Mary Lou Reports
Forefathers expect us to be ruled by the least among us?
Here it is the Eve of July 4th, my
favorite holiday, and I feel like I'm celebrating it in a foreign land. Dallas doesn't feel like home anymore.
When I flew back from Michigan last week, I didn't get that old rush when we
approached DFW. I told myself I'm more aware of the city boundaries, and
we really were not in Dallas. (Hope the anti-Jones tax folks stress that
when Grandpa Jones sends his ghouls out for our money next year.) When I
flew back from San Antonio Saturday afternoon after speaking to a small
convention , the same non-rush, and Love Field is in Dallas, but it barely looks like
Things are grubby and dusty. Lots of vacant storefronts around town,
but there seem to be fewer potholes.
Guess I'm in the "cup's half empty" mode, but it sure seems like the
bad guys are running things. I can't blame it on not winning the council
election because that feels like ancient history. I am still furious with
Congressmen Pete Sessions and Jeb Hensarling for interfering with Roxan Staff's
council race, and that feels like yesterday.
What do they
say about not wanting to see "how sausage is made"?
That must be why many "activist" friends of mine are tuning out.
We have given so much of our time to "fight for the cause" under
different candidates, only to have them morph into someone else once
elected. Why does holding office bring out the worst in
any office holders you know best, and a pattern develops. Any
negative trait you notice (no matter how small) before they are elected
becomes who they are as an office holder.
||Lack of enthusiasm during the
campaign, expect a bump on a log.
||Campaign speeches about the
candidate and no specifics, expect a "pompous ignoramus".
||Questionable business history,
expect an overt crook.
Ron Kirk was the worst mayor in our history. Other than Robert Folsom's
ripping off the entire city to develop his Renner property, no mayor has caused
more damage to Dallas than Ron Kirk. He left this city in financial ruin
and more racially divided than ever. Granted, we were on a slippery slope
before he took office, but he removed all handrails and remnants of safety
nets that might have let us climb back up. Which makes it so distressing
to see Our Downtown Betters keep him afloat and in play:
June 27, 2003
Ex-Mayor Kirk joins PetsMart board
Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk has joined the board of pet supplies retailer
"Ron brings his proven leadership, innovative and strategic thinking,
and concern for the community to the PetsMart board," said Phil
Francis, PetsMart's chairman and chief executive, in a statement. "
. . .Kirk, a Democrat, served two terms as mayor of Dallas, from 1995 to 2001.
He resigned . . . to run for a Senate seat . . . lost the race to
Republican John Cornyn. . . .Kirk was secretary of state for Texas
under former Texas Gov. Ann Richards and was a legislative aide to U.S.
Sen. Lloyd Bentsen. . . . boards of restaurant
operator Brinker International Inc. ... (Web site: PetsMart Inc. (Nasdaq: PETM)
Is Con Jerk running for the Senate again when Kay Bailey Hutchinson steps down
to challenge Rick Perry for Governor in the GOP Primary?
||What is it we're missing that Our
Downtown Betters see in Ron Kirk? Is there a special Ron Kirk that
he shines on the ODB and people of wealth and prominence that commoners
are not allowed to witness?
"innovative and strategic
"concern for the
Did Phil Francis say all that about Ron
Kirk with a straight face? Francis must want to head up American Airlines
-- to show the AA folks he, too, can run a fabulously successful business into
As a multi-pet owner, I have spent a lot of money at the PetsMart on Inwood @
Forest -- a lot of money every month. I will
not spend another penny at any PetsMart at any location so long as Con Jerk sits
on their board of directors.
If Con Jerk does for PetsMart what
he did for the City of Dallas, it won't be a store where I would
want to trade in the future.
DallasArena.com is collecting names of Dallas area pet owners who will no
longer shop with PetsMart. To be included, e-mail sboyd@BoydServices.com
and say "I will not shop at PetsMart as long as Ron Kirk is on the board of
directors of PetsMart. I have ____ pets." Furnish your name and
We know what Ron Kirk did to Dallas - the chaos and
incompetence at City Hall he left behind. Kirk hired Ted Benavides to mismanage the
city just before Denton fired Benavides because he was doing such a lousy job
for a city much smaller than Dallas. It is more
important to Kirk to have "yes" men around him than competent
management. Does PetsMart need that mindset?
Because Kirk hired Benavides, we have Terrell Bolton as our Chief of Police.
Because Kirk hired Benavides, we have city employees violating the Code of
Ethics with no risk of punishment.
