Observer Writer Seeks Can-Do-Over

I have no idea how serious a mayoral candidate Zac Crain will be come next year's elections; Lord knows he's swimming in a crowded pool that will likely include not only Mayor Laura Miller, but also attorney and perennial candidate Darrell Jordan, council members Don Hill and Bill Blaydes (and, just maybe, one or two others), former Mayor Pro Tem Max Wells and a handful of wealthy white businessmen who see running this city as their destiny. And I can't, for the life of me, come up with a good reason why fomer council member Domingo Garcia shouldn't run again; after his showing at the immigration-rights megamarch, his profile and chances will never again be this high. There will be many familiar and famous faces vying for Miller's center seat, and with their candidacies will come a lot of money, a lot of coverage and a lot of noise.

So where does that leave Zac, the former Observer music editor, current American Way editor and a friend of many in media and local music circles? (Here's a guy who can get Gentleman Scholar Peter Schmidt, DallasCEO editor Adam McGill and pediatrician-to-the-stars Chris Dreiling in the same room; Zac's a uniter, not a divider.) Truth be told, nobody knows at this early date; his advisors will do their best to help him craft a thoughtful, invigorating message and stick to it, which is all one can ask. Last night at the Sons of Hermann Hall, with a soundtrack provided by Shibboleth and Sorta, he debuted the very first plank in his campaign: the reasons why he's running. He spoke of his 2-year-old son and of raising his son in this son in the city. "I realized two things: One, I wasn't very happy with [Dallas], and two, I wasn't doing much to change that fact."

He referred to a story he wrote for the Observer about photographer Hal Samples, who uses pictures of the homeless to illuminate their plight. Zac said a handful of the people he met on the streets two years ago are dead or in prison; surely, he suggested, that's a low estimate. But Dallas has had a plan for the homeless for 16 years, Zac said, one that was shelved and forgotten after being paid for. That's how Dallas does things, he insists: The city thanks the planners, writes them a check and sends them on their way, putting their proposals in drawers that turn into black holes.

"We have enough plans," he said. "It's time to start acting on them. And I'm gonna be the one to do that...The future of this city is bought and paid for. It's just on layaway. And the good thing is we all have a claim ticket, and it's called a vote. And if you give that to me, I'll go down to City Hall and bring back what already belongs to us." And with that, Shibboleth launched into the theme from the TV show Dallas.

After his speech, a local musician said he'd become convinced Zac wasn't just joking about his campaign--ya know, he's no Pat Paulson. "I still need to hear more, of course," he said, "but I'm glad I won't be voting for him just because he's a friend." And that was the vibe among most: It was a great start for the political novice, but just a start. There's a long way to go, and there are a lot of people to convince and climb over. But it's a start. --Robert Wilonsky

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