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
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.