Change and Transparency, eh, Mr. New City Manager? OK. Try these.

Categories: Schutze

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Bobby Abtahi says we're all too negative about City Hall.

Bobby Abtahi, the guy who ran against Philip Kingston for the District 14 city council seat in East Dallas last time around, had an essay yesterday on the opinion pages of The Dallas Morning News castigating critics of City Hall. He lumped us all together as a new and burgeoning class of conspiracy mongers:

"Some of the new complainers are current and former elected officials," he wrote, "some are media types, and all spend more time whining than doing their part."

Well, whining actually has always been my part. But I really don't hear what I would call conspiracy theories from most of people who have rallied against City Hall over the last year on an array of issues. I hear mistrust. That's different.

Abtahi calls on us to give our brand-new city manager, A.C. Gonzalez, a decent running start to make good on his promises of major change and much more transparency at City Hall. Toward that end, I will have a column in next week's newspaper proposing six separate instances where the new city manager could wow us with his change and his transparency.

Here's a sneak preview:

First, Mr. Manager, Yellow Cab: People aren't really so worried about taxicab insurance regulations and background checks for drivers as they are worried that Yellow Cab has you personally by the balls. Why not prove them wrong? Why don't you convene some kind of hearings process by which all of Yellow Cab's competitors could come to City Hall and tell everything they know about how City Hall screws them over to help Yellow maintain its monopoly? Talk about transparency, you couldn't get more transparent than that.

Second, the "white water feature:" Two and a half years ago the city spent $4 million building a fake concrete rapids in the Trinity River as recreational amenity for kayakers. It was so ill conceived and badly executed that it had to be closed to kayakers and canoeists as soon as it was completed for fear they might kill themselves paddling through it. But nothing has been done to fix it.

I went down there a week ago, and there it sat, a big ugly blob of concrete that ruins the paddling entryway into the Great Trinity Forest. I asked Willis Winters, the new head of parks, what's being done. He referred my question to a lawyer, from whom I have not heard.

Why not just say? What are you going to do about the white water feature?

Third, the car wash: Mr. Manager, your people sent the owners of Jim's Car Wash on MLK a letter threatening them with eminent domain for some unnamed "project." Later the mayor apologized, said it was all his fault and no eminent domain is imminent. But he said the city is continuing to look for other ways to run the car wash off its property.

So what's up with that? What's the project? What's the plan? We can all see something is going on. Somebody wants that car wash property for something. Why not just tell us? That would be pretty damn transparent of you.

I've got some more opportunities for transparency that I'll tell you about in the column next week. But I think you get it, Mr. Manager. "Change" and "transparency" are easy words to say but very hard shit to do. We want to see what you've got.


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44 comments
casiepierce
casiepierce

Because whenever we "do our part" we get slapped down by City Hall. All the success stories about "urban living", etc., are all either a) private (CW Park), or happening without city approval (Better Block, etc.)

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Why would anyone even care what Abtahi has to say?  Didn't he lose the election to a guy who's one claim to fame is being married to the twit who got into a dick-measuring match with Avi?  Wasn't his campaign at least partially fueled by whining and complaining about City Hall?  Keep it up, Jim, your incessant whining is the highlight of most of my days.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

It is transparent to me that Bobby Abtahi is desperately trying to remain relevant. 

ocean_breeze
ocean_breeze

These Uber-sponsored attacks against Yellow Cab are illegal. Uber itself violates multiple laws and regulations under the pretense of advancement. Let's keep things balanced - Yellow Cab served this city for decades. Now we want Uber to come in -

not pay taxes - not pay regulatory fees - because "it's GPS" ? What about the fact

that Uber controls its own prices? There is factual evidence that some Uber trips

cost naive passengers north of several hundred dollars. Uber must be regulated or

it will break public transportation, for the sake its own corporate global profit. The Uber-“fancy” PR stories are paid for.

RichGans
RichGans

Awwww, somebody called out the Observer and Jim and his fans got sensitive about it.  And the 15-20 people that post/whine on every observer and morning news post proved his point. 


How many of you have signed up to speak at City Hall in the last 6 months? I'll wait for the answer, or excuse why you haven't...

James080
James080

I read Bobby Abtahi's editorial too. I thought he came off as either a naive half-wit, or as someone in full ass kissing mode, likely trying to gain favor for some future endeavor he needs city staff support for. Of course, he would claim I'm a disengaged cynic.

jmckee3
jmckee3

I thought he already had the chance to prove himself when he engaged in that dirty, dirty Yellow Cab/Uber business.


