Dallas Citizens Council will once again try to anoint our next mayor: There are good reasons to give a damn.

Ever since Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert announced on January 17 that he won't run for re-election next May, people have been talking about who will run. I say people. Maybe six people.

Most people don't care. I know. People these days are into other things, like unemployment. Wondering what to do with Granny when the Republicans boot her out of the nursing home. Selfish things.

I'm not here to nag. If you don't care, you don't care. I'm just a fly on the wall. But may I point out one thing? If you don't care, then things will keep rocking on pretty much the way they always have.

That means the next mayor will be chosen, as always, by the Dallas Citizens Council, the private leadership body with roots in the pre-Civil Rights Movement era that still picks the establishment's mayoral candidates.

They brought us Leppert, who was an unknown construction industry executive before his anointment. It was their word two weeks ago, passed on to The Dallas Morning News political writer Gromer Jeffers, that effectively ended Leppert's tenure, a week before Leppert got a chance to do it himself.

Jeffers had a story in the paper January 12, quoting Dallas lawyer and former Citizens Council chairman Michael Boone as saying, "I and others failed to convince Leppert to run for re-election. Now we have to turn the page."

The Citizens Council anoints. And they denoint. Or at least they get to announce the denointment before the denointed does.

I know I said I wanted to bring up just one thing. But may I point out one more thing? The Citizens Council, which brought Leppert to the picnic, has major culpability in what may well turn out to be the single biggest crisis this city has faced in modern times—the failure of the Trinity River levee system. I'm not saying they caused the levees to erode. But they talked us out of our one big chance to fix them in time.

In the 2007 referendum called by council member Angela Hunt, we had a chance to turn the Trinity River Project around. We could have put a halt to that crazy toll road they wanted to build out where it floods and out where new construction will threaten our aging levees.

We might even have been able to put the kibosh to crazy stuff like those fake suspension bridges. In the 2007 referendum campaign, Hunt and others talked repeatedly about levee safety. We should have listened.

But, no. That is not at all what the Citizens Council and the Dallas establishment wanted done. I have just been reviewing campaign finance reports for that election, and even four years later it's still pretty bracing—page after page of huge donations from well-heeled and wired toll-road proponents:

Five grand from Peter O'Donnell (philanthropist), five grand from his wife, 20 grand from Louis Beecherl (oil and gas), five grand from Deedie Rose (wife of investor and Bush pal), 40 grand from the Citizens Council, 25 grand from John Muse (Tom Hicks' former partner), 25 grand from Trammell Crow (Trammell Crow), 25 grand from Hunt Oil (the Kurds), another 50 grand from Beecherl (will that do?), another 25 grand from Hunt Oil, 50 grand from Hillwood Development (Perot), another 100 grand from the Citizens Council.

And on. And on. And all of it to defeat a grassroots petition drive started by a freshman council member concerned about levee safety.

They did defeat Hunt. They beat her by 5.78 percentage points at the polls. But now we can see what their victory did to the rest of us.

The toll road they were so determined to build between the levees has soaked up millions in design and testing fees and is still exactly nowhere. The costs have soared through the roof. There is no funding, even though Mayor Leppert swore to voters in 2007 that the road was already fully funded and would cost Dallas taxpayers not one additional dime.

But much more important, everything Hunt said at the time about levee safety has been borne out. As we now know, even as the campaigns for and against the Hunt referendum were underway the U.S. Corps of Engineers was sitting on data showing that the earthen levees along the Trinity through the center of the city were seriously compromised.

Two years after the election, under pressure from Congress to tell the truth about levees all over America, the Corps withdrew its official certification of the Dallas levee system, admitting that the levees could not be relied on.

If we had known any of this when we voted in 2007, do you think the Citizens Council would have won that election?

Last week I looked at the assurances given us back then by our Citizens Council-sponsored mayor. Leppert vowed again and again that all of the levee safety issues had been resolved and that the Corps of Engineers, which oversees levee safety nationally, had given him its guarantee.

"The Corps has signed off on the safety issues," Leppert said in 2007. "They have signed off on the environmental issues. They feel very comfortable with it. They're the experts. Don't take our word for it."

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22 comments
Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

I am happy ,Tom Leppert is gone.I supported him in first election based on what I saw in public at none work related events.I served with him on DFW airport board and the man in the board meetings was not the same man.The man in board meeting was the only person with a Brain,yet did not read written history of Airport so he would how and why Airport was built.Unless you know operation ,there is no was a genius brain can say what is or is not.Much success to Tom.I hope someone gets serious and fix those levees before people are killed.Jim do you think if Caraway gets help for levees,animal (dog) lovers will forgive him ,for saving the fish?

jcs
jcs

Leppert is a Tea bagger...He has introduced Sarah Palin both times she has been in Dallas!

Why are we building a hotel downtown, when our trash collection has been reduced and now can not even be consistently once a week.

I do believe Citizen's Council is an appropriate description of the moneybags who want control over everything in the the city so they can make lots of money.

We are turning into a third world country in Dallas, shrinking middle class and decreasing services that are paid for by the non-rich. Rich get MUCH richer and everyone else is paying the cost of them getting richer.

Randy21161
Randy21161

The republicans throwing granny in the street?? It is obvious that the author of this story is a mindless lib!!!!! We will all be in the streets if we allow libs like this moron to continue to ruin this great Country!!!

