Archive for May, 2007

May 31, 2007

Youth Violence – A Must Read

This article is from the Philadelphia Weekly, and is titled “His Best Shot.” It focuses on Scott Charles’ job as Temple University Hospital’s trauma outreach coordinator and the problems of youth violence. Through his “Cradle to Grave” program, he works with youth that are victims of violence.

A key quote from Dr. William King, vice president of Physicians for Social Responsibility:

“The fundamental problem is we don’t have the services and coordination,” he says. “We are badly organized. If a mom is Googling for youth anti-violence programs and can’t find your organization in three minutes, you can’t help her or anybody else. And if she finds a million such organizations, what’s she supposed to do with that?”

I googled “youth antiviolence programs” + dallas. The results: ONE LINK!
I googled “youth anti-violence programs” + dallas. The results: TWO LINKS!

Think about that. I know that some programs exist, but they do not get the support that they need from a financial or local government standpoint. I hope that with the new council we will see the issue of crime being addressed. We can talk about economic development and downtown parks all day, but if we don’t address crime this city is going nowhere fast.

Please read the article, and tell me what you think.

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May 30, 2007

Tom Leppert on Oakley’s Crime Plan and Leadership

On the DMN blog today, Tom Leppert did a 1-hour Q & A chat. Here’s his answer on Oakley’s crime plan:

First of all, the mayor does not have the power to tear down apartments. Ed Oakley’s plan is really just providing tax payer funded incentives and benefits to developers.

Also, we need to understand that tearing down the apartments does not get the criminals off of our streets – it just relocates them.

on leadership…

Question:

Having sat down in face-to-face meetings yesterday with both you and your opponent, I was struck by the different ways you answered a question of mine. I asked what ideas you had heard on the campaign trail from your opponents that you might act on if you won. You gave several examples of ideas from others that you’d like to see put in place. But your opponent more or less dodged this question, saying that all the ideas ARE in place and we just need the right person to implement them. He thinks he’s the right person, given his city hall experience. He seemed to imply to me that tossing new ideas onto the table might distract from what we’re currently working on…How do you respond?

Answer by Leppert:

I hope everyone notices how fast the world changes today … anyone who assumes that you can use old ideas … not changing, not adapting, not seeking new and better ways to adapt to the changes … has simply not been in leadership positions that demand changes, flexibility, creativity and an ability to constantly change to meet the changes that take place minute by minute …. that is really what leadership is all about

More importantly, this also says that the style of leadership will not seek to involve others … others from different backgrounds, different perspectives, and ones that may not have been a part of the process when the “plan” was first developed

We will encounter challenges and problems in the next four years that none of us can see today … that’s simply the nature of the world … if we do not respond and adapt … lead … we are destined to fall behind cities that have the leadership that do

Leppert also addressed the $6 million lawsuit from the US Navy, a question that I previously raised on this blog:

This is an example of leadership that I am proud of. There was no indictment. The situations on the billings occurred before I joined the company (even the Dallas Observer recognizes this). As soon as I became aware of the situation I ordered a complete investigation by an outside law firm. I then had them take the results and sit down with the government to right the billings.

Everyone involved recgonized that this was exactly the way to handle the situation. If I am mayor I will always do the right thing – and this was the right thing to do.

May 25, 2007

Murders are Up in Dallas

According to this report, murders are way up this month is Dallas. Last year we had 8 murders in May 2006. This May, we are at 24 murders and counting. Watch this clip:

Tell me how Oakley’s stupid crime plan of tearing down apartments is going to cut the murder rate? We must collectively come together and put real solutions on the table to reduce the crime in our city.

May 25, 2007

Clear Backpacks?

Allen Gwinn at Dallas.org reports that the DISD School Board voted to require all students to get clear backpacks. If a student can’t afford a bag, DISD will give them one. That one bag will likely turn into several bags, since anyone who has attended school in the last 20 years knows that clear backpacks don’t hold up.

Gwinn correctly surmises that

… concerns may be valid–especially if the goal of the program is to “speed up the process” of screening them.

Items carried in the bags such as clothing, books and other smaller bags are not required to be clear meaning that prohibited items may be concealed and escape scrutiny.

Of course, this effort was led by Jerome Garza. I guess there weren’t any districts to redraw this meeting, so he had to keep busy.

The usual 4 votes passed this nonsense: Jerome Garza, Nancy Bingham, Edwin Flores and Board President Jack Lowe.

