It is August in Lake Highlands, and ozone is not the only thing in the air.
Can it be time, already, to start thinking about which lucky person will be the next mayor of Dallas? The election is not until next May, but Steve Bartlett’s recent announcement that he has had all the fun he can stand prompted immediate speculation about the dozens of potential candidates considering the possibility of leading Dallas either into the next century or the next depression.
Lake Highlands will have a significant voice in that decision. City Council District 10 (Donna Halstead’s district) accounted for almost 10 percent of the total vote in the 1991 mayoral race and turned in about the same number of ballots in the 1993 Council election.
In both elections, only Glenn Box’s District 9 and Donna Blumer’s District 13 turned in more ballots than our Place 10.
After Bartlett made his announcement, the names of potential mayoral candidates were flying as fast as DART construction – no, make that as fast as DART spending. Councilman Chris Luna, Halstead and Box, former Councilman Jerry Bartos, businessman Tom Dunning and State Rep. John Carona are just a few of the names being floated.
Many of them shuffled their feet and gave a perfunctory “Aw, shucks” in response to inquiries about their interest in the job.
“You know. I will have to say that many people have asked me to run. Did I say many? I mean a lot. And that includes people outside my family.”
OK. Somebody has to be mayor, so we might as well try to choose someone who can do the job. And I don’t mean a bunch of abstract fluff that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. I mean “The Job.”
For immediate use by any and all mayoral “wanna-bes” out there, the following is a list of the top 10 parts of Keffer’s definition of The Job:
1. Perhaps the most urgent objective is to hit crime hard. One of the most (if not the most) fundamental service expected from government is the protection of our property and person. Make it hurt to be a criminal in Dallas. Arrest, prosecute, convict and get them out of here.
2. Prepare the City for our first opportunity in 1996 to vote to withdraw from DART. Cancel light rail before it creates any more black holes in the ground and in our budget.
3. Lead the charge to repeal the Wright Amendment, which imposes economically harmful flight restrictions on Love Field.
4. Fix White Rock Lake. Dredge the silt, and use it to fill up Carlsbad Cavern (the DART tunnel) beneath Central Expressway.
5. Privatize those City services that can be handled more efficiently and economically by the private sector.
6. Clean up Downtown. Send vagrants out on the next DART train – on second thought, that wouldn’t be soon enough or far enough.
7. Get the City out of peripheral concerns. Focus on the basic services that a City is expected to provide, and cut the non-essentials.
8. As a result of (5) and (7), and for general purposes, cut City staff. Reduce the size of government.
9. Lower the property tax rate. Bring people back to Dallas.
10. No full-time salaries for the Mayor or Council. They have made it a full-time job only because they are trying to do too much.
Wouldn’t it be just great if candidates were that specific in their campaigns? Instead, we will probably hear about how we need to love each other and be a family and try to work together.
That’s beautiful, but it’s not a program. It’s also backwards.
If we accomplished the top 10 list, we would have a healthier City because we would have a healthier economy. And a healthy economy goes a long way towards making a happy family.