Pecos_Drifter
Pecos_Drifter

Dallas it's time to bring back the Crazy.....it's time for Diane Ragsdale for Mayor

richard schumacher
richard schumacher

Ooh, the shills are shrieking; Schutze touched a nerve. Angela Hunt had sufficient vision and sense of civic responsibility to try to prevent this fiasco. She will be the best one to clean up the DCC's mess.

$2 billion to repair the levees is about right. Maybe we can turn the convention center hotel in to a casino to help pay for it.

JimS
JimS

Wilbur Fred: But the Citizens Council and John Wiley are peas in the same pod. What we need is a civic-minded mayor instead of various pigs at the same trough.

Perpetual Warfare
Perpetual Warfare

Want Dallas to become another Detroit? Then do whatever Jim Schutze says to do!

Wilbur Fred
Wilbur Fred

I think that you can argue that the Dallas Citizens Council, on balance, has been a much more positive force in Dallas than negative. The Dallas Observer and Jim Schutze would never admit it, but if the alternative is to turn Dallas into another welfare state, give me the DCC candidates any time. I like vision. I don't want the ward politics that John Wiley Price, Craig Watkins and most of the southern and east Dallas representatives seem to aspire to; I do recall Angela Hunt throwing a fit when another council member had the gall to question an activity in her district.that she had blessed, even though the money in question belonged to all taxpayers.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

It seems to me that the Dallas Citizens Council owes the tax payers restitution for the mess that THEY have had a hand in creating. It seems like it is a bunch of whining spoiled egotistical over paid self centered morons who expect “public welfare monies” (tax dollars) to fund their delusions.

Ojdidit
Ojdidit

I agree with Perpectual Warfare. Angela Kunt (as I like to call her since she's such a loon) will just be another left-wing liberal loser a la Laura Miller. Arlington has a retail sales tax surplus (thanks to the new 'palace' and the thousands of visitors), while Dallas is bleeding red ink like a Parkland ER on weekends from all the 'sunny South Dallas' shooting victims because Laura Miller and the other Democratic losers were too stupid see the future. And don't get me started on Sharon Boyd - perhaps the second dumbest person in Dallas. Still behind John Wiley Price of course in the opinion of most folks.

Larry
Larry

Isn't it amazing? The original Trinity River referendum was held in 1998. After 13 years of refinement, we must have one hell of a plan by now. A "plan" is supposed to layout a roadmap that can be implemented; you know how much something's gonna cost, when we can do this or that element. The Trinity River Project has been in planning for 13 years and counting. You'd think that effort would have resulted in, you know, a plan. Something that is grounded in the real world. Instead, we have a fantasy proposal, we have no idea how much it would have cost. After 13 years, we never got a "plan" -- a real world, implementable plan. We did get a nifty model that was displayed at the Trinity Commons Foundation. I guess we also employed architects and government bureaucrats for years and years of planning and replanning and more planning! Leppert is a lousy Mayor because he never confronted this issue. Dallas has been stuck in neutral far longer than it should've been, because it drained the city's resources and focus for too many years. I've said it before, but why hasn't 60 Minutes done a story on this project? Has there ever been a worse example of government incompetence and waste?

Uptrek
Uptrek

No PW, it wasn't the libtards who wasted the public cash, it was the DCC guys who are always eager to spend your money. The levees do care who is mayor.

Perpetual Warfare
Perpetual Warfare

Let's get some elderly bleeding-heart libtard "journalist" from the DO as Mayor... oh wait we did that already and it fucking sucked rotten shit puss.

Suzy
Suzy

I think you are wrong about the money the stadium would bring in (in addition to very rude and immature). The city of Arlington had to lay out tons of money for that stadium. Jerry never really wanted it in Dallas in the first place. Grow up.

jcs
jcs

Your eloquence and way with words demonstrates that you may have passed 4th grade (at least 4th grade recess).

Ojdidit
Ojdidit

Maybe if you ever visited Arlington you would see how the area around the stadium is booming. Maybe you should visit to actually see a growing economy (unlike most areas of the nation and north Texas under Obumble and the Democratic Congress 'leadership' with their billions in 'stimulus' that obviously failed so miserably they wanted even more money to waste). And Suzy, facts don't lie - Arlington is one of the few cities in North Texas with an INCREASE in sales tax revenue. Dallas? A decrease of course. And I have the right to speak my mind about Angela 'Kunt' and Dallas if I like. I know, I know you liberals don't believe in freedom of speech if it offends you all. Typical hypocrites. Jerry would have built the stadium wherever visionary folks would have paid for it. Reminds me of what you liberal loons said about the Rangers ballpark. It was paid off ahead of schedule and continues to be a win-win for Arlington. Ohhhhh...but you liberals said it would bankrupt the city. Of course, like most everything in life, you liberals were completely WRONG.

jcs
jcs

The stimulus money is rebuilding the governor's mansion that Rick Perry had burned down.

Ojdidit
Ojdidit

How's that stimulus plan working out for ya? Don't give up - maybe KFC will hire you to work weekend nights cleaning toilets. At least then you can show some of your 'creativity'.

Yakuza_Fighter
Yakuza_Fighter

blah, blah, blah, Obama, blah, blah, blah, Pelosi, blah, blah, blah, liberal, blah, blah blah

Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

 
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