Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mayor Tom Leppert meets with NAACP on Black Agenda

Mayor Tom Leppert signed the Black Agenda agreement with the NAACP while running for mayor. He agreed to work with the black community on many issues to strengthen the community through avenues that have been neglected over the years.

Mayor Leppert told the audience that the Trinity River vote was over and we needed to work together, but they have to remember that it was only a plan. That sounded to familiar. Just trust us.

He also said that he wanted to address two issues regarding the Black Agenda, and they were economic development and education. From the economic development area,he said that there must be three aspects(1)progressive philosophy(2)integrity and (3) communication. He also said that none of the initiative were going to be easy to do and(1) we must make investments (buy,subsidize)(2)general investments,(3) economic development that touch people (Starbucks,grocery store) and (4) Dallas more business friendly.

In my mind, this is such a limited view of what is needed in our community, but the mayor did not feel like he really had to answer the tough questions, so he just got up close and friendly.

The mayor also believes that it will take money & willingness to change southern Dallas, and that the Inland Port will only be 25% in Dallas. He talked about the SM Wright Freeway being a parkway and how the value of land would increase. I could not understand how that could happen. While working on The Trinity Vote campaign,I was told that the S M Wright Freeway would be a parkway so that the Toll Road would be able to go over it. I am fully aware of what happened to portions of Park Row and South Blvd. when I45 was put in. Those sections of the streets literally died.

On education, Mayor Leppert talked about his ability to work with the DISD because of his position as mayor, and he thinks that the "Road to Broad" is a good idea. It was no surprise to me that he would be supportive of that initiative because The Broad program advocates that the mayor of the city should control the schools. Mayor Leppert also talked about (1) early childhood reading program,(2) scholarship program for freshmen and sophomores to address the dropout rate,(3) summer jobs program and (4) Paul Quinn and UNT schools.

My biggest surprise of the night was that the mayor came to talk about the signed Black Agenda but did not go into detail about what he has done with each initiative. I did not see him with a copy of the signed document nor did it appear that the NAACP had a copy either. There were no real specific questions of the mayor, it was just like some friendly chat.

That is not what the community need. We need to hold these elected officials accountable. They come into the community when they want a vote and when they win, they just give us any kind of answer. Signing a document means nothing if you do not hold them accountable.

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