Rock Star

The smart money wants a mayor with sex appeal

Do we see a pattern here?

But the same story said Anchía has strong support from Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, long associated with the tougher, more aggressive edge of black politics in the city. I called Price. I wasn't afraid to call him, because I already knew he was not a candidate for mayor. He said his own enthusiasm for Anchía was in no way part of an agreed-upon strategy with Kirk and the Citizens Council types.

"Just the fact that we're on the same page, I don't know whether it's scary or what, but I've never talked to Ron about this," Price said. "We've never had a conversation about any of this. It's just interesting to find out that we're on the same page."

We can deal with a rock star mayor. It's all those council members with sticky fingers who are the problem.
Illustration by Mike Simmons
We can deal with a rock star mayor. It's all those council members with sticky fingers who are the problem.

I asked what page they were on.

"In the final analysis, my view is always going to be about who can be the kind of icon who can grow the basic tax roll," Price said. "When you grow your base, you give everybody relief. Infrastructure to me becomes the bottom line."

Infrastructure. That would be...let's see here...oh yeah, the Trinity River project.

I believe Price is absolutely sincere in saying he thinks Anchía would make a great mayor. I also think Price is thinking about running for Congress. Those river boys ain't bad friends to have at a time like that.

But here are two things I find confusing in this sudden outpouring of Anchíaism, especially from the Citizens Council, which I think of as a pretty conservative group most of the time, a little to the right of Australopithecus.

Anchía is a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool, flag-waving liberal.

He has a strong position in favor of immigration reform, pretty much pro-amnesty. He has ridiculed plans for a physical barrier along the border. "The reality is," he told one reporter, "we probably will need more undocumented workers to build that fence than we have currently in the United States." And Anchía has been courageous and outspoken in favor of gay marriage.

If he runs, people working for other candidates have already told me they will run against him as a flaming liberal, far out of step with vote-rich Australopithecus North Dallas.

The other thing that confuses me is that I spoke with Anchía just last week, and unless he was doing an Academy Award-winning performance on me, he sounded like a man who genuinely and sincerely was not sure he wanted any piece of this. He chatted very briefly and in broad terms about city issues, but then he said he and his wife had just been blessed with a new baby girl, and he really had other things on his mind.

"You are taking me down a road that requires a lot of conjecture now. I don't know that I'm prepared to go there. I would ask, let me first figure out whether I'm a candidate or not or whether I'm going to continue in the state Legislature, which is a job I really, really, really do enjoy.

"I think I owe it to my family to be available and supportive and participating in the meetings at 1 a.m. right by the changing table so that my wife can feed and be comfortable. You can probably tell by the exhaustion in my voice I haven't been sleeping a lot, and that's really where I'm going to leave things."

I believe him. I don't think he wanted it last week. Of course, that was last week.

But what exactly is the process by which the smart money--few of whom probably know Anchía, none of whom would buy off on his personal politics--persuades him and themselves that they should all get married? I can tell you what the process is. The smart consultants tell the smart money: "You got the money. He got the magic. Marry him, you both win. He'll get you in. You don't really care about that liberal hoo-ha, do you? All you care about is the project.

"Look at Kirk. Look at Miller. You'll get him where you need him to be. But first he'll get you where you need to be: downtown, runnin' 'round with a mayor in your pocket."

I like the ground bumps guys, because there's something sort of funky and wonky about them. They actually want to talk about the issues, and they actually think you want to listen.

I certainly don't think Anchía is a lightweight or a showboat. He isn't at all. Everybody I talk to who's worked with him in the Legislature goes on about how smart he is. But you know, they say Mick Jagger is smart too. And who the hell cares?

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