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Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS AT THE TIPPING POINT:

The peer cities at a glance


Dallas
Population in 2000: 1,188,580 Population change, 1990-2000: +18% Racial-ethnic mix: Hispanic, 36%; white, 35%; black, 25%; Asian, 2.7%; two or more races, 1.1% Area in square miles: 342.6 Form of government: Council-manager

FROM THE EDITOR

Austin
Population in 2000: 656,562 Population change, 1990-2000: +41% Racial-ethnic mix: White, 52.9%, Hispanic, 30.5%; black, 9.8%; Asian, 4.7%; two or more races, 1.5% Area in square miles: 251.5 Form of government: Council-manager

Baltimore
Population in 2000: 651,154 Population change, 1990-2000: -11.5% Racial-ethnic mix: Black, 64%; white, 31%; Hispanic, 1.7%; Asian, 1.5%; two or more races, 1.3% Area in square miles: 80.8 Form of government: Mayor-council

Columbus, Ohio
Population in 2000: 711,470 Population change, 1990-2000: +12.4% Racial-ethnic mix: White, 67%; black, 24.3%; Asian, 3.4%; Hispanic, 2.5%; two or more races, 2.4% Area in square miles: 210.3 Form of government: Mayor-council

o our readers: In 2000, The Dallas Morning News asked two world-class urban planners to study and report on the current and future health of our metropolitan area. They raised important, disturbing, hopeful and provocative questions for our readers to consider. At that time, I promised you our readers that our journalists would keep after the issues raised by these great urban thinkers. We have the largest and most experienced news-gathering staff in this region, and our continued focus on these issues is one of our most fundamental obligations. The report you are about to read today represents a significant step in our commitment to keep you informed about the areas strength and well-being. In this case, we focused exclusively on the city of Dallas. After all, most of us realize that for a strong metropolitan area to be most successful, it needs a vital urban core. We asked ourselves: How is Dallas doing? To help us answer this question, we teamed a group of Booz Allen Hamilton consultants with several of our very best reporters and editors. We wanted to work with a premier consulting firm like Booz Allen because it is accustomed to moving with great speed, rigor and expertise in studying complex subjects.

Intense months-long research offers a sobering, important update about our citys health and prospects for the future
Three fundamental questions were posed to our project team: o What key challenges are facing the city of Dallas? o How well is the city positioned to cope with these challenges? o What does the city need to do to position itself for longterm success? I think you will find the teams conclusions, reached after months of intense research, to be both sobering and important. We present this report to you with the hope that it will stimulate citizens and public officials to ask the right questions and seek answers to the performance gaps in city government. We also promise to periodically review the citys performance and report back to you on how it is doing. The News has existed in this community for nearly 120 years. We care deeply about the citys current and future well-being. And it is from that perspective that we publish this report today. Robert W. Mong Jr. President and Editor

Detroit
Population in 2000: 951,270 Population change, 1990-2000: -7.5% Racial-ethnic mix: Black, 81.1%; white, 10.5%; Hispanic, 5%; Asian, 1%; two or more races, 2% Area in square miles: 138.8 Form of government: Mayor-council

SECTION CONTENTS
Introduction ......................................................... 2
o From the editor o Methodology and peer cities o Information on the Web

ON THE WEB
Log on to DallasNews.com/tippingpoint to find these Web extras: o Read the complete Booz Allen report. o Read the questions and answers from the survey of city residents, and see how your perceptions compare. o Quiz yourself on the content of this report. o Read the full transcript from The Dallas Morning News Editorial Page roundtable with key civic leaders, and listen to selected audio excerpts of their conversation. o Watch video from the WFAA-TV (Channel 8) special, Dallas at the Tipping Point: Road Map for Renewal. o Send us feedback on what youve read and your ideas for fixing the problems. Return to DallasNews.com/tippingpoint for updates on the state of the city and suggestions for its future.

Houston
Population in 2000: 1,953,631 Population change, 1990-2000: +19.8% Racial-ethnic mix: Hispanic, 37.4%; white, 30.1%; black, 25%; Asian 5.3%; two or more races, 1.2% Area in square miles: 579.5 Form of government: Mayor-council

Indianapolis
Population in 2000: 781,870 Population change, 1990-2000: +6.9% Racial-ethnic mix: White, 67.5%; black, 25.4%; Hispanic, 3.9%; Asian, 1.4%; two or more races, 1.4% Area in square miles: 361.5 Form of government: Mayor-council

Dallas .................................................................. 3-5 City Hall ............................................................. 6-7 Economy ............................................................ 8-9 Police ............................................................... 10-11 Schools ........................................................... 12-13 Community ....... 14-15 Decision Time ... 16-17 Leadership ........ 18-19 Ideas ........................ 20
o Editorials o Viewpoints

Jacksonville, Fla.
Population in 2000: 735,617 Population change, 1990-2000: +15.8% Racial-ethnic mix: White, 62.2%; black, 28.7%; Hispanic, 4.2%; Asian, 2.7%; two or more races, 1.6% Area in square miles: 757.7 Form of government: Mayor-council

Memphis, Tenn.
Population in 2000: 650,100 Population change, 1990-2000: +6.5% Racial-ethnic mix: Black, 61.2%; white, 33.2%; Hispanic 3%; Asian, 1.4% Area in square miles: 279.3 Form of government: Mayor-council

METHODOLOGY
ow do you measure Dallas? Booz Allen Hamilton took on that challenge when The Dallas Morning News engaged the firm to study the effectiveness of Dallas city government. News reporters Victoria Loe Hicks, Angela Shah, David Dillon and Tanya Eiserer and researcher Larry Derrick worked alongside the Booz Allen team led by Dallas-based vice president Andrew Clyde and project manager Keo Rubbright. Booz Allen vice president Bob Lukefahr and senior vice president Harry Quarls worked with the team in developing Dallas at the Tipping Point: A Road Map for Renewal, the report that emerged from the teams research. The report served as the launch pad for this special section. A copy of the report is online at DallasNews.com/tippingpoint. Booz Allen approached Dallas as both a major urban center and a business, employing many of the techniques that it uses for corporate-strategy projects. To benchmark Dallas against similar cities, Booz Allen included cities with populations equal to Dallas, give or take 50 percent. That yielded a set of 13 peers. Houston a smidgen too large to meet the test was added because its too close and too significant to ignore. Since Booz Allen compared Dallas with other central cities, familiar Dallas competitors such as Denver and Atlanta didnt make the cut. Their metropolitan areas are comparable to Dallas, but the core cities are much smaller. The city-vs.-region distinction is important. First, urban experts have long understood and Booz Allens research confirmed that healthy center cities are essential for healthy regions. Second, although cities and their suburbs benefit mutually from each other, cities can capture tax money only on property and sales within their borders. Cities do compete with their suburbs, former Mayor Ron Kirk told the reporters. Were defined by winners and losers, defined by where people choose to pay property taxes. Thus, its important to understand whats occurring inside the city, which wasnt always easy. Many of the federal governments data series arent kept at the municipal level. And City Hall maintains few of its own measurements, even of its own performance.

Philadelphia
Population in 2000: 1,517,550 Population change, 1990-2000: -4.3% Racial-ethnic mix: Black, 42.6%; white, 42.5%; Hispanic, 8.5%; Asian, 4.4%; two or more races, 1.6% Area in square miles: 135.1 Form of government: Mayor-council

Measuring Dallas, as a business and as a city


For some statistics, Booz Allen had to start from scratch. One key example: The consulting team calculated the size of the gross city product for Dallas and all its peer cities. That measure of economic activity is akin to the gross domestic product computed for the United States. It is seldom generated for areas as small as a city. But it was one of many steps in Booz Allens exhaustive analysis of financial, economic, educational and other data from Dallas and the peer cities. To determine what matters most to Dallas residents, The News conducted a citywide poll using its longtime polling firm, Blum & Weprin Associates Inc. of New York. Project team members and the Dallas-based consulting firm Velocity Ventures also interviewed more than two dozen Dallas-area business leaders for their views on Dallas. The findings from the poll and the business survey flowed into the Booz Allen report. This special section quotes liberally from the Booz Allen report, which consists of an executive summary plus a section of detailed findings. But the stories here are built on independent reporting, too from interviews with Dallas city leaders, business executives, academic experts and others, as well as extensive research. The reporters on the project team also visited other cities to see how their operations look from the inside. The News used Booz Allens findings to probe deeper in some areas as well, generating data and charts beyond those in the report. Charts that reflect Booz Allens research alone are marked with the notation Booz Allen analysis in the source line. Finally, a word about language. Some of the quotations in this section reflect Booz Allens decision to present its findings in business terminology. In a world where Main Street and Wall Street move ever closer together, Booz Allen reasoned that simple business terms would make this exploration of city government accessible to the widest possible audience. So, to borrow from the reports preface: Here then, is a report to the management team (City Hall) and the shareholders (the community) of Dallas Inc. Edward Dufner Project editor

Phoenix
Population in 2000: 1,321,045 Population change, 1990-2000: +34.3% Racial-ethnic mix: White, 55.8%; Hispanic, 34.1%; black, 4.8%; Asian, 1.9%; American Indian, 1.6%; two or more races, 1.6% Area in square miles: 474.9 Form of government: Council-manager

San Antonio
Population in 2000: 1,144,646 Population change, 1990-2000: +22.3% Racial-ethnic mix: Hispanic, 58.6%; white, 31.8%; black, 6.5%; Asian, 1.6%; two or more races, 1.1% Area in square miles: 407.6 Form of government: Council-manager

San Diego
Population in 2000: 1,223,400 Population change, 1990-2000: +10.2% Racial-ethnic mix: White, 49.4%; Hispanic, 25.4%; Asian, 13.4%; black, 7.6%; two or more races, 3.1% Area in square miles: 324.4 Form of government: Council-manager

San Francisco
Population in 2000: 776,733 Population change, 1990-2000: +7.3% Racial-ethnic mix: White, 43.6%; Asian, 30.7%; Hispanic, 14.1%; black, 7.6%; two or more races, 3% Area in square miles: 46.7 Form of government: Mayor-council

San Jose, Calif.


Population in 2000: 894,943 Population change, 1990-2000: +14.4% Racial-ethnic mix: White, 36%; Hispanic, 30.1%; Asian 26.6%; black, 3.3%; two or more races, 3% Area in square miles: 174.9 Form of government: Council-manager
Note: Racial/ethnic groups representing less than 1% of the population are not shown. Some figures do not add up to 100 because of rounding. SOURCES: Booz Allen Hamilton research; U.S. Census Bureau; Dallas Morning News research

PROJECT TEAM
The Dallas Morning News: Victoria Loe Hicks, Angela Shah, David Dillon, Tanya Eiserer, Larry Derrick and Edward Dufner; Booz Allen Hamilton: Keo Rubbright, Andrew Clyde, Harry Quarls and Bob Lukefahr.
Art direction: Chris Morris Design: Chas Brown, Kathleen Vincent Photo editor: Chris Wilkins Copy editor: Don Holt

Photography by David Leeson Graphics by Sergio Pec anha

A ROAD MAP FOR RENEWAL

The Dallas Morning News

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Page 3W

DALLAS

A can-do city, thats how Dallas loves to see itself and with good reason. Energy, ambition, vision and hard work have made it the centerpiece of the fastest-growing region in the country. The trouble is, Dallas itself isnt nearly as healthy as the region. And a lack of self-analysis blinds it to that fact.

Story by Victoria Loe Hicks

That conclusion by the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton rests on a farreaching statistical comparison of Dallas and 14 other large U.S. cities. The study, commissioned by The Dallas Morning News, used dozens of measures from life expectancy to library visits to produce a comprehensive, clear-eyed picture of each citys performance. Dallas is not in the top tier. Among the 14 peer cities, only three have worse violent crime rates, only four have lower student SAT scores, and none saw less economic expansion in the 1990s. Wrapping together those three measures identified by Dallas residents as their top concerns Dallas ranks No. 12 among the 15 cities. Only Rust Belt cities Philadelphia, Baltimore and Detroit perform worse. Moreover, the numbers suggest that Dallas lulled by past successes, cushioned by North Texas robust growth, blinded by a lack of self-examination and hobbled by the legacy of racism and neglect is at a tipping point, where wrong moves could precipitate a protracted slide. Crime and troubled schools send families scurrying for the suburbs; employers follow; the tax base and the city budget shrink; city services decline; the drift to the burbs accelerates And Dallas peril is all the greater, the consultants warned, because a superficial appearance of good health masks its symptoms. The citys malady is much like a silent heart attack, which goes undetected until its too late for treatment. Faced with Booz Allens diagnosis, city leaders fell back on their habitual remedies. Mayor Laura Miller said the report would send her into despair were it not for her certainty that a few big-fix projects, starting with the Trinity River, will affect a dramatic cure. The Trinity and downtown and Fair

allas calls itself the city that works. Dallas is wrong. By almost any measure that counts crime, school quality, economic growth Dallas looks bad. Its not that City Hall is lying. City Hall seems not to know. Dallas does not see itself as a city in crisis. But the data indicate that Dallas is a city in crisis.
Park, thats the triumvirate thats going to get us there, she said. I think a lot of ills will be solved by those three things happening. Were going to have international excitement about the city. Economists hired by the city were less sanguine. They estimated that, 10 years after completion, the citys $246 million investment in the Trinity River project would generate real estate, sales and tourism taxes equal to about onehalf of 1 percent of the citys current budget. Booz Allens findings prompted other city leaders to lash out at The Dallas Morning News. All you can do is find fault, said City Council member Bill Blaydes. There are tremendous positive things happening in Dallas, Texas, today. I think that is a piece of junk, Mr. Blaydes said, pointing to the report. Assistant City Manager Ryan Evans, who oversees economic development, flatly refused to look at numbers indicating that retail activity is shifting to the suburbs. He thrust the offending statistics back across the table without glancing at them. He later apologized. A common theme in the citys response: Dallas was at a tipping point between decline and renewal not long ago but has since rebounded. I could assemble all those numbers and get my own doggone numbers and come up saying that were doing OK. I think weve already turned, said City Manager Ted Benavides. Ms. Millers predecessor, Ron Kirk, said Booz Allens work will only complicate the leaders job, which is to sell the city if necessary, by drawing attention away from its defects just as a home seller does in dealing with potential buyers. You put vanilla on the light bulb, he said. Boosterism helped build Dallas and many of its peers, but in 2004, Booz Allens findings suggest, the unexamined city is not worth living in.

This is a critical time in Dallas history, said Dr. Robert Fairbanks, who teaches Dallas history at the University of Texas at Arlington. My perception of Dallas is that it was very successful in one mode of operation that no longer makes sense. We dont measure things, said Dr. Donald Hicks, a political economist at the University of Texas at Dallas. We dont study ourselves. The city cant afford to ignore the facts, he said. No city is guaranteed a future. The Booz Allen report is not about blame. It is not about the past or the present. It is about the future how the citys leaders, inside and outside of City Hall can help residents create a city that does work, that fulfills their individual and collective aspirations. This decline is neither inevitable nor irreversible, the consultants wrote. A strong dose of basic management principles plus an infusion of political courage can alter the trajectory and break the cycle. But to get there, Dallas must start from where it is. And that means recognizing where it is. o o o UNLIKE MR. KIRK, DEL BORGSdorf deals in figures, not flavorings. Numbers are very important, said Mr. Borgsdorf, the city manager of San Jose, Calif. When The News began this investigation, it polled Dallas residents about what issues matter most to them. Three topped the list: crime, education and economic growth. Booz Allen gathered statistics measuring each citys performance in those areas. The News combined the results into the Quality of Life Index, weighting each item according to its importance to poll respondents. San Jose was No. 1 on crime, No. 1 on schools, No. 1 on economic growth and naturally No. 1 overall. San Jose faces two urgent challenges. The first is an economy rocked by the dot-com bust. In late 2001, the city hired a top-drawer economic planner from the private sector to spearhead a fine-toothed analysis of its economy. The city is already implementing the re-

sulting strategy, just as Dallas embarks on the analytical phase. San Joses second weakness is housing prices; a two-bedroom bungalow will fetch $600,000. Even so, the city is desirable enough and wages high enough that home ownership a good barometer of a communitys stability runs 20 percentage points ahead of Dallas. It doesnt have to be this way. Dallas is a city with tremendous natural advantages, Booz Allen noted: its location, climate, river and huge urban forest. Within its borders are thousands of undeveloped acres room for its population and its economy to grow. The city boasts a strong transportation network of highways, rail lines and one of the worlds great airports. Dallas infrastructure streets, water mains and the like isnt decrepit, like some of its older peers. It doesnt cost a lot to live here. The citys economy is diverse, which should make it resilient. The people of Dallas are ambitious and entrepreneurial. The citys population is growing, instead of shrinking like its Northeastern and Midwestern peers. The 1990s brought a tremendous surge of Latino immigrants, who if they follow the trajectory of earlier immigrant groups will create prosperity as they seek it. We still are a good community and a good city, said former Dallas City Manager George Schrader. But in many ways Dallas comes up short. Why? Because short is as short does. That is one of the underlying lessons of Booz Allens analysis. Dallas is shortsighted, devoting little thought and fewer resources to planning for its future. It is short with a dollar, pinching pennies rather than investing systematically to build more livable neighborhoods and stimulate its economy. It is short on trust: People dont trust City Hall, and City Hall doesnt trust people. It is short on civic capital energized, politically engaged residents and effective mechanisms for collective problem-solving. It is short on leaders who seem able Continued on Page 4W

10 reasons why Dallas is at risk and doesnt know it


The Booz Allen Hamilton consultants found that North Texas tremendous economic strength has masked important warning signs inside the city of Dallas:

1. Job growth and economic growth inside


the city are occurring much more slowly than in the region as a whole.

2. Dallas unemployment rate has run


about 25 percent higher than that of the surrounding metro area.

3. The city fares poorly vs. its urban peers


on the quality-of-life indicators that matter most to Dallas residents crime, education and economic development.

4. Weak performance by the Dallas


Independent School District holds down the growth of the well-educated workforce needed to keep an economy humming.

5. Most of Dallas' housing inventory is lowvalue homes and small apartments, despite the positive image that surrounds the $138,000 median price for home sales.

6. An antiquated City Charter leaves Dallas


ill-equipped to respond to its challenges. Alone among its peer cities, Dallas lacks a long-term strategic plan that would help drive progress.

7. A dysfunctional government and an


anti-business aura drive businesses to avoid the city and discourages business leaders from civic involvement.

8. Residential property now accounts for


more of Dallas tax base than commercial property an imbalance typical of bedroom suburbs, not major cities.

9.

Years of under-investment and lack of vision have saddled the city with pending bills for massive long-term liabilities.

10. Other cities have been more


purposeful and successful in meeting quality-of-life challenges, putting Dallas at a competitive disadvantage.

Page 4W

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS
Continued from Page 3W

DALLAS AT THE TIPPING POINT:

San Jose 7.0

Austin 6.4

How does Dallas quality of life stack up?


On key measures of crime, educational achievement and economic growth, incorporated here into a single Quality of Life Index, the answer is: not well.

What do Dallas residents say?


Despite the citys problems, residents are more upbeat about their neighborhoods and about city life vs. suburban life than they were 10 years earlier, The Dallas Morning News Poll found. How satisfied are you with your neighborhood overall? On a 1-5 scale, with 5 being completely satisfied:

Where is retail activity growing fastest?


