Moments ago, after the last of the afternoon speakers came to the council chambers microphone to denounce Mayor Tom Leppert and the media one last time, the mayor said what we've known was coming since last night, if not well before: He's outta here.
"This will be my last city council meeting. Effective at the end of the day Friday, I will be resigning as the mayor of the city of Dallas."
He did not address whether he will run for U.S. Senate, as he's expected to do. He said only this about that: "I feel I can better serve our city, our region and our state in a new capacity. I won't say any more about that right now. This isn't the right forum. In the next several days I'll have more to say on that."
We'll post the entire adios -- some of it a bit tear-stained -- shortly. But in between back-pats and thank-yous, and his insistence that he's leaving the city in better shape than when he began in '07, Leppert took a parting shot at the council members who voted last year to hike taxes in order to balance the city's budget. He said the hike was his sole regret: "Raising taxes didn't let you escape the tough choices, it only delayed them. It only made the situation worse. The tax hike has made it much more difficult to attract businesses."
Leppert, who spoke about the drop in crime and downtown relocations and so forth, said that since he was elected, there's "never been a dull moment" and insisted that "history will look back on this time and look at the tremendous achievement, tremendous advances, tremendous strides and see this is one of the most productive times in our city's history." And he insisted he never viewed his job based on wins and losses, only on "what's best for the entire city and not just today but in the decades to come."
Leppert thanked City Manager Mary Suhm, City Attorney Tom Perkins and the "passionate, dedicated" city council. At this moment, the council is saying its good-byes. First up was Mayor
Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway.