Dallas Should Probably Just Make Yellow Cab Lawyer John Barr the Next City Manager

All, right, that's it, I'm sick of this and I'm not going to take it anymore. Every other day The Dallas Morning News runs another op-ed piece by some unknown New York pinhead about who should be the next city manager of Dallas, and not once have they asked me. So I'm just going to go ahead and give my opinion.

The next city manager of the city of Dallas should be ... ta-da! ... You can't guess, can you? ... ta-da!... You want to know, I know ... tad-da!... It should be ...

John Barr.

Seriously. As the attorney for Yellow Cab, Barr is already the city manager. Why not make it official?

See also: Uber Is Upside Down When You Look at It Through the Eyes of John Barr

John Barr is the lawyer who told acting city manager A.C. Gonzalez a few months ago to pass a new law to put an Internet ride-for-hire company out of business in Dallas because they were threatening Yellow Cab with competition. No, wait. He didn't just tell Gonzalez to have the City Council pass a new law for the benefit of Yellow Cab. He handed Gonzalez a copy of the law he wanted passed.

Gonzalez didn't just say yes, sir, boss, right on it. He tried to trick Barr's new Yellow Cab law into the fine print section of the council's voting agenda so they would pass it without even knowing. In other words, Barr said, "Jump," and Gonzalez said, "How high?"

I ask you. Who is our city manager?

Why not end the hypocrisy and just say it? John Barr is the city manager. There. Done. Time to end the drama, dude. We've already got one. Just admit it and make it public.

I like Barr. He's smart. And he has a certain directness that I admire. All of this complicated pie-in-the-sky political science crap on the Morning News op-ed page from these New York pinheads about diverse constituencies and building consensus and this other happy bullshit: It has nothing to do with how anything really gets done.

I like Barr's version. He told me: "You know what? This can be printed. I don't care if anybody faults me. I got a client to represent, and they can fucking go to hell. Everybody that can hear that or read that can go to hell."

That's what I'm talking about. Real life. Stop lying to the people, pretending that these cowering nebbishes with official titles at City Hall have anything to do with anything at all. It's all John Barr, all day long, calling the shots 365 days a year, working like a yeoman to keep City hall humming but lurking in the shadows, and I personally think Barr deserves to be made an honest woman. By which I mean man, of course. He's very much a man. He is the man. But the phrase, don't you know, in cases like this is usually woman. Maybe I should have used another phrase.

From times of ancient history, since more than a decade ago when civil rights icon and City Council member Al Lipscomb was getting convicted on multiple federal bribery counts for taking money from Yellow Cab, Yellow has been a generous supporter of democracy in our city, funneling fat sums of money into the coffers of council candidates and mayors, especially incumbents, who otherwise would have had far less fat coffers to manage on. That's got to be worth something.

And it is. Yellow has stalwartly and consistently promoted a single philosophy at City Hall. Yellow Cab. The philosophy of Yellow Cab has been simple and straightforward, the sort of thing even the most intellectually challenged officeholder can grasp in a flash. Vote for Yellow Cab.

Vote for higher insurance requirements; vote for natural gas conversion cars; vote for regulations forcing cab companies to buy expensive new vans and then trade them in all the time and other stuff like that. Vote for what's good for Yellow Cab. Why is that good for Yellow Cab? Because it's bad for Everybody Else Cab. Everybody Else Cab can't afford it.

So how does Yellow Can afford it? They don't! They don't have to! That's the other side of the coin in the philosophy of Yellow Cab. Make everybody else do it. Don't make us do it.

David Schecter at WFAA Channel 8 TV has done a wonderful series of stories recently showing how City Hall required everybody else's cab companies to buy expensive insurance from insurance companies but explicitly allowed Yellow Cab, in violation of city laws, to use "self-insurance," known around my house as "no insurance." The basic economic principle here is that real insurance costs a lot more than no insurance, so if everybody else has to buy real insurance but you have to buy no insurance, you got yourself a sweet deal.

No, wait. Do I really think the whole city should be run just for the benefit of one cab company? Please! You insult me! I'm looking at the big picture.

What I believe is that the function and purpose of the office of city manager is to make sure that the big dogs get what they pay for and the little dogs get screwed. But I'm using the term, "big dogs," in a very broad, holistic, almost universal sense to describe all big dogs, so, you know, 10, maybe as many as 12 guys. A lot of them are in real estate, but some might not even be in business, necessarily, like the hey-we-didn't-kill-Kennedy guys. I'm talking about all those people out there who have put money in the coffers and who understand the principle of, "I got a client to represent, and they can fucking go to hell."

We need a city manager who has the personal breadth and depth, the character and charisma required to make this city the fucking-go-to-hell capital of America. I want to see those words emblazoned over the entry to City Hall. "DALLAS: WE GOT A CLIENT, AND EVERYBODY ELSE CAN FUCKING GO TO HELL."

That's the job. John Barr is the man.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze