Yesterday, Councilman Philip Kingston tweeted, “If you told me 4 years ago that @BarrettBrown_ would have a National Magazine Award and that we’d be friends, I’d have laughed.” He was responding to Barrett, who’d just tweeted out a link to a podcast he did with the councilman. The whole thing has been transcribed, so you can read it if your organ of choice is the eye over the ear. Here’s one passage from Kingston that caught mine.
“I along with three other city councilmen from other cities have formed a group called Texas Urban Policy Makers where we’re trying to get together around shared goals and maybe do some statewide advocacy on things that we all care about … related to urbanism more than just progressive policy. Transportation for instance, has become a means in which to separate people and these massive, car oriented infrastructure projects simply serve to promote segregation, promote poor air quality. There’s a lot of stuff to unpack there, but those things, when we can organize around that stuff, then what we find is we suddenly have an effective tool with the state government that doesn’t respect our point of view and would like to run roughshod over us.
“So, we’ll be meeting, next month, with Victor Vandergriff, who’s a TxDOT commissioner, to work on basically a platform for advocating for urban transportation projects – which almost all are non-automotive.”
I asked Kingston who the other council members are. The other three are Greg Casar in Austin, Mayor Ron Nirenberg in San Antonio, and Peter Svarzbein in El Paso. They’ll be joined by Delia Garza in Austin, Rey Saldana in San Antonio, Doug Athas in Garland, Ann Zadeh in Fort Worth, Keely Briggs in Denton, and Scott Griggs here in Dallas.
I don’t know all those names, of course. But Vandergriff is the right place to start. There’s a reason we named him the Best Public Official this year in Best of Big D.