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6/07/07  Here's my goodbye to Laura Miller.

Just got back from early voting for the run-off at a polling place that had the ambience of Death Valley, but with fewer people.  Needless to say, the race for mayor between Leppert Colony and Little Eddie Oakley has all of the suspense of the Sherwin-Williams test lab. 

Besides, whoever garners the 7500 or so votes that it will take to be the next mayor will have only one responsibility: to pander to the developer/real estate community.   The rest of us don't count.

A new mayor means the old one can now open a brassiere store in Preston Forest or whatever she plans to do with all of this new free time she'll have.  I have nothing but disgust for the performance that Laura Miller put in during her tumultuous tenure as the center chair of the idiots' half-circle.  Critics are a dime-a-dozen in the Laura Miller store, but most blame her for the wrong things.  Some examples:

It's popular to blame her for the Cowboys moving from one suburb to another.  Verdict:  not guilty. Jerry (I'm hosting the Super Bowl, but never having another team in it) Jones was building his acting resume when he said he wanted to come back to Dallas.

My sister loves to bad mouth the mayor about the smoking ban.  Verdict: not guilty.  The social tsunami against smoking reaches far and wide.

Some like to criticize Ms. Miller for lack of coalition building and leadership among her colleagues on the City Council.   Verdict: not gulity.  Dallas' system is so dysfunctional that if it were a business, its operational structure would make the average Kool-Aid stand fail.  If ever there was a town that needed a strong-mayor form of government, this is it.

No, the average critic doesn't see the forest for the trees when it comes to Laura Miller.  What she really did wrong was abandon the basic tenet that got her elected.  The excuse she gave for turning her back on the people of her core support will go down in history as one of the most absurd excuses -- a rationalization that would make Eddie Haskell blush.

Candidate Laura Miller said over and over and over that she was going to clean this town up.  Basics -- meat and potatoes -- was the only menu choice.  Remember?

Then something strange happened.  Early in her first term, she had a private meeting with the only man in town with a big printing press: Robert Decherd of The Dallas Morning News.  What happened in that meeting?  We'll never know, but Miller stopped talking about streets, parks, potholes or potheads.

She started dealing from the bottom of the Decherd from that point on.

People noticed.  We asked "what gives?".  Mayor Miller said her husband, another politician, told her the big picture should be her focus.  That's like Hillary Clinton saying faith got her past Bill's infidelities.  Believe it if you want, but saps are the grist for the political mill.

So, we started out with Laura Miller on a bulldozer and we ended up with Laura Miller the bull*****er.  

Yet, the true damage is much longer term than a stadium, a freeway or a coal plant.  The real ramification of Miller's betrayal is to disengage many smart and caring Dallas voters.  Voter participation, in a town where voting is considered quirky, will take decades to recover. The populist "lightning-in-a-bottle" is gone.  

All of those who believed that things were going to finally change under Miller learned a valuable lesson. Don't ever believe someone running for Dallas mayor.

Don Abbott
Dallas, Texas





  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8