I wouldn't consider it an entirely wasted Sunday morning. There were free Einstein Bros. bagels, after all, and lox and cream cheese; hell, that's worth a short drive right there. Of course, if I had known that in order to justify the gratis grub I'd have to sit for two hours listening to mayoral candidates Gary Griffith, Mitchell Rasansky, Darrell Jordan and my old pal and colleague Zac Crain agree with each other, well, I mighta stayed home and made my own breakfast.
As far as kick-offs go, this one at Temple Emanu-El was pretty tepid--a back-patting, small-talking, good-jobbing, atta-boying affair during which all four men agreed on the Trinity River project (shoulda been done earlier, oughta get done soon), public safety (it's the city's top priority), South Dallas (needs some economic development and a good sweeping) and education (go get one). Nobody picked a fight, nobody mentioned Zac's inexperience, nobody jumped on or picked on Rasansky when he said strong-mayor governments breed corrupt City Halls, nobody brought up the fact Jordan's already run for mayor and lost once before. Read this morning it was "the first salvo in what's expected to be a heavily contested race to succeed outgoing Mayor Laura Miller." More like a first date. Said Dr. Richard Wasserman, the forum's moderator, after the 90-minute discussion: "There were not a lot of meaningful answers" here this morning, "but it's still early."
Probably the most interesting thing to come from it was Wasserman's announcement before the forum that eight potential candidates had been contacted and only five agreed to show; the fifth, Bill Blaydes, withdrew his RSVP after deciding he was not going to for mayor, which left the final four. Of course, they'll be joined by other potential candidates in coming months--like, oh, Gromer Jeffers' man crushes Rafael Anchia and Don Hill or council member Ed Oakley. Till then, we're kinda in a holding pattern with events like this, during which only one actual idea was thrown out--Zac wants to eliminate court-appearance overtime for police officers, thus saving the department money it can use to hire more cops--and generalities were served up like smoked salmon.
If I were Zac, I woulda held up my copy of the October Esquire--the one with Brad Pitt on the cover and, yup, Zac Crain on page 212. You see, Zac was asked to write about himself for the magazine's "100 Things, Ideas & People You Need to Know Right Now" issue; he's at No. 28 on the list, as "The MySpace Candidate." Got almost a full page with a big picture; he shares it only with No. 38, "Omega 3's: The New Flouride," which is also Darrell Jordan's campaign slogan, if I am not mistaken.
So, see, if I were Zac--or his campaign managers or his PR person--I woulda copied the article, handed it out to all 125 people at the temple and taunted my opponents with the thing. Or I would have read it as my opening remarks, eliminating only the reference to emo bands; don't think my mom and her buddies would have gotten the joke, but who knows.
Still, I can predict our next mayor based on two observations. Darrell Jordan with his white hair parted in the middle, looks like a mayor. Maybe the mayor of a small southern town in the late 1950s, but a mayor nonetheless. And then there was this conversation taking place at my table. "They haven't said anything," said one woman to her husband. "Yeah," said the husband, "but Darrell Jordan says nothing the best." Ladies and gents, I give you the next mayor of the city of Dallas. --Robert Wilonsky