Miller's Crossing

Out there in the heat of the night, the mayoral drums continue to throb. Who can beat Laura? Who-who-who? All kinds of men want to be mayor next time, but all kinds of men always want to be mayor. Just like they wanted to be Boy Scouts. The drums say no. No men this time. The drums say only a woman can beat Laura.

It's complicated.

Laura Miller is way strong in the conservative white northwest quadrant of the city, where people think she's the only one down there watching the checkbook. I think that's inaccurate. I think she's the only one who knows there is a checkbook. So she rolls up the civic-minded vote in the rest of town too.

The only way anyone could beat her is by roaring through North Dallas like a cyclone, cleaning up the purse-watchers elsewhere and maybe carving off a little chunk of southern Dallas as well. The only way to beat Laura, in other words, is to out-Laura her, and the only candidate who can do that will be a woman.

The other day I mentioned Cecilia Edwards, CEO of the Foundation for Community Empowerment, who has been mentioned as a possible black woman candidate. Since then drums have called to tell me it will have to be a white one. That brings up former councilperson Veletta Forsythe Lill, who may be interested. She's got name. Does she have game? Only the drums know.

Another name I heard yesterday was Jeanne Johnson Phillips of Hunt Realty, a veteran of bond election politics. I called her. She said, "I am not running." But you know how that goes.

The big problem all these folks have is the possibility that the same folks who talk them into running may pull the rug out from under them in the heat of battle. The drums are pragmatic. Say the day gets close; the drums look at Laura; they decide she's got it nailed; they ditch the poor sucker they talked into running and go with a sure thing. I say still say she's still got it. But the drums are talking in the forests at night. --Jim Schutze

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