Saturday, May 07, 2005

Dallas city election; Blackwood amendment

Today is Election Day in Dallas, TX. The city votes on the Blackwood Amendment, an attempt to revise the Dallas City Charter and strengthen the mayor’s office. Essentially, many of the hirings and firings that are now the power of the City Manager, will be shifted to the mayor’s office.

I have read editorial breakdowns of the amendment in the Dallas Morning News for weeks, and here in the twenty-fifth hour I still don’t know how to vote.

The best argument I have seen against the amendment says that it will be costly, tampering with a federal judge’s decision that created the 14 council member, 1 mayor system. Tampering with the judges ruling will inevitably land the city back in court, having to explain why it altered the substance of the decision.

Proponents say that this isn’t the case. 14-1 remains in effect, but some of the administrative duties shift and accountability for results increases.

This is all very interesting, but I suppose I will endorse the ignorance vote. Since I do not know enough about the amendment, I can’t vote for it. This is largely the product of my own ignorance. I plead guilty. I don’t have a lack of confidence in the current mayor, Laura Miller. In fact, I have voted for her twice. However, it may just be one of the realities of a more democratic system that trains don’t run on time, potholes don’t get filled, and cronyism rules.

My hope is that the issue is included again in November. This is what many of its opponents are promising. They claim that the current amendment has not had enough public input, and is poorly thought out. They promise an improved amendment in November. I will hold them to their word on this, and it will certainly skew my current stance if there is no ballot amendment come November. My cynical conspiracy theory engine will start to churn.

Dallas residents aren’t very pleased with the current quality of city services, or the city’s direction. Perhaps they are correct not to be satisfied. But I can’t advocate the choice on the pressure of a Now or Never position, which some advocates of the amendment have stated. Ultimately, the system is an ugly and imperfect one.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Current Military Commitments may deter from U.S. ability to fight second war

The Christian Science Monitor has a story today about the top U.S. military analysts report on the condition of US forces. He states that the current military commitments of the U.S. may deter from its ability to fight another war. Consider the current situation with North Korea and Iran, and then assess your own level of concern about this.