Mayoral Circus 2011: Not the Greatest Show on Earth, but Pretty Fun Anyway

I gotta say: The coming mayoral election season already smells like a holiday for mediatoids. Things are rockin' and rollin' early.

Looks to me like the money just tilted way away from North Dallas city council member Ron Natinsky, who thought he had the money.

Meanwhile the campaign of former police chief David Kunkle is emerging as kind of a liberal grassroots/conservative Republican no-money amalgam.

And Natinsky's campaign? Oh, man. I can't even tell you what I'm hearing there. My main problem is deciding whether I hope it's true or not.

Today I learned that the campaign of Michael S. Rawlings, former Dallas homeless czar and current park board president, is talking to southern Dallas consultants Kathy Nealy and Willis Johnson. No deal yet. But maybe.


Nealy and Johnson are markers for the money. If they go to Rawlings, that means the big Citizens Council money is going to Rawlings. (Or maybe today's announcement, co-starring Roger Staubach and Arcilia Acosta, already tips that hand.) Nealy and Johnson also are proxies for Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley "All of You are White, Go to Hell" Price. Price is not a Citizens Council man, but he is the Citizens Council's man. The two entities usually walk the same path together, as they obviously are here.

That's a big deal. Clearly Natinsky thought he had the Citizens Council wrapped up. Looks like maybe he didn't. If he doesn't, then the stories I am hearing from solid sources must be true: I hear he's got weak polls. The old rich white men must think Rawlings is the better investment.

And Price? Plain doesn't like him. Probably saw his picture.

I tried to reach Natinsky for comment. No luck. I don't think he has a person yet for comment.

I did talk to Laura Reed of The Reeds PRC, the political PR company running the Natinsky campaign, and she confirmed that they do not have Nealy or Johnson. That's just huge. It means Reed and her mother, Carol, are going to be out in left field for the first time in their lives.

Interesting. I like watching somebody play left field who has never played that position before. You get to see if they've got legs. The Reeds might have. Well, do have, but let's not be sexist, shall we?

Avi Adelman, the East Dallas neighborhood activist, proprietor of the Barking Dogs website and general enfant terrible, confirmed for me he is working for Kunkle in a variety of capacities. "This is a grassroots campaign, and I'm as grassy as they get," he said, speaking from a loud place.

Sarah Dodd, the PR person who is also the chief's wife and who fields media calls, told me Avi has been hired "to do the web page" and is active in other volunteer roles. She said her role is "volunteer and wife."

C.P. Henry, a man usually associated with Republicans, confirmed he is Kunkle's campaign manager. Henry told me the campaign is getting calls from people all over town, Democrats and Republicans, who want to help the chief become mayor.

I picked up some hints in talking to the Kunkle campaign that they think they have a big story ahead about his support. I hope it's about Martians, but that's just me.

Oh, and my rumor about Natinsky is about who he is signing up as a consultant. Oh, man. Now that will be some news, if it's true. Some news. More on that later.

People are starting to wonder whom the current mayor, Tom Leppert, will endorse. He sure seemed to be backing Natinsky. But if Leppert runs for U.S. Senate, he won't want to make the old white men mad. Natinsky could get the old heave-ho-ski.

Forgive me if I sound a little giddy. I've been this way since I was a little boy. I just get all happy when the circus comes to town.

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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