Kudos to Trustees Ranger, Ellis, and Medrano for voting against this nonsense.

May 23, 2007

Turner Courts – Unsung Heroes and Hope

Last Friday, I was invited to attend the Central Dallas Ministries After School Academy (ASA) Art Show. Dr Janet Morrison (blog link) runs the program, along with a lot of residents that give their time to this cause. The art show, which consists of a silent auction of photos and drawings, raises money for the ASA Program and was held at the South Side on Lamar.

This program is based in Turner Courts. Turner Courts is in the far end of South Dallas, south of the intersection of 175 & 310 (map).

View more about the art show here, on the ASA Blog.

I got to meet a lot of the volunteers like Wyshina and others, the children, and Dr. Morrison. These children are special! They are congenial, talented, and intelligent. The Kashias and Danyelles and Dariuses of the world need support to fully blossom. They represent hope and the future, and the possibilities of achieving against all odds. Dr. Morrison told me about the kids from that area that became college students. Unfortunately, these folks are on their own.

I learned that the children of Turner Courts and Rochester Park have no library, not even a kiosk! The closest library is the MLK Branch, some three miles away. Yet, the area has two council members since it is part of District 4 and District 7 (both of which have been in office since 1999). How can you encourage kids to read, when they have nowhere to pick up a book?

We’ve heard the unctuous grandstanding by current City Council Members about places like Turner Courts when they are in a tight spot about some other issue. What I learned is that nothing has been done for these people or these programs. They received some lip service years ago, and they are all hanging on by a thread. Maybe, with the upcoming change in representation in this area we can help these people that are obviously trying to help themselves.

These people do not want to be portrayed as victims. What they need is support for the things they are trying to do in this community.

When I said that we are going to change the game in this City, I meant it. The lip service and pandering and using poor Black children as martyrs must stop!

I intend to keep in touch with Dr. Morrison and the ASA. The children and parents of this community are isolated from resources and opportunity. This must change.

May 21, 2007

Oakley’s Demolition Idea Short on Substance

(this is from the DMN’s letters to the editor page)

Ed Oakley’s proposal to demolish 2,000 apartment units per year to reduce crime is a bad idea. There will be consequences, and crime reduction may not be among them.

He makes no mention of what will happen to the low-income families who occupy these units. Tenants living in neglected apartments are often the victims of criminals, rather than the perpetrators. Displacing people with limited resources will cause financial hardship, increase homelessness, destabilize families and disrupt children’s education.

How does he plan to deal with this new set of problems? Does he care?

Instead of demolishing housing, why not increase police protection in problem communities? Why not sue slumlords who neglect their property? Why not fund gang prevention programs and after-school activities for at-risk youth?

Why not work on employment initiatives for would-be and former drug offenders?

Sandy Rollins, Dallas

May 20, 2007

Sunset Motel will be Closing! (with video)

On Monday, May 14th, the Dallas Board of Adjustment voted to closed the Sunset Motel. The motel is located at 4343 S. Lancaster in South Oak Cliff, next to the Dallas Urban League (map).

City Councilman elect Dwaine Caraway and I filed the papers with the City, but this is a community effort. Video and more after the jump.

Like in the other cases, these owners had the nerve to say that “crime doesn’t occur on their property.” They even questioned the police stats and calls, but once we started reading the reports they were done. We learned that not only did this motel not have a Specific Use Permit (SUP), they haven’t had one for 20 years!

Murders, drug dealing, underage prostitution were cited in multiple instances. The police can’t come to your house in this area because they’re responding to call after call at these hot-sheet motels. This scene plays out all over the City.

I am so proud of the community for their support! It seems like each time, more and more people come to the meetings. We had over 50 people supporting our efforts to close this motel. Thanks to the Dallas Urban League for donating the filing fee. Thanks to Bishop McGriff, ACORN, and all of the the people who took an entire afternoon to lend their support in this effort. This is for YOU, the community! Remember, Dwaine and I simply want to help clean up your community, one block at a time. With your support, anything is possible.

Read the Dallas Morning News Article here (link). Over the summer, the Board of Adjustment will set a date for the motel to close. We will press for an immediate closing.

