City Hall

Dallas Councilman Philip Kingston Wants to Kill Off "Wrongheaded" Lawn Whisperer Campaign

You know the Lawn Whisperer. He's the vaguely irritating bearded gentleman, inexplicably decked out in safari garb, whose mug is plastered on buses, billboards and television sets by way of encouraging North Texans not to water their yards so much.

Philip Kingston, the freshman member of the Dallas City Council, is not a fan. At the council meeting this morning, he proposed killing him off.

"I have not been able to find any metric that shows the effectiveness of this campaign, and I think it's just wrongheaded," Kingston said.

His objections came as the council prepared to extend its "public awareness campaigns for water conservation and grease abatement" for five years at a cost of $7 million.

See also: The Legislature is Considering Letting Cities Sue Homeowners For Overwatering Their Lawns

That's a waste, Kingston says. "Here's the bottom line: You conserve water by paying a higher price." Charging commercial customers the same rate as residential customers would be a good start.

His colleagues were less eager to hike water rates on their constituents and, while they didn't exactly rush to Mr. Whisperer's defense, they did not share Kingston's animus for him either. Most seemed to buy interim City Manager A.C. Gonzalez's argument that "it's not so much either/or," in terms of pricing versus public awareness campaigns but "about how we blend" the two.

The council will take a closer look at the water conservation PR campaign, which had been on its consent agenda, but it seems that the Lawn Whisperer will live another day. Even so, it's never too early to start dreaming up the properly ironic way to kill him off. Something ending with him face-down in a torrent of water gushing from one of the East Dallas fire hydrants the city kept opening this summer would be fitting.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson