“Power in Dallas ” was D’s first cover story in October 1974, and the city’s leadership has fascinated this magazine ever since. We updated who gets things done in Dallas in 1977 and again in 1982.
Looking back over the decade, I’m reminded of The Leopard, a novel published in the early Sixties about an aging Sicilian prince who told his nephew that the younger generation would have to interest itself in politics. “Don’t you see?” asked the prince. “Things must change in order to remain the same.”
Things have changed dramatically in Dallas since 1974, but not as drastically as D predicted they would in its first cover story. In those days, it looked as though the old order of business leadership was finished and would never again call the shots as it had for more than 30 years. New forces were afoot in the city-black voters, neighborhood groups, dissenters of all kinds-and they found a champion in populist mayor Wes Wise, a former sportscaster who defeated The Establishment’s candidate, Avery Mays, in 1971. Nobody expected to hear from the business community again.
They were wrong. With the election of developer Bob Folsom to succeed Wise, it was once again business as usual. Almost. There were definitive differences. The City Council had totally changed from the old days when the business community’s handpicked candidates were elected at large. Folsom faced a fractious bunch of colleagues every time the Council got together. The old chorus of “amens ” was over.
Then, too, as D pointed out in 1977, Folsom’s candidacy was a product of the new business power base that lay to the north, not the downtown structure that had elected mayors R. L. Thornton and Erik Jons-son (although the downtown group gladly supported Folsom as one of its own). Things had indeed changed in order to remain the same.
In the story that follows, Emily Freeman Pinkston traces the winding road of power in Dallas over the last 50 years and lists some of the most significant players in the city today.
THE FIRST GENERATION: THE DECISION MAKERS
IT ALL BEGAN with the Texas Centennial Exposition of 1936. The state was sunk deep in the Depression, and cities like Dallas were searching about for a way out. The Centennial celebration appeared to be a godsend that would bring desperately needed prosperity and national attention as well. Not that Dallas stood much of a chance. Other Texas cities had more historical significance to offer the event. But that didn’t deter local business leaders, who put together a campaign that carried the day with dollars, dealing and sheer chutzpah. The effort established a way of running Dallas that prevailed for almost 40 years. With the Texas Centennial, the Old-Style Decision Makers were born.
Led by the head of the Chamber of Commerce, Robert L. “Uncle Bob” Thornton (founder of Mercantile Bank and four-term mayor), the group wooed the Centennial folks with promises of making the exposition bigger and better in Dallas than anywhere else. And that meant gathering big bucks-a bid of $10 million-and 242 acres of land on which to build the showcase. When Dallas was selected, Thornton went back to his peers in the business community-not the city government-with the request for funds. The purse strings were pulled, and the exposition halls went up.
The Centennial Exposition was so good for Dallas business that the Decision Makers-those heads of companies who could say yes or no without asking anybody-decided to institutionalize the pattern of cooperative effort in 1937 by forming the Dallas Citizens Council.
Membership in the Citizens Council, although defined by one’s business position, was nonetheless by invitation only. Its credo was clear: Members were expected to do what was good for Dallas-not for their own self interest-with the expectation that as the city grew, their companies would benefit also.
Without the constraints of law or the demands of holding companies, the Decision Makers gave generously from their corporate proceeds. If they wanted to donate $10,000 to help the election of a T.L. Bradford or a Charles E. Turner, they simply signed the check. If volunteers were needed to do the legwork on a project, employees were supplied.
The Dallas Citizens Council was able to wield its power partly because the city government was made up of players supported by the business community. Winning elections was a matter of applying the right clout and bucks to the right slate of candidates. Only occasionally was any other group able to put up enough money to gain a hold on even one of the seats, which were all elected at large. It was an elegant system as long as it lasted, but its days dwindled down to a precious few. September Song came in the Seventies.
THE SECOND GENERATION: THE NICE GUYS
DALLAS GOT THROUGH the struggles over civil rights and Vietnam with little open upheaval, but there was much shifting underground. In fact, the whole basis of business leadership almost crumbled. The “one man/one vote” court ruling brought single-member districts to the Dallas City Council, the school board and the state Legislature. With only one district in which to muster support, candidates arose who could rally the dollars and voters to win without the backing of the Decision Makers.
