By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
MYOB:It's good that the Dallas mayoral candidates have finally found something to disagree about. It was getting hard to tell some of them apart. Tom Leppert and Darrell Jordan—c'mon, they're really the same guy, aren't they? Someone's funnin' with us.
On paper, the field of—what is it now, 30 or 40?—candidates looks pretty diverse, what with a Nigerian immigrant, gay men and a homeless trannie in the bunch, though we lost the ex-Dallas Observer candidate when former music editor Zac Crain didn't make the ballot. (We're so proud.) Here's a tip for future candidates: When trying to find qualified voters to sign your petitions, it's best not to look for them at alterna-rock concerts featuring booze. Try an old folks home instead.
Trouble is, when every candidate favors the same big-picture things—less crime, more cops, better economy—one wonders who these guys are running against. Is there a pro-crime, pro-slum anarchist candidate out there we've missed? Write us. We'll send a check.
So, like we said, it's good these convivial gents can find something to disagree about. Too bad the issue isn't really any of the Dallas mayor's business.
"I view education as a community issue and a community responsibility," says candidate and city council member Gary Griffith. "I don't just want to wish DISD well. I want to support them."
Support in this case includes backing a proposal to give school principals the authority to fire teachers. Brilliant. When you have a job—teaching—that nobody wants to do, in which the money's not great and new workers tend to exit the profession quickly, the best way to recruit and retain qualified employees is to make their futures more tenuous. Thank God Griffith's only campaigning for mayor, a post that...ahem...DOESN'T INVOLVE RUNNING DISD.
Leppert also is a fan of closer city ties to the school district, and other candidates want to use the "bully pulpit" to do their part for education. Oh, then there's talk of more meetings between the DISD board and city council, because as everyone knows, when li'l Johnny can't read, what he needs is a few more meetings. (Jordan and Don Hill, at least, know how to mind their own city business. Improve the neighborhoods, they say, and the schools will follow.)
Still, it's nice to know the candidates are anti-ignorance. Who knows, maybe someday Mayor Griffith will knock on DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa's door, saying, "Hi, I'm from city government, and I'm here to help you."
Run, Mike. Run.