Letters: Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Dangerous Dan

To the editor: Dan McGraw thinks Fort Worth needs a new form of government (“On Second Thought,” June 25, 2003). It’s always dangerous to make unwarranted major changes when minor expectations are unrealized. If the voters of this city wanted a change they could easily achieve it. Even a vocal minority like me understands that. McGraw should have paid more attention to what Council Member Jim Lane told him. Referring to his election opponent, Jim remarked, “Why would he even want this job?” Lane went on to mention the low pay and long hours. Well, Dan, why didn’t you ask Lane why he has sought re-election five times?

Despite McGraw’s contention, there is a great deal of power if you are in the right circles. That doesn’t mean there is an abuse of power, only that resources may be directed to programs and projects that provide little service for taxpayers. There is nothing wrong with the city manager form of government as long as the council provides policy guidance as required by the city charter. The current council tends to get involved in the day-to-day operations that our staff is paid well to take care of. It is really an effective form of local government because the council has the opportunity to set clear policy guidance based on public priorities. If the council fails, the public can reject them in the next election.

Likewise, if the city manager doesn’t carry out council policy, he can be replaced by someone who will. In the end, what makes it simple is prioritizing government services. Then when the manager comes to the council and says a tax hike or a reduction in police protection is needed, instead of the council (and public) clamoring for a tax hike, they’ll look at our priorities. If a half million dollars in cows is higher priority than a half million dollars in police protection, we’ll cut the police and hold the line on taxes.

We do need more public debate on high-cost issues. There are solid arguments against annexing everything in sight, against getting into the hotel business, for proceeding cautiously with mass transit, for keeping garbage collection that works, and for not rushing headlong into other issues. Changing form doesn’t change people. We have pork and special interest stuff now and would have with a strong mayor as well. We do need to be responsive to the public. That raises a question: Do the media provide the coverage of council elections and city business that will enable the public to be well grounded on the issues?

I agree with McGraw on one point — we elect poorly paid caretakers. Who would want the job? I can give you names of nine incumbents and about 15 others who challenged in the last election.

Clyde Picht

Fort Worth City Council, District 6

Worldwide Wirt

To the editor: I was recently assigned to write a paper concerning prominent American businessmen. The Wirt Norris case is what I looked for, and my internet search led me to you. The article (“Accused and Accursed,” June 12, 2003) was most helpful, and I very much enjoyed the accompanying illustration; it very nicely depicted the man as well as the situation. My compliments to your writers and illustrators.

Tarryn Fisher

Johannesburg, South Africa

No White Wash

To the editor: I was recently given a copy of the article “Unsettled in White Settlement” (July 2, 2002). Having been a resident of White Settlement for 40-plus years, I found the article very interesting and informative. Thank you for bringing these serious issues into print so other White Settlement citizens can have the opportunity to read, from an outside source, what has been going on in their city.

Judy Beaty

White Settlement

To the editor: Congratulations on the story about our trials in trying to bring a more responsible city council to White Settlement. It has been a long struggle, and we are still on the lookout. The most important ingredient has been getting people to come see what the city government was all about, and doing something about it. Hopefully this will lead more persons to contribute to their city’s business. Thanks for your help.

Wayne Feeler and the rest of the “Mob”

White Settlement

To the editor: I enjoyed reading the article on White Settlement. It was very informative. Thank you for taking the time to write about what the citizens have been working so hard for. We know it is the beginning, and all good things take time.

Barbara Adian

White Settlement

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