In the Dallas Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, the answer is: outside the city of Dallas Compound annual growth rate in taxable retail sales Metro area excluding Dallas 3.3% Dallas area* 2.4% City of Dallas 1.3%

San Diego 5.3 San Francisco 5.0 Phoenix 4.6 Columbus 4.2

1993

2003

Jacksonville 4.2

3.11

3.29

Indianapolis 4.1 San Antonio 3.4

Over the next five years, do you think your neighborhood will improve or decline?
AVERAGE

Houston 3.2 Memphis 3.0

On a 1-5 scale, with 1 being decline quite a bit and 5 being improve quite a bit

Dallas 2.4
Philadelphia 2.3

1993

2003

2.96

3.39

to grasp and tackle these fundamental shortcomings even at the risk of failure. One thing its long on is confusion. Booz Allen found that, under the city charter, almost no one has a well-defined job, authority to do that job and accountability for getting the job done. I dont know who leads the city, said Andres Ruzo, former chairman of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Even naturally strong leaders must operate within a culture that values making nice over making progress. Theres a great fear of deliberation and conflict, but democracy depends on conflict, said Dr. Royce Hanson, who taught political economy at UT-Dallas for 11 years and last year published a book about the citys government. Henry Cisneros, a former San Antonio mayor and federal housing secretary, whose company is building hundreds of homes in the southern sector, said Dallas will rise by falling. Dallas used to pose as the Athens of the Southwest, he said. But it wasnt real. Whole sections of the city were left out. Now, Dallas is confronting real American issues. o o o HERE IS WHAT BOOZ ALLEN found: The citys economy, once a mighty engine, has stalled. Booz Allen calculated the gross city product of Dallas and its peers, using methods devised by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Federal Reserve Bank. By that fundamental measure of wealth, Dallas was No. 2 in per capita GCP as recently as 2000, second only to San Francisco, and well ahead of all the others. But weakness lurked beneath its apparent strength. During the 1990s, the most prosperous period in U.S. history, Dallas economy barely grew. Its suburbs continued to bolt ahead, their vibrancy masking the problems inside the city limits. Some of Dallas peers also made astonishing gains. San Joses per-capita GCP grew at an average annual rate of more than 9 percent. Blue-collar San Antonio averaged 4.5 percent. Dallas? Just 2 percent. If those disparities were to persist, Dallas would end this decade among a lackluster second tier. Youve got a city thats been so rich for so long, and the money just showed up, said developer Ross Perot Jr. City leaders kind of forgot that Dallas became Dallas because it used to take bold, creative risks. Economists generally regard metro regions as the fundamental economic units, paying scant attention to individual cities. Unfortunately, Dallas cannot tax retail sales or property in Cedar Hill or Frisco. City Hall is feeling the pinch, both in sales and property taxes. The citys liabilities outstripped its assets by $193 million in 2003 rather like a person who juggles his bills, hoping that all his creditors dont demand full payment at once and counting on future pay raises to help him meet his debt. Most ominously, the commercial tax base is stagnating as businesses wither or leave the city. In 1985, commercial real estate accounted for 51 percent of the citys property tax revenue, while residential property contributed 31 percent. In 2003, for the first time, residential property generated more taxes than commercial, accounting for 42 percent. There should be a homeowners revolt in this city, said Robert W. Decherd, who chairs a mayoral committee charged with helping revitalize downtown. Theyre getting killed. Theyre bearing the brunt of this denial. Mr. Decherd is chairman, president and CEO of Belo Corp., which owns The News. Booz Allen looks at the numbers and sees the makings of a fiscal crisis: an eroding tax base set to collide with long-term, underfunded liabilities. o o o OTHER MEASURES OF ECONOMIC slippage abound. In the 1990s, Dallas gained 88,000 jobs. Dallas suburbs, excluding Tarrant County, gained 429,000. The unemployment rate consistently runs 25 percent higher in Dallas than in the surrounding suburbs. The citys jobless rate also hovers above the statewide average. In her inaugural address in June, Ms. Miller bemoaned the fact that Dallas unemployment rate had risen to 7.5 percent. The mayor was close to the rate for the metropolitan region. The

Why do retail sales matter?


Sales tax receipts are an important revenue source for Texas cities. The metro-area population is growing faster than the city, and retail activity is flowing there. On a per capita basis, retail sales in Dallas in 1990 were $1,303 higher per person than the surrounding metro area. In 2002, they were only $182 higher.

*Dallas Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, encompassing Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Henderson, Hunt, Kaufman and Rockwall counties. SOURCES: Texas Comptrollers Office; Booz Allen Hamilton analysis

On the whole, do you think that Dallas is a better or worse place to live than the suburbs?
Baltimore 1.0 Detroit 0.8

On a 1-5 scale, with 1 being much worse and 5 being much better

1993

2003

2.87
SOURCES: Booz Allen Hamilton research; Dallas Morning News research; 2003 Dallas Morning News Poll

3.25

SOURCES: 2003 Dallas Morning News Poll; 1993 city of Dallas poll

Computing the index


Booz Allen Hamilton gathered comparative data on how Dallas and 14 peer cities performed on a range of key quality-of-life issues. The Dallas Morning News engaged Blum & Weprin Associates Inc. to conduct a poll of Dallas residents and their views on the city. According to the poll, residents top three concerns were crime, public education and economic development. Each citys score on the Quality of Life Index combines its performance on three measures: the violent crime rate, as measured by the FBI; SAT scores for the dominant school district in the city; and Booz Allens calculation of the growth of gross city product per capita, a measure of economic activity. Each of these three measures is weighted according to the percentage of poll respondents who said it was their No. 1 concern.

Quality of life = crime + schools + economy


Crime
Violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2002
2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0

1,371

SOURCE: FBI Uniform Crime Reports

Schools
SAT scores in 2002
1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0

850

De Sa troit nA nt Ph onio ila de lph ia Da lla s Ho us to Ind n ian ap o Me lis mp his * Co lum bu Ja s ck so nv ille Ph oe nix Sa n Sa Dieg n Fra o nc isc o Au sti n Sa n Jo se

Ba ltim

or e

citys rate was then above 9 percent. The city seems to have a willingness to pride itself on the regions accomplishments, said Dr. Hicks of UTD. A high-functioning economy demands educated workers, and Dallas is not producing enough of them. Like all urban school systems, the Dallas Independent School District struggles against enormous challenges. Under Superintendent Mike Moses, the district seems to be recovering from a long bout of self-destructiveness. But on the whole, DISD schools perform badly in comparison with the urban districts in Dallas peer cities much less in comparison with the schools in most Dallas suburbs. On the SAT, DISD students scored an average of 850, more than 80 points below the average for the entire peercity group in 2002. Most of DISDs graduating seniors dont even take the SAT, meaning that many dont intend to go to college. Dallas ranks well below its more economically dynamic peers in the percentage of adults who have a bachelors degree or even a high school diploma. Nearly one-third of adults in Dallas did not graduate from high school. With a few exceptions, such as New York, Boston and Chicago, most American cities dont run their school systems. But some of Dallas peer cities have been much more creative and aggressive in helping their school districts help students. When schools are better, theres less reason for families to move to the suburbs. Property values and, thus, property-tax receipts are higher. Businesses are more likely to put high-wage jobs where they can find skilled workers. Like weak schools, crime is a corrosive, weakening Dallas foundation. Dallas rates for both violent and property crime decreased slightly from 1997 to 2002. But on average, peer cities achieved four times the reduction in property crime and 14 times the reduction in violent crime. The violent-crime rate in San Jose, which enjoys the title of safest big city in America, is one-third of Dallas. Only Memphis, Baltimore and Detroit are beset by more violent crime than Dallas. Faced with the numbers, police officials tried to explain them away. More crime is reported in Dallas, they said, because police encourage residents to file reports; in other cities, where it is harder to file a report, many crimes go unreported. Theres a song by Dallasite Michael Gott that has the refrain: If Im in denial, I dont want to know. Its hilarious on stage but not so funny if youre talking about crime in your neighborhood. Civic leader Walt Humann is trying to help revive the Jubilee neighborhood in South Dallas. At a meeting with resi-

dents, he asked how many had been the victim of crime in the last six months: 80 percent raised their hands. Youd think that if things were that bad, someone would have noticed. Yet the mayor and council members were surprised in 2003 to learn that among cities of at least 1 million people, Dallas was on track to record the worst crime rate in the nation for the sixth year in a row. A lack of serious self-examination isnt new here, said Mr. Schrader, the former Dallas city manager. Thats been a historical problem. For a contrast, look to Phoenix, where the city manager posts the crime rate, along with those of several peer cities, on the citys Web site. Phoenix considers itself to have a serious crime problem auto thefts are sky high but City Manager Frank Fairbanks lays out the stats for all to see. Transparency is a very powerful tool, said former Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza. Transparency allays suspicion, he said, and suspicion destroys governments the way termites destroy houses. Ben Click, who came from Phoenix to be Dallas police chief in 1993, experienced the difference in the two cultures firsthand. In Phoenix, he said, you were expected to do the right thing. If something went wrong, you were expected to be upfront about it. In Dallas, he said, there was an extreme sensitivity to anything that might lead to some kind of publicity or negative news story.

A critical tilt in the tax base


Dallas property tax base now relies more on residential property than on commercial property.
Percentage of total property tax roll
60 50 40 30

Commercial

42%

De tro Ba it ltim or Me e mp his Da lla Ph s ila de lph ia Ho us to Ind n ian ap ol Ja ck is so nv il Co le lum bu Sa nA s nt on Sa i n Fra o nc isc o Ph oe nix Sa n Di eg o Au sti n Sa n Jo se

Residential
20

39%
2000 2002 2003

1985 1990 1995

SOURCE: Dallas Central Appraisal District

Why does the tilt matter?


City governments like a robust commercial sector so that homeowners dont bear the brunt of the property-tax burden. It takes a lot of homes even luxury homes to equal the taxable value of a big factory or regional mall.

Each score is for the dominant school district within the city; Memphis SAT score translated from ACT score SOURCES: School districts; SAT; Booz Allen Hamilton analysis

Dallas labor market lags the regions and the states


Monthly unemployment statistics show that even Texas despite persistently weak regional economies such as the Rio Grande Valley has fared better than the city of Dallas. And the Dallas metro area looks even stronger when the city is factored out. Monthly rate in percent
11% 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 J F M A M J J A S O N D J F M A M J J A S O N D

Economy
Average annual growth in gross city product per capita, 1991-2000
10 8 6 4 2 0

City of Dallas

2%

Ho us to n De tro Ja it ck so nv ille Ph oe n Ba ix ltim o Co re lum bu Me s m Ind phis ian Sa apol i n Fra s nc isc o Sa n Di eg Sa nA o nt on io Au sti n Sa n Jo se

Ph ila d

Da

elp hia

lla s

Dallas region Texas Dallas region excluding city of Dallas 2002 2003

SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department, Booz Allen Hamilton analysis

SOURCES: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Texas Workforce Commission; Booz Allen Hamilton analysis

A ROAD MAP FOR RENEWAL

The Dallas Morning News

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Page 5W

Alarming as the numbers are, its not too late. Dallas has a host of natural advantages, from its location to its entrepreneurial spirit. Whats needed is swift, decisive action by City Hall, business and nonprot leaders and ordinary people to capitalize on those strengths.

Getting around Dallas is no picnic, either. Residents of the Dallas metro area spend more time stuck in traffic an average of 36 hours a year than residents of any peer cities except Houston and San Francisco. Business leaders surveyed in conjunction with Booz Allens study listed transportation as their biggest concern. Second was poor air quality, which threatens to trigger federal curbs on industrial expansion. o o o FINALLY, DALLAS PERFORMS POORly in the place closest to home: home itself. The most often quoted statistic about Dallas housing is that the median home-sale price is $138,000 an indication that houses are affordable compared with most major cities. Thats true. But good luck finding a house in that price range. Only 10 percent of the housing stock in Dallas is suited to middle-income buyers. Booz Allen found that the overwhelming majority of units 85 percent consists of apartments or houses valued closer to $50,000. Theyre not likely to appeal to anyone who can afford a nicer home in the suburbs. Although Dallas accounts for a third of the population in the statistical area that bears its name, less than 10 percent of the regions new single-family homes are constructed within the city limits. The number of apartments built in the city outpaces houses 2-to-1. Not surprisingly, 57 percent of Dallas households are renters rather than homeowners. Only San Francisco, where a combination of rent controls and exorbitant real estate values makes renting an attractive alternative, has a lower proportion of homeowners. Its enough to send Dallasites scurrying for Duncanville or Allen which is exactly what happens. Nearly one in five Dallas residents moved to a nearby city from 1995 to 2000. That made Dallas, along with Houston, the biggest losers in terms of migration to the suburbs. In sum, Booz Allen concluded, Dallas is rapidly losing its position as the regions economic core; the quality of its workforce is relatively low; and it is increasingly home to a transitional population rather than a community of middle-class families that live and work here. Any one of those realities, in isolation, would be cause for concern. But one feeds the other, the report noted, setting up a cascading effect that creates a cycle of decline. All cities, by their nature, face intractable problems. No city does everything right. The issue is: How are we managing to put guardrails on some of these processes? asked Dr. Hicks. The good news for Dallas is that cities can erect guardrails, they can affect their own destinies. The peer cities that are thriving today behave in a certain way. They face reality squarely; they tap into the entire communitys brainpower to solve problems; they invest in the things including people that create wealth, and they earn the trust of their residents, businesses and community leaders. Those behaviors dont come naturally in Dallas, because of its history. o o o IN THE POST-WORLD WAR II DECades, the citys economy was fueled by an extraordinary conjunction of national prosperity, Sun Belt migration, native ambition and cohesive leadership, cemented through the Dallas Citizens Council. The leaders white men who ran banks and other large corporations and, incidentally, City Hall were apostles of growth. They had the know-how, and they controlled the resources, private and public, to make it happen. The Citizens Council was very successful in what it set out to do: grow the city of Dallas, said Dr. Fairbanks, the UTA historian. But that success came with tradeoffs. The leaders feared political conflict as a threat to the citys business-friendly image, and they enshrined the ideal of a

analysis rather than assumptions drives public policy. Recently, the International City/ County Management Association lauded Phoenix and several other cities for using performance measures to focus their efforts to become the cities residents want them to be. Two of Dallas other peer cities also were honored: Austin and San Jose. Those three cities, which rigorously examine their own performance and benchmark it against other cities, all outscored Dallas by wide margins on The News Quality of Life Index. Dallas does not participate in an annual benchmarking study by the associations Center for Performance Management. Booz Allens analysts sometimes found it easier to get information about Dallas from its peer cities which gathered it for their own benchmarking purposes than from Dallas. o o o NOT HAVING A PRECISE IDEA OF where it is, Dallas can hardly draw a meaningful map of where it wants to go. Unlike its peers, it operates without relying on either a comprehensive land use plan or a strategic business plan. In effect, the people of Dallas are like shareholders in a company with $6.6 billion in assets and a $1.9 billion operating budget that makes decisions ad hoc, based on no overarching corporate strategy. The city levies taxes on residents and businesses and spends their money without analyzing how to maximize the return on their investment. Leaders in other cities were incredulous to learn that Dallas operates as it does. You dont have a general plan for your city? Wow, said Pat Dando, vice mayor of San Jose. Mr. Benavides, the city manager, drew up a strategic plan after he was hired in 1998, but the council did not formally adopt it and never refers to it. When pressed for a copy, First Assistant City Manager Mary Suhm couldnt immediately lay her hands on one. Later, Ms. Miller recounted that a council member had produced a copy of the document during a recent meeting. The response from the other council members, including the mayor, was: Whats that? None of us had seen it, she said. We didnt know what it was. Its ridiculous. Ms. Miller and council members said they have taken steps toward creating a strategic framework, most notably by setting five consensus goals: economic development, staff accountability; public safety; neighborhoods and the Trinity. We actually have thought about a lot of these issues, said council member Gary Griffith. We have got plans. Its not that we dont know, and its not that were not going to do something. Ms. Miller could not say whether the endpoint will be a formal, written strategy that can serve as a blueprint for the staff and future councils. Is it in a booklet somewhere? No. Will it get there? Probably, she said. In early March, the council was scheduled to hear a staff presentation on how the city might invigorate its economic development efforts. Economic development is, officially, the councils No. 1 priority. But members spent hour after hour discussing other agenda items lavishing protracted debate on the problem of dilapidated fences and the question of whether judges in municipal courts are too intimidating because they wear robes. At 4:30 p.m., seven hours after the meeting started, members were becoming, by turns, testy and giggly with exhaustion. So Ms. Miller postponed the economic briefing for nearly a month. Is this any way to run a city? an exasperated onlooker demanded of council member Veletta Forsythe Lill. No, she said.
E-mail vloe@dallasnews.com

politically neutral city manager as the antidote to the affliction of politics. Dallas kept a lid on politics, said Dr. Harvey Graff, a social historian who taught at UTD for 23 years before moving to UT-San Antonio. That kind of control no longer works. Being a real city means some rough-and-tumble, a few bloody noses. Council members insist that, at long last, that is changing. This council has finally started talking to one another about anything, Mr.

Blaydes said. However, old ways die hard. o o o DALLAS ROOT PROBLEM IS A political problem, a civic culture that resists change, said Dr. Hanson, author of Civic Culture and Urban Change: Governing Dallas. Resistance extends from fundamental issues such as changing the City Charter to mundane matters such as twice-a-week garbage pickup.

For years, council members have refused to consider weekly pickups, which would free city resources for other, arguably more pressing needs. Assistant City Manager Ramon Miguez shook his head at the memory of countless dead-end discussions on the subject. Change, he said, forming a cross with his hands, as though to ward off evil. Change is bad. Change comes more easily when you play by the numbers when

Dallas is a city with tremendous natural advantages. By all rights, Dallas should be booming like many of the peer cities that experienced population growth above the United States average.

Dallas stands at the verge of entering a cycle of decline. Moreover, it is clear from our review of the citys governance structure and operations that businessas-usual will not break this cycle.

LESSONS

re-thinking City Hall.

While many factors have contributed to the current difficulties from macro economic forces to population changes much of the solution lies in

With a holistic transformation along the three dimensions of strategy, structure and services, the city can

reverse the decline.

SOURCE: Booz Allen Hamilton

Page 6W

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Dallas Morning News

CITYHALL
Nobody wants the ball, said George Schrader, who served as Dallas city manager from 1973 to 1981. Theres no sense of where were going. No ones really in charge, said Dr. Robert Fairbanks, who teaches Dallas history at the University of Texas at Arlington. Too inward-looking no shared vision or overarching strategy operates in uncooperative silos rather than as a cohesive whole, the Booz Allen Hamilton consultants wrote. City Manager Ted Benavides begs to differ. The conclusion seems to be that were in a ditch somewhere. I dont concur with that, he said. Frankly, I think somebody wanted to write bad things. Mayor Laura Miller was more receptive. Do I think the report is off base? she said. No, I dont think its off base. People contribute to the problems the report cited, but most of the fault lies with the system of government itself or, as Booz Allen found, the absence of a workable system. Under Dallas 73-year old City Charter, no one the city manager, the mayor, the council members, the city staff is explicitly responsible for doing many of the basic things a modern city does: thinking strategically about its future; keeping its infrastructure in good condition; seeing that the city is able to meet its long-term financial obligations. Heres how vague the charter is: The council, with $1.9 billion to spend this year, is directed merely to make suitable provision for the assurance of adequate and appropriate prior review and consideration of [its] official actions. Thats less direction than is given to the citys Animal Shelter Commission, with a budget of zero. Like all other council-created advisory boards, it is required by law to formulate a mission statement, guiding principles, objectives, an annual work plan and indicators by which to measure success. On paper and even more in practice, Dallas labors under a highly fragmented decision-making process and a diffused governance model that make it all but impossible to maintain focus on the key objectives, Booz Allen concluded. Fewer than half of the 14 council members accepted repeated invitations from The Dallas Morning News to see and discuss the reports key findings. Among those who took the opportunity, the overwhelming response was that they unlike previous councils personally work well together, so the report is wrong. The city is finally moving in the right direction, said council member Elba Garcia. Im very proud to serve with my colleagues. For the first time, all of us came up with five points where were willing to focus. In defending the council, First Assistant City Manager Mary Suhm inadvertently suggested just how low the leadership bar is set: Some days, when they sit and have a discussion, you realize that they discussed issues, theyve come to some decisions, they have developed some consensus. And on the other days? Despite its habitual claims to professionalism and efficiency, City Hall can no longer hide the consequences of its disconnects. o o o RESIDENTS LIKE LIVING HERE, according to the 2003 Dallas Morning News Poll. But they are less satisfied than they were 10 years ago with crucial city services such as crime prevention, streets and code enforcement. They are less satisfied than residents of Dallas peer cities in the Southwest, even though the citys expenditures on those services are comparable. The city has more than $193 million in long-term bills that it doesnt know how it will pay; the state is forcing it to pour more money into its pension system; and the agencies that rate its fiscal health have begun to raise red flags. Even when Dallas sets out toward something visionary say, the Trinity River project it can still lose its way. The largest public works project in the citys history was sold to voters with lofty promises before the costs or benefits were thoroughly analyzed. Six years after the $246 million bond election to pay for it, discord over the project continues, and residents wonder if theyll ever see the things they voted for. Government Dallas-style not only lacks incentives for effective leadership, it provides cover for a host of failings. The accountability is fuzzed up. Thats a good safety device, Mr. Schrader said. The way the charter is, people have built-in excuses, said David Holl, president and CEO of Mary Kay Inc. The mayor can blame the manager, who can blame the council, who can blame the public, who can blame the staff, who can blame the mayor, who When presented with Booz Allens findings, Ms. Miller emphatically connected with the idea of an accountability gap among the staff, that is. When people are nonperforming, it is the style of this management team to move them to another spot, the mayor said. Nobodys ever held accountable for anything. Ms. Miller sidestepped a question about whether elected officials also should be accountable, just as coaches are held accountable for providing players with a game plan. Again, she suggested that the problem is with the staff, and that the council should replace Mr. Benavides, which it has declined to do. On many levels, the council and I are running in the same direction, she said. A lot of us have the same vision for the city. But I think we could get there a whole lot faster with one vote, and its not happening. Mr. Benavides said that he and the staff have always considered themselves accountable. I take responsibility for all the folks that work for me, and when theres issues, I step up and do it, and I think my staff does it. The city manager noted, obliquely, that past councils have failed even to provide him with broad goals, much less a detailed strategy. Hes glad, he said, that this year the council named priorities and is laboring to translate them into a performance plan for him. I want to come back and go through this section by section, Mr. Benavides told the council in March, after it failed to take up the performance plan during a workshop session. I cant read your minds. I want to do a good job. o o o ANOTHER DISCONNECT: WHO speaks for the city of Dallas? In the public mind, the mayor does. However, under the charter, the mayor the one person who owes his or her job directly to voters across the city is a figurehead. If youre going to get the kind of political leadership you need, it requires more than strong jawbones; it requires the ability to use the levers of power, said Dr. Royce Hanson, author of Civic Culture and Urban Change: Governing Dallas. Under Dallas council-manager form of government, the city manager is supposed to operate the levers. But in 2004, the city manager survives in Dallas by keeping council members comfortable, not by presenting them with long-range challenges that might generate controversy or cost money. Right now, there is a culture of hedg-

