Social distancing with former Mayor Mike Rawlings. (Photo by Matt Goodman)

Podcasts

New EarBurner: Former Mayor Mike Rawlings From His Backyard

The major public health response during Rawlings' tenure was Ebola. Here, the former mayor reflects on how that was different than COVID-19—and much more.

At his home in Preston Hollow, former Mayor Mike Rawlings is waiting out the pandemic by reading the Bible every day. And by sitting in an Adirondack chair in his backyard, cigar in hand and a gin and grapefruit nearby.

Rawlings does not appear to miss his job at 1500 Marilla. He’d been through something of a trial run for coronavirus, when an African man named Thomas Eric Duncan arrived at a small apartment in Vickery Meadow with Ebola. Rawlings was lockstep with County Judge Clay Jenkins, giving daily press conferences and reassurances to the public.

But Ebola was different. That was a localized event, with messaging targeted at encouraging residents to not to be afraid as they moved about the city. COVID-19 flips that upside down. You should all be staying inside as much as possible, and the city and the county are each under disaster or emergency declarations that allow our leaders to keep you there.

But Rawlings came close to issuing his own disaster declaration, when it became difficult to track the doctors who had come into contact with Duncan. This is one of the many things Tim and Zac discussed in the former mayor’s backyard, including his church situation on Easter, how southern Dallas is likely being hit harder by COVID-19 than the more affluent parts of town, and a full-throated defense of Trinity Forest Golf Club. Even after the Nelson pulled out.

“I’m much more concerned about results than I am of optics,” Rawlings said. “I think we’re doing a pretty good job. It’s amazing we’re shutting the city down without any screwups.”

Also on the docket: the pronunciation of “kerchief” and a revealing game of Marry, uhm, Eff, Kill. Listen below or on your favorite podcatcher.

 

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