On a clear, blue Thursday morning--which is to say, today--Dallas City Council member Gary Griffith announced his candidacy for mayor on the stone steps of Woodrow Wilson High School, where he was a student some 40 years ago. As he stood atop the podium, a life-sized poster of him as a teenage football player served as an All-American backdrop. (He wore No. 69. Swear.) The setting itself seemed inundated with the various cliches of local politics, while his genial if uninspiring speech borrowed liberally from the template that just about all middle-of-the-road candidates use to launch their long-shot candidacies. While not mentioning Laura Miller by name, he portrayed City Hall as a hot bed of divisiveness, and his solution was, "Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try and love one another right now." OK, he didn't actually say that, but he might as well have. To wit, here are a few select excerpts from his address:
"By working together, we can have schools that are second to none."
"We can work together."
"I am running for mayor...to bring leadership to our city so we can truly begin to work together.
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And my personal favorite:
"Working together works...it produces good results."
Like just about every candidate running for office, Griffith stressed education themes without leaving the world of vague promises: "Just like my colleague Dr. Michael Hinojosa, I want Dallas to have the finest urban school system in America."
Known for being a pro-business council member who is not particularly fond of Mayor Miller, Griffith also plugged the new Trinity River bridges claiming (naively, I think) they are an important catalyst for development. I don't think he picked up on the contradiction of emphasizing the importance of education while touting cosmetic pork projects, but campaign speeches are more about poetry than prose anyway. If only the poetry weren't so dull. --Matt Pulle