DALLAS AT THE TIPPING POINT:

Story by Victoria Loe Hicks


ing, stalling and trying to avoid decisions, said Jon Edmonds, executive director of the Foundation for Community Empowerment, which works to improve blighted neighborhoods. The exercise is: How can I make it through another year, just make it through another budget? said former Police Chief Ben Click, who also served as an interim assistant city manager. I think the challenge is balance, Ms. Suhm said. The question every day is: What have I got to get done today, and how does that affect me long-term? Right now, do we need to focus on the long term? Yeah, we need to. The City Council is a disconnect unto itself. The authors of the charter conceived of it as a board of directors, and of the city as an undivided whole. But for decades, white people living north of the Trinity got vastly more than their fair share. Increasingly through the years and especially since the city begrudgingly adopted the 14-1 voting system in 1991 council members have functioned as representatives of distinct constituencies. Trouble is, the mechanisms of government are disconnected from todays political realities. For instance, council members, who are paid $37,500 a year for a full-time job, have no independent staff to analyze issues or handle the flood of constituent requests. They have little power to challenge the manager, given that it takes a two-thirds vote to fire him or her. Why would anybody want this [council] job? asked Dr. Robert Behn, who runs training programs for local government leaders at Harvards John F. Kennedy School of Government. The elected officials dont have the wherewithal to set up a system to ratchet up performance. Its a great deal for the city manager. He realizes, They cant touch me. o o o SO WHAT DO THE POLICYMAKERS the council do, if theyre not making policy? Prodded by complaints from their constituents, they immerse themselves in low-level operational matters. Imagine that the board of directors has stationed itself on the production line, where it micromanages the way the workers make widgets. That irritates and embitters the workers, who figure, rightly, that no one on the board has ever made a widget. Officers in the Police Departments narcotics division reported in an internal review that 80 percent of their workload is responding to requests from City Hall. Service requests should be a source of information for the officers to act upon, but they should never dictate the dayto-day workings of DPD personnel, the review said. Under the current system, too much time is wasted in writing and rewriting the politically correct response. Staff members have learned the hard way that its unwise to give council members an answer they dont like. They [council members] spank city employees publicly, Mr. Schrader said. Everybodys afraid to make a mistake. Its a mistake-avoidance operation. Dallas seems to have the worst of both worlds, said Dr. Fairbanks, the UTA historian. It doesnt have the efficiencies of the council-manager system or the leadership of the strong-mayor

rchitect I.M. Pei probably didnt mean for Dallas City Hall to look like a ship run aground, but these days the imagery is hard to ignore. Consider these events: The city manager hires the police chief without interviewing him and fires him before informing the mayor or City Council. Neighborhoods crumble while code inspectors sit in their offices, writing bogus citations. The council protects the citys bond rating by limiting its borrowing to the point that the bond rating goes down. Whos steering this ship of state? The answer according to everyone from insiders to political scientists to management experts is nobody.

A
21%
The mayor

What do Dallas residents say?


The 2003 Dallas Morning News Poll asked Dallas residents for their views on the structure and function of city government. They were divided on the question of which branch of city government wields the most power.

13%
The city manager

19%
The City Council

38%
All three equally

They also think that under Dallas government structure, any mayor, city manager and City Council could all be effective leaders.

yes
Can any mayor be effective? Can any city manager be effective? Can the council as a whole be effective?

no
33% 37% 31%

62% 56% 64%

Asked which people or institutions were most important in shaping Dallas future, poll respondents cited City Hall and other figures, too.
The city government State and federal governments Business leaders Average residents The county government 24% 15% 26% 23% 7%

But residents dont think that people like you have much influence over City Council decisions.

By 2-1, respondents think that an elected mayor would be more effective in day-to-day management of Dallas city government.

44%
A little

20%
None

25%
A moderate amount

9%
A great deal

63%
An elected mayor

31%
A city manager hired by the City Council

Half of the respondents said their taxes were too high. About a third judged them to be about right.
Very low? A little low? About right? A little high? Very high? 17% 1% 3% 37% 35%

Services and the city


The last time the city measured residents satisfaction was in 1993. The 2003 Dallas Morning News Poll asked some of the same questions. The result: Residents are happier with life in the city overall, but not particularly with city services. Considering all things together, how satisfied are you with living here? On a 1-5 scale, with 5 being completely satisfied: How satisfied are you with the quality of the services that the city provides? On a 1-5 scale, with 5 being completely satisfied:

1993

2003

1993

2003

3.13

3.39

3.0

3.08

Make suitable provision for


Dallas requires vastly different levels of detail regarding the duties and performance of the City Council compared with what it expects of its advisory boards and commissions. Booz Allen concluded that Dallas diffuse governance model is to blame for many of the citys performance problems.

Over 10 years, how four key services stack up Ratings are on a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being not satisfied and 5 being completely satisfied
2003 1993
2.7 3.24 2.3 2.9 3.7 3.9 2.3 3.1
SOURCES: 2003 Dallas Morning News Poll, city of Dallas 1993 poll

Housing code enforcement Streets Fire protection Crime prevention

FOR THE CITY COUNCIL


Under the heading Policy-Making Procedures, the Dallas City Charter directs the mayor and City Council to: I Make suitable provision for the assurance of adequate and appropriate prior review and consideration of official actions. I Assure a high performance level of services to the citizens. I Provide responsiveness to the people and accountability in municipal government. I Adopt rules of procedure. I Create a standing finance committee responsible for financial and audit oversight. I Establish other standing committees and set rules for their operations.
SOURCE: City of Dallas

FOR CITY BOARDS


The ordinance creating the citys citizen advisory boards and commissions requires that, each year, each one submit to the council an annual report containing: I A mission statement and guiding principles I A list of objectives, programs and success indicators I Highlights of the past years accomplishments I A working program for the coming year, with revised goals I A summary of the boards recommendations, including a minority report if one exists

About The News poll


Blum & Weprin Associates Inc. of New York, The News pollster, conducted the poll Oct. 7-9, interviewing 801 Dallas adults. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for the overall sample; the responses for subgroups have a larger margin. Respondents were screened to ensure that they lived in the city of Dallas. They also were offered the option of a Spanish questionnaire. For the 1993 comparisons, Blum & Weprin asked some questions using the same wording employed in a poll conducted that year for the city of Dallas by Rincon & Associates, a Dallas-based consumer-research firm.

A ROAD MAP FOR RENEWAL

The Dallas Morning News

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Page 7W

Dallas City Charter, adopted in 1931, was designed to keep politics out of government. But politics arrived along with single-member districts. Now, the city struggles with the worst of both worlds: a bureaucracy that can no longer manage, and elected officials who lack the tools to govern.

system. However, given Dallas racial history, talk of realigning the powers of government raises alarms among many people of color. They fear a back-door attempt to turn back the clock on the continuing struggle to uplift people and neighborhoods long slighted by City Hall. o o o THATS PART AND PARCEL OF THE final disconnect, which is ultimately the most serious. Trust fundamentally the coin of the realm, in Dr. Hansons words is in critically short supply. In a 2002 poll by The Dallas Morning News, two-thirds of residents thought City Hall lacked vision and was rife with corruption. In The News 2003 poll, nearly two-thirds of residents said that people like themselves have little or no influence over City Council decisions. The second poll used some of the same questions that the city used to ask residents in its own polling. The city last did that in 1993. The citizens have a distrust of government, Dr. Fairbanks said. The government has a distrust of citizens. Dallas leaders are really distrustful of the public. One manifestation is what former Mayor Ron Kirk called the no-new-taxes brick wall the refusal to even discuss the merits of paying more in the short term to make the city better or more competitive in the long term. That becomes a terrible disincentive to creative thinking, Mr. Kirk said. Or consider the $555 million bond package for bread-and-butter improvements that was put before voters last year. Nearly half of council members, including Ms. Miller, wanted to limit the proposal to $371 million on the ballot. The council ultimately went for the full $555 million and it passed with largeto-huge majorities in every part of the city. Subsequently, one bond-rating agen-

cy downgraded the citys bonds, which could make it more expensive to borrow money. The reason? Dallas is failing to invest enough in its infrastructure. Several council members cited the bond vote as the point at which the city began to rebound from a period of lethargy. After that, everybody [on the council] looked around the room and said, Wow, recalled council member Veletta Forsythe Lill. I wish now we had done a bigger bond program, said Ms. Suhm, the first assistant city manager. We just werent quite brave enough. In effect, the council didnt lead the city, the city had to lead the council. It doesnt have to be this way. Some, including Ms. Miller, argue forcefully that Dallas should switch to a strong-mayor government. Booz Allen called the mayor-vs.-manager debate a distraction, noting that workable systems can be found in council-manager

cities and strong-mayor cities. Not perfect, but workable. Some hallmarks: Each player in government the mayor, the council, the top staff executive or administrator and the employees has a clearly defined role, spelled out in the charter, in ordinances, or in rules of procedure. Duties encompass long-term planning as well as year-to-year budgeting. As an aside, Booz Allens report suggests that some turnover will be necessary if Dallas is to regain its momentum. Inevitably, we would anticipate changes in key management and leadership positions that put the appropriate mix of change agents and turnaround experts in key positions, the report said. In many council-manager cities, including San Jose, Calif., and Phoenix, the mayor has an enlarged role, such as laying out budget priorities or nominating a candidate for city manager when the post is vacant. In San Jose, the manager

submits candidates for departmenthead jobs to the council for approval. Through mechanisms such as strategic plans and land-use plans, the policymakers focus more on broad, long-term issues and less on reactive, ad hoc decisions. Once the plans are in place, operational decisions yearly budgets, capital spending and the like should follow them. The strategy encompasses clear, measurable steps for reaching the goals. Those translate into performance measures that provide accountability throughout the organization. Employees know whats expected, why its important and whether theyre meeting expectations. o o o GOVERNMENT IS TRANSPARENT, making it easy for residents and interest groups to know whats going on, to speak and be heard, and to participate in decisions.

What do Dallas residents get for their money?


Heres how Dallas stacks up on some basic city services compared with the peer cities in the southwestern United States. These cities are younger than their northeastern counterparts and face similar growth and climate issues, allowing for a fairer comparison. Water and sewer Streets
Street maintenance cost per lane mile, fiscal year 2004
3,000 2,500 40 35

Trash
Solid waste collection average monthly rate per household, fiscal year 2004
80 70 60 50

Typical total bill for water and sewer services for residential customers using 7,500 gallons monthly, fiscal year 2002

$2,128
2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0

30 25 20 15 10 5 0

$15.90

40 30 20 10

$34.32

sto nA n nt on i Sa o n Jo se Da lla s Au sti n Ph oe Sa nix n Di eg o

on io Ho us to n Da lla s Au sti n Ph oe nix Sa n Di eg Sa o n Jo se

Sa

Sa

Ph oe n n A ix nt on io Da lla Sa s n Jo se Ho us to n Au s Sa tin n Di eg o

Sa n

When San Jose searched for a police chief, a panel of residents chose the search firm and interviewed the finalists. In Phoenix, 14 Village Planning Committees weigh zoning cases and other issues before they reach City Hall. (Booz Allen found that Dallas was the least transparent of the 15 cities it analyzed.) Of course, here at City Hall, we think we are just brilliant and we know everything, joked Phoenix City Manager Frank Fairbanks. I cant tell you the number of times weve gone out and people on the Village Planning Committees have told us things we didnt know about their neighborhoods. Theyve kept the staff from making mistakes. Theyve kept the city from making mistakes. Transparency is the most important component, said former Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza. It allows everyone to have ownership. Officials have to believe, he said, that people are good. People are solid. Mr. Schrader, too, said that in retrospect, he would have worked harder as city manager to hear the voices of ordinary people. You never know where the good ideas are going to come from, he said. They come from the strangest places. You have to ask. As a doctoral student, Dr. Luis Fraga wrote his dissertation partly about the Dallas Citizens Council, whose legacy lives on in the citys culture of conflictavoidance. Dallas is very Southern, said Dr. Fraga, who teaches urban politics at Stanford University. Theres a lot of dysfunction, but thats part of its charm. His prescription for change at City Hall: Open up and lighten up. Adopt a risk-assessment strategy. Get the smartest people around and say, Give me some ideas. Try something. Learn something. Reposition yourself based on what you learn. Allow room for failure.
E-mail vloe@dallasnews.com

SOURCES: City of Dallas; city governments; Black & Veatch Corp./Wastewater Rate Survey 2003

Ho u

An t

LESSONS
the lines of accountability, responsibility, and authority among
too many individuals and groups. The Dallas City structure fragments Much of the public commentary regarding the Dallas city government This review discovered ample

focuses on the role of the mayor and the city manager In our view,
this debate is a distraction.

evidence of successful cities that have a city-manager-as-executive model like San Jose as well as

Either model can work so long as operations of the city government are transparent and, most importantly,

mayor-as-executive models.

questions of who does what are clearly resolved.

SOURCE: Booz Allen Hamilton

Page 8W

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Dallas Morning News

ECONOMY
crimp its suburbs. You cant have a healthy region that doesnt have a healthy core, Dr. Hicks said. In many Dallas neighborhoods, of course, its hard to find eyeball evidence of frailty. Main Street buzzes with new bars and restaurants. Upscale downtown housing sprouts. Dallas is home to boutique luxury hotels, Texas only Lamborghini dealership and more than 1,300 $1 million-plus homes. Still, the 2003 Dallas Morning News Poll found that city residents ranked economic development as No. 3 when asked to name the single most important issue facing the city of Dallas. Despite Dallas progress in launching a thriving urban community, the Booz Allen report found that the citys economy is much more fragile than anyone ever suspected, its shortcomings masked by the regions strength. Using a business analogy, the report observed: Companies in fast-growing markets are often those at most risk because they frequently do not realize they are falling behind until the situation is irreversible. Indeed, just as Dallas and the nation began reckoning with the hangover of the 1990s boom, City Hall downsized its economic development efforts slicing its staff nearly in half and budget by two-thirds. In the private sector, thats a red flag. When businesses cut operations that are designed to increase future revenue, investors start looking for the exit. City Hall has cut itself too thin, said Jeff Finkle, president and chief executive of the International Economic Development Council in Washington, a trade organization for economic development directors. Dallas response to Booz Allens findings: Its not broken, but were fixing it. Last winter, the City Council made economic development its No. 1 goal for 2004, part of its first-ever attempt to set priorities for the year. To support that goal, city staff drafted a blueprint that highlighted the personnel cuts as a call to action and asserted that the city lags the suburbs in a number of key areas. But city officials say those steps arent an admission of economic weakness as described by Booz Allen. If this is true and we havent been growing as fast as we did, we have plans to change it, said Assistant City Manager Ryan Evans, who heads Dallas economic-development department. City Manager Ted Benavides also rejected the notion of Dallas facing an economic crisis. Then he said that he would scrub an already drum-tight budget to find a way to expand Mr. Evans staff. Were going to have to look at our operation and look at costs again and give Ryan more people so we can go back into that business big time, he said. The city, Mr. Benavides acknowledged, has taken a kind of ad hoc approach in recent years to a number of priorities, including economic development. On that point, the city and Booz Allen concur. The consultants report found that Dallas has no programmatic approach to building for the future. In 2000, Dallas ranked right behind San Francisco in per-capita gross city product, a measure of local economic activity. Thats a result of Dallas long years of growing faster than the U.S. average. But in the 1990s, when the nation enjoyed its longest period of prosperity, Dallas shifted into low gear, growing only 2 percent a year. That was last among the 15 cities studied by Booz Allen. The reasons why became apparent in the consultants analysis. Dallas is sickly in the most basic way: in its tax base. Dallas taxable property has grown only through price appreciation what Booz Allen calls a disturbing trajectory. In 2003, the value of the commercial tax base fell below that of residential property for the first time. Even a modest decline in property values will devastate the long-term financial plan of Dallas, Booz Allen said. At the same time, retail activity is flat. Sales-tax receipts are Dallas second-largest revenue source after property taxes. Taxable retail trade in Dallas grew only 1.6 percent between 1998 and 2002, a period that spanned the end of the economic boom and the onset of the bust. By comparison, those sales mushroomed by nearly 72 percent in the four largest cities in Collin County Plano, McKinney, Allen and Frisco. Put another way, retail activity in the city of Dallas and those four Collin suburbs grew by more than $1.9 billion over that period. Dallas, however, accounted for only about $127 million of that increase. In 1990, retail sales in Dallas were $1,303 higher per person than in the o o o

DALLAS AT THE TIPPING POINT:

Story by Angela Shah


surrounding metro area. By 2002, they were only $182 higher. IN THE POST-INDUSTRIAL ECONomy, knowledge equals power. Using that yardstick, Dallas faces a power shortage. Dallas ranks in the middle of the pack among its peer cities on basic measures such as the share of the over-25 population with at least a bachelors degree. What puts the city at risk, however, is the meager growth rate in its college-educated population over the last decade 1.7 percent. It must compete for talent in a region that has far fewer higher education graduates than it has jobs, Booz Allen said. Dallas is not well positioned as a destination or expansion site for companies that need educated workers, an increasingly important factor in economic development. The reason: Dallas is simply not hospitable to middle-class families, the target customers of U.S. cities. These families are forced to find refuge in the suburbs as soon as they are economically able, while those who cannot make it out fall further behind. The maturation of Dallas suburbs presents the city with a formidable set of competitors: The schools are better. Housing is abundant. Dallas suburbs added five times as many jobs as did the city in the 1990s. [Businesses] are going to come to the region, but are they going to come to Dallas? asked Mr. Finkle of the economic-development group. Others have noted a shift in momentum, too. While the city of Dallas has historically led the regional economic engine, it has decreased over time, one report warned last month. It added: The citys growth in areas such as workforce growth and office and industrial development lags behind the region. The source? Dallas new economic development plan, recently presented to the City Council. o o o ALTHOUGH COUNCIL MEMBERS eagerly embraced the economic-development overhaul, the $2.2 million initiative would return staffing only to the level of about three years ago. The staff would roughly double, to 32. That expansion would help plug a crucial knowledge gap: understanding the citys business customers. We dont know when our leases expire, what business growth needs are or job training needs, Mr. Evans said in an interview. But apart from building relationships with tenants and developers being buddies, as Mr. Evans put it it is less clear how the city would school itself on the Dallas economy. Even though he brushed aside the Booz Allen findings, punctuating his remarks by thumping a City Hall conference table, Mr. Evans could not name a set of indicators that he uses to track local economic activity. Nor could he say which ones an expanded staff would watch. In an interview a month later, Mr. Evans identified indicators such as property and sales taxes, and new building, sanitation and water permits. Its a constant battle as a central city to move ahead, he said. Weve made significant advancements. UTDs Dr. Hicks expressed surprise that the Booz Allen report had detected so many previously unknown weaknesses in the Dallas economy. What a lack of curiosity the city has for itself, Dr. Hicks said. It is really embarrassing that weve not seen such an analysis before. There should be monitoring in a healthy region. If something turns up negative, it shouldnt be hidden because you cant put it on a poster and promote it. To judge from the conflicting visions sketched by Mr. Evans and Mayor Laura Miller, its not clear how a new era for the economic development department would unfold. Mr. Evans described economic development in Dallas as the product of a partnership City Hall handling busi-

or Dallas Inc., business is not good. The company has underinvested in core operations, is losing target customers to competitors and has a balance sheet full of liabilities. And management has yet to confront the decline. Put simply, the mighty Dallas economy is sputtering. The city is at risk of an economic crisis, Booz Allen Hamilton concludes. The city is rapidly losing its position as the regions economic core.
On myriad measures from the pace of wealth creation to residents lacking a high school diploma Booz Allen found that Dallas ranked closer to distressed Detroit and Philadelphia than its bustling Southwest peers. Dallas isnt expanding its tax base. Nor is it producing or attracting the college-educated workforce crucial for a city with world-class aspirations. I wouldnt have been expecting these kinds of disparities to be opening up in a Sun Belt city, said Dr. Donald Hicks, a professor of political economy at the University of Texas at Dallas. Trouble in Dallas affects city and suburbs alike. If the suburbs keep capturing more of the regions growth and economic activity, Dallas will be pressed ever harder to pay for city services. And a hobbled center city eventually will

