The temptation, in looking at yesterday’s council election results, is to proclaim that a new age is dawning in Dallas. Voters — and more of them than many of us thought there would be — rejected several of the insiders who have screwed up the city.
Far North Dallas city councilman Ron Natinsky, who had the support of almost every council member and key insider organization, finished a poor third in the mayor’s race. Oak Cliff councilman Dave Neumann, who never met a voter he couldn’t ignore, lost to Scott Griggs in his bid for re-election. M Streets councilwoman Angela Hunt, the woman the elite loves to hate, was easily elected to a third term. And former councilwoman Sandy Greyson, who has also tweaked a few insider noses in the past couple of years, led the voting for Natinsky’s old seat and will be in the June runoff.
But let’s not get carried away. Yes, the turnout was about the same as it was in 2007, which was a huge surprise, but it was still only around 10 percent. It’s not as if there was a massive groundswell of discontent out there. Almost all of the old council, which got us into this mess, will be returning — hardly cause for celebration. The current projected budget deficit is $60 to $80 million, and this council has shown no ability to grasp the significance of what a budget deficit is and what it means.
Finally, the two mayoral candidates who made the runoff are hardly political outsiders who will shake up the system if elected. Mike Rawlings used to run Pizza Hut, and had the support of the same people who forced Mayor Park Cities on us. Former police chief David Kunkle worked for the city for much of his professional career, and is probably more of an insider than Natinsky. That he was seen during the campaign as a fresh voice shows just how warped our system is.
So be glad we had change. If we didn’t get enough — and we didn’t — we need to keep working at it. This is a good start