Video is below:

Channel 8 coverage of motel closing:

Channel 5 coverage of filing against motel:

Part One

Part Two

Previous coverage of Sunset Motel:

NBC 5 Coverage:

May 20, 2007

Mayoral Run-Off 2007

I’m going with Tom Leppert for Dallas Mayor. Between the two candidates, Leppert is obviously better for this City than Ed Oakley. I’ll tell you why in a few days.

May 19, 2007

Major Announcement Coming Soon

A major announcement will be coming in the next couple of days regarding a crime magnet in South Oak Cliff. Stay tuned.

May 15, 2007

May 12th Election Thoughts

I have received a lot of e-mails and calls congratulating us on Dwaine Caraway’s victory. We appreciate it! There are a lot of unsung heroes that did a super job in our campaign.

I hope this Mayor’s race settles once and for all that the same old political consultants don’t know everything.

(I want to take you behind the scenes with respect to the inner workings of a big-budget campaign in this month’s election.)

Unbeknownst to many of you, last fall I began to work on a Mayoral candidate’s campaign. I believed in what the candidate was trying to say and in his vision for Dallas. I’ll keep his name anonymous because I like the guy and feel he got a raw deal from many of the people he hired.

I met personally with the candidate and the deal was basically closed at that point. Because of that fact, the “lead consultants” in the campaign had a problem with me from the gate.

You see, I’ve been in this situation before. This is just like the times I have been involved in corporate America where you’re resented from the jump because you weren’t around during the “days of old.” I’ve been the youngest person in every corporate position I’ve ever held, usually by 15 years of age or more. I’m sure my younger readers can relate.

I knew I was done with the campaign when they wanted me to present my budget. When I did, the people nearly had a heart attack. They used the tired tactic of attacking every line item, claiming “this wouldn’t work” or “we’re already doing this.” Like I’ve never seen that before.

I’ve been involved in politics all of my life. Love every minute of it. Pops was a ward leader in my hometown. My family still works in campaigns back home (including tonight, since it’s election day in Philly). This is nothing new.

For starters (with respect to Dallas), I spoke at City Hall when Vote No (anti-strong Mayor #1) was kicked off. I was probably the only person under 50. I get out thousands of voters all over this city in every election, and have been since I became involved in Dallas politics. I rarely mention it publicly because there’s so much work to be done in this City other than beating our chests. But I want you all to get a feel about how it really goes down.

From reading Rufus Shaw to Jim Schutze to The Progressive to Campaigns & Elections, I eat sleep and breathe this stuff. But you couldn’t convince these people of anything. I think these “consultants” were offended that I had the temerity to ask for a price that was right in line with their own salaries.

I never had as much of the problem with the candidate as with the people running the campaign. The arrogance of these people was unbelievable. After I left, the two people in the campaign that I respected most left as well. I knew I had made the right decision.

The candidate didn’t finish in the Top 4. For the thousands per month that the candidate spent on consultants, he got killed in almost every precinct. I’m not saying that I would have pushed him over the top, but his showing would have been much better.

It’s what I’ve always said. A lot of so-called consultants promise a candidate the world and tell them they can win, just so they can get paid. I promised myself I would never operate in that manner. The candidates want to know the truth, but it must be hard getting someone to tell them the truth.

Remember what I said two months ago:

The job of a political consultant is more than overlooking marketing materials and taking people to high-priced dinners. Part of their responsibility is to minimize heat by TELLING their candidate when they’re WRONG, and when they’re being stupid. If you don’t do that, you are what is known as a flack, not a consultant.

and

Several candidates with high-paid consultants are watching their campaign go up in flames. Such truths will become evident after May 12th. Remember, only two candidates can make the runoff.

Difference #1: Dwaine was willing to mix new ideas along with the other talented people who may or may not possess a political resume, but executed the living daylights out of their part of the overall plan.

Difference #2: No one was scared to tell Dwaine when he was right and when he was wrong. He welcomed the give and take. You can’t get that type of honesty in a lot of campaigns. The candidate always pays the price when the consultants are too scared to tell the truth.

Not to gloat, but the team I was involved with generated the most votes of the Black council districts and the margin speaks for itself. We had more early votes (1,100+) than any other person in our race had total votes. The establishment candidate only beat us by 3 votes in his own neighborhood. Dwaine had just under 3,200 votes; the 2nd place person had 928.

One day, people will realize that the younger set has much to offer. Maybe these candidates will learn, maybe they won’t. They paid good money; they deserved better. I appreciate the many mentors that give me good advice. When I’m in their position, I hope to do the same.