THE DALLAS BALANCE SHEET


Assets
Dallas enjoys a balanced economy In terms of economic diversity, Dallas ranks in about the middle of the pack. The chart compares the economic diversity of these cities as measured across nine industrial categories to Dallas. Positive numbers reflect more economic diversity, negative numbers reflect less.
More economic diversity than Dallas 0.02 0 -0.02 -0.04 -0.06 -0.08 -0.10 Less economic diversity than Dallas

Liabilities
The wealth-creation engine only idled during the 1990s Average annual change in growth of per capita gross city product
0 2 4 6 8 10

Dallas Houston Philadelphia Detroit Jacksonville Phoenix Baltimore Columbus Memphis Indianapolis San Francisco San Diego San Antonio Austin San Jose

2%

ap o Ph lis oe H nix Ja oust ck on so Co nvill lum e Me bus mp Sa his n Jo se D Sa al n A las nt on Sa A io n us Fra tin nc isc De o Sa tro n it D Ba iego ltim Ph ila ore de lph ia

ian

... And the poverty rate tops the national average Percentage of people living in poverty, 2000
0 5 U.S. average 10 15 20 25 30

The cost of living is moderate U.S. average equals 100


0 50

Ind

U.S. average 100

150

200

San Francisco San Jose San Diego Philadelphia Detroit Austin Phoenix Dallas Baltimore Columbus Indianapolis Jacksonville Houston San Antonio Memphis

96

Detroit Baltimore Philadelphia Memphis Houston Dallas San Antonio Phoenix Columbus San Diego Jacksonville Indianapolis San Francisco Austin San Jose

17.7%

Note: Calculations for San Jose, Austin, Columbus and San Antonio are based on earby cities.

Jobs are growing, but only moderately Figures are annual percentage growth rates.
5% 4 3 120 2 1

Its near the top of the wealth-generating list How Dallas gross city product for 2000 compared with other cities
0 20 40 60 80 100

San Francisco Dallas San Jose Houston Austin Indianapolis San Diego Memphis Columbus Phoenix Baltimore Jacksonville San Antonio Philadelphia Detroit

1.4%

$81,762

0 -1 -2

(Gross city product in thousands of dollars per capita)

And the college-educated population is growing more slowly than in other cities Average annual growth 1990-2000, residents over 25 with a bachelors degree
0 1 2 3 4 5 6%

What is gross city product?


Gross city product is a measure of the wealth generated inside a city. The consultants calculated it for Dallas, its suburbs and its peer cities by using the same model that the Bureau of Economic Analysis uses to compute gross state product. GCP takes into account employee compensation including payroll, bonuses and benefits as well as other income categories. The figures in these charts are adjusted for inflation for 2001.

SOURCES: Dallas Central Appraisal District, Booz Allen Hamilton analysis; Federal Reserve; Bureau of Economic Analysis; U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department; ACCRA Cost of Living Index for third-quarter 2003; Dallas Morning News research

Ba Ph ltim il or Sa ade e n lph Fra ia nc isc De o t Sa roit Ind n Jo ian se ap Me olis m Co phis lum bu D s Ja all ck as so nv Ho ille us Sa ton n Sa Die n A go nt on io Au sti Ph n oe nix

Detroit Baltimore Philadelphia Dallas Indianapolis Memphis Houston San Diego Columbus Jacksonville San Francisco San Jose Phoenix San Antonio Austin

1.70%

A ROAD MAP FOR RENEWAL

The Dallas Morning News

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Page 9W

People come to Dallas to make money. And for good reason generations have prospered here, aided by the citys midcontinent location, strong transportation network, business-friendly environment and talented workforce. But Dallas powerful economic engine has stalled.

ness retention, and the Greater Dallas Chamber recruiting new businesses. He was joined at a City Hall interview by Bill Sproull, the chambers vice president for economic development. A city-chamber partnership would be news to Ms. Miller. I dont understand what the chambers goal is, she said. I dont know what they do. She drew a pointed comparison with the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, saying she works constantly with that agency. Theres nothing going on with the chamber, and its just unfortunate, the mayor said. From afar, Mr. Finkle of the Washington-based trade group took a dim view of Dallas efforts. They have not had strong programs, he said. I dont think theyve ever made a commitment to economic development. They didnt set aside enough money to do it. His assessment squared with that of businessman Ross Perot Jr.: Dallas has become so big and so diverse, and theres nobody focused on economic development. o o o AT THE LEAST, THE CITYS ECOnomic development operation has created some unhappy customers. Thats one of the conclusions that emerged from more than two dozen interviews with Dallas-area CEOs and other business leaders. The dysfunctional nature of the city government is driving many businesses away from dealing with the city, summed up Velocity Ventures, a Dallas consulting firm that worked with The Dallas Morning News to conduct the interviews, then analyzed the results. The verdict? Dallas has acquired an anti-business aura. Ms. Miller acknowledges the city needs a stronger relationship with the private sector. There needs to be a very high profile SWAT team of folks that are assembled at moments notice whose names say Dallas in a major way, she said. My

SWAT team would have Ross Perot Jr., Roger Staubach, Mark Cuban that when they are called to make a pitch for Dallas, that everybody knows Dallas is walking in the door. Mr. Perots recent assessment about working with City Hall presumably would not be part of such a sales pitch. People see difficulty and pain and agony when you think about doing a deal in Dallas, Mr. Perot said in an interview with The News. Contractor Bill Hood described the citys inspection process as somewhere between unbelievable and impossible. You dont know where you stand, he added. The rules seem to constantly change. Mr. Hood related problems with the much-needed middle-class homes that he is building in eastern and southern Dallas. Inspectors showing up early, failing a property that he hadnt purported to be ready. Others showing up days late. An opaque process for tracking permits. Chronic thefts that eat into profits. I cant afford to do it in Dallas anymore, he said. Work is work. But given the choice, and I have plenty of backlog, Ill take something outside. Navigating the City Hall bureaucracy is extremely hard even when theyre not asking for anything other than a license to spend money, Ms. Miller acknowledged. Were going to fix that. Change is possible. The city recently overhauled its housing department and is putting a similar effort into streamlining developers dealings with City Hall. And the headlines generated by code inspectors falsifying reports? Good news, the mayor said, because it forced the city to address that problem. o o o DESPITE DALLAS CHALLENGES, the executives interviewed for this project were bullish about the citys prospects. So were city leaders. And, assuming that Dallas squarely faces its weaknesses, so was Booz Allen.

The decline is not irreversible, the report said. Dallas Inc. possesses some enviable assets on its balance sheet: a low cost of living, high productivity rates, a vibrant high-income community and a fastgrowing immigrant population. Center cities continue to have key assets crucial to the economy: colleges and universities, hospitals, major cultural organizations, concentrations of business services, an underutilized workforce, said Paul Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation. One of Dallas biggest opportunities is its long-neglected southern half. You have a real hunger for economic development in the minority community, Mr. Perot said. A lot of public officials dont understand business and dont know how to get it done. Although city leaders tout success stories at three southern-sector business parks, Booz Allen made clear that those are, at best, a few first steps. Even if southern Dallas continues an aggressive growth rate 1.5 times the rate for northern Dallas it would still take 30 years to catch up. Celebrating small victories is fine, experts say. But a few office parks does not make a turnaround. Royce Hanson, a former professor at the University of Texas at Dallas and author of a book about the citys political culture, tied Dallas economic challenges back to the larger issue of improving the citys governance the theme of the Booz Allen report. Good government, he said, helps produce good economic results. Dallas must give itself a thorough self-examination, according to Mr. Finkle at the Washington economic development group. The first thing to do: Benchmark yourself, he said. What are we doing well? What are we not doing well? What are our economic development goals? Who is leading the charge?
E-mail ashah@dallasnews.com

If Dallas were a business


How a corporate turnaround specialist might size up Dallas economic challenges.

Market share
By all rights, Dallas should be booming like many of its peer cities that experienced population growth above the United States average over the last 50 years. Instead, the City is lagging behind on many key indicators. More worryingly, Dallas is falling further behind with each passing year.

Management
Dallas stands at the verge of entering a cycle of decline. Moreover, it is clear from our review of the Citys governance structure and operations that business-asusual will not break this cycle.

Customer satisfaction
I A Dallas Morning News survey of area executives makes clear that Dallas is becoming an increasingly unfriendly place to do business. I Dallas has an increasingly transitional population weak schools and insufficient middle-income family housing force middle-class families to find refuge throughout the suburbs as soon as they are economically able.

Outlook
Dallas is under-investing in its core product, has not embraced best practices throughout its management or operations, and is fast becoming burdened by longterm liabilities that could bankrupt the company if the market takes a downturn. We would project that Dallas is becoming structurally uncompetitive versus its local competition (the surrounding communities) as well as its regional competition (other Southwest cities).
SOURCE: Booz Allen Hamilton

The City is rapidly losing its position as the regions economic core, the quality of its workforce is relatively low, and it is increasingly home to a transitional population rather than a community of middle-class families that live and work here.

LESSONS
There is little mystery as to basic building blocks for improving quality of life. What is missing in Dallas is a comprehensive focus and a cross-department program for delivering the change. Dallas needs to create a living environment that can compete effectively with the suburbs for middle-class families and a business environment that attracts and retains anchor employers.
SOURCE: Booz Allen Hamilton

Page 10W

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Dallas Morning News

POLICE
Story by Tanya Eiserer
Accountability for public safety is vague and diffuse, the Booz Allen study said. The police chief, the mayor, City Council and city manager all feel accountable for making citizens safer, responsible for designing and executing a strategy. Yet no one is focused on how to reduce crime rates. The final weeks and days of the Bolton saga featured just about every complication that plagues city government: racial resentments, personality clashes and the cop-vs.-civilian divide. Underneath that, the lesson is that if the head is broken, the limbs cant function properly. If City Hall is a mess, the Police Department will suffer, and the people who live in the city will suffer. Words such as alignment, accountability and best practices may not cause Dallas residents to jump up and down the way they might, say, if their next-door neighbors were robbed. But the Police Departments travails underscore that what goes on at 1500 Marilla St. isnt just a political sideshow. Citizens are paying by living with a higher crime rate, Booz Allen asserted. To be sure, crime is down sharply since Dallas homicide-record years in the early 1990s. But most of Dallas peer cities have seen crime drop much more quickly, Booz Allen found. Probe deeper, and a picture emerges of a department that moves forward in one direction as it retreats in another. The Booz Allen study, internal police documents and follow-up reporting show that: I Budget cuts have sapped the departments strength in personnel and equipment. When most big-city departments were boosting their police presence during the 1990s, the number of Dallas police officers per capita fell by 16 percent. That was the largest drop among any of the peer cities in the Booz Allen study. I Questionable command decisions have forced the payout of millions in settlements and other expenses, and Dallas remains at risk in lawsuits that could cost millions more. I Dallas per-capita spending on police is at about the middle of the pack among its peer cities, but it has only 43 percent of sworn officers assigned to answer calls the lowest among the peer cities, Booz Allen found. The allocation of resources is inefficient and, consequently, ineffective in reducing crime, the consultants concluded. Dallas residents are paying attention. When The Dallas Morning News polled residents last year about the top issue facing Dallas, crime was the clear No. 1. And the poll found that Dallasites satisfaction with the police is lower today than it was 10 years earlier despite the drop in crime since then, and despite their feeling safer at home and in their neighborhoods. In an interview, Mayor Laura Miller was asked about the role of City Hall in the Police Departments troubles. She responded by renewing her criticism of Mr. Bolton and City Manager Ted Benavides the man who hired Mr. Bolton and, in August, fired him. She bemoaned the lack of accountability noted in the Booz Allen report, recalling a job evaluation of Mr. Bolton by an assistant city manager that gave him glowing marks on everything when the Police Department was in a shambles. With a search under way for a new police chief, an efficiency study in the works and other initiatives in progress, Ms. Miller expressed optimism about crime reduction this year perhaps even by 5 percent or more. Were trying to be responsive and give the tools to the Police Department to get the job done, she said. o o o MR. BENAVIDES REJECTED BOOZ Allens conclusion about vague and diffuse accountability for public safety at City Hall. I think its a pile of doo-doo, he said. The police chief is in charge of the department, works for an ACM [assistant city manager]. Im the city manager. Im responsible, Mr. Benavides said in an interview. Asked whether he was happy with the departments direction, Mr. Benavides replied: I am. Crime is down. For the public, at least, one of the biggest police-related surprises last year may have been the disclosure by The Dallas Morning News of the citys streak of worst-big-city-crime rankings. Dallas status stunned city officials; Ms. Miller called it unbelievable and inexcusable. So did City Hall know what was happening with Dallas crime rate? I think that theres so much data out there and sometimes you get distracted, Mr. Benavides said. Everybodys OK, and all of the sudden an issue becomes really hot so you go address it. It wasnt violent crime. It was mostly property crime. I think that had something to do with it. He and his top lieutenants, he said, were aware of the issue before The News report. We failed to say, OK, guys bring it up to a certain level, and lets go fix that issue. And so I take responsibility for that, he said. Less than a month later, he fired Mr. Bolton as chief. Interim Chief Randy Hampton, one of the finalists to succeed Mr. Bolton, thinks the 3,000-officer department has turned a corner. He also repeated Mr. Boltons oftcited contention that crime in Dallas appears worse than it really is. Thats because, he said, the Police Department does a better job than its peers in educating residents to report crimes. A high crime rate doesnt necessarily mean that you are in an unsafe city, Chief Hampton said. o o o IN THE 1970S AND 80S, THE DALlas Police Department was heavily involved in the national conversation on best practices, according to Gary Sykes, director of the Plano-based Institute for Law Enforcement Administration. It was years ahead of other departments. Now, hamstrung by political chaos and a vacuum in leadership, Dallas is a department in trouble, he said. In that kind of atmosphere, things just dont get done very well and morale suffers, Mr. Sykes said. If you see that kind of ongoing chaos at the top of the organization, thats a de-motivator. If they dont care, why should we care? o o o

DALLAS AT THE TIPPING POINT:

ne by one, fired Police Chief Terrell Bolton went around the big, U-shaped table, emotionally reminding City Council members of favors he had performed in their districts. Ive only received a couple of calls, and this is what hurt me, he said. In stressing courtesies, not crime-fighting, Mr. Boltons final appearance at the council horseshoe demonstrated a failing that ran through his tenure: City leadership lacked a clear focus on reducing crime. By the time of his firing last summer, Dallas was on track to log its sixth straight year with the worst crime rate among the nine largest U.S. cities. Yet even through that dismal cycle, the Police Departments crimefighting performance got little tough scrutiny at City Hall. Instead, the department was hobbled by dwindling resources, a lack of vision, a special-interest culture, abysmal morale, racial division, micromanagement and second-guessing by city leaders. As City Hall goes, so goes the Police Department.

Thats the attitude that gets established. What could help a police department stay on track on an issue as crucial as fighting crime? A strategic plan. A strategic plan is not just this thing that sits on a shelf, said John Welter, formerly the No. 2 police commander in San Diego, who is now the police chief in Anaheim, Calif. Youve got to have specific strategies, specific goals, specific objectives that are measurable, that are operational. THE DALLAS POLICE DEPARTment, like the city of Dallas, doesnt have a long-term plan. Its not a new problem. Arriving here in 1993 from Phoenix, former Chief Ben Click was stunned to discover the absence of such a plan. He made the idea an early priority. I would send copies to the managers office, he recalled. I dont think anybody ever acknowledged it. Drafted under Mr. Click, the last formally adopted strategic plan covered the period from 1998 to 2000. Under Mr. Bolton, a strategic plan covering 2000 to 2002, and a seven-year plan for 2001 to 2007, were drafted but never formally adopted. Even the man who helped write the seven-year plan dismissed it. You set idiotic goals that are going to be easily attained or they are very general, said Sam Johnson, who headed the Police Departments management research unit before retiring. The managers office didnt care; the council didnt care. In a recent interview, Chief Hampton said the department has a longterm strategic plan. But he could not explain its goals or the time period it covers. In a subsequent interview, he conceded that it was not a document he regularly used. He also released a working document listing the organizations top seven 2004 goals, which include reducing crime and improving operational efficiency. Each commanders performance plan for 2004, he said, has been formed with those goals in mind. Only last winter after the years of worst-big-city status and the turmoil of Mr. Boltons firing did crime achieve recognition as an official City Council priority. It is one of five issues on the councils first-ever roster of annual goals. o o o THE DALLAS CITY COUNCILS ACtion is too fresh to see results on the streets or at police headquarters from designating crime as a top-drawer issue. But the Police Department is full of examples of how the city proceeded when it wasnt measuring its policy choices against a strategic plan that spelled out public-safety goals. Budget cuts eliminated half the clerical staff in the police pawnshop detail, which is frequently key to clearing burglaries and tracing stolen guns. The three remaining employees have to enter as many as 35,000 pawnshop tickets into the computer every month. Thanks to other cuts, the homicide units 22 detectives juggle two to three times as many cases as do their counterparts in similar-sized departments. The budget ax also has fallen recently on the police technology unit, notwithstanding the citys idea for using technology to replace laid-off employees and improve efficiency. Why are they cutting the solution in half while they are supposedly putting technology in place to mend the gaps? asked Lt. Gene Summers, the commander of the unit, which has been reduced from 29 people to 13 in recent years. I think its absurd if theyre calling upon technology to be a solution. Nor are police cutbacks just a phenomenon of the recent economic downturn. In the 1990s, ex-Chief Click converted more than 100 administrative jobs held by sworn officers to civilian status, reducing the sworn strength by the same number and reducing the budget. He had the City Councils blessing for

How Dallas police resources and crime stack up


Police spending per capita in 2002 was about average
500 400 300

$235
200

100 0

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And so was the number of officers per 1,000 residents


5 4 3

2.29
2 1 0

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SOURCES: FBI; U.S. Census Bureau; city budgets

But Dallas police presence fell in the 90s Percent change in officers per capita, 1990-2002
30% 25 20 15 10 5 0 -5 -10 -15 -20 -16%

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SOURCES: FBI, U.S. Census Bureau

And Dallas barely joined the national big-city trend of declining crime Percentage change in violent and property crime rates between 1997 and 2002 Violent Crime Property Crime

20 15 10 5 0 -5 -10 -15
Di eg o Au sti n Ph oe nix Ba ltim or e Me mp his De tro it Co lum bu s Da lla s Ho us to Ph n ila de lph ia Sa nA nt on io

Sa

-0.2% -0.8%

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SOURCE: FBI Uniform Crime Report

What Dallas residents say


The 2003 Dallas Morning News Poll asked Dallas residents for their views on a variety of issues. Crime topped the list when respondents were asked which issue from this list was the most important one facing the city of Dallas.
SOURCES: Dallas Morning News Poll; 1993 city of Dallas poll

Sa n

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it

Traffic and transportation 9%

Public health 8%

Culture and recreation 1%

Crime 31%

Public education 21%

Economic development 16% Housing choice and affordability 5% Environmental quality 5% NS/Ref 3%

Most residents said crime was a problem in their neighborhood.


