Treating city hall fights as though they were major wrestling events, many in Dallas media are obsessing over the conflicts erupting among Mayor Eric Johnson, city staff, and the city council. But the real conflict isn’t what’s going on in city hall—it’s about the concerns of the political class versus those of the citizens.

Ever since the dust-up between Mayor Johnson and City Manager T.C. Broadnax in June—with Broadnax declaring before city council, “I run this city in concert with the mayor and the city council,” and Johnson firing back, “I maintain order in the meeting”—major media outlets have been pushing a narrative of a war with Johnson on one side and Broadnax, with a majority of city council, on the other. For the media, that might make for an exciting narrative, but is that really the conflict here?

What about citizens? Are their concerns being left out in this media coverage?

“Absolutely, they are,” citizen and former city council candidate Warren Johnson told Texas Scorecard. “Communication with [Councilman David] Blewett leads me to believe this is a political game city council thinks they are winning.”

“I see it as a road to chaos,” he adds.

Here’s the bottom line: city council members and the mayor are elected by citizens to represent them and their interests. They are hired to provide core services of government—such as police and fire—to people who are busy earning money to pay bills, being with their family, and dealing with crises like having loved ones in hospice.

City hall fights billed as wrestling matches don’t amount to a hill of beans when citizens are finding they now have to fear riots, violent crime, and being taxed out of their home or apartment—in addition to all of the ways life is already beating them down.

Public safety is the very issue in the crosshairs in Dallas at this moment. Dallas is projecting having fewer and fewer officers as time goes on, Johnson told council that homicides are up from last year, and the far-left Dallas Police Oversight Coalition (DPOC) is demanding raiding $200 million in taxpayer funds from the police budget for their own priorities, like art and green energy. Is observing modern art while paying more for solar energy supposed to make citizens feel better as their city burns to the ground and their neighbors are murdered?

Then there’s notorious anti-cop organizer Dominique Alexander, whose Next Generation Action Network is a member of DPOC. Recently arrested for allegedly hitting his girlfriend, Alexander has been repeatedly accused of violence against women. Funny how he’s one of the organizers of the protests-turned-riots this year. And he praised Councilmember Adam Bazaldua for the council’s recent decision to raid $7 million from police overtime. That vote got Dallas statewide attention with threats from Gov. Greg Abbott.

By the way, council’s vote could’ve been a meaningless peace offering to the left, as they may just raid the city reserve fund to fill that overtime gap anyway.

Speaking of taxpayer’s money, let’s not forget the favorite part of a citizen’s life: their property tax bill. According to data from the Dallas Central Appraisal District, from 2013 to 2019, city council has hiked their average property tax bills for homeowners over 56 percent—from $1,100 to $1,723. Last year, they hiked it over 9 percent from the year before. They’ve yet to set tax bills for the new budget, but council decided they won’t hike them above 5 percent.

How merciful in the age of coronavirus.

If the mainstream media were doing its job, it’d be focusing on where the citizens are caught in all of this city hall drama. After all, isn’t it all about them?

As a citizen, don’t immediately fall for liberal media narratives on what the conflict is. The real question you need to be asking is how all of this is affecting you. And ask your elected officials, “What are you doing for me?”

Maybe you should pick up the phone and ask your mayor or council member that right now. After all, shouldn’t it be the citizens who run their city?

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.


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