like it when you ask questions.
The agenda that day included a presentation by the State Fair of Texas, to be followed by a discussion period. But before board members could quiz the State Fair representatives — on topics such as why some State Fair staffers earn more than $1 million in annual salary — the reps had already left.
When board member Paul Sims called them out for leaving so soon, he got cut off by Sean Johnson, the board member appointed by Tiffinni Young. Johnson insisted that "personal salary" was not a relevant topic, and when Sims disagreed, Johnson lectured him, repeatedly chanting, "Learn your role, learn your role." As if it was not Sims' role to ask questions.
People appointed to boards are supposed to represent the public "not suck up to rich people and help them cover their traces whenever a real public servant comes along with some questions," says Dallas Observer columnist Jim Schutze.
A coalition of former Dallas mayors, business, and civic organizations have formed a group called Taxpayers for a Fair Pension, who are planning a grass-roots effort to make sure that taxpayers aren't on the hook for the Police and Fire Pension fund debacle.
According to a release, the coalition "will make certain Dallas has a fair and equitable Police and Fire Pension System that provides a solid future for all our police and firefighters – including members, retirees and beneficiaries – while, at the same time, keeping citizens safe and protecting taxpayers from financial bailouts."
The co-chairs of Taxpayers for a Fair Pension are former Dallas mayors Ron Kirk, Laura Miller, and Tom Leppert. Members to date are the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, Dallas Citizens Council, Dallas Regional Chamber, Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce, Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, MetroTex Association of Realtors, North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce, Stemmons Corridor Business Association, and The Real Estate Council.
Another toll road
TxDOT is now looking to add a toll road to the stretch of 635 between US 75 and I-30. This would be in the northeast quadrant, for people who live in Mesquite and want to go to North Dallas or Collin County. The agency calls it "necessary," and the "top priority for the region." All they need is to get it funded.
District 6 candidate
Omar Narvaez, a community educator for Lambda Legal and a former president of the Stonewall Democrats, is running to be on the ballot for Dallas City Council District 6. That seat is currently occupied by Monica Alonzo. Narvaez, who has previously served on the Dallas County School Board, lists his priorities as protecting neighborhoods, honoring seniors, fixing streets, taking care of first responders, and standing up for the people. His campaign kick off event is February 8.
Dallas city manager AC Gonzalez retired, celebrating his last day on January 27. Barrett Brown describes Gonzalez' final meeting with the City Council on January 25.