10/21/06 The Company You
We now have four official mayoral candidates.
I don't know much about Zac Crain, other than he used to write for
The Dallas Observer.
Apparently, most of his former co-workers still like himt, so that says
something. He has a website and
Zac Crain for Mayor Campaign Store.
His treasurer is Karen Jenny, and I know even less about her.
Then there's Sam Coates and
Treasurer Barbara Watkins. Not a whole lot to say about either one.
So, let's move on to three announced candidates I do know, in the order
of their designating a treasurer:
Gary Griffith and Finance Chair, Tom Hicks. You remember Tom Hicks, one of
the Robber Barrons who spent $4 million to get just enough votes (by hook or
crook) to leverage over $200 million from Dallas taxpayers to pay for an arena
for his business, a professional hockey team.
Darrell Jordan and Treasurer Doug Hawthorne. Hawthorne is head of Texas
Health Resources, which includes Presbyterian Hospital.
Max Wells and Treasurer John Ware. Back in 1997, Ron Kirk and John
Ware negotiated with Tom Hicks and Ross Perot, Jr. on how much they were going
to rip off Dallas taxpayers. Without a doubt, the arena deal is the worst
shafting this city ever took, just based on the total $$ package. Picking John Ware as his Treasurer and
hooking up with Kathy Neely, Demetris Sampson and Commissioner John Wiley Price tells you exactly
what to expect from a Mayor Max Wells.
Former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Max Wells
will run for mayor, his campaign organization having Wednesday afternoon
filed official paperwork with City Hall naming a campaign treasurer.
Such a step is a precursor to a
formal campaign and allows him to raise money. Mr. Wells says he'll formally
announce his candidacy later this year. His campaign treasurer is
former Dallas City Manager
John Ware, while his campaign chairman is Ted
Strauss, husband for former Dallas Mayor Annette Strauss.
Mr. Wells says the irony of businessman and former state GOP chairman
Fred Meyer serving as his campaign finance chairman is not lost on him: Mr.
Meyer lost a mayoral race to Mr. Strauss' late wife.
"They recognize that I'm uniquely
qualified to bring this city back together," Mr. Wells said. "It's a great
honor to me we're all working together. I'm the only candidate who has the
business experience at least to the level I have it."
Mr. Wells, a banker who served on the
Dallas City Council for nine years and also served as chairman of the
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Board, had earlier this year said he
would not run for mayor. But when Mayor Laura Miller decided against running
in July, Mr. Wells reconsidered.
He says his campaign organization
will be "very broad, both geographically and demographically," and that he
considers his age - he'll soon turn 73 - an advantage.
"Anyone who wants to make an issue
out of it - I call that them wanting to highlight my experience," he mused.
Former mayoral candidate and attorney
Darrell Jordan, two-term City Council member Gary Griffith and magazine
editor Zac Crain have been actively campaigning for mayor for months, and
about a dozen others are considering mayoral bids.
Candidates may formally register
their candidacies beginning in February, and the general election is in May.
Demetris Sampson and her law firm collect unpaid taxes for the City of
Dallas. She rakes in a hefty fee for her bill collecting.
She really should not be involved in any political races relating to
10/20 Concerned Citizen:
How can Demetris Sampson act as a political consultant to
candidates and to issues when her firm is hired to work for the city,
the school board, the county, and other entities as an entity that
collects taxes for those governmental bodies?
Isn?t that a conflict of
interest? Could this affect her bar license? What else?
Want you to think about this a
minute. Everyone keeps blaming Mayor Miller for "losing" the Cowboys to
Arlington, when we didn't have them to lose. No one talks about why the
Arkansas Freak really took his team to Arlington. First and foremost, he
knew the political crooks in Arlington would be an easier touch than any other
local government. Second and possibly just as important, we had an
impossible hurdle at Fair Park, and that would be Starplex (or Smirnoff).
The Starplex deal was cut during Mayor Annette Strauss term, and the beneficiary
was and is Ted Strauss. If there ever was a conflict of interest, it was
the Starplex deal. The lease is for three 20 year renewals. The
Strauss people can continue to renew the lease forever. The city is
prohibited from not renewing the lease. If the city wants out of the
lease, we must pay the Strauss group $40 million. I don't know how much
they are underpaying the city, but I hear they are fighting to keep the city
from reviewing their books to figure out the size of the problem.
I don't know if Max Wells was on the city council when the horrible Starplex
deal was done, but it would have been about the time Wells served (1987-93).
If Mitch Rasansky was on the council during a disaster like the Starplex
contract, we would have heard about it.
Max Wells is surrounding himself with the likes of John Ware and Ted Strauss,
who ought to get some kind of dual award or conviction for the deepest shafting
of Dallas taxpayers in the past three decades. Max Wells was a go along to
get along councilman. Never stood up for Dallas taxpayers -- not once.
As a banker, it's a good thing not to make waves. You want a little more
presence from a councilman, more so from a mayor.
Wells has served on lots of city boards and commissions because that's how Our
Downtown Betters (the ODB) and ODB wanna-bees used to network. The same
100 or so people rotated around on the city boards, occasionally allowing some
new face into the ruling class as long as that new face voted right and never
challenged the status quo.
Max Wells and Sandy Greyson kept DART commuter rail off the Cotton Belt line.
Whenever you are sitting on the LBJ parking lot, you can thank them for that.
Now, Ron Natinksy wants to spend a billion or so putting less than 2 miles of
rail under ground on the same route. For some odd reason, Councilwoman
Linda Koop seems to be siding with Natinsky -- even though her district is
desperate for something to alleviate the traffic on LBJ.
I'll get back to the Cotton Belt in another commentary because that's a whole
other horse that has been rode hard and put up wet.
