Running the City of Dallas was going to be a great job for Mike Rawlings, so the Dallas Citizens Council thought.
The Dallas Citizens Council had chosen Mike Rawlings to become Dallas Park Board President, and then soon after replace outgoing Mayor Tom Leppert. The elite pro business group had always counted counted on their guy to keep things running smoothly, while the council members that they had financially supported and assisted in winning their seats, would vote along with their guy. No problems were expected, and the pro business agenda continues to move forward. What no one counted on, was a continuing series of events that still have not been resolved to completion and that have interrupted the Dallas Citizens Council and Mike Rawlings’ dream.
THE “STATEMENT” MISCALCULATION
Soon after becoming Mayor in May 2011 and the need to be a part of the people, Mike welcomed attendees to the showing of the film, Gasland at The Texas Theatre in late July. Moving quickly to show that he was on the right side of environmental justice, he told the packed house that “I will never put any neighborhood at risk because of money.” He probably did not calculate that his statement would come back to haunt him on a regular basis because of the secret agreements that had been negotiated between City Manager Mary Suhm and Trinity East Energy. The pro business, Dallas Citizens Council was most likely not happy either. He was now, off leash.
THE DISD MISCALCULATION
Over the past several months, Mike’s choice to lead Dallas schools has been met with resignations and accusations of impropriety. In the past. He didn’t calculate the problems that he would have with his choice, Mike Miles. Earlier this week, events have become so bad that he sacrificed his Senior assistant at City Hall, Paula Blackmon to leave her job in order to help save Mike Miles’ job.
THE PLASTIC BAG MISCALCULATION
Mike did not calculate that one of his own team supporters, Dwaine Caraway to become the new African American environmentalist who wants to banish plastic bags from the city. Caraway had stated at council briefing, that he was intent on getting his way of banishing the bags and for everyone to become aware of of those intentions. He even told a civic group, that Mike had asked Dwaine to ‘slow it down” and “not fast track the issue”. Dwaine is not listening to Mike.
THE UBER MISCALCULATION
Uber is the privately held business that enables one to find a safe and comfortable anywhere in the city via a phone App. The Dallas cabbie’s are not happy about the competition. If the cabbies are not happy, their connections at the Dallas City Council are not happy. If the City of Dallas is pro business, pro technology, pro latest, pro edgy, pro new thing…..then what do you do? Last week, it was revealed that the topic of the Uber issue had been placed on the city council consent agenda, which would stonewall any public discussion of the issue. News spread that it appeared that someone did want to discuss the topic and questions were raised as to who would have place it on the consent agenda preventing any discussion. Only the Mayor and The City Manager have authority on agenda changes and the agenda itself. Since that revelation by council members Scott Griggs and Philip Kingston, the Uber issue is now on it’s way to a committee hearing.
THE GAS DRILLING MISCALCULATION
Wednesday morning, August 28th found Mike in a very grumpy mood. He had just announced his intention to give up his senior assistant Blackmon to the DISD battlefield with no victory in sight, the plastic bag issue being loudly led by one of his own supporters, and the upcoming council vote regarding Trinity East Energy’s lease applications to drill and build a refinery next to the new $31 million dollar Elm Fork Soccer Complex……it was not a good day. That equation, he could count on.
Most politicians know that you never like surprises. Going into a vote, you always calculate the vote outcome, before the outcome. Mike knew one thing for sure, he was going to lose on the gas vote by probably four votes. He didn’t calculate that two more would join the four already written down. After months of intense pressure from both sides of the issue to make a statement on their behalf, he decided to make a public statement about the vote at hand. While he was against “drilling in Dallas, he went on to state,”There’s a place for everything, but there’s no place in this city for drilling, particularly hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations.” Mike went on to say that he would support new city drilling regulations that are shaping up as some of the most prohibitive in the region.
This was not looking good for a pro business guy who won the job by being pro business. Despite Mike’s attempts to appear “green” to some, he then threw the business establishment a bone when he asked the council to approve Trinity East’s permits. “Today is not about being pro or con on a theoretical issue,” he said. “We have a contract with a business. … There is a chance that by voting no we could cost the city of Dallas millions of dollars of legal and other expenses.” Mike calculated that he could have it both ways.
The voting began. Mike and his supporters lost by a larger than expected margin. In addition to the four individuals he expected to vote against the drilling, he did not expect to have two Hispanic council members, and one African American council member to vote against him as well.
Mike lost, he lost big. He needed a super majority of 12 to win. He lost with only 9. No gas drilling in Dallas. None.
Mike really wanted everyone to think that he was sincere about not wanting drilling inside Dallas, but because he feared a lawsuit, he decided it was better to throw the city under the gas truck with his vote. With his statement, not only has he lost The Dallas Citizen’s Council as his being “their guy” to lead Dallas in a pro business mode, he has lost his trusty assistant, Paula Blackmon to the hellish DISD, he lost the vote on gas drilling in Dallas, and he has lost his ability to lead Dallas in the manner to which The Dallas Citizens Council wanted him to lead.
Mike just miscalculated everything.