At a Meeting of the Mayors, Laura Miller Revisits 14-1 and That Strong Mayor Vote

Categories: City Hall
lauramilleronklru.jpg
Austin's not a "major city"? Hunh. Tried to drive in Austin in the last 15, 20 years? Traffic seems pretty major. And last I looked, there was some big college there -- that's what my diploma says, anyhow. And something about a state capitol? Look, I dunno. I'm always drunk when I'm in Austin. Or stoned. OK. Fine. Both.

Anyway. KLRU just posted an hour-long Civic Summit during which four former Texas mayors "reflect on their years in office as guidance for Austin's transition into a major city." And, as you can see, former Observer-er Laura Miller was asked to join Bill White (ex of Houston, and I know you know), Henry Cisneros (San Antonio) and Kirk Watson (Austin). Among the subjects: the best form of city council (Said Miller of 14-1: "If you can have baby steps and go to a few at-large districts but really get a large number of single-member districts, I think that is a really terrific first step") and how mighty the mayor oughta be.

Said Miller about that particularly painful subject: "I campaigned ... to change our form of government from weak mayor run by city manager to strong mayor and got shellacked." Man, those were good times. The whole thing's on the other side, for those with an hour to kill. Let me know how it turns out.

Civic Summit: Planning the Future from KLRU-TV on Vimeo.

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13 comments
Allen Gwinn
Allen Gwinn

There are some really attractive things about a strong mayor starting off with the ability to "un-elect" them if you don't like what they're doing. Ideally your strong mayor would be an "elected city manager" with oversight from the council. I have no problem with this. So in *concept* I support the idea.

Now let's get to reality.

This wasn't a "strong mayor." This would have been a "Blackwood mayor." The amendments to the city charter were drafted in complete secrecy and were full of errors, contradictions and omissions. I suspect Beth Ann's husband was the chief (sole?) architect. If it could have withstood the years of costly litigation, to the taxpayer, what it would have created was this "boss" who would be more powerful than the council as a whole.

The "Blackwood mayor" would have created an enormous opportunity for special interests to impact, if not destroy, the democratic process in Dallas.

Laura Miller is a tremendous human being. It's too bad that this is one of the things that will be remembered as her legacy.

Bailey2405
Bailey2405

Dallas ceased being an up and coming great city when it went to 14-1. I brought ward politics and corruption into the picture.

LaceyB
LaceyB

Baby steps...sure. actually, a truly great idea to start any negotiations with stalwart sides. Here's the problem: it assumes that the sides act like adults and claim that a solution can be reached.14-1 doesn't indicate that the 1 is going anywhere or is open to baby steps. But, we, as a city, operate a lot on idealism. So, rah rah.

Rixtex
Rixtex

Yeah, 14-1 has worked so well for Dallas...especially combined with a weak mayor and antiquated city manager.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

Austin is going to take a giant leap in international visibility with the new F1 track. The best thing for them is to take zero advice from anyone who was or is a mayor in this state. They have the opportunity to establish Austin as a unique city to the rest of the world.

Biglar
Biglar

F1 Track? Yeah, that'll do the trick.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

Yes it will. Second only to soccer in worldwide viewers and the largest companies as sponsors spending increadible amounts of money. Read up on just the money spent at each race on hospitality by the teams and how massive of an operation it is.

McDoom
McDoom

Is it just me or does Cisneros look a lot like the golden throated hobo from Ohio?

Juan Valdez
Juan Valdez

Miller's advise to Austin.....in order to be a major city.....make sure any new stadiums get placed in the suburbs of Austin. Always claim there is no space in Austin. Also, make illogical toll roads inside Travis Lake or any other river or park adjacent to water. Was that it?

Grrr
Grrr

Really, Mayor Miller had a lot of help moving the stadium to Arlington.

Enrique De La Fuente
Enrique De La Fuente

Really this whole Cowboys Stadium nonsense again?

BobP19
BobP19

no, really are you still an idiot? Have you ever visited a city with a pro stadium in a downtown? I lived in Seattle with the ball park and the football stadium in the south of downtown district, it totally turned that area from a shithole to an awesome fun part of town and yes, I witnessed it personally, my office was over Pyramid Brewery, right across the street from the stadiums. Laura Miller is an idiot.

Enrique De La Fuente
Enrique De La Fuente

If not wanting to give $300 million to Jerry Jones from taxpayers makes me an idiot, well you got me. Nobody in Seattle hangs out where the stadiums are at.

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