More fallout from the April city council election: don’t expect to see too many of the familiar business establishment types involved in prominent ways in the upcoming DART referendum campaign. The word is that some leading establishment types with a record of volunteerism-Norman Brinker, Rodger Meier, Bill Aston-were approached to assist in the campaign and all said no. Sour grapes from Fred Meyer backers? Yes, but there’s more. In the DART referendum, which could be held as early as November, voters will essentially be asked whether the transit authority should be allowed to sell bonds as a means of financing construction of the rail system, and some business leaders are not so sure that an expensive rail system is a good idea right now. especially given the sour economy. The effort will be chaired by Harry "Buzz" Crutcher III. a prominent attorney with strong ties to Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, and former Gov. Mark White.
As the budget crunch tightens, some old revenue-producing ideas have surfaced once again. There’s the idea, for instance, of slapping a commuter tax on the employers of nonresidents who work in Dallas. And then there’s the notion of a head tax for passengers deplaning at Love Field, something on the order of $1 a head. Neither idea is being taken seriously, but the fact that they’re being discussed at all is revealing.
Councilman Dean Vanderbilt is the subject of one of the hotter political rumors of the summer. The grapevine says Vanderbilt will resign from the council next spring, at a point where, according to the City Charter, the council would appoint a replacement and avoid the necessity of a special election. Vanderbilt says it’s nonsense. The probable source? "Oh. there are three or four or five people out there who’d like to run for this seat, and since this is my last term, I’m sure they’re planning ahead and talking about various scenarios."