In this summary of Dallas city news, the Dallas City Council works through the city budget, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson throws a hissy fit, Dallas leaders try to stop violence, and a fun new video says sayonara to scooters.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
The Dallas City Council persevered through a marathon 13-hour meeting on September 2, focused primarily on the 2020-2021 budget. Among the 80-plus amendments were proposals to cut the police budget and redistribute funds to organizations dedicated to local communities and job programs.
The meeting began at 10 am and ran until 1 am, most of it under the supervision of Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano, who had to jump in when Mayor Eric Johnson disappeared at lunch and never returned.
The budget is scheduled to be formally approved and adopted on September 23.
Among the amendments debated during the September 2 city council meeting was a proposal by Mayor Eric Johnson to cut $6.5 million from the salaries of city officials.
His amendment focused on the top 10 percent of civilian employees, excluding anyone who earned less than $60,000 per year. He used a point of privilege to allow his amendments to come up first for a vote, despite the fact that they were supposed to come up 50th in the list of 86 budget amendments.
In a fairly unprecedented event, Johnson's amendment was unanimously defeated. According to FrontBurner, the rest of the city council basically decided to boycott the entire topic ahead of time, with 11 council members agreeing they would not speak when the mayor's amendment came up for a vote. They call it "a public embarrassment" for the mayor.
As reported on the Reform Dallas blog, Johnson left the meeting after his defeat and never came back. That departure was reinforced by city secretary Billie Rae Johnson who, when she announced votes throughout the night, would say "Mayor Johnson is absent from the meeting" every time.
COVID-19 cases down
Dallas County has lowered its COVID-19 threat level for the first time since May from Level Red, which means "stay home," to Level Orange, which means "extreme caution."
The lowering is thanks to a slow decrease in hospital admissions, deaths, and new cases, with a daily average of COVID-related new cases dropping to approximately 400 at the end of August, down from a daily average of 500 at the beginning of the month.
CW33 wonders if they should have waited until after Labor Day, to discourage people from getting together over the holiday weekend.
In response to the recommendations from the Mayor's Task Force on Safe Communities, a team of Dallas leaders has launched new partnership to help reduce violent crime.
The Dallas Violence Interrupters Partnership is a nonprofit collaboration between Child Poverty Action Lab, Allyn Media, and Urban Specialists, and will work with residents, neighborhoods, grassroots, municipal organizations and the philanthropic community to provide a community-based intervention.
The partnership hires people, some of whom are former gang members and ex-offenders, to intervene and mentor youths and help reduce tensions and head off violent crime.
The initiative kicks off on September 5. The initial phase will target four Dallas communities that have shown an uptick in violent crime over the past year. Activities include neighborhood walks, community clean-ups, establishing PeaceZone boundaries, communications with neighborhood businesses, nd engaging with municipal service providers.
Chris Gebhardt, the mastermind behind the GTOger YouTube channel that documents life in a Deep Ellum parking lot, has created a Scooter Sendoff video in response to the City Council mandate that all rental scooters must be "temporarily" removed.
Scooters have always been a popular feature in GTOger videos, in no small part due to Gebhardt's playful treatment: Every time a scooter buzzes through one of his videos, he accompanies it by dubbing in the buzzy flying car sound effects from the Jetsons.