Local politics will get exciting in spring 2015, but the candidate action has already begun. A New York foundation has added Dallas to its fancy list, and Dallas' dippiest politicians are obsessed with street names.
Here are some of the highlights of news around Dallas this week:
Mayor Mike runs
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has announced that he'll run for re-election next May; he was first elected mayor in 2011. The only other candidates that have emerged so far are attorney Marcos Ronquillo and frequent city council speaker Richard Sheridan.
Another prominent race will be the city council seat for District 9, currently occupied by Sheffie Kadane. It's a hot zone that includes Lakewood, Forest Hills, Little Forest Hills, Casa Linda, Casa View and Ferguson Road.
Official filing doesn't begin until January 28, but candidates have already surfaced, including former Dallas Park and Recreation board member Darren Boruff, insurance agency owner Mark Clayton, and Dallas Arboretum board member Christopher Jackson.
Resilient are we
Dallas received an odd honor from the New York-based Rockefeller Foundation, which added us to its list of "100 Resilient Cities," along with other resilient towns such as Tulsa, Paris, London and Barcelona. According to a release, resilient cities get perks that include networking, information technology tools and funds to hire a chief resilience officer. In Dallas' case, that appointment goes to former interim city manager Theresa O'Donnell.
Eric Williams: guilty
In a breathtakingly short three days, former Kaufman County justice of the peace Eric Williams was convicted by a jury on December 4 of capital murder for the 2013 murder of Cynthia McLelland. She's the wife of former Kaufman County district attorney Mike McLelland, who was murdered after pursuing Williams for the theft of three computer monitors.
Jurors saw evidence from a storage locker secretly rented by a friend of Williams' that contained the suspected getaway vehicle and more than 30 guns. Williams is also indicted for the murders of Mike McLelland and assistant district attorney Mark Hasse. Williams faces a potential death sentence; the sentencing phase begins December 8.
Street name silliness
Of all the pointless frittering, at the top of the list is the recent fixation among dippy Dallas politicians to change street names. Dwaine Caraway lost his campaign last summer to re-name Lancaster Boulevard after Nelson Mandela. The latest fiddling comes from Dallas City Council member Carolyn Davis, who has proposed two street name changes. She wants a section of Grand Avenue to be named Al Lipscomb Way, for former councilmember and convicted heroin dealer Al Lipscomb, and a section of Hatcher Street to be named for former councilmember Elsie Faye Heggins.
Despite protests from people who live or work on those streets and whose lives will be negatively affected by a name change, the Planning Commission's Subdivision Review Committee approved her request, with only commission member Paul Ridley courageously voting against it. It will go before the Planning Commission on January 8.