A Conservative's Take on Richardson, Texas Politics & Other Local Tomfoolery
Got the job because the former Mayor and another former Mayor who now wields a gavel and other "back room boys" really pushed the three new council persons to agree to select him. First reason: he "deserved" to be selected to honor his long service. Second reason: he would be highly amenable to the "suggestions" given him by those who made it possible for him to be Mayor.One candidate scared them to death, and why the lobbying of the newly elected councilpersons was so intensive. (Bet you can guess who, Destiny) There were rumors he "micromanaged" too much,( Bill, you should be ashamed to make that accusation) that he didn't get along with staff, he "wasn't ready yet", and finally, - --get this --- "Richardson wasn't ready for a Muslim". (Why not unready for a Methodist, or a Baptist? How bigoted) They lobbied against another sitting council person becuse "he wasn't ready" and "he might do or say something to embarrass the City" if he were Mayor. (Well, this person IS infamous for always agreeing with somebody else's idea, and sometimes his facts are a little shaky). So why were they so opposed to the talented individual? The entrenched staff, who is long used to doing what they and the previous Mayor wanted to do and telling the rest of the Council to approve it, feared this person would actually demand they ACT like staff, following instructions, instead of giving them. That outcome would be completely unacceptable in Keffler's Kingdom. So now our aging city which hoped to rescue itself by convincing companies to relocate here bringing their young, highly paid upwardly mobile selves and families, will be represented not by a young fresh face with innovative ideas. The person trying to convince CEO's to move to new, youth oriented Richardson will be Mr. Townsend, a 78 year old fellow woefully short on patience, but perhaps aided by a crusty personality. So much for all the rationale putting in place the Renner/75 zoning, and other "youth oriented undertakings". Ah, progress.
Laura's selection makes possible a new word that's a sure winner in a Scrabble game: "maczka"
@anonymous at 9:33 - right on. While I think that 78 year old Mr. Townsend's intentions are good, he is simply too old to be mayor. Plain and simple. Sadly, like 83 year old Bob Macy who thankfully just left the council, Chuck Eisemann and Gary Slagel are more concerned about "having control" than they are about "getting results". So what if we attact more senior housing, more senior citizens, or drive away families and business, the bottom line is that Chuck Eisemann and Gary Slagel will still be in control. That's what is important to THEM.Until we get get direct election of the mayor, this "control" will not end. Chuck Eisemann will continue to recruit puppets who will support HIS choice for mayor. Great for Chuck, sad for our community.
Let's not discriminate due to age, friends.Look at Bob Townsend's accomplishments (or lack thereof), and his truthiness as he talks to the citizens of Richardson. And does he have new ideas or simply shrug and say "not much we can do about that .." (as he has said about the great search for Retail in the City).If BT is a puppet, that's one thing. But please leave his age out of it.Senior housing and senior citizens do not drive away families and businesses. They provide a method for "grandpa and grandma" to live near the "young upward professionals" and do help encourage some retail, health and other businesses.
Point taken, Will. The point here is simply that Bob Townsend's lack of accomplishments, initiatives, drive, or leadership during his 10 years on the council are, in my opinion, a function of his age. Perhaps, not. Maybe, 30 year ago when he was in his 50's, he would have exhibited these same characteristics. Who knows. Either way, they are a part of who he is today, which is not really a good thing for our city.As far as senior housing and senior citizens, don't get me wrong, they are truly wonderful to have, but when your community is predominantly senior, it is, ultimately, a drain on services, because the services/amenities that are needed for seniors are many times not the same ones that are needed by young professionals or families. You just need a balance - one of which we currently do not have. Already, Richardson has the highest percentage of seniors (28% - and going up every year), per capital in the region. Instead of vibrant retail, we have nursing homes, retirement homes, and all sorts of variations in between lining many of our major roads. Let's face it, marketing staffers and demographers will say that seniors don't buy, families and young professionals do, which explains part of our issue with the lack of national credit retailers.Again, if we don't do more to appeal to a younger segment of the population, we will continue down the same path that we have been heading for the last decade in regard to retail and revitalization. Unfortnately, I don't think that Bob Townsend at the helm will do much at all to change that course.
Anon, we're agreeing on this: I don't think that Bob Townsend at the helm will do much at all to change that course. However, the City Charter defines the role of Mayor like this. He/she is not in charge of anything beyond that, as far as I can tell. At least, that's what the Charter outlines: Section 3.02. - Mayor.The city council shall, as soon as practicable after the election, elect one (1) of its members as presiding officer, who shall be known as the mayor of the city. The mayor shall vote on all matters coming before the council, shall have no power of veto, shall represent the city on all ceremonial occasions and [shall] be known as the official head of the government. The mayor shall be selected after each biennial election, and shall serve for a period of two (2) years, subject to removal as mayor at any time by a vote of two-thirds of the total membership of the council.
@Will - thanks for your comments on our 1955 charter. I think you may be missing something major here. Clearly, we, as a city, have evolved, since 1955, and, good or bad, so has the role of the mayor. If you check most other city charters (of course, adopted and amended post-1955), then I suspect you may find similar general language for the role of the mayor. Some mayors have more responsiblities (appointing committees, etc.), some actually have less (can't vote, etc.). This 1955 snippet makes it sound like all the Richardson mayor does today is vote and cut ribbons. Far from it. What about the "other" informal or "presiding officer" duties, such as setting the agenda, running all council meetings, speaking at all events, etc. which come with the job that aren't mentioned in the charter? I'd say that these elements of the job, which may not be specifically mentioned, are pretty important. Most likely, though, in 1955, vote and cut ribbons was all the mayor did! I guess that if you are wanting a 1955-vintage mayor in 2011, then Bob Townsend is your guy!
Townsend's age has nothing to do with it. My father is in his late 80s and has more drive, energy, intelligence and new ideas in his little finger than Townsend possesses. I have nothing against the man, and there isn't anything terribly wrong with him.The point raised earlier is valid: the Coalition wanted someone they could control, and Townsend will always do as he's told. Always. He's a puppet that will do what Chuckie and Keffler tell him to do.My prediction (and I hope I'm wrong): this Council is where new ideas will go to die.