A serious problem 33% A problem but not serious 43%

But compared with 1993, more residents today feel safer at home. 1993 2003

They also think that its safer to walk around their neighborhood at night. 1993 2003

Not a problem 20%

yes no
ns/ref

76% 22%
2

87% 9%
4

yes no
ns/ref

34% 62%
4

48% 47%
4

NS/Ref 3%

A ROAD MAP FOR RENEWAL

The Dallas Morning News

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Page 11W

Dallas residents say crime is the citys No. 1 problem. And what has City Hall done in recent years? Reduced the number of ofcers per resident, ignored the citys worst-in-the-nation crime rate, and gave the police chief a glowing review one year, then red him the next.

the move. But in subsequent budget years, he said, the council eliminated many of those same officer-to-civilian positions. The bottom line: He had to bring sworn officers back into offices to do administrative tasks, creating a net loss of officers on the streets. Unless you were paying close attention, an outsider would not ever recognize that, said Mr. Click, who spent about six months as an interim Dallas assistant city manager. That was truly a work of art. In his recent interview, Mr. Benavides pledged that the city would put more police on the street acknowledging, in essence, the fact that Dallas number of police officers per capita has fallen during the last decade. To determine the percentage of police officers in each department devoted full time to answering calls, Booz Allen examined budgets from the peer cities and filed open-records requests. Booz Allen found that Dallas was at the bottom of the pack. Police officials dispute that conclusion. Responding to Booz Allens survey, they contacted the peer-city departments and received different numbers. Council member Elba Garcia suggested that it might be premature to conclude now that the department needs to be expanded to confront Dallas crime problem. The efficiency study of the department now being conducted by Austin-based Berkshire Advisors Inc. will help determine the departments manpower needs. As a council we need to have a road map to know, Do we need to have more officers? said Dr. Garcia, who heads the councils public safety committee. We dont know that. Or do we need better management? o o o MEANWHILE, CITY HALL TUGS the Police Department in three directions. The mayor, for example, has weekly meetings with the Police Department,

the City Council members have discussions with substation commanders, and the city manager has established [the] operational review of the Police Department even while the city searches for a new chief, the Booz Allen report found. Interviews and the departments internal review confirm Booz Allens finding about crime-fighting confusion and the cost that it exacts. You get a city manager and the mayor-council, and youve got to answer to both of them, said Mr. Johnson, the former head of the police management research unit. You end up funneling resources toward specialized problems or political problems that are perceived as important to a council member. One council member requested that the Northwest substation investigate an old toilet in the alley, according to the departments internal review. Another asked the Southwest substation to check on a guy honking his horn in front of a constituents house. Youve got guys on phantom special assignments everywhere, said Mr. Johnson, a retired sergeant. Theyre not answering calls. Mr. Benavides, asked about the police complaints of council interference, said: I think what the officers are telling me is that maybe its out of whack. And I have to go back and look at it and say Push back. Most recently, the mayor and some council members thrust themselves into the police-chief search, a task that the charter reserves for the city manager. Some council members publicly lamented the quality of the candidates, causing at least one applicant to bow out. That stance earned a scolding from some of their colleagues, who said the council should butt out. Ms. Miller responded to the applicant-bashing by phoning at least three potential candidates to beg them to stay in the running. Many rank-and-file officers view that activity as unproductive at best, and destructive meddling at worst. The mayors involvement stirs an even deep-

er, visceral dislike. Shes become the unofficial police chief of the city of Dallas. Shes solving all the crime. Whatever we do is going to be wrong, said Officer Michael Walton, president of the Dallas Fraternal Order of Police. Many rank-and-file officers remain furious over Ms. Millers drive to reject a 17 percent police pay raise in a 2002 election. She labeled the boost a budgetbuster, and the city offered three 5 percent annual raises instead. Cuts in benefits and even the mayors launch of the

weekly crime meetings rankle, too. Asked about any hard feelings among the police, Ms. Miller responded: The vast majority of police officers that I go up and talk to on the street are extremely nice. And we have good conversations and they say, We understand your job is tough. And then they tell me a couple of things about their job that they want me to know. o o o THIS IS THE POLITICALLY CHARGed environment awaiting Mr. Boltons

Caution: rough road ahead


The next police chief in Dallas faces a series of daunting challenges and thats even before the job of crime-fighting is put on the table.

Money

I The city pinched the police with its handling of a $1.2 million federal grant nearly six years ago. The money was earmarked for buying extra patrol cars. Instead, the city bought its usual allotment and put the money in the general fund. Uncle Sam made the city pay back the grant. I Litigation from the 2001 fake-drug scandal could cost the city millions.

People

I A Dallas Morning News investigation found that the department has hired a number of officers with questionable backgrounds, including some with legal troubles or repeated difficulties in completing training. I Prosecutors asked to examine the personnel files of all 3,000 Dallas officers for adverse personal actions that involved any crimes of moral turpitude. The Dallas County district attorneys office recently released a list of 26 officers who have incidents in their backgrounds that might compromise their ability to testify in criminal trials.

Racial divisions

I The departments racial history is long and strained. It made a contentious transformation from a mostly white department in the 1970s and 1980s and faced allegations of police brutality in the late 80s. I In recent years, the department took a big credibility hit with prosecutors and the public over the arrest of Hispanic suspects in the fake-drug scandal. I Still roiling the community is the firing of Terrell Bolton, Dallas first black chief. Black leaders have sought to recall Mayor Laura Miller.

Morale

I Officers are upset that the city has put a 13-week limit on the time for which employees injured on the job can continue to get their full salaries. Full pay used to continue for a year. I The City Council has approved two of three promised annual raises of 5 percent for officers. But two years into the process, the city has sharply raised insurance deductibles and eliminated a service-longevity incentive.
SOURCE: Dallas Morning News research

successor, who will command a department that represents the city governments largest operating budget and employs nearly 30 percent of the municipal workforce. City leaders hope to have a new chief by late May. That deadline will come long before the city could make any of the governance changes recommended by Booz Allen, if changes are ever made at all. Could a new chief be successful, then, in the existing municipal structure? Of course, city officials say. Mr. Benavides has called the hire a big deal, saying his reputation was on the line. Ms. Miller said Dallas needs a charismatic, secure, self-confident leader as chief. Dr. Royce Hanson, author of the 2003 book Civic Culture and Urban Change: Governing Dallas, gives a qualified maybe to Dallas prospects of police chief success. The right leader say, a forceful figure such as Ben Click or his predecessor, Bill Rathburn could get the department going in the right direction, Dr. Hanson said. In a paramilitary organization such as a police department, he said, a strong leadership presence can be decisive because directives flow downward through a clear chain of command. But as proved by the examples of Mr. Click and Mr. Rathburn, the change wont be lasting without a more farreaching overhaul of city government, Dr. Hanson said. Mr. Click was less optimistic. After five years as Dallas chief, he considers City Hall to be a barrier to successful policing. The next chief needs to be prepared for micromanagement to the point of not being able to make a move without being told to, or, if they do, theyll be told to undo it. If you get a competent person, he said, youre going to frustrate the hell out of them.
E-mail teiserer@dallasnews.com

LESSONS
Public safety is the single most important quality-of-life issue for residents of Dallas. But

accountability for public safety is vague and diffuse.

A strategic plan for the city, and one for the Police Department, would help city leaders make policy

choices that match their verbal support for public safety.

Dallas hasnt kept up with police best practices; embracing them in a systematic way should help the city improve its crime-fighting performance.
SOURCES: Booz Allen Hamilton; Dallas Morning News research

Page 12W

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Dallas Morning News

SCHOOLS
Story by Angela Shah
tion, one of the nations oldest community foundations. Theyre the bedrock of society, he added. Having empty-nesters and childless people only is an organic weakness in a community. History and geography can make it difficult for cities to craft policies to shore up that weakness. Texas division of city and school responsibilities flows from the nationwide push early in the 20th century to protect schools from the municipal corruption and cronyism of the time. Thats why school-district boundaries can slice across city-limit lines. The city of Dallas includes parts of the Plano, Richardson, Highland Park and other school districts besides the DISD, which itself embraces parts of other cities. We should note that we fully appreciate the city government does not control the quality of education, Booz Allen said. This does not mean, however, that it has no role (or bears no responsibility) for improving it. Half of the respondents to The News 2003 poll rated the Dallas school district as only somewhat effecHow Dallas schools stack up in the region Suburban schools were much more likely than those in the DISD to be rated Exemplary or Recognized by the Texas Education Agency. DISD Suburbs

DALLAS AT THE TIPPING POINT:

ew indicators better predict a citys vitality than the performance of its public schools. Student achievement today creates a skilled workforce tomorrow. It attracts business, nurtures wealth and ensures a citys prosperity. So where does that leave Dallas? Not in the game. Even as many big cities move aggressively to bolster public education, City Halls relationship with Dallas largest school district remains informal at best. That arms-length distance cant continue if Dallas hopes to remain vibrant, the Booz Allen Hamilton report concludes.
Alone among most of its peers, Dallas City Hall has no systematic approach for bolstering neighborhood schools by improving the physical environment and fostering community involvement, the report found. Because education is so central to the citys economic future, City Hall is responsible to its stakeholders for building an active, results-oriented partnership with the Dallas Independent School District. From renovating inner-city school buildings to finding summer jobs for teachers and students to providing social services on school campuses, other cities are finding ways to improve public education that have little to do directly with what goes on inside the classroom, Booz Allen found. Thats because todays outside-theclassroom challenges are so immense. If children struggle because they come from poor families with limited English skills and parents working two menial jobs, is that solely a school-district responsibility? Or should cities be engaged, too especially by expanding economic opportunity and tightening the social-service net? Booz Allens findings, best-practices guidelines from the National League of Cities, and interviews in Dallas suggest that the City Hall-DISD partnership is far less robust than it could be. Dallas does dole out about $5 million each year for community-education activities, chiefly for arts programs. About $1 million seems to directly affect DISD. But how those initiatives relate to each other seems to be in the eye of the beholder. Which might explain why City Manager Ted Benavides sees a unified whole Theres 1,000 ways we relate to each other where DISD spokesman Donald Claxton sees something much less. A bunch of ancillary, chopped-up projects all over the place is how he described the City Hall-DISD relationship. Since Dallas operates without a strategic plan, there is no framework in which to fit a city education policy. The City Councils first-ever goals list doesnt include public education the No. 2 issue facing the city of Dallas, according to the 2003 Dallas Morning News Poll. Could the dialogue be more aggressive? Superintendent Mike Moses asked in an interview. Im not going to disagree with you. There are probably some more things we could do together. Mayor Laura Miller, who campaigned as a champion for education, emphasized her strong support for the DISD and willingness to do pretty much whatever Mike Moses asks me to do. Describing the Dallas-DISD relationship, she offered a catalogue of event-driven collaboration, such as classroom reading and talking up a ninth-grade mentoring program. Without giving specifics, she said that the upcoming report from a mayoral jobs task force would take the DallasDISD partnership to a different level. From where Avo Makdessian sits, a strong Dallas role in education would be a break with the citys past. As the full-time liaison on education issues for Mayor Ron Gonzales in San Jose, Calif., he meets other city representatives on the schools-conference circuit nationwide. Among Texas cities, San Antonio and Corpus Christi are familiar. But Dallas is missing in action. Dallas, for sure, I havent seen, he said. o o o AMERICAN CITIES DALLAS included have done much in recent years to repair a tattered urban fabric. Trendy nightspots and in-town lofts for childless twentysomethings and empty-nesters are symbols of downtowns on the rebound. Only one ingredient is missing, experts say: middle-class families with children. For cities to have a middle class is very, very important, said Paul Grogan, president of the Boston Founda-

Measuring school performance


The SAT provides one performance gauge for students who aspire to go on to college a critical step in an economy that puts a greater premium on education. 2002 SAT scores for students in the dominant school district in each peer city
1,200

1,000

850
800

Exemplary

27 40 129 15

191 111 103 7

Recognized
600

Acceptable
400

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ia

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Low-performing

*Memphis SAT score translated from ACT score

Rankings applied based on students performance on the 2001-02 Texas Assessment of Academic Skills.

What Dallas residents say


The 2003 Dallas Morning News Poll asked residents how they would rate the Dallas Independent School District is in terms of educating young people
Very effective 17% Somewhat effective 49% Not very effective 21%

Not at all effective 6%

Not sure/ refused 7%

DISD at a glance
The Dallas Independent School District is, by far, the largest school district within the city of Dallas. Population: 985,293 Square miles: 351 Cities served by the DISD: The district includes all or parts of Addison, Balch Springs, Carrollton, Cockrell Hill, Farmers Branch, Garland, Highland Park, Mesquite, Seagoville and University Park. Other school districts that serve Dallas: Besides the DISD, the city of Dallas is served by the school districts of Highland Park, Richardson, Plano, Irving, Garland, Wilmer-Hutchins, Duncanville and Cedar Hill. The districts operations Figures for 2002-03 school year
30

DISD residents: an ethnic breakdown


White Black/African-American American Indian and Alaska Native Asian Some other race Two or more races 2.8% 0.6% 1.9% 19.7% Hispanic origin 40% 26% Non-Hispanic origin 60%
49%

tive in terms of educating young people. Fewer than one in five said the DISD was very effective. Its task is huge. Nearly 80 percent of the districts 163,000 students come from homes classified as economically disadvantaged. A third of them are considered to have only limited English proficiency. Of the 78 percent of its students who graduate, fewer than half plan to attend a four-year college. Their average SAT scores are weak, compared with those of inner-city peers and students in the Dallas suburbs. All of this exacts a toll on Dallas, whether or not City Hall takes an activist stance on education issues. Families with school-age children who can afford to move outside the district or send their children to private school are strongly inclined to do so, the Booz Allen report found. In city neighborhoods with homes in the Dallas and Richardson school districts, those in the RISD portion are valued at 30 percent to 35 percent more. That means lower tax receipts from properties on the DISD side of the boundaries. And a bill will come due, too, for producing a workforce ill-equipped for the modern economy. When you dont have half of high school kids even planning on going to college, and the returns on education have never been higher and theyre increasing, yes, you have to expect the city to have a lower economic growth, said Dr. Donald Hicks, professor of political economy at the University of Texas at Dallas. Poor schools also could thwart Dallas plans for its undeveloped land. Dallas future the southern sector is largely within the DISD. The portions of Dallas inside the Plano, Highland Park and Richardson school districts are heavily built-out. The National League of Cities also recognizes schools as an urgent priority for municipal leaders. City leaders in Phoenix created a school-based program through which the citys Human Services Department reaches out to youngsters who need social services. In San Antonio, the city government is a member of the San Antonio Education Partnership, which strives to boost high school graduation rates and steer students to college. City Hall kicked in more than $650,000 in scholarship funds in 2001. City leaders are realizing they cant say its not their problem, said Bela Shah, program associate for the Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington. o o o NOT LONG AGO, THE DALLAS INdependent School District struggled to govern itself, much less to work with City Hall. Former Mayor Ron Kirk, who was elected in 1995, recalled the defensiveness that sometimes met his own overtures toward the DISD: The first thing a mayor always hears from a school board member is: Look, I got elected just like you did, Mr. Mayor, you S.O.B. So, stay out of my business. Distance and discord marked the city-school relationship in the 1990s. Bickering school trustees found unusual common ground in attacking Mr. Kirk for suggesting in 2000 that voters dump the entire board. The full City Council didnt make things any better by declining to endorse the school districts 10-years-inthe-making, $1.37 billion bond vote in 2002. (Some individual council members did speak up.) Fast forward to 2004. With the school boards internal flare-ups quieted, Dr. Moses wins plaudits for bringing stability and a sense of progress to the district even if student-performance gains are still slow. In my first five years as mayor, I knew five superintendents, said Mr.

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Housing/household type Renter-occupied housing units


55%

Owner-occupied housing units


45%

Educational attainment in Dallas Percentage of the over-25 population without a high school degree or a GED
35

31%

$1.3 billion
Total budget
25

$58.3 billion
Assessed property valuation

13,087
Professional staff

361,722
Households

20

6,726
Support staff

35.9%
Households with individuals under 18

15

163,327
2002 enrollment

18%
Households with individuals over 65

10

$350,701
Assessed valuation per student*
*District figure based on student count of 166,231, some of whom are prekindergarteners who are counted differently for the purposes of total enrollment.

3.35
DISD students: an ethnic breakdown
Hispanic African-American White Asian/Pacific Islander American Indian 1.1% 0.3% 6.3%

Challenges in the classroom

77.6%
Students from homes classified as economically disadvantaged

32.1%
Students classified as limited English proficient

70
Approximate number of languages spoken in homes of DISD students

Why do the ethnic profiles look different? Hispanics can be of any race, and different data sources break down population groups differently. The ethnic breakdown for all DISD residents comes from Census Bureau data. The breakdown for the DISD student body comes from school-district data.

SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau, Dallas Independent School District, Booz Allen Hamilton analysis, DallasRelo.com, peer-city school districts, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003 Dallas Morning News Poll

Co l Sa umb Ja n D us ck ie so go nv Sa n Au ille Fra st Ind n in ian cisc a o Sa pol n is M J Sa em ose n A ph nt is o Ph Ph nio ila oe de nix Ho lphi us a Da ton l D la Ba etr s ltim oit or e

Average family size:

60.9%

31.4%

A ROAD MAP FOR RENEWAL

The Dallas Morning News

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Page 13W

As go the schools, so goes the city. Good schools translate into a better-educated workforce, more desirable jobs, more stable neighborhoods, higher property values. So other cities are working hard outside the classroom to bolster their schools. Dallas needs remedial work.

Kirk. With that kind of change, there is no long-term planning. Dr. Moses, in turn, sees a relationship with City Hall that has grown closer since his early days, when there were some outstretched hands, I think to say, How can we help you? The strongest signs of cooperation have come recently. The city is spending nearly $5 million to build a library on the campus of Arcadia Park Elementary in Oak Cliff. During the day, the library will be staffed with district librarians serving the nearly 600 students in kindergarten through sixth grade. After school, the library will be open to the public and will have city librarians. The city also puts on an annual Back-to-School Fair. About 22,000 children received supplies, immunizations and other necessities to get them ready for this school year. But dual-use libraries and No. 2 pencils, however valuable in themselves, dont constitute a citywide education strategy with measurable goals. Booz Allen offered three broad areas of city-school engagement with the mayor as the person in city government who would be accountable for results: The mayor should be the voice of improving public education inside the city and ensuring [that] areas that most affect public education are supportive. The citys school-friendly initiatives need to become part of a strategic plan to support the schools and the education process. Traditional city activities such as zoning and park spending should be guided by the goal of strengthening schools. o o o SO IF THE DISDS DIFFICULTIES are well known, why hasnt a broad cross section of community leaders met the crisis head-on?

Some civic leaders say thats happening. Mr. Kirk said Dallas private sector rallied to the cause of improving the school system during his administration. I challenged the business community to clean house, he said. The business community more than met that challenge. Its tragically ironic that right now the school board is operating perhaps more efficiently and civilly than the City Council. Others in Dallas see a continuing gap between an Anglo-led business and political establishment and a school district that is overwhelmingly minority. The city and the schools truly began their hands-off relationship when the city leadership stopped thinking the district was educating their kids, said Betsy Julian, a prominent Dallas civil rights lawyer. Schools in the Richardson district, where more than half of the students live in Dallas, averaged 18.7 volunteer hours per student in 2002. The DISD schools averaged three hours. If the much-wealthier RISD has demographic advantages in terms of nonworking parents, its also true that the DISDs needs are greater. The idea of a broader Dallas-DISD partnership such as those found in the citys peers can be a touchy subject in many circles. Interviews with city officials and more than two dozen business leaders found strong concern about the DISDs performance but scant interest in seeing a closer city-schools relationship. Some at City Hall and elsewhere have played down the idea that the Dallas school district even needs substantial improvement. The schools are good enough now to attract mainstream middle-class families, Assistant City Manager Ryan Evans said in an interview last fall. Mr. Evans heads the citys economic devel-

opment department. Bill Sproull, vice president for economic development of the Greater Dallas Chamber, dismissed the idea that schools figure into corporate-relocation prospects. DISD doesnt come up very much, he said in the same interview. Whatever their reservations about seeing City Hall play a more active role in schools, Dallas business leaders dont share the perspective of Mr. Sproull or Mr. Evans. Developer Ross Perot Jr. rates schools as a top priority when he considers a new project. Another business executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, was more blunt. Although bullish on Dallas, this executive said DISD is a sore spot for the citys efforts to recruit top-tier talent: Thats one of the top things that people ask about from out of town. People say, I have to have private schools? Thats a huge issue. Booz Allens warning was stern: The long-term success of the city and its quality of life will depend on the quality of the schools. Otherwise, poor schools will neutralize Dallas other attributes. Consider the recent comments of newly installed Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau president and chief executive Phillip Jones, whose job it is to sell Dallas. In an interview, he enthusiastically praised the citys overall prospects. But the DISD, he said, is a personal dealbreaker. Im looking at relocating my family from Louisiana to Dallas, and were looking in the suburbs because of the public education system, Mr. Jones said. Id love to live somewhere in the downtown area, but Im not going to put my children at risk.
E-mail ashah@dallasnews.com

Of cities and schools


Mayors and city council members are essential partners in improving public schools, and they can play key roles even when they have no direct authority over local school districts, says the NLC Institute for Youth, Education and Families an arm of the National League of Cities.

