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City Manager T.C. Broadnax Says He's Learned Change In Dallas Takes Patience — On His Part

Krystina Martinez
T.C. Broadnax's desk nameplate was made by welding students at El Centro College in downtown Dallas.

Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax is now in his second year on the job. In his first 12 months, the city passed a billion-dollar bond package, killed the controversial Trinity Parkway project, hired a new police chief, and replaced some of the city's top brass. 

As the first outside hire to fill the city manager position in the last two decades, many council members hoped Broadnax would be a "change agent" for Dallas. Though Broadnax feels like he delivered in the first year, he said he had to learn patience.

"There's always this burning angst inside me that believes that we can do more and should be doing more," said Broadnax. "So I've got to learn — and I've learned — that I have to throttle down my own expectations for where I want [Dallas] to be."

He may have dialed back some expectations, but that doesn't mean there's a shortage of issues to deal with. The city now has to put the bond program into action and deal with the piles of rental bikes across the city. 

Interview Highlights

On homelessness in Dallas

I’ve at least made it clear that obviously homelessness is not a crime. But some of the activities, whether it’s safety, sanitary or unsanitary conditions that are being produced by the people experiencing homelessness, are the things that we’ve got to try to address while at the same time trying to provide and ensure that we’ve got available shelter space or the more long-term types of wrap-around services and housing options for people, which are not plentiful in this community. Part of the problem has been the frustration, I think, for years of concerns about it, and people feeling like not much is being done. We’ve got to really plan and be more methodical and have a strategic approach to how and what we’re doing.

On affordable housing in Dallas

We’re developing a housing strategy that will hopefully come to our City Council by at least no later than the end of March that will help lay out how we hope to address the issues that we’ve had with a lot of our inadequacy and the affordability of housing as well as deal with gentrification and other kinds of things. We don’t have a housing policy now and don’t have a strategy; we’ll have that. That will be the precursor for an economic development strategy that will come probably three months after that.

On the bike-share boom in Dallas

One of the things we’ve always been concerned about, at least me particularly, has been the impeding nature of some of the bikes in our rights-of-ways, particularly for people with disabilities and just people who want to traverse along our sidewalks. That’s been a concern. It’s only exacerbated [the existing issues with Dallas’ sidewalks]. But our Council asked us to take a different approach: Let’s study it for six months and see the impacts, just bear with it.

I think we’re at the end of that six-month cycle, and my team and staff are already working on a report out of what they’ve seen, what they’ve heard from citizens to then come up with some regulations and guidance that we can give those companies that still want to be in that market. I’m hopeful that will come in the next couple of months. You will see some improvements that don’t stifle that market but ensure that they are doing that right kinds of things that are respectful.      

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.
Rick Holter was KERA's vice president of news. He oversaw news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.