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  • Writer's pictureMac Smith

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

For the last ten years, at least, Dallas City property taxes have been rising about twice as fast as our incomes. Rents are rising and people are being taxed out of their homes.

Property tax valuations have been rising at 7% per year for at least 10 years while incomes rose at 3%. Instead of rolling back the tax rate, the City of Dallas has just collected the money and found new ways to spend it. The result is that the Dallas tax rate is 77.6 cents per hundred dollars of valuation while Houston and San Antonio are at around 56 cents. The Houston city charter limits spending growth to the rate of population increase plus the rate of inflation to keep the city budget from outstripping the taxpayer’s budgets. We need that provision in the Dallas city charter. We also need to freeze property tax revenue at 2020 levels for the next several years until our tax rates are in line with other major Texas cities. That would require a 2% reduction in this year’s proposed budget and a rollback to 74.6 cents. We need to put the City of Dallas on a diet. The required reduction in force can be accomplished by attrition.

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  • Writer's pictureMac Smith

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

The buzzword today is “21 Century Policing”. What we know about “21st Century Policing” is that it doesn’t work. Murder rates in Dallas have doubled since the low point in 2014. That has been the general experience in big cities all over the country. The minority communities it was intended to help have suffered the most from it. In Dallas alone, the cost is an extra 140 lives a year, most of them minority. We need to keep whatever good may have come from it and go back to 20th century policing.

In a plea to defund the police, County Judge Clay Jenkins made the statement, “the police are still killing us.”. Many believe that. Let’s look at the facts. In 2019, Dallas police officers fired their weapons a total of 11 times. Think about that. Out of over three thousand officers, over the course of an entire year, only eleven fired their weapons. In 2020, only four officers fired their weapons. One person was killed. Is what Judge Jenkins said true? Are the police still killing us? Contrast those numbers with the 254 murders in 2020, and ask yourself: Is the problem police brutality, or criminal brutality? Would we be better off with fewer police; or, with more police?

This shameful rhetoric demoralizes the police, makes minorities afraid to call the police, discourages minorities from joining the police force and emboldens the criminals. The Dallas City Council should present the truth and stand up for the police department.

Two years ago, every council member ran on a promise to increase the number of police officers. Last year, the wind shifted and a number of them supported defunding the police.

If elected, I will work to RE-fund the police. We need an additional 500 officers to bring us back to 2014 staffing levels. With these extra officers, I expect the police to be pro-active and not re-active. Two summers ago, the DPS sent 15 officers into South Dallas because there had been 40 murders in a month. They were there for two months, arrested felons, took illegal guns off the street and drove down the murder rate. That is pro-active policing. Preventing crime instead of just investigating it. The police need to put a stop to street racing. It’s not that hard, but it won’t stop if we just ignore it. Eight police cars and sixteen officers could block all the streets at the intersection, ticket all the bystanders blocking the street, arrest the drivers and tow the cars. If they did that every time someone advertised a street race, they would soon stop. The tickets should pay for the operation. The police need to confront the homeless when they trespass, are publicly intoxicated, shoplift or create a public nuisance. (See What to do about the Homeless in another blog. ). The police also need to have a better plan for dealing with riots. Standing by and watching is not the answer. They need a system so that people that loot and destroy property can expect to be either arrested at the scene or photographed and arrested later.

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  • Writer's pictureMac Smith

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

People who are temporarily homeless because of divorce, loss of job, injury, etc. need temporary housing until they regain their footing. Private sources exist for this purpose. The City’s role should be to connect them to the resources. That would be a good job for the Office of Community Care. They need quick help and the City does not usually act in a timely manner.

Homeless encampments are another matter. Seattle allowed homeless encampments to flourish. It has not turned out well. Google “Seattle is Dying” and watch the video if you don’t know what I mean.

There are many people who believe that we should help the hard-core, drug and alcohol addicted homeless to be more comfortable while they continue to destroy themselves. This is wrong. It enables them to continue their downward path and it entices others into the lifestyle. It is no accident that the Office of Homeless Solutions has a $12 million dollar a year budget and the number of homeless people increases every year.

The hard-core homeless need an intervention. The simple way to do that is to arrest them when they trespass, or steal, openly use drugs, etc. Sentence them to two weeks in jail. While they are in jail, the television plays motivational videos and life histories of people who once were homeless and got out of the lifestyle. At the end of two weeks, give them a shower, a shave, a haircut and new clothes from the Salvation Army thrift store and buy them a month’s stay at a shelter. Every morning, vans from the local day labor companies pull up and offer them a chance to work. If they want to get out they can. If not, you do it again the next time they violate the law.

At worst, they have a better bed and better food than they had at the camp. They just have to face the annoyance of getting sober and watching motivational videos. At best, they go to work and provide for themselves, like the rest of us. The solution to homelessness is to get people out of the lifestyle; not to make them more comfortable while they are in it.

For those still in camp, two cops and a drug sniffing dog should walk through the camp every day at random times.

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