That wasn’t the only problem. Mergers and takeovers were another product of the times, and Dallas businesses became attractive to outsiders. Hometown companies, such as Southwestern Life, Neiman-Mar-cus, Sanger Harris and the Dallas Times Herald, were bought by corporations headquartered outside Dallas. Many other Dallas-bred companies, such as Dresser Industries, spread their operations far and wide to embrace the world as their marketplace. With the bank holding act of 1970, local banks were transformed. Founding fathers were replaced with professional managers, many of whom had no background in the corporate commitment style of the city.
Although conservative Dallas never felt the wave of “anti-ism” that washed over other cities, the anti-Establishment and anti-business (particularly Big Business) mentality found a field here in which to grow. The motives of business leaders who gave to the community became suspect.
Throughout the Sixties, however, the foundation of business power showed only a few hairline cracks. With Erik Jonsson-a man whose unrelenting drive for excellence left little room for naysayers-at the helm of city government from 1964 to 1971, the business community still reigned supreme. But in 1971, one of the hairline cracks split wide open when Wes Wise, a TV sportscaster who knew how to use the media, beat out the business choice for mayor. A year later, Dallas voters turned down the bond issue to canalize the Trinity River, and many believed that the Decision Makers were finished for good.
The foundation had cracked, and with it, they believed, went the structure. Since 1971, the Decision Makers have never had the same control over the shaping of Dallas. But, like the foundation of a building, the city’s power base went through a period of shifting before it settled down in a somewhat different position. This period of realignment is what the second generation of leadership in Dallas was all about.
“Throughout the late Seventies, I heard many issues discussed and questions asked about our business community’s getting involved in this issue or that one. We’d say, ’Well, let’s stay away from it. If we come out and support it, it’s going to be the kiss of death,’ ” says one current business leader.
“The business community kind of retreated, in my mind, to running their own businesses and making money. Relatively speaking, they withdrew and found other arenas for putting their talents to work. I think it was an overreaction to the swinging pendulum. The business community moved from calling all the shots to something that bordered on abdication of responsibility,” observes a member of the third generation power structure.
To counter the bad image, the business community-collectively through such groups as United Way or as individual corporate entities-became the Nice Guys. Need money for a new hospital wing? We can handle that. Need bodies to help with a fund drive? We can supply them. Want help in solving the traffic problems on Central Expressway? No thanks. I gave at the office -and got kicked for my effort.
Although contributions by businesses were of major significance, they were chiefly along the safe lines of community and charity work. It wasn’t because of a lack of desire that the business community didn’t get involved in the tough issues; business leaders simply hadn’t figured out the mechanism for working effectively.
One crisis, however, brought the business community back to dealing aggressively with issues: desegregation. The Texas Centennial generated a new approach for the city’s business leadership. With the creation of the Dallas Alliance, a pluralistic group was formed to deal with pluralistic problems. Making decisions for everyone was evolving into making decisions with everyone.
Egged on by criticism from Federal Judge Mac Taylor, the business community became the facilitator for communications in the tangled proceedings that surrounded school busing. It brought together all opposing interests and worked to hammer out a magnet school plan for DISD. The Dallas Alliance showed the way to a new role that business could play in dealing with controversial issues.
Meanwhile, outside the business community, a parallel and equally significant movement was occurring: the rise of special-interest groups. Those who had not traditionally enjoyed a piece of the pie wanted their slice, and they wanted it now. What’s more, for the first time, the have-nots perceived that they might be able to get it. With a City Council seat now a feasible goal, the ballot box became all-important.
Community involvement took on another meaning: joining up and making grass-roots voices heard. From minority groups to neighborhood groups to special-interest-anything groups, people volunteered and paid their dues by going to meetings, handing out literature, making phone calls and talking up the cause.