The new and worthless Ethics Commission just let Yolanda Lara get away with
clearly violating the Ethics Code:
City worker cleared in political ethics inquiry
. . three-member panel of the Dallas Ethics Advisory Commission
dismissed a complaint Tuesday against Yolanda Lara, a council
administrative assistant. The complaint, filed by Laura Miller supporter
Allen Gwinn, alleged that Ms. Lara used city resources to send e-mail
supporting Mary Poss' mayoral campaign. The ethics review panel disagreed,
saying there was not enough evidence. Ms. Lara said the ruling means that
city workers can be involved in politics if they follow the rules. "I
knew the lines, and I went up to the lines, but I didn't go past the
lines," Ms. Lara said. . . .
now on, people who are paid by taxes that come from you and me (if you
still live in Dallas) will get to use facilities and equipment paid for
for by taxes that come from you and me to support politicians who they
think will give them more in salary and benefits and hit up you and me
for more taxes while delivering less services. It's time to pack
like Yolanda Lara is off the hook. Wonder if any members on
the panel were her friends or friends of those supporting Ms. Lara or
Mary Poss. I was amazed to read this report when there was compelling
evidence of her abuse on the job. She is nothing more than a
disgruntled employee who should be terminated.
There is no one between the bad guys and us. The few honest City Hall
employees left are nearing retirement and keeping low profiles. You can't
blame them. They are closer to the mess than you and me, and they know the
vampires are in control. Dig out your copy of Stephen King's Salem's
Lot (you know you still
have it somewhere). Toward the end of the book, the Town's surviving
police officer tells the beleaguered
main character he knows the town's in the control of the vampires and he's
packed and hauling.
One side of me understands why Mayor Miller has made peace with the ODB and has
signed on to the BIG TICKET agenda. She has more information. She
needs to be in office to get things done. She is better than any of her
opponents. But, but --- what about the basics?
Jim Schutze has a great column this week about the Trinity River Project's
Exercise How they got the media to miss the point on the Trinity
River By Jim Schutze
| originally published: July 3, 2003
four hours of PowerPoint on the Trinity River plan last week at City
. . . The big news
last week? The Trinity River project will cost way more than any new tax
base it will supposedly create. But you didn't see that in The Dallas
Morning News, did you?
. . . Costs more
than any new tax base it will create in the next 30 years!
. . . exciting new
plan to rebuild the Trinity River where it runs through downtown Dallas,
and it's got a big fat stinko expressway on top of the river."
. . . In 1998, they
said they wanted to put a stinko expressway on top of the river. We got
rid of the gang who were running City Hall. We elected this big scary
bomb-thrower named Laura Miller for mayor, because mainly we just wanted
City Hall to shut up and fix the damn potholes.
. . . I'm sitting
there thinking, "It cannot be. Laura Miller is not up there proposing
a big fat highway on top of the river."
. . . Sandy Greyson .
. . "We have spent a great deal of time, energy,
effort and money to go from an eight-lane high-speed toll road to a
six-lane high-speed toll road."
. . . Lois Finkelman .
. . I appreciated the pretty pictures. I appreciated
some of the information. But I was very frustrated, because there were not
any hard numbers. . . .
What's missing in terms of the analysis of that is the hydrology of those
lakes. . . . What kind
of sediment will or won't occur? . .
. How long will or will not those lakes be flooded, at
what level of flood? How often do they have to be dredged?"
. . . Laura Miller
went through exactly this exercise herself when she first went on the
council and started trying to get a handle on the Trinity River
. . . Now Miller's the
mayor. . . . She's
showing the council pretty pictures of lakes with sailboats on them with
no hydrological data to back them up.
. . . All of the
freeway and roadway alternatives being considered at City Hall will have
very serious negative financial impacts on City Hall. All of them. For 30
. . . The very best
fiscal impact on the city is from building the park with no road at all--a
negative hit of only $15 million over 30 years.
. . . This is why they can't fill the potholes.
They keep giving away the store. And the worst news is that Laura Miller,
the bomb-thrower we sent in there to clean it up, is already dancing the
mad fandango with the big boys, .. .
There's something Schutze missed.
Where were questions from Finkelman and Greyson concerning the hydrology or
sediment or fast cars during the Trinity Bond Project Election? The plan
proposed back then was even worse than this. An engineer with a big ODB
engineering firm that expected to design and build the Project follows around
the new Trinity Project dog and pony shows asking questions that were just as
relevant to his design with a fake lake in the middle of a stinking river that
would cost Dallas taxpayers over $3 Million a year to maintain.
Why can't we just leave the river alone?
Why not just plant some trees on the existing levees and leave the river alone?
Why don't we just buy out homeowners in the flood plain and absolutely make it
illegal to ever build in the flood plain again and leave the river alone?
I've been to big cities with rivers running through them. Many of those
fancied up city rivers are not as wide as the Trinity and what runs through the
city is really just a diverted creek from the main river.
