The first sentence describing Tammany Hall is historically accurate. But in trying to connect this to direct election of the mayor in Richardson, Allan Garonzik gets the facts wrong and stands history on its head. After the jump, correcting bad history.Tammany Hall was the Democratic Party political machine that played a major role in controlling New York City and New York State politics for decades. Sound familiar Their infamous leader was "Boss" Tweed---perfect name. Interesting that those who want the City Council to select the Mayor from their inner circle are so desperate to confine the decision making and bypass the voters. What harm could possibly come from the citizens having a voice in selecting the chief executive of their city?
Source: Allan Garonzik.
Tammany Hall was indeed the Democratic Party political machine that played a major role in controlling New York City and New York State politics for decades. New York City had (and still has) what is known as a "strong mayor" form of government, where the mayor, elected by the voters, has responsibility for the administration of the city. Tammany Hall was able to influence elections in order to get their machine candidate elected year after year and control the patronage that came with the mayor's office.
The council-manager form of government used by Richardson (and by 40% of cities across America) arose in the late 1800s in response to the abuses of the strong mayor form of government. It was a reform of government. The reform deliberately weakened the mayor's powers in order to prevent abuse of power. A professional city manager was hired to administer the city. The weakened mayor was left with one power, to preside at council meetings. With that as his only power, it made sense to have the council pick their own presiding officer.
Allan Garonzik asks, "What harm could possibly come from the citizens having a voice in selecting the chief executive of their city?" As we've just seen, the mayor is not the "chief executive" of the city. And what harm could come from direct election? Well, it's ridiculous to compare Richardson city government to Tammany Hall, but because Allan Garonzik brought it up, here goes. New York City had direct election of its mayor during the Tammany Hall era. Richardson moving back to direct election of the mayor would make Richardson a little bit more like Tammany Hall, not less. Garonzik's fear of Tammany Hall is a bad reason to vote YES. In fact, it's a reason to vote NO.