When Robert Folsom was elected mayor after Wes Wise’s three terms, the pendulum of power began to swing back toward the business establishment. Folsom’s style of leadership, however, was not a harbinger for the Eighties. Folsom had a non-stop expansionist approach not unlike that of the Decision Makers. And although he had to work in a complex political setting, he nonetheless did what he thought best without conceding any points to his opponents. His was the old style of leadership. It worked well for him, but it was a style of days gone by.
THIRD GENERATION: THE CONSENSUS MAKERS
THE PERIOD OF realignment gave way to the third generation of leadership with the inauguration of Jack Evans as mayor in 1981. Although he was a member of the power circle in which Folsom moved, Evans’ approach to leadership was not at all like that of his peers. His own style was the embodiment of a new way of getting things done. Rather than knocking out the opposition, Evans preferred to sit down at the table and work out the differences.
His “kitchen Cabinet” was diverse, not just the traditional business elite. His behind-the-scenes peacemaking was-confus-ing to some who were accustomed to the old ways. He didn’t fit the profile of the aggressive business leader, but he represented a new approach for working in a pluralistic city.
Even more crucial, the issues Evans raised ushered in a new definition of the “good of Dallas,” which now had to be defined as what was good for all of Dallas. It didn’t necessarily follow that when the business community thrived, so did the city. The health of the business community was becoming increasingly contingent on the health of the city as a whole. Quality-of-life issues were put on an equal footing with purely economic ones. You couldn’t attract new businesses or even keep the old ones without good schools, good transportation, culture and the economic development of the have-nots.
Mayor Starke Taylor, like his predecessor and close friend, is a Consensus Maker. His mechanism is the Citizens’ Task Force, drawn from as broad a spectrum of people as possible. Although many people would describe the task force as just another committee process that slows the move toward resolution, Taylor has used the vehicle to consolidate opinion and pinpoint steps to action. Despite his own interests in North Dallas, he, like Evans, has made the economic development of southern Dallas a primary calling. Neither Taylor nor Evans has all the answers for dealing within a pluralistic city, but both represent a new style of power-sharing and consensus-making that’s more consistent with the realities of 1984.
After a decade of uncertainty, business leaders have gotten their act together. No longer is business searching for the techniques to deal in a segmented society, where business elitism is viewed skeptically. All sorts of groups are now playing a role. The linkage among these groups, as the business community is well aware, is a critical part of the new power formula. And ironically, sharing power is part of being powerful.
WHO ARE THE PLAYERS?
The top requirement for rising in Dallas is still individual contribution to the city. But unlike earlier years, many civic players are focusing on a single area of expertise and developing a presence in one sphere of influence rather than exercising generalized power as before. And these spheres of influence are making the role of Consensus Makers more important than ever.
To assess the current allocation of influence, D took an informal poll of members of the Dallas Citizens Council, the Dallas Assembly, the Dallas Chamber of Commerce and the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce. In addition, we conducted numerous interviews with people who are known to be interested in the city’s public life. While the sample was in no way scientific and was subject to considerable distillation, its results offer a framework for understanding how the Dallas power structure works today.
Old-Style Decision MakersTheir long, distinguished record of service to the community allows these Decision Makers to continue to wield power-if and when they choose to use their influence. Their advice and counsel is sought in any sphere of activity because they know how to play the game.
Erik Jonsson: The former three-term mayor whose tenure could be called “In Search of Excellence” is still active with the Goals for Dallas program that he founded. He’s also tapped for key projects that need top-flight management. He’s a man who knows how to direct dreams into realities.
John Stemmons: He’s a man of such stature that even the President of the United States didn’t take offense when Stemmons called him “ol’ man.” He has been in on almost all the important decisions made in Dallas during the past 25 years.
Alex Bickley: Never underestimate the power of this Master Player. When the times changed, the executive director of the Dallas Citizens Council (formerly city attorney) moved with them.
Individual Power Bases
They’re two self-made millionaires whose image of power makes it a reality. Definitely not team players, the two are beholden to no person or organization. Their interests frequently range well beyond the borders of Dallas, but their bigger-than-life images allow them to wield power at home when they choose.