And competitors sure but one of the things that I was shocked was missing from the transportation committee meeting except for that one old guy is how badly Yellow Cab is screwing consumers, they are cheating us, lying to us, ripping us off and absolutely are skimming the best fares. If Gonzalez can put vice on Uber how about sending them out with a credit card trying to get a cab in Uptown to Oak Lawn on a Friday night?

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

So that's three of six. I'm gonna guess the other three include Mike Miles, the Trinity Tollroad/levees, and.......well I'm drawing a blank on what six could be.

IPost
IPost

A.C. cannot change a damn thing with Mary Suhm trolling City Hall. Can anyone explain why she will continue to maintain an office with staff support if she retired? What was the point of her retirement besides that ego feeding party?

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Transparent is only descriptive of their blatant whoring to their pals.

Show up on Wednesday and let em know u ain't happy.

Wine_Curmudgeon
Wine_Curmudgeon

Talk about sour grapes. Abtahi gets his hat handed him, and then has to make fun of the people who beat him.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

A.C. Gonzalez press conference . . .

“Uh, okay, one more question.  You there in the rear, with the nose, mustache and glasses on.”

Mr. Schutze smartly runs through his interrogatories.  A collective inhale can be heard by the crowd.

“Okay all right what difference does it make, here it is!”

Gonzalez rips off his mask.  It’s Mary Suhm.

Mr. Schutze murmurs, “nice mask.”

“A. Yellow Cab has promised to police itself!”

“B! That lawyer you referred to is BOARD CERTIFIED in WW River Paddling!  I got approval from the City Council to pay that outside legal counsel $600 an hour while he’s in Honduras shooting rapids and hanging out in the All Inclusives!” (just one swipe of the city credit card, no paper trail)

AND FINALLY . . . C!, MUTHFAUCKA!    I got your Eminent Domain right here! (Suhm grabs her crotch, does a bohican) THAT CAR WASH IS NUTHIN’ BUT DAM NUISANCE and as soon as we phony up the charge, we fire up the D-9 Cats.

If things never change . . . things never change.

casiepierce
casiepierce

@ocean_breezeSo, Jim's opinions are Uber sponsored? Wait, you mean the commenters comments are illegal? "ocean_breeze", which city council member do you work for? Are you Hill's assistant?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ocean_breezeHow, exactly, can Uber even affect, much less break, public transportation?  They're not competing at any level.  Taxi service is not public transportation, it is a privately owned service.  Uber drivers are licensed and regulated by the City, as a black car service.  The consumer knows, before the car even shows up, what the fare is going to be.  Lets see some of this 'factual evidence' of Uber trips costing several hundred dollars, and lets see evidence that this fare was not known before the trip commenced.  Yes, Uber controls its own prices, like Amazon, WalMart and every other business, including Yellow.  There have been numerous instances of in-person testimony to the trip-padding, 'extra' fare, and credit/debit card refusals by Yellow drivers.  Were it not for Yellow's local monopoly, the company would go out of business.  Yellow's meddling with City government is, at the very least, unethical; and very probably illegal as hell.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@ocean_breeze "...attacks...are illegal" What a profoundly (that means "very") stupid statement. What followed was predictable.

James080
James080

@P1Gunter 

How about asking AC about letting a private developer pay $15.00/SF for land off Ledbetter with city grant money that could have been purchased on the open market for a fraction of that price, all the while the developer was preparing a bait and switch from the promised high tech facility built in collaboration with the VA,  to a run of the mill low income apartment complex.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@P1Gunter 

Oh, there you are, back on your redundancy rant. Talk about a Johnny One Note.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@holmantx 

That's a pretty powerful scene. Maybe you should shop it around as a screenplay.

ocean_breeze
ocean_breeze

@casiepierce@ocean_breezeI don't work for the city but I know how hard Yellow Cab worked for decades. I'm not saying it is perfect. No, it needs to improve. But what we all read here is an endless barrage of hate and unwarranted naive Uber praising. Uber is for-profit corporation that won't care for anything once it takes competition out. I won't comment on Uber violating multiple laws. A simple non-google search will show a long list.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@casiepierce@ocean_breezeWe have no idea whether ocean_breeze is foul or fair, or where he is blowing from. One more reason anonymous commenting is a middle-finger in the face of open and intelligent discussion.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@casiepierce @ocean_breeze I thought it was just a Yellow driver or operator. It's scary to think that someone so stupid is working in city gov't -- but then, I guess I should be used to that.

ocean_breeze
ocean_breeze

@RTGolden1@ocean_breeze But Amazon doesn't offer public transportation. Unregulated transportation also known as "gypsy" cars has been a problem in the past for too many cities. To be honest, all major cities eventually moved to regulate "gypsy" cabs. Plus, this also adds revenue to the city and not to Uber coffers. And shall we all google for "uber rape"? Because that in-person and in-police testimony actually did happen but you won't find it anywhere on Google. 

