By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Gotta Love it: Here's a little vocabulary note for city council member Carolyn Davis: One of the definitions of the verb to "swing" is "to influence decisively." For instance, the "swing vote" is the vote that decides an issue's outcome. Ergo, you can't have a 13-0 vote and call one of those 13 the swing vote. That's, like, logic and stuff.
Davis seemed confused about the "swing vote" thing at last week's council meeting, where the council finally decided to place all the leases for retail and food stands at Love Field Airport out for open bids, as Mayor Tom Leppert desired. Minority council members wanted to extend the contracts of the current concessionaires, Hudson Retail Dallas and Star Concessions. Just coincidentally–heh–Hudson is partly owned by state Representative Helen Giddings and U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson. Star Concessions is owned by generous political donor Gilbert Aranza. The vote was 8-7 against giving the contracts to the two companies—with Davis on the losing side.
Don't mean a thing if...
It was "blacks versus Anglos" at the council table, Davis pointed out, reminding Leppert she was the swing vote on building the convention center hotel and ethics reforms, previous issues near to the mayor's heart.
"You gonna need me again," she told Leppert.
Really. Why? Leppert didn't need her on Love Field, nor on the 2008 vote to buy land for the hotel (13-2, Davis yes); the 2009 vote to approve the hotel's developer and operator (10-2, Davis yes); the 2009 11-0 vote to approve the hotel bonds; or any of the four votes on ethics reform (wide margins, with yeses from Davis).
She claimed that she broke 7-7 deadlocks in each case, so maybe it's not so much a vocabulary problem. Maybe it's memory.
In any event, fans of open government can claim a victory with the Love Field decision, which Buzz likes to think of as the Political Hack Employment Act of 2010. Why? Well, see, when there were only two concessionaires at Love, only three very wired political types managed get their fingers in the pie. Now, with a multiplicity of bidders all vying in a wide-open competitive process, overseen by the same city staff that originally recommended extending the original leases, we figure City Hall lobbyists will be swimming in simoleons as various companies try to out-juice one another for the contracts. Let Buzz draw you a picture: Imagine a pig farm right after the farmer shouts "soo-eee!" Oh, this will be fun. –Sam Merten