The Leppert Touch

Is the mayor-elect's appearance of human decency just a fluke?

The Leppert touch: Buzz believes the devil is not the only one in the details. You can find politicians in there too. That's why Buzz was interested to learn that Dallas' new mayor, Tom Leppert, apparently took time during the final weeks of his campaign to call Dale Davenport, the car wash guy on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard about whom the Dallas Observer has published biblical volumes of reportage over the last several years.

The story, as related by Davenport himself, is that Leppert gave him a call and asked him to explain some of the problems he's had with the city over the years. Davenport is the only white guy who owns a business on that whole stretch of MLK. The city has subjected him to waves of litigation and draconian police enforcement for his alleged failure to "mitigate" crime in that area.

Meantime the city can't even "mitigate" dope houses that operate 24/7 all around him like Crack Costco.

Somebody asked Leppert and his opponent, Ed Oakley, about the Davenport case in a forum. Oakley's response was typically arrogant and dismissive: It was Davenport's job, he said, to wipe out crime in his area.

Seems Leppert was a bit more curious. Davenport tells Buzz that Leppert asked him all about his car wash and crime.

Buzz was not able at press time to confirm this tidbit with Leppert's campaign manager, Carol Reed, who had time to call Buzz and other Observer staff members several times a day before her guy won the recent election but now apparently is too busy.

But Davenport has proved himself over the years to be a straight-up guy about this kind of thing, so Buzz believes him.

The Davenport situation is at the center of a key city issue having to do with crime, law enforcement and who's responsible for what. Some business owners, like Davenport, argue that the city is trying to palm off its own crime-fighting responsibilities by suing them for allowing crime to occur on their property.

But neighborhood groups have argued that irresponsible business and apartment owners are part of the problem, if they turn a blind eye.

Whether Leppert has come to any conclusions about the issue isn't what Buzz cares about right now. It's the appetite for detail. If that's actually an ongoing business style and not just a campaign-season fluke, then...well, gosh. Then that's a good thing. Time will tell.

 
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