It was a warm autumn night. The lights of the football stadium were visible from all around our community. Even the bellowing, baritone voice of Wildcat play-by-play announcer “Boneyard” Bob Johnston could be heard from the back porch of my house, so that there was not even the need for a radio to keep up with all of the touchdowns being scored by Head Coach Scott Smith’s football machine.

While listening to Boneyard Bob urge fans to take their dented Dodges and banged-up Buicks to Herb’s Paint & Body Shop, I drifted off to sleep.

I began to dream of a new, different, independent Lake Highlands — a Lake Highlands that actually became its own separate community, the small town that everyone had always described. I saw signs on Northwest Highway, 635, and the other street boundaries of our community that advised drivers that they were leaving Dallas and entering “Lake Highlands — Population: Just Right.” I saw buildings at Flag Pole Hill that were transformed from Dallas Park and Recreation offices into a quaint and accessible City Hall for our new town.

I saw the Northeast Police Station, a Dallas police outpost that now has to cover too large an area with too few resources, transformed into the central law-enforcement headquarters for our community, employing officers who were now able to focus exclusively on Lake Highlands and form relationships with business owners and homeowners associations because the bureaucratic distractions of a large city’s police force had been removed. I saw more justice being done because our citizens demanded it, and less crime being committed because our citizens wouldn’t tolerate it.

I saw apartment complexes being cleaned up and neighborhoods being improved because they received more scrutiny and were made more accountable. I saw the burdens of excessive multi-family housing eased because we were no longer under the authority of a city that considered our community a convenient place to ship the homeless, the released felons and other folks who were down on their luck. We were finally free of the decisions of others regarding how best to care for the less fortunate in our community and were able to design our own policies that had our community’s best interests in mind.

I saw our aging and empty shopping centers suddenly being reborn and brimming with successful businesses and retail supported by our neighborhoods that have been starving for it for far too long. I saw the red tape and bureaucracy normally associated with planning and zoning and development disappear because businesses no longer had to deal with people who were so unhelpful and frustrating that they made you either want to forget your dream or take it to another county. I saw a Town Center that finally lived up to its name, rather than something whose name should be preceded with the more accurate and descriptive term “Ghost.” I saw independent stores, restaurants with distinct personalities, live music and other entertainment at the amphitheater, and retail that became destinations for shoppers and patrons from beyond our town limits.

I saw an education system that not only was finally able to separate itself from an urban school district that had grown too large and removed from our area to be able to effectively support and meet our needs, but also became the laboratory for experimenting with developing a new and different system because our current system is unsustainable and unable to deliver high-school graduates with the education they need to be able to pursue higher education and careers with success. I saw a new system that was premised exclusively on the financial and parental and community support of each individual school — so that there was no longer any meaningful difference between “a “public” and “private” school. Instead of property taxes, each school was funded by tuition and donations. Each school would succeed or fail based on its own ability to sustain itself. No longer would we be so dependent on the state or the school district or be punished by losing so much of our own money because we had a certain property-tax base.

I saw no further need to subscribe to the Dallas Morning News, because we were able to get all of the news we needed from the Lake Highlands Advocate (right, Boss?).

And then I woke up. I wondered how I had come to have such a dream. Had I remembered Governor Perry’s now-famous comment regarding secession? Had I heard someone stutter when they introduced Congressman Pete “Se-Session”? Or had I somehow channeled the long, unspoken daydreams and secret desires of countless other Lake Highlanders?

Hard to know. But I had a subsequent dream, in which the Goo-Goo Dolls had recruited Lady GaGa as a new band member, and they had started a line of baby products called “GooGoo-GaGa”, so I wouldn’t take any of my dreams too seriously.