We're here, on New Year's Eve, not to praise 2019, but to bury it. It's been ... a year. The Cowboys failed in the most Cowboys of ways. Donald Trump came back to American Airlines Center, as president this time. We've got a new mayor, a new district attorney and a new icon leading the Mavs.
Dallas' streets still suck and the crime rate is up — even if it's nothing like the '90s — but the restaurant scene has never been better, and people from both coasts flock here every day. The city is constantly evolving, so let's take a look at Dallas' arrivals and departures: 2019-20 edition.
Departing: Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings — Rawlings fulfilled a promise no one thought he would in 2019, becoming the first Dallas mayor ever to serve two consecutive four-year terms in their entirety. His tenure, as we noted in our report card of his performance, was a mixed bag. Rawlings succeeded whenever he could get things done by sheer force of personality. He struggled with saying no to Dallas' traditional power brokers, even on issues — like the Trinity toll road — where the right choice was obvious.
Arriving: Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson — Former state Rep. Eric Johnson lined up key support from Dallas' political kingmakers and business community — remember the tape of the closed-door fundraiser? — and stuck to Dallas' most tried and true electoral strategy, winning in northern and southern Dallas without worrying too much about the city's progressive urban core.
Johnson and the new City Council have largely focused on comity. The rancorous relationship between Rawlings and his opposition on the council — you know, the stuff that actually made city politics fun — is, for now at least, in the rearview mirror.
Departing: Scott Griggs and Philip Kingston — The leaders of Rawlings' loyal opposition, Philip Kingston and Scott Griggs, lost their places on the City Council in 2019. Kingston, still eligible for one more term at the council horseshoe, lost a runoff to David Blewett, basically because, in the eyes of his constituents, he was too big a jerk to be effective at City Hall. Griggs, term-limited, ran for mayor. He made the runoff but couldn't overcome Johnson's backing and fundraising.
Had Kingston and Griggs won their races, there would've been something close to a progressive majority on the council. With their losses, there isn't. Not even close.
Arriving: Corey Kluber — The Rangers' offseason went from quiet to loud Dec. 15, when the team acquired two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber from the Indians. Kluber is coming off an injury and a disappointing 2019 season, but the Rangers didn't give up any long-term pieces to get him. If trading for Kluber goes right for the Rangers, they'll compete for a playoff berth in 2020.
Departing: Dirk Nowitzki — Nowitzki played his last game for the Mavs in April. He never played for another team, led Dallas to its only NBA championship and is, maybe, the most beloved athlete in city history. There's not much else to say.
Arriving: Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot — During his first year in office, Creuzot implemented critical and unpopular reforms limiting prosecutions for some nonviolent misdemeanors, including theft or pot possession, successfully prosecuted former Dallas cop Amber Guyger for murder and, unlike his most recently elected predecessor Susan Hawk, showed up to work.
In what's become an overwhelmingly Democratic county, Creuzot seems set to be district attorney for a long time. If 2019 is any guide, his tenure will be an eventful one.
Departing: Beto O'Rourke, stage left — O'Rourke lost a closer-than-expected race to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, blew his residual media buzz on a never-going-anywhere presidential campaign and has a long way back, if he ever plans to seek major elected office again. He really was a thing in Dallas and the rest of the state, though, for these last two years.
Arriving: Globe Life Field — In Globe Life Field — not to be confused with its predecessor, Globe Life Park — the Rangers finally have what they've always wanted: A publicly financed, air-conditioned, shiny ballpark, complete with all the luxury seating and corporate hospitality one could ever want.
It's not perfect — baseball should be played on grass — but it should make August at the park significantly more tolerable.
Departing: State Rep. Jonathan Stickland — Stickland, the Texas House's large adult son, passed exactly one bill — a red-light camera ban — in the four terms he served in Austin. Rather than passing legislation, he spent his time in the Legislature being on the losing side of dozens and dozens of lopsided votes, lobbing rhetorical bombs and arguing about vaccines on Twitter. He will be missed.
Arriving: Campaign season — As you're reading this, Texas' primary is 62 days away. Thanks to its comfy position on the Super Tuesday slate, the Lone Star State's primary should get plenty of attention from the remaining Democratic candidates. The Democratic primary to take on Sen. John Cornyn is still wide open, as are several Texas House races. If you're sick of politics, it might be a good time to leave the state.
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