Google is Uber's parent thus anything Uber-negative is not easy to find anymore. The list of ignored objectivity goes on and on, all paid by

well managed social mass media campaign. Who needs facts when

a happy smiling female driver greets you on a fancy website...

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

I couldn't pass up the chance Jim. It's pretty much all I've got.

ocean_breeze
ocean_breeze

@RTGolden1@ocean_breeze@bmarvel@casiepierce

Uber unregulated fares are a fact. So are Uber rapes. You clearly have an agenda otherwise no insults would be needed. And just for your general education, today Uber admitted to making false reservation calls to its competitors. Imagine that - Uber employees called competitors - reserved car pickups - and never showed up.... Yes, that's the "quality" of service posters here wish to impose on everyone.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ocean_breeze@bmarvel@casiepierceIt is sad that you cant see the forest for the trees.  Each of BM's remarks directly relate to FACTUAL occurrences involving the City of Dallas and Yellow Cab.  Not a hypothetical chain of events concocted in your fevered mind, but actual events with criminal and civil court documentation backing them up.

ocean_breeze
ocean_breeze

@bmarvel@ocean_breeze@casiepierce You must be living life believing in social media campaigns and fancy advertisements. Uber has far more money available at its disposal that ANY

local transportation business. Uber is valued 

around 2 billion, has Google Inc as its parent,

is on road to IPO (read: more billions and more

social media misdirection for naive followers). The simple answer to your question is YES. You made it sound like a joke only that it isn't. They used to say "don't believe the hype"...posters here seem to believe anything with a smile

attached to it. Uber ain't funny business, if not

regulated - it will negatively affect to many parts of our lives, ending up in higher local taxes for all. For the sake of corporate multibillion dollar profit, of course... Bribe? Paid social media campaigns? Misleading ads? Uber? Noooo...that never happens...

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ocean_breeze@bmarvel@casiepierceAnd of course there's always the danger Uber might somehow bribe city officials to maintain its monopoly. That's something we sure want to happen here, is it?

ocean_breeze
ocean_breeze

@bmarvel@ocean_breeze@casiepierce Big difference between municipality regulating public transportation fares (which btw include

accessible rides), and corporate for-profit half-way-there monopoly. 

Huge difference between money flowing into

municipality coffers vs offshore Uber billionaire

pockets. Just go one step beyond Uber happy

face PR and ads...  

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ocean_breeze@casiepierce"Uber is for-profit corporation that won't care for anything once it takes competition out."

You mean, like if it were to take out the competition and become a -- monopoly??  And earn a profit? And come to manipulate city officials so that it effectively dictates the terms under which the city deals with taxicabs? So that whole years go by without any new cab companies being able to break in to the business? 

But that could never, ever happen, could it?

casiepierce
casiepierce

@wcvemail@casiepierce@ocean_breezeDo you honestly think a Yellow operator/driver gives one shit about commenting on Unfair Park? Most are poor immigrants trying to make a better life for their families. Trust me, this shithead commenter is coming from inside of 1500 Marilla. But, you know, I could be way off base, I mean, I'm just dying to get a response from this "ocean_breeze" character...

ocean_breeze
ocean_breeze

@RTGolden1@ocean_breezeTaxi service is public transportation and that is one of the reasons it had to be regulated. During the unregulated chaos days, cabs were roaming 

"wealthy" areas ignoring less wealthy areas because fare rate was 'negotiable" and wealthy negotiated higher. Regulations added consistency of service and some relative equality. That was a step forward Uber indeed is just an app. Another app that violates laws and regulations such as enabling commercial peer-to-peer taxi service without adequate commercial insurance. This is not competition, this is business model based on breaking laws.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ocean_breeze@RTGolden1Yellow is NOT, in any way, shape or form public transpo.  That is your first misunderstanding.  Your second misunderstanding is that Yellow somehow serves the people of Dallas.  Their 'service' to the City managed to get one former councilmember sent to prison.  Through their influence peddling, they've locked up a near-monopoly on taxi service in Dallas (also illegal, though certainly overlooked in many cases) through extremely high barriers to entry.

Uber is an app.  You know, the wave of the future? (pun intended, though I doubt you caught it).  It puts a customer in contact with a black car service.  Black car services are 100% legal, regulated and licensed in Dallas.  In essence, Yellow Pages has a reason to be pissed at Uber, because the phone book is essentially what Uber is replacing here.  Yellow cab has no reason to be pissed, unless they're looking at their own record of poor service, shitty cars, and dubious political dealings.

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