To improve schools, municipal leaders should:


I Start by studying. City officials need to learn about the critical core issues in improving public education, then stay focused on them. I Dig into the data. Get a full picture of students performance, as well as other key indicators. I Build a community team. Mayors and council members are perhaps the only local leaders who can bring disparate groups together to discuss key priorities and concerns. I Focus on funding. City leaders should support school district spending plans that are tied to well-conceived school improvement strategies. Speak up for bond issues. Seek outside aid. Lobby for state school aid for needy districts. I Think outside the classroom. City leaders can support school-readiness programs, enhance school safety, assist in teacher recruitment, address students social-service needs and expand learning opportunities for the hours when children are not in school. I Reach out to educators. Strong city-school partnerships begin with a willingness to share information and resources.

Dallas school geography


Texas overlapping municipal and school-district boundaries complicate the task of creating education policy for a city. For a city with a variety of school districts, which priority takes precedence? I The DISD is the largest school district in Dallas, and most of its 160,000-plus students live in the city. But other districts include part of Dallas, too from high performers such as Highland Park, Plano and Richardson to less-well-off districts such as Wilmer-Hutchins. I The DISD takes in not only most of Dallas, but also parts of cities such as Garland and Seagoville. I That can weaken the grass-roots connection between Dallas City Hall and the DISD. Some City Council members have significant numbers of constituents attending non-DISD public schools and pay taxes in those districts. I Dallas has an informal relationship with its second-largest district, the better-performing Richardson schools. Mayor Laura Miller says that when given a choice of promoting education issues, she focuses her efforts on Dallas schools.
SOURCES: National League of Cities; Dallas Morning News research

LESSONS
Because education is so central to the Citys economic future, City Hall is responsible to its stakeholders for building an active, results-oriented partnership with Dallas Independent School District. We fully appreciate the city government does not control the quality of education. This does not mean, however, that it has no role (or bears no responsibility) for improving it.

City Hall has no systematic approach for bolstering neighborhood schools by improving the
physical environment and fostering community involvement.

Alone among most of its peers, Dallas

Many cities have found ways to improve public education in ways that have little to do directly with what goes on inside the classroom.
SOURCE: Booz Allen Hamilton

Page 14W

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Dallas Morning News

COMMUNITY
Story by David Dillon
First election under the 14-1 alignment. Ron Kirk is the first black mayor and first mayor with a four-year term.
36.2%

DALLAS AT THE TIPPING POINT:

A city seldom stirred by mayoral contests


Dallas political tradition does not include robust turnout in mayoral elections, even by the low standards of municipal campaigns. Until 1995, mayors served two-year terms. Except for special elections, mayoral elections coincide with the elections for all City Council seats. Voter turnout in percent Annette Strauss becomes the first woman elected mayor.

Ms. Miller wins a full four-year term.

24.83% 23.63%

25.16% 21.45%

25.32% 23.86% 24.71% 21.55% Average 19.6%

17.19% 18.09% 16.51% 12.82% 13.19% 6.75% 10.1% 16.74% 14.68%

New council alignment: eight singlemember districts, three at-large seats.

Laura Miller leads in a special election. She later wins the runoff.

1969

1971

1973

1975

1976

1977

1980

1981

1983

1985

1987

1989

1991

1993

1995

1999

2002

2003

SOURCE: City of Dallas; Dallas Morning News research

graphic and economic barrier splits the northern and southern halves of the city like a geological fault line. The southern sector accounts for roughly half of Dallas land area, but development there lags so badly that that it would take over 30 years at aggressive growth rates for the south to catch up with the north, Booz Allen said. Projects such as Pinnacle Park, much touted by the citys economic development department, have barely made a dent. South Dallas is your curse and your great opportunity, said Antonio Di Mambro, a Boston planner and urban designer who is working on community-redevelopment projects in southern Dallas. A curse because the extraordinary level of decay and degeneration contributes to the negative image that people have of the city. Its your ugly racial divide, though you dont talk about it quite that way. Yet if you are going to have any additional growth in the city, you have no choice but to put it there. Dallas needs a big change of attitude about this sector. Some enlightened leader has to stand up and say, Enough with exporting development to the suburbs. Were going south. And mean it. o o o NOT SO LONG AGO, A CITY LEADer would have emerged from a Dallas business establishment that was allmale, all-white and all-business. It had only one agenda Whats good for business is good for Dallas and only a handful of people to push it. But that was then and this is now. The business guys cant run the city anymore, said political scientist Royce Hanson, author of the 2003 book Civic Culture and Urban Change: Governing Dallas. They dont have a clue to whats going on. Theyre flummoxed even when theyre trying to do good. And memories of Dallas exclusionary politics complicate any involvement by business people in public life. Suspicion attaches to them, often without reason, Dr. Hanson said. Recent interviews with two dozen area business executives revealed that the business-city gap had become so wide that some CEOs couldnt even name the mayor of Dallas. One consequence has been a drop in civic volunteerism, the backbone of the old Dallas way. When we get good people involved, we tend to kill them, said former Mayor Ron Kirk, referring to the daunting workload that often burdens volunteers such as Walt Humann and Don Williams. We need to come up with a new structure for tapping our best talent. But like others interviewed for this article, Mr. Kirk had no idea what such a structure might look like. If the main problem were simply overcrowded calendars, the solution might be more Palm Pilots and savvy administrative assistants. But business has changed, becoming less local, more global. Dallas largest banks are owned by financial conglomerates based elsewhere. Even big companies with local roots face shareholder pressure over their balance sheets, which dont include a line item for civic service. We squeezed it out of corporate America, said one executive who spoke on condition of anonymity. Employees think, Youve given us two jobs. Its rare, this executive explained, to

How voter turnout in Dallas stacks up


The Dallas Morning News compared voter turnout in each of the peer cities most recent mayoral elections.
Jacksonville 2003 Philadelphia 2003 San Diego 2004* San Francisco 2003 Baltimore 2003 San Jose 2002** Detroit 2001 Houston 2003 Indianapolis 2003 Phoenix 2003 Columbus 2003 Memphis 2003 Austin 2003 Dallas 2003 San Antonio 2003 6.0%
10.1%

49.6% 49.0% 42.0% 39.0% 34.6% 34.1% 33.4% 31.2% 26.8% 21.1% 21.0% 17.4% 14.9%

*The election coincided with the March 2 California presidential primary. **Not a general election. SOURCE: Dallas Morning News research

he Booz Allen Hamilton report concludes with a recommendation that is easy to express but hard to follow. Creating the type of change Dallas needs to stem [its] decline requires an act of bold political leadership. What remains unclear is who, if anyone, will provide the sustaining leadership to help the city change course. Ordinarily, city government would provide that leadership by setting an agenda, gathering resources and mustering public support to achieve it. But Booz Allen found that City Hall is broken and questioned whether Dallas other institutions are strong enough to drive change.
city could be mobilized on behalf of dramatic civic change. We have a huge, untapped resource out there with business leaders, the faith community, all these people out there who are frustrated with what they see, Ms. Miller said. And they want changes, and theyre willing to help, to spend their money and their time and their energy fixing the problem. There is no question that Dallas is a more diverse, demanding and dissenting place than it was 40 years ago, harder to handicap, with new constituencies and new priorities. So the key question may not be

Who will lead Dallas? but Who is Dallas? We lack a sense of identity, of who we are as a city, said Andres Ruzo, former chairman of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Dallas is a multicultural city, but we havent embraced that richness. o o o RACE IS THE UNACKNOWLEDged driver of Dallas civic agenda, the not-so-secret ingredient in how the city works and looks. It is a factor in every decision that is made in the city of Dallas, said Ben Click, who was police chief from 1993 to 1999. I dont know if there is another city in the country with racial divisions as pronounced. That makes it very difficult day in and day out to make decisions. You walk on eggshells [and] are afraid to make decisions that need to be made. In the last 10 years, Dallas has had a black mayor, a black police chief, and black and Hispanic school superintendents. Yet these breakthroughs, signifi-

The business oligarchs who once ran the city, Mayor R.L. Thorntons famous dydamic [sic] men of Dallas, are gone, and their successors are more committed to their own companies than to traditional ideas of public service. Dallas grass-roots organizations are weak, and its voters apathetic. Turnout in the May 2003 municipal election was barely 10 percent. Even Detroit, the urban abyss into which Dallas vows never to fall, drew 33 percent in its last mayoral contest. The evidence notwithstanding, Mayor Laura Miller believes that the

cant as they were, came later than in other big cities. And some of Dallas most important political and legal victories singlemember council districts, an end to court supervision of schools and public housing were won only after bruising legal battles. Bitter memories from those past struggles shadow and shape todays Dallas. Civil rights lawyer Michael Daniel, who forced the city and federal government to confront institutionalized segregation in the citys public housing, said Dallas still resists honest talk about race. White people hate it because they always feel like they get mau-maued into talking about things that dont fit with their reality, he said. Black people hate it because they feel like they get pressured to say things arent as bad as they are. To City Council member Elba Garcia, the faces at the council horseshoe offer proof of a city pulling together since the arrival of 14-1. We finally have elected officials that look like the city of Dallas. And thats why I believe that the city is going forward with diversity, Dr. Garcia said. A Dallas discussion about racial divides is not just a black-white issue. The city is 36 percent Hispanic, and the Dallas Independent School District is nearly 60 percent Hispanic, with many new immigrants arriving unprepared for school. Geography matters, too. A demo-

On the move to the suburbs


Percent of 1995 residents who moved to the suburbs by 2000
0 5 10 15 20

Renting, not buying


Percent of over-25 population living in rental housing
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70

Houston Dallas Baltimore Phoenix Austin Columbus Indianapolis Detroit San Diego Memphis Philadelphia San Jose San Antonio San Francisco Jacksonville
SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau; Booz Allen Hamilton analysis

Jacksonville
17.6%

San Jose Phoenix Philadelphia Indianapolis San Antonio Memphis Detroit Baltimore San Diego Columbus Houston Austin Dallas San Francisco*
*Renting in San Francisco is more commonly considered a viable long-term option because of historic rent controls and an expensive city and regional housing market. SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau, Booz Allen Hamilton analysis

57%

A ROAD MAP FOR RENEWAL

The Dallas Morning News

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Page 15W

For most of the last century, Dallas City Hall was run like a business by the same people who ran Dallas biggest private businesses. Others werent particularly needed, or necessarily welcome. Now, the face of government, like the face of the city, has been transformed, leaving the question: Who will lead?

find someone with enough time and energy to run a major business and also give back to the city. These problems are hardly unique to Dallas. Yet in the best-performing peer cities, such as San Jose and Phoenix, the lines of communication between business and government are clear and open. In Dallas, they are filled with static. Asked to name the institution most influential today in city life, one Dallas business leader heaved a sigh and named the city government. I do so reluctantly, because I wish it wasnt true, this executive said. I wish the answer had been business people, again. Right now, thats not really the case. o o o ITS REALLY IMPORTANT TO CREate a system of government where voting matters, Dr. Hanson observed. Dallas doesnt have one. The May 2003 election featured a trifecta of electoral bounty campaigns for the mayor and council, for the school board, and a $555 million city bond proposal. Yet scarcely one in 10 registered Dallas voters turned out. Five incumbent council members ran unopposed; one was elected with barely 1,000 votes. Several candidates who lost City Council races in Arlington polled more support. With the exception of San Antonio, every peer city in the Booz Allen study had higher turnout in its most recent mayoral election. In the last 35 years, turnout in a Dallas mayoral election has cracked 26 percent just once the 1991 election that marked the citys first under 14-1. The numbers say either that people are not upset with what theyre getting, or else that they see no chance for real change so they arent bothering to vote, said Dan Weiser, the Dallas political an-

alyst and demographer. The 2003 Dallas Morning News Poll found support for both hypotheses. When asked about city services, residents were less satisfied than they were 10 years earlier. But they said they were more positive about the city as a whole and their neighborhood in particular. At the same time, they also expressed no consensus on who is most important in shaping the citys future, and by a large margin they believed they have little influence on what happens there. A more hopeful view of residents feelings about their city emerged in a group interview with five City Council members. Looking past the anemic turnout, they cited the ballot-box endorsements given to the citys 2003 bond package. That tells you something. For a city that is about to tip the wrong way, that wouldnt happen, Dr. Garcia said. o o o EXCEPT IN CITIES SUCH AS BOSton and Chicago, Americans typically dont organize around municipal politics. Schools, traffic, security and property taxes are more likely to be the issues that galvanize residents and draw neighborhoods together. But its hard for this to happen when neighborhoods are in constant flux. Booz Allen found that Dallas population is remarkably transient, with almost one in five residents moving to the suburbs between 1995 and 2000. In many cities, broadly focused community organizations help compensate for sprawl and neighborhood volatility. Producing a good active set of community organizations is as important as anything you can do on the economic front, Dr. Hanson said. Dallas would seem to have plenty of grass-roots organizations linked to schools, churches, neighborhoods

that could stitch together the citys fragmented constituencies. Compared with similar groups in other peer cities, though, they are much more narrowly focused, according to social scientist Patricia Evridge Hill, author of Dallas: the Making of a Modern City. Dallas neighborhood groups are very inward focused on specific needs, she said. In San Jose, by contrast, these groups are deeply involved in framing citywide issues such as growth management. Theyre not parochial in the way Dallas groups are. The best of these groups are involved with the community as well as one another, and for long periods of time, so that they develop the credibility and trust needed to produce civic capital, and ultimately to shape government. The tri-ethnic Dallas Alliance, which dissolved in the mid-1990s, had some of those attributes. Spinoff groups such as Dallas Together were more ad hoc and short-lived. Minorities often dismissed them as public relations stunts rather than serious attempts to resolve serious problems. Phoenix, a sprawling, multicentered city like Dallas, has tried to address both neighborhood stability and a sense of community by supporting construction of thousands of middle-class

homes about 4,000 last year alone within a few miles of downtown. While the architecture is generic Spanish Colonial hodgepodge innovative design is not a staple of boomtowns the sheer number of units allows the city to attract and keep middle-class families that are the foundation of urban stability. Phoenix also subdivides itself into 14 urban villages, each with some type of civic center usually a shopping mall or a library plus a village planning committee that reviews major zoning and land-use matters. The committees were created because people got tired of a [downtown] elite making all the decisions, said Ray Quay, a planner for the city. They provided broad public representation in a city that did not have much of an ethic about creating place and community. The committees cut across council districts so that they arent under the thumb of a single politician. They meet regularly with the citys planning staff. Although the committees roles are only advisory, their recommendations are taken seriously by City Hall and developers. o o o DALLAS MOST AMBITIOUS EFfort at public consciousness-raising

Whos watching City Hall?


The Dallas Morning News Poll asked Dallas residents how closely they follow the activities of city government.
Very closely Somewhat closely Not very closely Not at all

20%
SOURCE: 2003 Dallas Morning News Poll

50%

20%

9%

was the first Goals for Dallas program in the mid-1960s. It was the last hurrah for the Dallas oligarchs, initiated and orchestrated by Mayor Erik Jonsson and staffed by recruits from Texas Instruments and other leading corporations. It was a product of its time, built around dynamic leadership, ample funding, a sense of common purpose and a feeling of urgency and, in the beginning, a need for civic therapy. Erik felt the needed to do something to get Dallas out of its depression after the Kennedy assassination, recalled Bryghte Godbold, who was recruited from the Ford Foundation to run the program. And what he decided on was to plan our future as a city. Residents met in small groups to develop 100 goals on a broad range of topics: improved public transportation; better schools, including a research university; economic development; and environmental quality. Out of this process eventually came an expanded library and community college system, a retooled University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and a research center that became the University of Texas at Dallas. But the process didnt satisfy everyone politically, nor did it achieve some of its most critical goals. Black leaders felt sufficiently shortchanged that they created Goals for Black Dallas. And if the unfinished business from Goals for Dallas regional transit and environmental planning, for example sounds familiar, thats because it is. Dallas continues to revisit these issues over and again. The city must find a way to break this cycle, Booz Allen said, because the consequence of business-as-usual will be to see Dallas go the way of declining cities like Detroit.
E-mail ddillon@dallasnews.com

LESSONS
This report sends a clear message the future is in no ones hands but

our own.

Absent a sustained, focused effort, the type of turnaround required is all but impossible.

foundation for future civic change.

A strong set of community organizations builds democracy from the ground up, establishing a

Is low voter turnout due to apathy or overall satisfaction? Either way, more public participation is better a system of government where voting matters.

SOURCES: Booz Allen Hamilton, Dallas Morning News research

Page 16W

Sunday, April 18, 2004

DECISION TIME
Story by David Dillon
What Dallas brings to the table
So after concluding that Dallas is failing on many of the most basic dimensions, why did Booz Allen assert that its report also provides an optimistic view? The report sized up the citys strengths as tremendous natural advantages. Addressing its structural problems would allow the city to better capitalize on those assets.

The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS AT THE TIPPING POINT:

The report outlines a path toward creating a more workable city, one that serves the basic needs of all its residents, and a more livable city, where people want to be because it is satisfying, exciting and enriching. An obvious place to start is the City Charter, the operating manual for municipal government. Drafted during Herbert Hoovers presidency, the charter is ill-equipped to cope with current challenges, the report concluded. Back in 1931, Dallas was a sleepy Texas city of 260,000 people with a regional economy and a predominantly Anglo population. Today, it is home to 1.2 million people, a minority-majority hub operating in a global economy. In spring 2002, right after she was elected, Mayor Laura Miller established a Charter Review Commission to study the issue. Charter review is Dallas political shorthand for Who runs City Hall? an elected mayor with executive powers, or a professional manager who oversees all major departments and sets the agenda for the council? The commission worked diligently for the better part of a year and delivered a set of modest recommendations to the council. Changing the charter would require the council to call an election and put the changes in front of voters. The recommendations never saw the light of day. A lot of people are going to be disappointed that were not making any radical changes, commission member Julie Lowenberg remarked at the time, but I dont think were ready for that. o o o OR MAYBE WE ARE. DALLAS Morning News polls in 2002 and 2003 showed Dallas residents preferring a strong mayor to a professional manager 2 to 1. Such a radical change may be just what Dallas needs, suggested Robert Behn of Harvard Universitys John F. Kennedy School of Government. After such a structural break, people will be discombobulated enough to do some things differently. But Booz Allen said that who runs the government is less important than having a workable government to run. In the consultants view, Dallas is arguing over who drives when the spark plugs are fouled, the gears are stripped and the wheels are falling off. The report laid out nine principles that should undergird a new charter, including a strategic plan, clearly defined roles for the council and the chief executive, and rigorous performance measurements. Simple ideas, straight from Government 101, but lacking in Dallas. Either [the council-manager or strong-mayor] model can work, the report said, so long as the operations of

aced with high crime, low student test scores and stubborn joblessness, Dallas recently rolled up its sleeves and went to work. It hired a marketing firm. I dont think theres been near enough control over the brand impression, said Stan Richards of the Richards Group, which is trying to give Dallas a new image. Dallas rarely misses an opportunity for a swipe of marketing rouge. But the Booz Allen report stressed that in 2004, the city needs more than myths and makeovers. It is time for fundamental changes in Dallas strategy, structure and services. The changes wont be quick or painless. But they are achievable; other cities have made them.

Deja vu all over again


Many findings and recommendations in Booz Allens report echo other analyses of Dallas strengths and challenges, some going back almost 40 years.

