Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"WE are Losing..."

For those who, like me, are proud Texans and proud Dallasites, the news is pretty disconcerting. While Texas' population grew larger than any other state in the nation (more about the challenges associated with this later) in 10 years. Dallas population grew less than 0.8%.

LESS than ONE percent!

My friend Shawn Williams, publisher of Dallas South News has perspective to which we must pay attention, "While Ft. Worth gained 38.6% and Austin is up 20.4%, Dallas couldn’t even add one percent to our population.  My family and I added 4 Dallas residents during that time, seems like we made up the bulk of the difference."

"If I were an elected official in Dallas this number (among many others) would keep me up at night.  I’m not an elected official and after seeing this I’ll probably lose a few winks myself tonight.  I mean even Houston gained 7.5%."
"It’s time for Dallas to focus on Dallas.  Our mayor is leaving.  It would be nice if he would make it official. The city needs an advocate here at the local level.  Someone who can foster goodwill across political, ethnic and socioeconomic lines."
"It could be someone from the public or private sector.  Bill White did it in Houston and the Bass Family helped remake Ft. Worth.  Newark, New Jersey was boosted by a $100 million infusion from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg while their Mayor Corey Booker fights tirelessly for the city."
"What about Dallas?  Well our mayor has moved on even if he won’t say so and we’re still looking for a 21st Century Trammell Crow.  Everyone is so worried about turf wars that no one realized that WE are losing."
Dallas' future is south of the Trinity River. Yet, if politicians continue to allow schools to deteriorate (never mind  designations of 'recognized' and 'exemplary' associated with irrelevant test scores); if they continue to support and defend businesses that blight southern Dallas and block wholesome and attractive commerce; if they continue to allow vacant lots and substandard houses to outnumber decent, habitable homes; if they allow acres and acres of land to remain undeveloped and if they look to project based redevelopment to substitute for a real, strategic, comprehensive plan, then it won't be long until we'll see those growth figures in the negative. 
Certainly there are those who will use the economy as an excuse. But other major cities in Texas saw growth in spite of the economy. 
City council elections will be in May of this year. We need to find out which candidates have a clue and we need to do so in a hurry!

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