Let's compare the way The Dallas Managed
News covered Max Well's
announcement (above) to how they reported Darrell Jordan's campaign kickoff
Attorney Darrell Jordan ceremonially
launched his mayoral campaign Thursday at the Dallas Zoo, outlining an
agenda built upon public safety improvements, economic development,
long-term urban planning and political ? and racial ? unity.
"We must have a mayor who listens to
differing views, and who is respectful of our city's diversity," said Mr.
Jordan, who placed second behind former Mayor Ron Kirk in Dallas' 1995
mayoral election. "We have far too much racial polarization in this city,
and we cannot effectively meet the first three priorities unless we return a
tone of civility and teamwork to City Hall."
Mr. Jordan joins two-term council
member Gary Griffith, former Mayor Pro Tem Max Wells and magazine editor Zac
Crain among actively campaigning mayoral hopefuls. The election is in May.
Mayor Laura Miller said in July she will not run for a third term.
Did you see a picture of
Darrell Jordan? Did you see a list of Jordan's credentials? Like
being the President of the Dallas Bar and the State Bar? Or, what about
his efforts (until Ron Kirk derailed them) to dome the Cotton Bowl, back when it
was still affordable?
I have already advised DallasArena.com readers of my support Darrell Jordan for
mayor. He has an incredible group of supporters from all over the city,
most people I truly respect.
It looks like
The Dallas Managed News
will do the least possible to acknowledge Darrell Jordan in this campaign.
As for Gary Griffith, I don't think he's going to run for mayor. His poll
numbers are really low. Being on this council, makes him an easy target
for criticism. His recent support of David Dean's ludicrous public
relations contract and all the booze included in Dean's 2006 expense report is
indicative of what we could expect of Mayor Sandra Dee. He could be a hero
next week and call for a reconsideration of the vote, since he went with the
prevailing side (7-6 vote). He could, but he won't. Gary Griffith
couldn't take a stand on anything if someone propped him up with a broom.
Griffith was on KRLD last Thursday after Mayor Miller had been on their morning
talk show about the Dean contract. He contradicted himself several times.
He said he wouldn't vote to reimburse anyone for liquor bills, BUT he did the
day before. He said he read the Dean contract, BUT he admitted later that
he hadn't read the contract. He said the contract was thoroughly reviewed
by the appropriate committee (council members don't read every contract - except
Mitch Rasansky), BUT $Bill $Blaydes added over $100,000 to the contract the
"appropriate" committee had reviewed and approved.
The Dallas Managed News
covered Griffith's announcement of his mayoral campaign:
Two-term Dallas City Council member
Gary Griffith will officially announce Thursday that he is running for
mayor, his campaign office said Wednesday.
The announcement would make him
the first candidate to publicly launch a campaign, although several people,
including Mr. Griffith and Mayor Laura Miller, have previously filed mayoral
campaign treasurers -- often a precursor to a formal run.
Ms. Miller says she's definitely
running for a second full term, and third term overall.
Mr. Griffith represents council
District 9 and serves as vice chairman of the council's finance, audit and
Council members Bill Blaydes, Ed
Oakley and Don Hill have also said they're considering mayoral bids.
Former council members Max Wells and
Veletta Forsythe Lill, attorney and 1995 mayoral candidate Darrell Jordan
and businessman Phil Ritter are also considering running.
Griffith's picture is not
enlarged. It's the same size as appears on DallasNews.com, at the link
I hear that Ed Oakley has commitments for a bunch of campaign contributions.
Is it just me, or isn't there some rule somewhere in the City Charter that you
must declare a treasurer for a campaign BEFORE you solicit endorsements or
accept contributions or pledges for contributions?
It's going to be an interesting campaign season. It looks like all the
candidates are planning to run against Laura Miller, including my guy. I
think that's a big mistake.
In everyone's poll, Laura Miller would have won had she run again. The ODB
may not like her, South Dallas may not like her, but a whole bunch of people
(including me) still like her very much. We like her "in your face"
approach when the council is assuming the receptive position every time some fat
cat sticks his hand out for a tax abatement.
Last week, we saw the Laura Miller most of her supporters wanted her to be.
We didn't want a Junior Annette Strauss, always smiling and acquiescing to all
the ridiculous scams and schemes that happened in the 80's -- like Starplex and
City Place. We wanted a Laura Miller who would say NO to "bad deals" --
loudly and abrasively if necessary.
I promised to get back to the Starplex component of the Arkansas Freak not
building a new football stadium at Fair Park. There's no room in that big
old park. Part of the area needed for stadium and related space includes
Starplex. The city would have had to spend several millions to buy out
Mayor Strauss' widower. That would have limited the money that would be
available for necessary infrastructure improvements. No one expected the
Arkansas Freak to put his own money in the kitty. So, if any mayor is to
blame for the Cowboys going to Arkansas, it would be the late Annette Strauss.
There's a second component to the dead Fair Park deal. The people who own
the VERY MODEST homes around Fair Park have some big voices to come to their
defense if the city tried to condemn their homes for next to nothing -- like
what happened to the homeowners in Arlington. Good old Shakedown Chaney
would be ready and willing to get his people on the street marching in
opposition -- like he didn't do when Starplex paid them off with what
Commissioner Price called "blood money".
The first mayor who let the Cowboys leave Fair Park for Irving is now considered
one of Dallas greatest mayors. That would be Erik Jonsson. Time will
be kind to Laura Miller's tenure as mayor. We are going to miss her style,
her wit and her character.
Hopefully, the current crop of candidates will start running against each other.
Griffith, Oakley and Wells will be easy targets for their opponents. They
have voting histories that have been great for the ODB but really bad for Dallas
Griffith is hooked up with Tom Hicks, and Max Wells is hooked up with Demetris
Sampson, John Wiley Price and Kathy Neely. As I said, "you are known by
the company you keep."