Editorials

No to Fort Worth Props 1 and 10, yes to nine others

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Early voting starts Monday for the May 7 election, including a proposal to add two members to the Fort Worth City Council.
Early voting starts Monday for the May 7 election, including a proposal to add two members to the Fort Worth City Council. Star-Telegram

All of the 11 city charter amendments on the May 7 ballot for Fort Worth voters are important. Five deserve special attention because they could significantly change the course of city government.

Proposition 1 would change the current two-year terms for the mayor and council members to three-year terms, giving them an extra year in their seats before they must seek voter approval of their work.

Two-year terms have worked well in Fort Worth, and they have the additional advantage of allowing city elections to be timed in years when there are no partisan elections for other local, state and national offices. Frequent voter feedback is a good thing.

Proposition 2 would add two members to the council, allowing broader representation of the city’s diverse communities and diverse points of view on what issues are most important for Fort Worth.

Proposition 3 would increase annual pay for the mayor and council members to levels more in tune with the full-time effort their roles require.

Proposition 4 allows the council to fill its vacancies by appointment if they occur within 12 months of the next election. Longer vacancies require special elections.

Proposition 10 moves public notices of City Hall actions — the public’s business — away from widely circulated newspaper pages and puts them on the Internet instead. People who don’t have computers or don’t often peruse typically low-readership government-run Web pages would not see them.

Newspapers are an independent third-party source for these notices and also publish them online and archive them as a permanent record. Government should not be its own watchdog.

The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends voting against Propositions 1 and 10 and for the other nine propositions.

Propositions on the Fort Worth ballot

1. Increase council terms from two years to three

2. Increase council from nine members to 11, including the mayor

3. Pay council $45,000 a year, mayor $60,000

4. Allow council to fill a council vacancy that occurs within 12 months of the next election

5. Canvass election results, swear in council members at same meeting

6. Require council candidates to have lived in their district for six months

7. Allow council to hire and fire municipal judges

8. Conform city budget-writing process with state law

9. Clarify procedure for citywide vote on ordinances

10. Publish city notices online instead of in newspaper

11. Conform charter language with state, federal law

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