Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Whosplayin Interviews John McClelland

A new political season is kicking off and Whosplayin is back doing what it does best -providing in-depth interviews with the candidates. Here's a preview of Steve Southwell's interview of Dallas City Council candidate John McClelland. To read the rest, click here.

WhosPlayin: Dallas, and indeed the entire North Texas area suffers from very poor air quality. As you know, the air we breathe doesn't respect city limits and state borders. Mayor Laura Miller has taken a pro-active role in reaching out with other cities to prevent the proposed TXU coal-fired power plants to our west. What actions can the City of Dallas take to protect its natural resources and still be the thriving center of commerce that it is?

John McClelland: I believe the city could be a model in using alternative energy if we put our minds to it. Many of the DART buses already run on natural gas, which keeps emissions lower than diesel burning engines. We could possibly replace other city vehicles with flex fuel vehicles once they become cost effective for the city to purchase. DART's 2030 plan may also help to lower car use in the city once it expands the bus service and builds new rail lines throughout the city. Using mass transit is a matter of convenience to people, so it has to be easy to access. And in reference to what Mayor Miller is doing, I think it is wonderful. The air quality here certainly does not need to be made worse by TXU. My allergies are bad enough as it is. I can not imagine what asthma sufferers go through. I believe Rick Perry has been enjoying too much of the TXU Kool-Aid if he thinks fast tracking these polluting plants is a good idea.

WhosPlayin: What is your view of the proper role of city government, and is the Dallas Council getting it right? In other words, where would you do more, and what do you think the city council should avoid?

John McClelland: I think the current City Council and Mayor all have the right intentions for our city. I don't believe they intentionally try to do the wrong thing. But I think our Council has lost sight of what reality is sometimes. Some of the City Council members would rather rule their own little city district as a principality unto itself and ignore everyone else, but I do not believe that is how our city should be run. We need to look at the broader picture and help the entire city, even though as a Councilman I would represent only a smaller section. However with the
situation being that we have a City Manager who is supposed to actually run our city, with the support of the City Council (and a Mayor who is no more than just another Council member in terms of power), we all need to work together to make the city function. And that will especially be true this spring when we are set to replace at least ½ of the current City Council, as well as the Mayor. It will be a new Council with fresh ideas, I hope.

WhosPlayin: I can see your point there. When I think of the reality of what I expect out of my city, the first things that come to my mind are reliable utilities, garbage pickup, code enforcement, and police and fire protection. Do you think the council spends too much time on lofty ideas for "projects" rather than oversight of essential city services? You mentioned the Trinity River Project on your website.

John McClelland: Some of the council has its head in the clouds, no doubt. The goal is to make Dallas an attractive, nice place to live. But when you're a citizen of the city, the small things are what matter in every day life. And they need to be taken with as much seriousness as any project that wants to reroute a river. Making sure Time Warner is doing what it is supposed to be doing; making sure the trash collection is being managed in the right way; helping to alleviate why it took a fire station 15 minutes to respond to a lightning strike that burnt a house to the ground- those are the items a Councilman should be more in tune with. They may be small to people with lofty goals, but they are no less important.

Please visit his website and make a generous contribution to John McClelland's campaign.

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