Richard Greene

Turn Tarrant County, local cities, blue? What exactly would that look like?

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Democratic party chair in Tarrant County, Deborah Peoples, announced her bid for Fort Worth mayor

An interesting story appeared in this newspaper covering plans that Democrats say they have to turn Tarrant County blue by electing their party members to city councils.

Let’s unpack that initiative and see just how such a plan would produce the desired results in the upcoming May elections.

To begin with, voters with ballots in their hands looking for candidates with a “D” beside their names won’t find a single one.

Maybe the Democratic leaders mentioned in the story haven’t discovered the fact that city council elections are non-partisan. Candidates have no party affiliation when seeking a seat on the governing body at city hall.

That could be because there are no Republican or Democratic fire trucks, water lines, roads, parks, libraries, garbage trucks, potholes, sewage treatment plants, or anything else that has to do with providing the essential services that support the daily lives of residents in the city.

And, that is the way it is supposed to be.

The last thing we need in the cities of Tarrant County or, for that matter, any other Texas county, is to transform local government into the kind of failures prominent in the nation’s cities that do have partisan elections and are in the hands of liberal politicians.

Aside from protecting our current system of cities being the best place where the promises of self-government guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution can actually be delivered, what could local Democrats have in mind when they say they are looking to seize control?

As reported in the story, the answer provided by Democratic activist Allison Campolo of Euless, who is associated with the Tarrant Together website raising money to turn the county blue, is a bit vague, to say the least.

“We see that people are interested in goals which keep everyone safe and give everyone equal access to opportunity.”

Whatever that means wasn’t made clear by Campolo with any further elaboration, but I can’t imagine any candidate who would not fully embrace such a public policy.

If her belief is that a city council member or candidate who she believes embraces conservative or Republican views would not favor those outcomes, she would be mistaken.

Another Democrat, Syed Hassan, who, like Campolo, lost a recent race for public office, identified the issues of public transportation, fracking, and clean air as separating his party’s positions from that of Republicans.

Here we have another non-starter if Hassan believes those issues will embolden Democratic voters to look for someone who will do more, or less, than anyone else occupying a city council seat, he will come up empty.

Arlington, as an example, is pioneering innovative transportation initiatives after voters made it clear in three separate elections that traditional public transit systems won’t be funded with local tax dollars.

Natural gas production has resulted in a bountiful windfall of public money to enhance the quality of life for local residents. Moreover, the state has significantly limited the power of cities to regulate the delivery of this essential energy source.

Improving air quality is something else that is already embraced by most cities. Many have gone beyond simply complying with state and federal regulations supporting healthier air for us to breathe.

Hassan’s other comment was to say city governments are not catering to the needs of residents and are, instead, focusing on economic development. That’s an odd conclusion, since the work of attracting corporate investment leads to lower taxes, more jobs and a better life for those residents.

Democrats taking control of area cities? I think not. Voters in these parts aren’t interested in duplicating the dreadful conditions in places like New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles, where the work of so-called “progressives” has only made things worse.

If you doubt that, ask yourself why people are leaving those cities in droves.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor, served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency and lectures at UT Arlington.
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