Ross Perot: Perot speaks his mind and doesn’t bother with the political consequences. Perot gave his views on education and has done more for state-and thus Dallas-education than dozens of Legislatures and school boards combined.
Trammell Crow: A master dealmaker, Crow’s reputation for power is derived more from his real-estate empire than his involvement in local affairs. His farsighted and gutsy approach to real estate-such as building his market centers before Stemmons Freeway was even completed-has forever changed the face of Dallas. That’s power.
A personal style that evokes trust, an organizational savvy and an ability to see common ground where most see none allow these people to bring together divergent groups and mold their interests into a consensus. Although they have proven themselves in specific spheres, their reputations are not tied to a particular issue but to a method of dealing with issues. They have staying power at the table because they know how to deal the cards so that everyone has a few chips to take home. Their leadership style is the style of today.
Dave Fox: He’s been involved in some of the city’s toughest issues (such as desegregation) and has come away with the respect of all sides. Fox understood the principle of consensus sooner than some. One recent proof of his skill-Fox produced a first for partisan political conventions-a non-partisan welcoming team.
John D. Miller: He keeps a low profile but is known for his ability to conciliate. A major force in the Dallas Alliance, the Sanger Harris exec has earned respect from minority interests for his fairness, despite his high-ranking position in the business establishment.
John R. Johnson: He has proven himself in education issues and behind-the- scenes networking. As the new chairman of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Johnson should continue William T. Solomon’s efforts to place the chamber at the center of most major issues as the key consensus builder.
William T. Solomon: He clearly represents business interests as chairman of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, but he has positioned the chamber as a forum for consensus. He looks for common ground.
Ron Kessler: Although Democratic in background, Kessler has a unique ability to view the city as a whole and look toward the future. An astute observer of people, he knows all the players and can assemble the right group for the right issue.
Emerging Consensus Makers
Having tackled enough civic projects and political undertakings to prove themselves leaders, these four will be tapped for even larger projects calling for a conciliator. They know the ropes and the fine art of networking.
Kay Bailey Hutchison: A lawyer and former state representative from Houston, she still can be found anywhere that Republican Party issues are discussed. Although partisan in politics, she sees the big picture, knows all the players and articulates her position well.
Dan Petty: A merger of Henry S. Miller Co. has recently kept him tied to his desk. But Petty has a long record of both public-and private-sector service. He knows how to make the two sectors work together and is a possible future candidate for office at City Hall.
Tricia Smith: With a passionate commitment to public service and a willingness to give and give again of her time, Smith is the consummate committee appointee. She knows City Hall networking and knows how to play the game in a pluralistic city. She’s earned her stripes on the Park Board and the City Plan Commission and she may land on the City Council someday.
Philip Montgomery HI: Although he’s frequently associated with the arts, Montgomery has demonstrated the ability to pull together a tight organization with his work on DART. His understanding of how all the pieces fit together could be transferred to any arena he chooses.
Mary Ellen Degnan: Currently on the DART board and president of the Dallas Historic Preservation League, she’s a past member of the City Plan Commission and now does consulting on development issues.
Issues are brought to the fore or quashed, candidates are selected or shunned, and strategies and ideas are conceived or set aside by this group of power holders. Rather than use the public forum, the style of these players is a phone call, a private meeting or the careful placement of their own people in key positions. Some people on this list give the word; some negotiate the problems and set the strategies; still others carry out the line. But the result is the same: Each has an influence on critical issues facing Dallas.
Robert Folsom/Jack Evans/Pete Schenkel: Together with Starke Taylor, they form the inner circle of city government power. Befitting their positions as past mayors, Folsom and Evans keep a low public profile but nonetheless act as consultants on almost a daily basis. Their word counts, and you’d be wise to have their support if the City Hall circuit is your territory. As a former campaign director for Evans, Schenkel knows all the players and helps put the pieces together.
