I know I’ve said this before, but one of the best aspects of publishing a newspaper is getting to meet people in person that, for the most part, most of us only see on television or read about in the newspaper.

During the past few weeks, we’ve met with Dallas Police Chief Ben Click and new Mayor Ron Kirk. And after a couple of hours with Chief Click and an hour with Mayor Kirk (both of whom are proud neighborhood residents), I feel a lot better about our City and its future.

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Now this is only my opinion, and feel free to take it for what it’s worth, but I’m impressed with both men – not because of their job titles or their political ideology or their personal agendas, but because of who they are.

If Chief Click walked up to me somewhere, unknown and unannounced in a business suit, I’d never guess he’s a policeman, much less the chief of 3,500 Dallas officers. The man is soft-spoken, but he speaks with impressive clarity.

He doesn’t seem to be one of the rough-and-tumble officers of television lore, and in my opinion, that’s exactly what we need in this City.

But I don’t think the head-cracking, rock-busting philosophy of many politicians is going to solve our problems, and Chief Click seems to agree.

So does Mayor Kirk, who is one of the most genuinely personable politicians I’ve ever met. And I think in Kirk’s case, calling him a “politician” is a compliment, because that’s what it takes these days to govern a major American city such as Dallas.

We’ve done the right thing here by establishing diverse leadership on the City Council, but you have to walk the walk and talk the talk to lead this group of budding politicos.

Maybe he’s naïve, or maybe he simply has enough years of politics and politicians under his belt, but you can tell by reading this month’s Advocate interview that Kirk has an almost supernatural confidence in his leadership ability.

He’s going to need that confidence, and probably a few divine miracles, during the next few years if he hopes to keep the Council on speaking terms. But after reading this month’s interview, I hope you’ll feel as if you were in the room with us for the entire hour the interview encompassed.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Doctors Hospital for sponsoring the annual interview. Publishing 60 minutes of unedited questions and answers – from a politician no less – is a risky annual endeavor for our newspaper, much less for a neighborhood advertiser interested in getting the most bang for its promotional dollar.

So the next time you run into someone from Doctors, let them know you appreciate their support of our newspaper and this format.

After all, this is supposed to be the “sound-bite” society, with children and adults having the attention span of Coke commercials. And of course, this interview offers no blood, sex and, to my knowledge, no blockbuster gaffes or quotes.

There’s not supposed to be any, either.

Instead, this annual, “kinder and gentler” July feature is designed to make you think. And I hope you’ll sense one of the positive aspects of being a newspaper publisher – even if it’s only for the hour or so you invest in reading this month’s discussion with Mayor Kirk.

Really, that’s all we’re trying to accomplish with this story.

Let me know if you like, or don’t like, our format by dropping me a line. Everyone who writes in, whether you like the interview or not, will receive a free, 100-percent-cotton Advocate T-shirt.

Who knows? If you wear our T-shirt around the neighborhood, maybe one of our local political luminaries will stop you and begin talking with you as if you were, well, a newspaper publisher.

If that happens, take good notes and then give me a call.

We Have Too Much Space

Several months ago, I wrote about our newspapers’ need for a new office space.

I’m happy to report that, beginning Oct. 1, we’ve found a new home in the First Interstate Bank Building in Lakewood, thanks in large part to the efforts of Lakewood Chamber member Chilton Sanders, who handled negotiations on behalf of the building’s owner.

However, the space comes with a hitch: The space includes about 750 square feet more than we need. The extra space includes two “window” offices and a storage area on the building’s eighth floor, overlooking the Lakewood Shopping Center and Lakewood Theater.

If you know of a small neighborhood business that needs a common reception area and secure, private offices, give me a call at 341-3353.