Goals for Dallas, 1966


City Government: Keep the council-manager form but review it regularly to assure that it is sufficiently representative and responsive. Public Safety: We should strengthen each of those agencies charged with the responsibilities of assuring public safety. Education: Every Dallas child should have the very best education possible in a school system which ranks with those of the highest quality in the nation. Economy: Both the human skills and physical resources of our community [must be used] to attract new enterprise and develop existing resources and institutions.

Real estate: Dallas has about 17 percent of its land mass available for development* the largest share of any peer city, with the possible exception of Phoenix.
*Land available for development excludes government-owned land, public open space, nonprofit land, parking lots and roads.

Geography: Dallas enjoys a midcontinent location, benefits from the historic Sun Belt migration and is well placed as a trade hub for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Dallas Plan, 1994


People: Dallas has a vibrant high-income community, with two-thirds of the population living in ZIP codes where the average per capita income exceeds the U.S. average; an upwardly mobile immigrant population; and a population that is optimistic about the city and strongly entrepreneurial. Neighborhoods: Preserve, strengthen and revitalize the foundation of community. Economic Development: Leverage resources to attract new businesses and support expansion of existing businesses. The Southern Sector: Strengthen southern Dallas as an economically competitive and desirable place to live and work. The Trinity River Corridor: Protect and develop the Trinity River Corridor to become Dallas new front yard, a nature park and a recreational and economic asset.
SOURCES: Goals for Dallas; The Dallas Plan

Transport: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, major rail connections and access to eastwest and north-south interstate highways give the city an enviable transportation infrastructure.

SOURCES: Booz Allen Hamilton analysis, Dallas Central Appraisal District 2002

to $15 a square foot quickly soared to more than $200 a square foot, pricing out every arts organization except the Dallas Museum of Art which did pick up cheap options. A district that might have been substantially completed in 10 to 15 years is now barely half finished after 25. Todays City Council is congratulating itself for having chosen five priorities to guide the citys efforts over the next few years. Mr. Benavides said he welcomes even that rudimentary step because it will help him fend off impulsive demands to pursue this or that initiative of the moment. But Ms. Miller acknowledged that one set of general goals, adopted by one council, is a bit like a house of cards. We have a very short shelf-life, and we have very different ideas about how things should be done, she said. And so, every two years, you could have a very different council that goes running off in a different direction. The most sophisticated strategic plan wouldnt necessarily prevent that, but it would provide a platform for a wide-ranging discussion about where the city should be going and why. Neither a laundry list nor a purely conceptual document, like the now-defunct Dallas Plan, it would be built around specific goals and pragmatic ways of achieving them. The council and city staff would have to be involved in the birthing process or else the plan would lack advocates and defenders. Given the citys dearth of planning expertise, outside advisers also probably would play a key role. The benefits would be not only liberation from crippling budget-to-budget thinking but, as success builds upon success, a slow rekindling of public trust in city government. o o o STRATEGIC PLANS ARE COMPLEX documents, touching nearly every aspect of urban life. A strategic plan for Dallas should focus on three crucial issues, Booz Allen suggested: improving the quality of life, attracting more middle-class families, and addressing the citys underfunded liabilities. Although Dallas says it runs like a business, it doesnt follow one of the basic principles of a successful business investing in its core assets. Large infrastructure bills in areas such as water mains, storm sewers and streets will be coming due within the next two decades, Booz Allen said. The city also needs maintenance, as in money, to cover the pension plan for its municipal employees. As of 2002, the last reporting year, Dallas system was underfunded by $2.1 billion, near the bottom among its peer cities. On quality of life, respondents to the 2003 Dallas Morning News Poll identified crime, public education and economic development as the most important issues in the city. Two of those crime and economic development are on the councils priority list. Questioned about the third, council members fell back on their habitual response: We dont control the schools. But Dallas needs a comprehensive program to address all these shortcomings precisely what it lacks now, Booz Allen said. Addressing only the politically expedient elements of the strategy will likely fail, Booz Allen warned. Each part of the eco-system needs to be improved or the broken parts will overwhelm the improvements. Without that, the city will always struggle to retain middle-class families with children. To attract new middle-class residents, Dallas needs to create a living environment that can compete effectively with the suburbs and a business environment that attracts and retains anchor employers, the report said. The courtship of the middle class is not only a theme of the Booz Allen report but a priority for every major city in America. Bringing those families inside the city limits means improving housing, transportation and basic services. Anyone who doubts the importance of getting the basics right should consider the words of Alfred S. Chuang, the founder, chairman and CEO of the software company BEA Systems Inc., based in San Jose, Calif. BEA could just as easily be located somewhere else, he told a civic gathering recently in San Jose. Seattle, Shanghai, even San Francisco. But were not, were firmly rooted right here. San Jose is the safest city in America. Here, the needs of neighborhoods are not secondary to the needs of industry. The needs of families are not secondary to

the city government are transparent and, most importantly, questions of who does what are clearly resolved. Former Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza seconded that thought. All over, there are strong-mayor and council-manager cities that work, he said. I always say, Take the form you have and make it work. Its a way overrated discussion item. Among other virtues, a charter that clarifies responsibilities and lines of authority at City Hall might re-engage a business community frustrated by the lack of both. Ms. Miller said in an interview that she intends to have a charter election in May 2005. In preparation, she said, the council will study the Charter Review Commissions recommendations, and council members will bring forward their own ideas. She said she will propose a switch to strong-mayor government, to become effective after she leaves office. Any change could be a hard sell to the council. During an interview with five council members, it was clear they were unaware of her plans. Some also suggested that the charter is just fine, and that problems arise only when officials ignore it. Its effectiveness is based on those in

office following what the charter defines as roles and responsibilities, said council member Lois Finkelman. And when council members overstep those roles and responsibilities, then the lines get muddied. o o o DALLAS IS THE ONLY PEER CITY without a strategic plan, which lays out crucial long-term objectives, explains how to achieve them, and carefully measures the results. It is an indispensable tool for accommodating change without lapsing into chaos. Without a general plan, governing the city would be impossible, said Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. Because of the certainty it brings, the general plan has become a critical component for residents and businesses, not just government. What City Manager Ted Benavides calls his strategic plan is basically a wish list of vague objectives (Create employment opportunities for economically disadvantaged persons) instead of a pragmatic policy document (Create 5,000 new jobs in the southern sector by 2006). As a result, Dallas development tends to be impulsive and scattershot, favoring high-profile, big-fix projects

such as arenas, sports stadiums, convention centers and cultural districts, at the expense of small incremental fixes, the connective tissue, that holds neighborhoods and cities together. Were all so jaded over here that we wouldnt know a good strategic plan if it fell on us, said one planning official who spoke on condition of anonymity. There is no commitment to a long-term vision that puts pieces in place to fit with other pieces that may come along five and 10 years from now. We just dont have enough staff dedicated to the long view, added City Council member Veletta Forsythe Lill. And because of that were more zoningoriented than planning-oriented. A number of Dallas institutions have paid dearly for the lack of a long-term strategic vision. The downtown Arts District, for example. In proposing the district in the late 1970s, renowned planner Kevin Lynch begged the city to snap up and bank every available piece of land to get the kind of district it wanted, at a price it could afford. The city refused on the grounds that it wasnt in the development business, and therefore shouldnt compete with private enterprise. Consequently, land that might have been acquired for $10

WHAT THE CITY COUNCIL SAYS


Here are excerpts from interviews with Mayor Laura Miller and the six City Council members who participated in The Dallas Morning News briefings on the findings of the Booz Allen report. Do I think the report is off base? No. I dont think its off base. Dallas may have had a tipping point several years ago, and we did move toward more favorable things. The momentum currently experienced could be decelerated if this report appears too negative about Dallas. I think their whole premise that Dallas is at the tipping point is inaccurate. I think we may have been at some kind of a less-defined tipping point a number of years ago, but I think in the last four or five years, for the most part with a few exceptions, the trends are positive and the future is positive. I think youre one cycle behind. There are tremendous positive things happening in Dallas, Texas, today that are not being covered. I believe I know where were going and its the right direction. Were on the verge of some very good things happening. I think thats the difference between what youre suggesting and what Im suggesting. Youre suggesting were on the verge of a decline, according to the verbiage in this report. Im suggesting thats not the case.

Mayor Laura Miller

Whats not working is our city manager. Ive been on record for a long time about that.

Bill Blaydes

Mitchell Rasansky

Veletta Forsythe Lill

Lois Finkelman

After I read the document, I felt strongly that the city is finally moving in the right direction.

Elba Garcia

Gary Griffith

A ROAD MAP FOR RENEWAL

The Dallas Morning News

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Page 17W

Observe Dallas City Hall long enough, and you may come to feel that there are 30,000 things that need xing. Not so. There are basically three things that need xing with 30,000 consequences. So here are the three things: strategy, structure and services.

the needs of business. Dallas isnt doing well enough on these quality of life measures. The intown housing boom, for example, is attracting mainly on singles, empty-nesters and gays, who like the conveniences of urban living and dont need the schools. Middle-class families with school-age children are surging in the other direction, taking their resources with them. A lot of people leaving Dallas are making $50,000 to $70,000, said Andres Ruzo, former chairman of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and those coming in are Hispanic [immigrants] with an average income of $25,000 to $30,000. Thats why we have a problem with eroding sales tax. There are no EZ Guides for solving these problems. They sometimes stump the best thinkers. Yet in Dallas, a new charter and a strategic plan can be important first steps in turning the corner,

the Booz Allen report suggests. An updated charter would align authority, responsibility and accountability in city government; a strategic plan would identify pragmatic civic goals as well as ways to achieve them. And making a strategic plan a requirement rather than an option under the charter would force the city to operate in new ways. A strategic plan is not the Bible, it doesnt fix all problems, said Grady Gammage, a Phoenix zoning lawyer who has written a history of that citys development. But having one in Phoenix has moved the discussion incrementally from, Can you buy off the nextdoor neighbors? to, Is it compatible with what the city wants? And thats a good thing. o o o THE 20TH CENTURY WAS THE ERA of the melting pot and the exploding metropolis. The 21st is shaping up as

the century of the city-state, political and economic entities with the size and the economic clout of countries. They are so powerful that some scholars are arguing that cities dont matter anymore that it is the metropolitan region and the global economy that really count. But cities still exist as political units, and they are responsible for providing vital services, from police protection to water to streets things that not only touch individual residents but also affect the economic viability of cities and regions. The Booz Allen Hamilton report confirmed the correlation between a healthy core and a healthy region. If a citys economy grows slower than the national average for cities, then its suburbs grow slower than the national average for suburbs. The two are inextricably linked, even if the rhetoric is too often them and us. Or put more concretely, when Detroit cratered, the aftershock hit Dear-

born and Birmingham as well. When downtown Cleveland became a nomans land, businesses werent flocking to Shaker Heights. Conversely, the vitality of Boston, San Jose and San Francisco has created a galaxy of flourishing suburbs around them. This relationship is imperfectly understood in North Texas. The health of the region has lulled Dallas into ignoring its internal problems, while the suburbs enjoy a false sense of security about their independence from the core. Many of the civic leaders interviewed for this report from business executives to city officials were alarmed by the divide between Dallas and its suburbs. Weve got to regionalize public housing, public health and other responsibilities, said former Mayor Ron Kirk. We cant just share economic development. If the suburbs think they can go their own way, thats foolish

thinking. The region needs a center, a magnet to hold the pieces together, added Frank Turner, executive director of development services for the city of Plano. Without that core, the whole regional identity suffers, which means that you cant compete with other cities for corporations and development. Booz Allen presented its report as a call to action as well as reflection, appealing for new structures and strategies, and a questioning of inherited traditions about how Dallas should run. And even though it called the study optimistic, it anchored it in the metaphor of Dallas at the tipping point, that moment of precarious balance, when things can still go either way up or down, San Jose or Detroit. The only thing Dallas cant do, as business consultants constantly remind their clients, is nothing.
E-mail ddillon@dallasnews.com

If the root cause of Dallas decline is, in large part, an artifact of the governments structure and practices, then it is here that we must begin if the city is to truly change course. We believe the city needs to embark upon a holistic transformation along three dimensions: strategy, structure, and services.

LESSONS: WHAT DALLAS MUST DO


STRUCTURE: We believe it is time to fix the City Charter.
o The executive mayor vs. city manager debate is a distraction. o The charter needs to be updated to define much clearer roles for the mayor, City Council and the manager. o A strategic plan must guide decision-making, including the citys budgeting and capital spending.

STRATEGY: Dallas needs a strategic plan that is realistic and actionable.

o Take a programmatic approach to boost Dallas quality of life, focusing on the three areas most important to residents reducing crime, improving education and stimulating economic development. o Create an environment that not only retains middle-class families but attracts more of them in the future. o Invest now in critical big-ticket items such as streets and water mains. Further delay will only imperil Dallas financial position.

SERVICES: The focus of city services needs to be directly linked to the citys strategy.

What should a new charter look like?

The Booz Allen report says Dallas should embed these nine principles in a revised City Charter: I Create a strategic plan and use it to guide decision-making. I Ensure that the chief executive is accountable for effective administration of the city. I Ensure that elected officials are responsible for setting strategy, objectives and goals. I Make performance assessments systematic. I Measure performance by results, as well as by what actions are taken. I Balance the budget and ensure that it reflects the strategic plans priorities. I Never compromise the citys long-term financial footing. I Ensure that capital improvements are linked to the strategic plan. I Represent stakeholders fairly.
SOURCE: Booz Allen Hamilton

o To improve effectiveness, each key service area should be guided by the citys overall strategic plan, more closely mimicking the business discipline used in private enterprise. o To improve efficiency, Dallas should compare how its services stack up against the best-in-class services provided by other cities; identify the causes of any shortcomings; and adopt practices to close the gap.
SOURCE: Booz Allen Hamilton

Page 18W

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Dallas Morning News

LEADERSHIP

DALLAS AT THE TIPPING POINT:

The Dallas Morning News


EDITORIALS

Dallas in Denial

City leaders must aggressively reshape Dallas

rosperity, it seemed, would never end, or at least that is the fable Dallas told itself over, and over and over. No, Dallas isnt Detroit, a city long cited as the poster child for the urban hollowed-out, holein-the-doughnut metaphor. At least not yet, and we hope never. But thats faint praise. As this special section so clearly notes, Dallas no longer can afford to take success for granted. Yes, Dallas can claim a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit, a low cost of living and affordable undeveloped land in the southern sector among its assets. Yet clouding Dallas future are the challenges of high crime and an undereducated workforce, as well as problems that the overall regions prosperity have masked, including ongoing residential flight to the suburbs, a shortage of middle-class housing, a weakening tax base, sluggish economic growth and the repeated failure of city leaders to plan and invest in the citys long-term needs. City leaders, when presented with these findings, insisted theyre already working aggressively to address them. But they also expressed surprise at some of the findings and vigorously disputed others. Mayor Laura Millers first reaction was to bash the city manager for bungling the police chief hire three years ago. She overlooked the broader implications of the citys lack of a strategic plan for combating the citys high crime rate, undereducated work force and poor investment record. Only six of the 14 City Council members bothered to attend any of three newspaper briefings about the report prior to publication, and most spent more time complaining about the negative tone of the report and questioning the newspapers motives for commissioning it than reviewing the actual data. The Dallas Morning News commissioned a study like this because the City Council failed to. Council member Lois Finkelman challenged the reports finding of a citywide housing shortage in the $150,000 to $300,000 range by citing anecdotal experience in her district: I see all of my friends children moving into those neighborhoods where they grew up because those houses are affordable and they want to raise their children in the city. Council member Bill Blaydes insisted city government was plenty transparent and then in the next breath noted with regard to his colleagues: Most of our differences (are) handled before we walk into (public council meetings) on a lot of very sensitive subjects. Just as disturbing was the city staffs reaction. Though some initial defensiveness about a critical report is understandable, the city manager never seemed to move through that phase to any robust discussion of how to right this ship. City Manager Ted Benavides criticized the reports observations about oversight of the police department as a pile of doo-doo and was equally dismissive of the reports overall findings. You can take any data and say this is the tipping point and that were in the hole. Well, I disagree. Collectively, this denial in the face of facts is as disturbing as the fundamental message of the report: Theres danger on the horizon if the city doesnt act.

them come up with a sustainable solution for the city. Jon Edmonds: I embrace this report. I think its right on point. Im happy that we have it, and I think we should use it to create and continue a sense of urgency that this city is going to need. Having said that, Im tremendously optimistic about the future of Dallas. I think we are approaching a tipping point, but were thinking about the right thing. This report says it really takes some modest, basic changes to make a big difference, and I agree with that. I dont think were in deep trouble. I think we have to make some very key adjustments to how we do business in Dallas. Walt Humann: I would say Dallas is in transition and has been. There are some problems here, and we ought to face them. But, like Jon, we should be optimistic. Heres my point: Dont color your output. You have to give a sense of concern, so you just arent complacent. But be very careful of how much you say the sky is falling.

Laura Miller
Mayor Dallas biggest challenge: Better schools, cleaner air, safer neighborhoods, a clear-eyed vision

Heres what needs to be done


City officials simply must get past the defensiveness and focus on how to convert these findings into reform. Action should be swift, clear and comprehensive. DEVELOP A STRATEGIC PLAN Who needs to act: City manager, upon consultation with the mayor, council and public. When: Now. City officials are correct when they boast about the many master plans recently developed for key city resources, including the Arts District and Fair Park. But Dallas still is the largest city in its peer group operating without a strategic plan to outline where the citys going, how its going to get there and how it will measure success. Without a shared vision, its impossible to govern for the future and all too easy to get mired in day-to-day operations. Portland is one of a handful of midsized U.S. cities that has a healthy downtown with major department stores. Its strategic plan makes clear how the city will measure its success. UPDATE THE CITY CHARTER Who needs to act: City manager, mayor, council and public. When: Now. This isnt a paean for converting to a strongmayor system of government. Phoenix, a city larger than Dallas, and San Jose prove that a strong-manager form of government can indeed work if roles and responsibilities are clearly spelled out, and the right people are in place. Both Phoenix and San Jose, for example, have clearly delineated lines of authority for the elected and appointed officials, and measure performance around actual service delivery rather than internal reporting processes. San Joses charter places citizen satisfaction at the top of its organizational chart. This might seem to be a tiny change. It, however, emphasizes the need for responsive city governments to make citizens their top priority. Dallas should do the same. INVEST IN THE FUTURE Who needs to act: City manager, upon consultation with the mayor and council. When: Now. Dallas too often manages to budget. In other words, key decisions are based on making the immediate budget line rather than achieving progress toward performance goals. This must stop. Example: The $555 million bond issue voters overwhelmingly passed last year almost didnt make it to the ballot at all. Most council members and both mayoral candidates started out favoring a package barely two-thirds as large. Elected leaders were willing to perpetuate the cycle of inadequate investments in such basics as streets, housing and the homeless in order to tell voters theyd held the line on taxes and minimized the debt load to maintain a strong bond rating. Thats not leadership. MODEL BEST PRACTICES Who needs to act: City manager, upon consultation with the mayor and council. When: Now. Dallas doesnt benchmark itself against peer cities. Yet thats what every smart business does. For example, the citys economic chief couldnt name any economic indicator that his office watches to gauge the citys economic health. Look to Portland for clues to downtown success. Look to Phoenix for tips about transparency. Build on the urban planning successes of suburban neighbors, like Flower Mound and Frisco. Decide what success looks like and then be relentless about measuring progress. TRUST THE PUBLIC Who needs to act: City manager, mayor and council. When: Now. Sing about successes, yes, but be more open about acknowledging problems. The Dallas Way wont move the city where it needs to go in the 21st century if leaders arent more forthright about shortcomings.

Keven Ann Willey: Do you think Dallas is at a tipping point? Laura Miller: No, I wouldnt call it that. Id say Dallas is going to become a different city in the next five years if we can get downtown revitalized to where there are no empty buildings and people are on the street. When we get the Trinity River [project] built and if we can connect Fair Park, which is a huge and wonderful jewel in our city unlike anything else in the country, to downtown, then youve got a totally different city. All that is in our reach because weve already dedicated the money to do a lot of this. There are very few cities, in my opinion, that have the ambitious goal that Dallas has right now. I am wildly idealistic and optimistic about where were going. KAW: Mr. Jones, youre new to Dallas. Do you think Dallas is in a state of decline or at a tipping point?