George Schrader: As city manager under three mayors, Schrader knows City Hall intimately. Although protocol dictates that he keep a low profile for Chuck Anderson’s sake, a phone call from Schrader still carries weight. Rex Jobe: A superb strategist, Jobe works out the details while others make the public stand. He understands the importance of doing his homework.
Al Herron: Although his profile is high these days as president of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, his real work goes on behind the scenes. A long-range thinker, he understands the system and has the tenacity and savvy to make it work.
Sandy Kress: A lawyer with Johnson & Swanson, Kress keeps his hand in Democratic campaign activities and is known for his strategic and organizing abilities.
Jim Oberwetter: If you’re running for office as a Republican, you’ll want him on your team. He’s so effective that the non-partisan DART campaign relied heavily on his advice.
Billy Allen: Although he’s served in many public settings, Allen’s power comes from the fact that his insights are frequently sought by The Establishment. His focus is on the economics of South Dallas, and his style enables him to operate well where others can’t.
Judy Bonner Amps, Enid Gray and John Weekley: The power of public relations cannot be underestimated. Together, Amps (a Democrat) and Weekley and Gray (Republicans) took a virtual unknown (Starke Taylor), who was pitted against a Councilman who had been in the public eye for over a decade (Wes Wise), and created a mayor. Enough said.
Tom Dunning: Although his scope is more state-oriented at the moment as an appointee of Gov. Mark White, Dunning can still be found mustering support and influencing decisions in the local Democratic party. His long track record makes people listen.
Jon White: Past chairman of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce and member of the Dallas Citizens’ Council’s executive committee, he’s heavily involved in Baptist activities, including the Baptist Foundation and Baylor University Medical Center Foundation.
Forrest Smith: President of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, he’s responsible for implementing many of the programs of Dallas’ behind-the-scenes power players.
Power At City Hall
A position at City Hall may draw attention, but it doesn’t automatically convey power. Those who achieve influence do so through an ability to see the big picture, move through the morass of entanglements on tough issues and come out with a resolution.
A. Starke Taylor Jr: Although a long-time player in the Folsom/Evans group, Taylor’s public power-quite distinct from behind-the-scenes power-was unknown when he entered the mayor’s office. The mayor’s aboveboard sincerity, along with his commitment to the whole of Dallas, has earned him respect- and power. He’s willing to tackle anything from the economic development of South Dallas to child-care problems to public housing to Central Expressway.
Annette Strauss: She earned her right to a seat on the City Council the traditional way-with longtime involvement in the community, especially the arts. If you want something done-not just someone to listen-Strauss knows how to work the system for you.
Charles (Chuck) Anderson: As city manager, he holds one of the most sensitive and difficult jobs in Dallas. Although Anderson has lost some crucial votes, such as his recommended tax increase to fund last year’s budget, he is known for doing his homework. He’s also resilient. This year, Anderson amazed the Council by coming back with a budget based on a decrease in taxes.
Camille Cates Barnett: Dr. Barnett, deputy city manager with a Ph.D. in public administration, has the reputation for being a driving force at City Hall. Her low profile belies the considerable power she has over day-to-day management of city business. She keeps things moving.
The health of the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) affects more than the quality of public education. DISD is essential to reversing out-migration (and loss of tax base) from the city. Those in power positions in education are critical to Dallas.
Linus Wright: Although many are displeased with DISD, few level their criticism at the superintendent. Wright’s position confers power, but his real influence rests on the community’s respect for his integrity. With determination, he’s moved DISD forward from the scandal-ridden mess it was in when he first took the job.
John Field Scovell: Improving public education is his private calling, and putting together a consensus of support from the business community is his methodology. Scovell’s talent for organizing support could carry him into other arenas of power-if he chooses to enter them.
Judge Barefoot Sanders: His decisions shape DISD and to a great extent, the city of Dallas and its surrounding suburbs, as well.
Pettis Norman: Forceful and articulate, Norman regularly attends school board meetings and serves as the black community’s watchdog over educational concerns.
A power base that’s divided into two areas: air and ground transportation. Longtime workhorses have released some of the reins in this sphere, and new people are coming to leadership. Their most important quality is tenacity, since transportation is one of the city’s most frustrating problems.
