Jody Dean on Tom Leppert

From the blog of Jody Dean, former Dallas news anchor:

One of the nicest things about no longer being a “news anchor” is that I’m free to wantonly impose my opinion regarding any subject I choose. That, and I no longer have to wear a tie.

Of course, all “journalists” have opinions about everything. It’s just that they have to pretend they don’t while you’re watching. The best journalists actually manage to put those views aside in the interest of facts and information.

Being no longer encumbered by those restrictions, we frequently get into all kinds of subjects each morning.

Well, here’s an opinion I hadn’t counted on giving: the next mayor of Dallas needs to be Tom Leppert.

Ed Oakley doesn’t deserve your vote. Why?

Well for one, Oakley’s new TV commercial is one of the nastiest things I’ve ever seen. The guy is widely regarded as a sleazeball.

Here’s but one example of that view:

http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2007/05/the_truth_about_the_truth_abou.php

And here’s another:

http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2007/06/just_got_back_from_a.php

Beyond an apparent disregard for the facts on the part of the Oakley campaign, here are some other reasons:

1. If ever a city needed a mindset geared toward planned, vigorous development, it’s Dallas. Leppert represents a good opportunity to establish some real, job-attracting ideas and initiatives for south Dallas. Oakley doesn’t.

2. Dallas needs a leader who can rally the troops and think big. It doesn’t need another petty politician who thinks only of how to get votes – honestly or otherwise.

3. I can envision Leppert sitting across from a Boeing or a Comerica and talking his peers into making Dallas their new corporate home. I can’t say the same thing for Oakley.

4. I believe Leppert remembers his roots, and that empathy for others of similar station will make him work for those citizens just as hard as he might for those of influence – regardless of whether they support him or not. Oakley seems interested only in that which make his opponents look worse.

Look – I don’t live in Dallas, and I don’t vote there. But I do work there, and I’m proud of the city. I’ve lived next to it for half a century, been working in it now for a quarter of a century, and I’ve seen politicians of every type come and go. I could care less about party affiliation, especially when it comes to City Hall. The question for me is always “what will you do if you get elected?” Not – as seems to be the case with Oakley – “to what lengths will you go to get elected?”

And by the way – if Oakley wants to selectively recount the record on Leppert’s Turner Construction, he might want to pause for a moment. Guilt by association is a two-edged sword.

Using that thinking, one could easily say that because Oakley was present downtown when Dallas blew its chance to land the Cowboys, he shares blame for the team’s flight to Arlington.

And for the city’s explosive crime rate.

And for a southern sector economy too beholden to bars and pawn shops rather than industry and housing.

And for city leadership unable or unwilling to hold fast to a Trinity River Project as approved by voters.

And years of languishing inaction over a homeless center.

And on and on.

Just a thought.

Of course, that would take a television commercial that (slightly) mischaracterizes Oakley’s record – something that Leppert has resisted, at least thus far.

Pity. I might like to see Oakley’s reaction to such an ad.

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