You might have missed the little story in the DMN about where the elite of the
city will be watching the Trinity fireworks -- high above the masses in air
conditioned tents. Much like they view events at the Hicks/Perot arena and
Texas Stadium and what Grandpa Jones plans for his new facility (where the
commoners will stand in the end zone and look up at their betters in the
go upscale in Big D
lawn chair or a blanket on the ground are all most people need to watch
Fourth of July fireworks. But for some, that just won't do. They'll be
enjoying an exclusive, high-dollar perch in an air-conditioned luxury
suite. It's Trinity Fest's version of Texas Stadium's famed skyboxes.
blue carpet is rolled out atop Reunion Arena's parking garage for July 4
revelers who will pay $125 a ticket to watch Trinity Fest's fireworks
display in air-conditioned comfort.
The Mayor will probably be up there in the white tent. That's what Mayors
Don't expect DallasArena.com to start campaigning against Laura Miller.
She's our choice, warts and all. Unlike some of her backers, I have never
given her mythical proportions. She's a human being. Her opponents
were so bad, they made her look surreal. Laura Miller is real, and human
and subject to the same flattery that has undone lesser mortals.
When other former (and current) Miller supporters complain or criticize her, I
use the following analogy to explain my support for her. Laura is like the
"prettiest and smartest girl in school". She pulls people in
when she needs them and discards them when they become a liability -- a very
human thing to do. You don't notice it when Suzy Smith or Billy Bumpkin
does the same thing.
Think back on high school. The prettiest girl in school (usually not the
smartest) had her clique. Normally, she was not overtly mean -- just very
busy. No time for the less popular other than a beaming
smile, because she was everywhere, every campus club and every class committee
and everyone wanted to be in her clique. That's pretty much where the
prettiest girl in high school stopped, but at every class reunion she's the one
everyone watches for -- regardless of what she looks like now.
Laura is more than the prettiest girl in high school, she is cursed with a very
bright mind. Until this latest disaster of all three of her endorsees
crashing in our respective city council races, Laura has had as spectacular
success rate. Even her failures have been stepping stones to bigger
successes. The arena campaign vaulted her to politician, and we lost that
one. Getting sandbagged by the Park Board and Council over her wading
pools gave her a new platform and more supporters. Having the
establishment, the DMN and every ODB in town back Tom Dunning made her win seem
more than an election.
But, it was just an election and Laura Miller is just a human being -- albeit a
very smart, very focused and very accomplished human being.
Laura Miller has a lot on her plate. If you don't like the portion she is
doling out to you or your agenda, ask yourself what you would get from anyone
else in that office.
I cannot support her convention hotel initiative. I don't like it that
Steve Wolens snuck in the legislation to allow more hotel tax revenue to be
diverted from the general budget to finance a city owned hotel that will compete
with existing Dallas hotels. Our convention business is in the toilet, but
no fault of Miller or Wolens.
Steve Wolens is responsible for all those Tax Increment Financing Districts that
are draining our coffers dry, but he is not responsible for the Hicks/Perot/Kirk
arena sales tax which has killed our convention business.
Laura Miller is not responsible for the lack of ethics at City Hall, but she is
responsible for creating an Ethics Commission without a clue about
"ethics". Her motives were good, but she lacked the council
votes to get a commission to do what is needed. With their Lara ruling, it
looks like the cure is worse than the disease.
Laura Miller is not responsible for the ODB promoting Ron Kirk, but she refuses
to publicly blame him for the mess he left behind.
Laura Miller is not responsible for the Trinity Bondoogle. Con Jerk and
his Large White Shadow did that to us. As Mayor, she must attempt to
implement what was approved by the voters, even if the voters were duped by Kirk
and Carol Reed. She should be applauded for trying to make a silk purse
out of a pig's ear, but it is an effort doomed to failure. She knows any
changes to the Trinity River are going to cause future flooding. That's
why it is so hypocritical of Lois Finkelman to be raising environmental issues
now when she was silent during Kirk's reign of terror.
If Laura Miller cannot get
this city back on track, it's not going to happen.
This July 4th will be much different for me than July 4, 2002 when I had a big
front yard party at my house to introduce Mike Martinez to my neighbors (he lost
his DISD race to Joe Thug May) and to confirm to my friends and neighbors that I
would be a candidate for District 6.
It's like waking up from a long nightmare with lots of time to dig in my yard
and play with my cats and dogs.
In other ways, the past 18 months (starting with Laura's first election) have
been a fun roller coaster ride that gave me an opportunity to meet people I
would have otherwise never known. As a candidate, you get to walk right up
to strangers and introduce yourself and start talking to them about things that
concern you. For someone as opinionated as me, it's very cathartic to know
that others share your concerns for the city and want to make it better.
Instead of frantically pulling everything together to be ready for a bunch of
people, I'm going to a couple of get-togethers. I am even going to see the
fireworks from an elevated and air-conditioned penthouse -- just not at Reunion.
Hopefully, the fireworks
will put US
in a more optimistic
frame of mind.