Local News

Leading Off (9/3/20)

Here comes the rain again.

Mayor’s Plan to “Defund the Bureaucracy” Receives No Council Support. The proposed 2020-2021 budget amendment was one of 80 or so brought before City Council during yesterday’s marathon budget meeting. Informal straw votes were utilized to take the temperature of council members and determine what would make it into city manager T.C. Broadnax’s proposed $3.8 billion budget next week, which is scheduled to be formally approved and adopted on September 23. Despite public lobbying by Mayor Eric Johnson, not a single council member voted to cut $6.5 million from the salaries of city officials. The amendment would have focused on the top 10 percent of civilian employees, excluding anyone earning less than $60,000 per year. Johnson said that although his $80,000 salary is set by the City Charter, he would be willing to donate the equivalent of his “pay cut.” Some of my coworkers were debating what the calculation of his “pay cut” would have entailed during a small, impromptu, socially distant wake in my backyard last night for D Magazine‘s founder, Wick Allison, but I wasn’t paying attention so I can’t tell you what it would have amounted to. (If you haven’t already, please add your remembrances of Wick here, and find a couple of hours to read all of the incredible stories.) Johnson has pointed out before that the Dallas city manager’s $406,850 salary is more than the U.S. president’s ($400,000) and more than twice the Texas attorney general’s. Council members did, however, get behind an amendment to cut $7 million from the police overtime budget. Amendment 43, authored by District 7 council member Adam Bazaldua, would reallocate the money for, among other things, 21 new full-time civilian DPD positions, updated traffic signals, and streetlights.

Let’s Not Get Crazy, But Dallas County Just Reduced Its COVID-19 Threat Level for the First Time Since May. Keep your masks on, people, but we’ve been downgraded to threat level orange. That’s better than red but worse than yellow and still means “extreme caution.” County Judge Clay Jenkins warned that people should still be vigilant over Labor Day weekend, because it has taken the county three months to get back to pre-Memorial Day levels. The threat level reduction was made due to the progressive decrease in hospital admissions, deaths, and new cases. The daily average of new COVID-related ER visits dropped from about 500 at the beginning of August to 400 at the end of the month, and the number of confirmed COVID-19 hospital patients decreased from 800 to 400. Dallas County reported six deaths and 358 new cases yesterday.

Mayflies Destroy Chevy Tahoes and Yukons. I have had a persistent swarm of the little buggers in my backyard, just to the left of my patio steps, but apparently they have also been active at GM’s Arlington plant, getting stuck in the paint jobs of 2,600 vehicles.

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