Did voters tell City Hall “We’ve had enough?”

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

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  • Michael Mosteller

    I am encouraged by the results seeing as how Kunkle got within 9 percentage points of Rawlings while being outspent by almost a million dollars. He beat out the city council’s pick in Natinsky. Kunkle didn’t have big endorsers like Roger Staubach or Ron Kirk. A friend of mine had an interesting observation about how whatever candidate or initiative Roger is for you should be against since Roger only has Roger’s business interests in mind.

    Jeff, sure Kunkle could be considered an insider but his record speaks for itself. Kunkle has shown he can make the tough, unpopular choices that ultimately benefit his department. I don’t think Kunkle has much shot at winning but runoffs can go either way.

  • CitizenKane

    Could Natinky’s loss be a sign of continued “tea party” syndrome at the local level?

    Between Preston Hollow Rawlings or Government Pensioner Kunkle, I will go with later. I think Kunkle will be tougher in the difficult chores of cutting spending. While Rawlings, who, like Leppert, has his eyes on higher pollitical offic, will be more apt to appease the various interest groups that will oppose spending cuts.