Maybe it’s the sweltering temperatures or the spartan city budget negotiations or just frustration with not being able to say “yes” to everything that comes before it, but the city council looks to be pretty seriously fractured over the Love Field concessions bidding process. Without going into an issue we’ve discussed here pretty thoroughly in the past, the bottom line on this deal is whether a couple of well-connected companies, owned in part by a couple of minority politicians, should be given no-bid contracts to sell concessions at Love Field.
Monday, I wondered out loud why Mayor Tom Leppert would be sending emails to city residents asking us to contact our council reps to urge them to vote against the no-bid deals when it is scheduled to come before the council tomorrow. Today we have the answer: The DMN is reporting that many if not all of the council’s seven minority members are claiming that Leppert, in particular, and a few other white council reps would be approving this deal if the politicians in question were white. The whole thing is simply ludicrous on its face — as far as I’m concerned, no significant contract involving taxpayer money or resources should ever be no-bid. Ever. And for people on the council to argue that we “owe” it to politicians to give them the contracts because of their faithful efforts on our behalf in Congress and in Austin is laughable — or at least, it should be laughable. So I completely agree with Leppert on this deal, and any compromise or anything short of throwing the no-bid deals out the window is completely wrong.
A few months ago, I said I hoped Leppert would stick around (instead of running for higher office) because I’d like to see him operate as mayor when the chips are down, so to speak. Until now, the rubber simply has never met the road here in Dallas during his tenure — spending money on big projects (the Trinity Tollway and the convention center hotel, for example — is fun, particularly when tax receipts keep the city budget in the black. But now that we’re getting into real, down-and-dirty city politics, and with many of Leppert’s minority compadres on the council calling him a racist, I’m eager to see how he does, both for his future and for ours.