Phillip Jones: The way I like to describe it is that a renaissance is taking place in Dallas. There are a lot of opportunities to reposition Dallas as one of the best destinations in the country. One of the things I like to tell folks when Im traveling and promoting Dallas is that in the last 18 months, 20 new restaurants, clubs and hotels have opened up, and several more are on the hook. So there is a real renaissance taking place in Dallas. To me, the biggest challenge and I dont know if the city can do something specifically about this is the education system. If you want to get people back downtown and into the city, you have to fix public education. Thats not unique to Dallas. I feel this is something that has to be addressed. Andres Ruzo: We lack a sense of identity, who we are as a city. I think its not readily understood by most people. Dallas is a multicultural city, but we havent embraced that richness of being multicultural and multiethnic. We have serious challenges. From Andres Ruzo our perspective in the Hispanic CEO, Link America Inc.; immediate past chairman, Greater community, we see that change Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has to take place, and it has to be with a sense of urgency. We need Dallas biggest challenge: Its lack of identity and how to to bring together the leaders in all embrace and positively leverage diversity as a long-term the ethnic communities and have solution

Jim Mitchell: The report talks about transparency or a lack of transparency in government; it also talks about fragmentation in government and about a government organization that doesnt require accountability. Youre in the trenches every day; talk to us about that. Does that ring true with you? Laura Miller: Im not very concerned about transparency; obviously, Im very concerned about accountability. We just had an all-day City Council retreat about two months ago, where we ranked the biggest priorities that we had over the next five years. The No. 2 priority in the eighth-largest city in America was, believe it or not, staff accountability. First was economic development. Second was staff accountability, and after that were neighborhood quality of life, the Trinity River and public safety. Those were the five. But it is astonishing that the whole council is frustrated enough to say, Why dont our 13,000 employees have an accountability system in place, so that when you perform, youre rewarded, and when you dont perform, youre fired? Thats not how it works at City Hall. Jon Edmonds: My perception is that its not transparent. The good news is that I think its improving. We got stiffed for a couple of years by the housing director and the assistant city manager at that time. They were not transparent. Everything we suggested, they said, Weve already tried that, were already doing that, or we dont have a problem in this area. Not transparent at all. Fortunately, one person who listened to us was the mayor,

Make a great city greater


Dallas is a wonderful place to live and work. Some of us are here by birth; others by choice. We all want to see the city and its residents prosper. We are by turns enchanted and excited by visions of a Trinity River extraordinaire, a robust Arts District, a bustling Fair Park and a bright economic future for all Dallasites from Oak Cliff to Old East Dallas, from Far North Dallas to the southern sector. This newspapers love for the city is what drives it to outline so starkly in this special section the challenges the city faces, challenges that have long been camouflaged by the regions relative strength overall. Were optimistic that Dallas can dig itself out of these problems; we point them out because were worried the city hasnt to date appreciated their gravity. Dallas: destiny or disaster? The answer is in your hands. Take this report to City Hall and demand accountability from city leaders. Start right now.

A ROAD MAP FOR RENEWAL

The Dallas Morning News

Sunday, April 18, 2004

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The Dallas Morning News Editorial Board asked a few Dallas leaders to read an executive summary of the Booz Allen Hamilton report and then to share their on-the-spot thoughts during a roundtable discussion about the reports conclusions and the future of Dallas. The following is edited and excerpted from that conversation. To read the full transcript, go online to DallasNews.com/tippingpoint.
VIEWPOINTS
who appointed a task force on housing. We were able then to really look at some of the strategies, some of the things that really needed to change. What happened out of that was a new head of the Housing Department, who comes from the private sector and who has a better understanding of how to do business as opposed to being just a political bureaucrat. The whole process is a lot better. Thats great news: one example of one department that was not transparent but now, I think, has been fixed. But there are a lot of other departments within city government that I think are where the Housing Department was a few years ago. Walt Humann: I find people try to characterize business and government as different kinds of entities. What you have to do is have leadership, be persistent and have a good spirit. Also, the private sector has to be there. We cannot come in here, pound on the table and expect them (City Hall) to solve every one of our problems. Andres Ruzo: I agree with what Walt is saying. Again, this is a multicultural city. I think that is something we have got to embrace and get the best potential out of it. I think we havent been completely transparent in realizing that is a strength for us. I think we can do more in terms of recognizing that people of color are part of the city. We constantly look at the statistics and what will happen in the next 20 years. Fifty percent of Texas is going to be Hispanic. Its a hardworking community linked to the budget. I think that bureaus, organizations or city agencies that are performing should be rewarded for performing, and those that arent should be penalized for lack of performance. KAW: Do you have a perception of whether thats happening here now? Phillip Jones: I can tell you one thing that has been somewhat frustrating to me in terms of dealing with City Hall. Im never sure of where to go. Sometimes, its to the city manager; sometimes, its to the mayors office. Looking at your report, I think you have some valid recommendations for changing the structure. Is this structure really appropriate for a city the size of Dallas, with the number of employees and city population we have? KAW: Does Dallas need a strategic plan? Jon Edmonds: Absolutely. KAW: Why and how would you start that process? Jon Edmonds: I think we have to consider structure first. I come from Indianapolis, which has a strong-mayor system, so its been frustrating for me to be in Dallas, where there is no accountability. I cant pinpoint who is in charge, where the accountability is, where the buck stops. I think Dallas needs to consider either changing our structure to go to a strong-mayor city, or if were not going to do that, then certainly the city manager has to be not only a manager but a leader. Without one of those two changes, a strategic plan really does little good, because youre still going to have the problem about who is accountable and how you bring accountability to every area of government. Andres Ruzo: I definitely think we need a strategic plan that is cohesive. We need to look at this like a business, because basically its like having a huge corporation. Laura Miller: I agree with Jon; there is a disconnect. If you dont have the visionary promoting the strategic plan with all the stakeholders, and you have a piece of paper that says this is the strategic plan, and you have a mayor who really is just a mouthpiece and doesnt run the show but ran with a vision, theres a disconnect there. Thats my biggest frustration. I believe so strongly that the No. 1 way to move Dallas forward in lightning speed is to change the form of government to a strong mayor. I would be happy to do it so it would be effective when I leave. But if that could happen, it would be the greatest contribution that any of us could make to the city. JM: Lets move onto the issue of crime. A Dallas Morning News survey last year found public safety is the single most important quality-of-life issue. Yet this same report talks about how the police chief, city manager, mayor and council all have some responsibilities for public safety but that accountability is still an issue. Jon Edmonds: I come from a differhave to strengthen the capacity of community-based development corporations. In some instances, they will create a market in some neighborhoods. In other instances, they will prove up the market in a neighborhood. At that time, based on my experience, the private sector will come in and start partnering with the nonprofit sector to do even more housing. On the heels of housing come a lot of other things the return of services in the neighborhood, economic development and all of that. Laura Miller: House builders felt very unwelcome in City Hall for a long time. Tens of millions of federal dollars would go into the Housing Department, and you wouldnt see houses come out the other end. For years, we ruined neighborhoods by going in and ripping down substandard housing in areas like South Dallas and then never putting a house back on the lot. You can walk down streets in South Dallas where every other house is gone. How does that neighborhood ever be anything else but totally demoralized? So our goal is to do the infill of not only 5,000 lots in the South Dallas area that need a house but also the thousands of acres of vacant land all through Pleasant Grove and Oak Cliff that need houses on them. JM: I want to go around the table and see if we can come up with something a little more tangible in terms of aligning accountability and responsibility within city government. Laura Miller: I think Jon Edmonds said it best: We need to go to a strongmayor form of government, and we need to get a visionary city manager. I think it would be a whole lot more efficient. If we dont go that route, I just think we are going to continue to have a lack of accountability. KAW: How do you account for cities like San Jose and Phoenix? They have a strong-city manager form of government and a weak-mayor form of government, and according to this report, they test out pretty well on performance standards. Jon Edmonds: I would stand behind what I have already said. I would bet you that if you go to Phoenix right now, the city manager is a leader and a visionary. I would bet that, because that is the only way it can work. Its either a strong mayor or a city manager who is a leader and a visionary. KAW: How do you think we as a community ought to measure our success? How do we know if Dallas is on the right track? Walt Humann: I measure success partly by the attitude of the people, the spirit of working together to solve common problems. I know the focus of this discussion has been on the City Council and how were organized, city manager or not. But it all comes back to leadership. And its not just the governmental sector. The nonprofit and the private sector were all part of the team. Theres just so much the governmental sector should and could do. So I advocate a stronger spirit of connectiveness. Not just within the city but within the region. Jon Edmonds: I think it ends up in the small stuff. I would say it ends up in safe streets, a thriving local economy and good schools. I think that if you measure those three things, it ends up in being something that we call front porch. You see people start showing up on their front porch, sitting out and playing with their kids. Phillip Jones: I would add a thriving downtown. Any city has a thriving core. The people in North Dallas would want to visit because of the restaurants, the shops, the hotels and the attractions in that urban core. That is important for the whole community. Laura Miller: We keep taxing and taxing homeowners, who are bearing more and more of the burden. And yet what are they getting for their money? The same old thing. They still get their trash picked up. They still have X number of officers on the street. The potholes still are there. So what are they getting for it? The only way to change that dynamic radically is to get downtown vibrant, to have the Trinity River established and to become a huge magnet for tourists, conventioneers and businesses to come from around the world. We are on the way to getting there. When that dynamic changes and we get new money in our city, all of these other things will be a whole lot easier to do. We are at the tipping point of getting there, and thats why it excites me to get up every single morning to go to work. Walt Humann: I would just like to put in a plug for public transportation. Its the glue that holds the community together. I hope its going to knock the socks off a lot of people to see what happens ultimately with Fair Park and the connection with downtown. Im leaving this meeting pumped up. Lets get going. Andres Ruzo: I would like to add that I really believe its not only the mayors issue. Everybody has to pull together. Im a Peruvian by birth and a Dallasite by choice. The Trinity River definitely will be something that will put us on to the next level. Its incumbent on the public and private sectors to drive us in that direction. We need strong leadership.

Jon Edmonds
President/CEO, Foundation for Community Empowerment Dallas biggest challenge: The centralization of corporate decision-makers outside of Dallas, a weak local government structure and a struggling public school system

Phillip Jones
President/CEO, Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau Dallas biggest challenge: Education, transportation, renewal of the urban core and creating a thriving downtown

that has some issues that need to be addressed. Phillip Jones: One of the things I think is used very effectively on the state and federal levels is an inspector general. If youre talking about accountability, you have an inspector general who is appointed and has the autonomy to go out and do reviews and audits without political reprisal. I think that also adds an element of accountability to the process. I can assure you that when I (was in Louisiana and) got a call from the inspector generals office, I was concerned. I returned that call immediately, because it meant there was a problem somewhere in my department that had to be fixed. Then what happened is that the budget committee received a copy of the audit report. If there was a problem somewhere in my department, it had better be fixed if I wanted to get my budget for the following year, or there would be penalties assigned. Accountability should be linked to performance, and performance should be

ent perspective on this. We have a crime problem, but I think crime problems are tied to the feeling of relevance and neighborhoods. More than not, I will point to this. Fort Worth is having a horrendous gang problem right now. They are talking about adding to their budget millions of dollars to bring on enforcement. Then I look at South Dallas, Fair Park where weve been working and other areas of Dallas our gang problem is not exaggerated the same way. I think the deal is there have been organizations working with gangs in Dallas for a few years now, that weve been supporting, which really kind of have changed the mindset and broken down that force and that momentum. So I think investment and focus has to be more at street level than at an enforcement level. I think we have to consider how we change peoples thinking and how we give them new hope in their life. How we change their direction to become positive contributors and not negatives. How we make community relevant to them. Laura Miller: We dont have any accountability system for the Police Department, which I think is a problem. Just like we deal with code enforcement, the Police Department traditionally has been kind of hands-off because we never cut police officers in our budget cycle. So there really hasnt been any kind of performance evaluation, because we never have to make decisions about laying off police officers. I believe that right now for a thousand reasons there are some police officers who arent pulling their weight. We desperately need a new police chief who is strong and a great leader and can rally the troops and set some very stiff performance benchmarks. Weve got a problem. The City Council is prepared to raise property taxes, which we did not do last year, if and only if it goes to hiring more officers. The reason weve been doing an efficiency study is we wanted to know how we spend our money in this department do we need more officers, and if so, how many, and what are they going to do? KAW: Crime is certainly an important issue. Let me toss two other issues on the table. One has to do with the citys transitional population and the lack of affordable and suitable homes to retain the middle class. The other is a talent deficit. The city must compete for talent in a region that has far fewer higher education graduates than it has jobs. What can the city do about each of those? Jon Edmonds: I think were about 30,000 units short of workforce housing in Dallas. The reality, I think, is that we

Walt Humann
Chairman and CEO, WJH Corp. Dallas biggest challenge: Uniting people and organizations to implement actions to solve Dallas critical problems

Keven Ann Willey


Vice President Editorial Page Editor

Jim Mitchell
Editorial Board member and editorial writer

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on any given day? 13% 37% 43% 77%

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Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS AT THE TIPPING POINT: A ROAD MAP FOR RENEWAL

IDEAS

Necessity is the mother of invention. Cities change their ways because theyre hurting. So this is a perfect time for Dallas to survey its peers and cadge a few good ideas. The city should be scanning the horizon for what other cities are doing and shamelessly stealing it, said political scientist Royce Hanson, author of Civic Culture and Urban Change: Governing Dallas.
Story by Victoria Loe Hicks, Angela Shah, David Dillon and Tanya Eiserer

AN JOSE, Calif. When Ron Gonzales campaigned on the promise to be an education mayor, we all rolled our eyes and said, Yeah, right, political scientist Terry Christensen recalled. It was the fashionable thing to say. Now, six years later, city-school partnerships include 230 after-school homework centers and 190 recreation programs. The city pays nonprofit agencies to run these programs at city or school facilities.
primary schools just six years after it debuted as an experiment at one downtown elementary. Students can stay on campus from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., at no charge to parents, to enjoy clubs, sports and other activities. The state helps fund the project, which is run by community groups. On a bluff overlooking downtown, Rosa Parks Elementary School anchors a city redevelopment project. Within a few steps are the school, a city recreation center, a community-policing office and a nascent retail cluster, complete with a McDonalds and a Cingular Wireless store. The city planning group and the neighborhood are extremely active with the schools, said Cynthia Reed-Porter, a school district spokeswoman. They definitely have a vision. o o o PHOENIX BUSINESS. PARTNERS. Funny how those words go together. When it comes to economic development, the smart money is on cities that link up with their communities brightest, boldest entrepreneurs wherever they may turn up. In Phoenix, the most important guy to the economy moved here last year, said land-use lawyer Grady Gammage. That would be Michael Crow, the new president of Arizona State University. He came with a mission: to transform ASU into a major research university. His strategy includes partnering with the city to create a center for research in emerging fields such as biotechnology that can spin off jobs and other tangible benefits for Phoenix residents. He started talking, and people said, Hey, he sounds pretty good, Mr. Gammage said. Hes a risk-taker. He asked the Legislature for $60 million

Four hundred teachers have bought homes in San Jose with the help of interest-free $40,000 loans from the city. All but one of those teachers still teaches in San Jose. Nonprofit agencies under contract to the city are working with 10,000 parents, helping them be more effective participants in their childrens education. Mr. Gonzales Web page brims with photos of him visiting schools. Each year he recognizes those with the greatest improvements in student achievement. Although its impossible to trace the improvements directly to the citys efforts, in the last five years, schools in the San Jose Unified School District have improved their scores by an average of 11 percent on Californias Academic Performance Index. The lowest-performing schools have shown a 27 percent jump. Like Texas, California separates the functions of cities and school districts. Still, San Jose has scraped together $10 million a year to run its programs even in the midst of a technology bust more severe than Dallas. It does so because City Hall regards top-quality schools as part of San Joses economic development strategy. Thats why City Hall also spent $7.5 million in redevelopment funds to help renovate a downtown elementary school, and why it built a recreation center at a nearby middle school. In the evenings, the facility becomes a community center the first of its kind in the predominantly minority neighborhood. San Jose wants schools that operate around the clock, said Albert Balagso, the citys assistant director of parks, recreation and neighborhood services. San Diego is virtually there. Its 6 to 6 Program is offered at all

for research, and damn if they didnt do it. ASU and the University of Arizona even set aside their historic rivalry to help Phoenix compete to become home to the International Genomics Consortium. It will use the accomplishments of the Human Genome Project to engineer new medical therapies. With the universities, the state, private foundations and corporations contributing intellectual firepower and money, Phoenix landed the prize. The city broke ground in May on a $39 million downtown building, primarily financed through bond money, to house the consortium and another biotech research group. If Phoenix has a model, its San Diego, where the University of California created UCSD Connect, a program that brought together the researchers, lawyers, managers, venture capitalists and marketers needed to nurture baby biotech firms. We lust after what happened to San Diego, Mr. Gammage said. Fifteen years ago, San Diego was a resort where Navy guys retired. Now its rocketed past everyone. UCSD has more Nobel laureates than UCLA. To capitalize on its fortune and stay abreast of the competition, San Diego loans more money to small businesses than any other city in the country. Its economic development department has a $15 million budget and 100 employees. They are spending gobloads of money thinking about the future of their military bases, said Jeff Finkle, president and chief executive of the International Economic Development Council in Washington. When they built a baseball stadium, they built a community. Formerly a seedy sailors hangout, the Gaslamp Quarter has been made over into a 24-hour neighborhood of loft apartments, abundant nightlife and a new baseball stadium within walking distance of downtown. The city never slacks off, surveying residents about economic development and updating its strategy every two years. This helps the city to understand the connection between driving indus-

tries and the city general fund, said Hank Cunningham, the economic development director. This is about taxes and jobs. Up the coast in Silicon Valley, jobs once rolled in faster than they could be counted. Then, almost overnight, many of them disappeared. Thats when San Jose realized that it needed not only a plan but relationships with the companies that drive its economy. First, though, it had to figure out which companies beyond the developers whose business requires them to interact with the city those were. A series of painfully frank community meetings and interviews with corporate executives helped city leaders bridge a vast divide. When we sought the counsel of the CEOs, their reaction at first was: And youre here why? said City Manager Del Borgsdorf. There had been no prior strategic discussions. The plan that emerged is a sophisticated analysis of how the city can affect the local economy, starting with 15 initiatives to cultivate businesses identified as economic drivers. One outgrowth is a development Cabinet of CEOs who advise the mayor. Another is a list of San Joses top 100 companies large employers and major sales-tax contributors. Economic development staffers have essentially adopted the companies, treating them as a sales staff would treat its key customers. Silicon Valley is at an inflection point, said Kim Walesh, assistant director of economic development. We are no longer the center of the innovation universe. Were just one node in a global economy. o o o SAN DIEGO IN THE EARLY 1990S, San Diego found itself in the same unhappy boat with most of the nations other big cities: short of officers and awash in crime. Crime was really high, said John Welter, the former No. 2 chief in San Diego who now heads the police department in Anaheim, Calif. We were chasing our tails with the same staffing we have today of about 1.6 cops per 1,000 people.

Police commanders responded by pioneering the concept of problem-oriented policing. The strategy held officers accountable for identifying persistent crime problems and devising solutions. Some were as simple as painting over graffiti; others were as complex as an outreach program for the homeless. The police also realized that they could not do it alone. Over the last decade, the department assembled a veritable army of volunteers, from people who act as interpreters to seniors who wear uniforms and drive donated patrol cars on crime-watch patrols. Today, San Diego is widely considered a font of innovative policing strategies. Among the nations nine largest cities, only New York had a lower crime rate in 2003. Dallas continues to claim the dubious honor of having the worst rate, despite having 37 percent more officers per capita. We changed the culture and the philosophy of how we did business, Chief Welter said. Most recently, the city drew national attention and acclaim for its Family Justice Center, which brings together police, prosecutors and service providers to assist domestic violence victims. The federal government will spend $20 million to replicate the San Diego model in 12 other communities. In San Diego, weve had some leadership here that is willing to work outside the box, to take a risk. Its part of our culture to take a risk, said Lt. James Barker, head of the departments domestic violence unit. In Phoenix, meanwhile, the police department surveys residents every two years to help determine its long-term goals. Our planning is bottom-up instead of top-down, said former Chief Harold Hurtt, who recently became chief in Houston. Its kind of a rolling plan. Every 18 months, we update it. By being driven from bottom up, we think that were pretty close all the time to the issues that we need to be addressing within the organization. We dont have a lot of busy people working in different directions. We have busy people working in alignment to achieve the identified goals.