Late June brought welcome news out of City Hall, as Mayor Mike Rawlings signaled that he is overhauling council committees, eliminating some, combining others, and creating new ones to better serve the citizens of Dallas. Much of the credit for this progress belongs to the new city manager, T.C. Broadnax, whose resolute leadership has inspired hope where once there was scorn. Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates put it this way to the Dallas Morning News: “I do think committees now will have oversight they haven’t had before. This is an effort to bring accountability to city functions.”
That’s super. But Mayor Rawlings hasn’t gone far enough. Here is a partial list of proposed new committees that your correspondent humbly suggests are needed if Dallas is to become a truly world-class city:
The Raised Garden Bed Committee.
It seeks to understand why a citizen’s wife might continue to buy plants and plant those plants but then refuse to attend to them with the diligence necessary for the corn, for example, to ever produce actual corn.
The Key Committee.
It has total oversight of citizens’ house keys and the key rings on which they reside, ensuring that citizens will never again leave their keys at work when they commute home on their bicycles.
The Human Health Committee.
It can answer the questions that an 11-year-old daughter poses when a citizen is listening with her in the car to Radiolab and the guest, a data scientist, mentions that most men will claim in surveys to have sex once a week, and the daughter says, “Eww, gross! I thought people had sex, like, twice a year!”
The Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee.
Referred to as BF’n’A, this committee makes sure that all Amazon purchases are delivered to the office, rather than the house, so that no one can spot the box and say to a citizen, accusatorily, “Oh! I see you bought a portable outdoor and shower Bluetooth 4.0 speaker by AYL SoundFit.”
The Transportation and Lycra Committee.
It meets once a week to field the complaints from wives of citizens about bicycles purchased without prior approval, patiently explaining (again), with the help of city staff, that $2,200 isn’t really all that much when you’re talking about a decent bike with carbon forks, and, besides, the bike will pay for itself in a couple years, accounting for the money saved on parking downtown—not to mention the health benefits.
The Housing and Bragging Committee.
When a citizen spends the better part of an evening planning his outfit for the next day so that when he visits the offices of the Dallas Central Appraisal District in the morning to contest its assessment of his home’s value, picking out the ratty polo shirt that best says, “I wore a collared shirt because I respect you, but I can’t afford this tax increase,” and when, partly as a result of that sartorial sagacity, the citizen gets his assessment reduced by 7.5 percent, this is the committee that plans the killer party that the citizen deserves.
The Table Committee.
It knows that 17 years ago the citizen was right when he said that a bench at the dining room table, at least on one side, was a good idea. This committee works closely with the Housing and Bragging Committee.
The GrowSouth Committee.
When a citizen’s beard goes gray—the part on the chin, not the whole thing—this committee, chaired by Lee Kleinman, gives him permission to brush in a little Just for Men without telling anyone because, whatever, it’s just, like, 10 or 12 whiskers, so it doesn’t really count.
The Sunset Committee.
It gives up.