Walt Humann: Humann has vision and an awesome grasp of details. Also a Consensus Maker, he was crucial in the DART bond election, and now he’s tackling the stagnating problem of Central Expressway.
Adlene Harrison: A true professional and veteran of the City Council and City Plan Commission, Harrison’s staying power has put her at the head of DART. She’s known as a tireless worker who leads by example.
Tom James: Transportation is no passing issue to James, who meticulously does his homework and hangs in there until the job’s done. His primary interests are related to North Dallas, which he represents tirelessly.
Jack Worley: Using the various chambers of commerce as his lobbying vehicle, Worley has earned a reputation for being knowledgeable and persuasive in highway development and air transportation. As head of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, he will likely broaden his interests as linkage among the chambers grows.
Al Casey: As head of Dallas-based American Airlines-by far the largest airline flying out of D/FW -Casey carries clout.
Herbert D. Kelleher: The Southwest Airlines chairman’s tenacity in keeping Love Field alive puts him squarely on the playing board in the transportation game.
Bob Dedman: As a member of the Texas Highway Commission, he wields considerable power over Central Expressway and other transportation issues. Although his plan to double-deck Central has run into trouble, he still is a voice to be reckoned with.
City Planning and Development
Although Dallas’ future growth is, ultimately, a City Hall issue, outsiders to the governmental structure recently played key roles in planning policy papers instigated by the city. These people knew how to sit down at the table, analyze the issues and influence City Hall policy.
Dave Braden: As leader of the business community’s input on the city’s planning policy papers, his talents earned him the stripes of a Consensus Maker. Bra-den’s profile today puts him in the planning sphere.
Steve Jenkins: A newcomer to major issues, Jenkins garnered recognition for his ability to analyze issues pragmatically. He did his homework. No doubt he’ll be tapped for other assignments.
Jerry Bartos: At a time when relations between the competing Dallas and North Dallas chambers of commerce are still uneasy, Bartos serves as the vital connector. With a record of achievement in the area of education (he was a school board member during the Nolan Estes controversy), Bartos has moved up another rung on the ladder with his involvement in planning.
Jack McJunkin: Developers tend to be an inde-pendent breed who don’t often band together in a common cause, but Mc-Junkin pulled off a major coup by assembling his colleagues to fight under a single organizational umbrella.
Becky Sikes: Speaking for homeowners, Sikes has been able to represent her viewpoint yet still negotiate at the table. Her past work with the League of Women Voters gives her additional clout as a committed community worker.
As attracting international business becomes an increasingly important focus of the city, those knowledgeable in this emerging sphere will grow in leadership potential.
Ron Natinski: Like Sikes, he will be invited back to the table to play again because he has been able to work toward a consensus. Although others lost credibility for immovable stands, Natinski won some points by giving some points.
Richard Fisher: With a background in Washington political and financial circles (having served under former Secretary of the Treasury Michael-Blumenthal) and a background in Dallas social circles (son-in-law of Jim Collins), Fisher knows the international arena and regularly hosts top dignitaries from abroad.
Sitting on key bank boards or multiple corporate boards-rosters of the powerful themselves-broadens one’s base of access and influence. Controlling dollars and influencing the direction of major corporations matters in a city that’s based on selling goods and making deals.
Jess Hay: A national powerhouse in the Democratic Party, Hay keeps in touch with key powerholders through such boards as Mercantile Texas Corp., Exxon Corp., Trinity Industries and the Board of Regents of the University of Texas.
William H. Seay: The chairman of Southwestern Life Insurance Co., he sits on boards such as Inter-First Corp., A.H. Belo Corp. and Texas Utilities Co.
William P. (Bill) Clements: The former governor of Texas needs no introduction to the circle of power, but sitting on a key bank board, InterFirst Corp., keeps him in touch with some of Dallas’ prime powerholders. He’s also chairman of the Board of Governors at SMU.
Edmond R. Haggar: The former City Councilman and slacks manufacturer continues to work behind the scenes in city life. He serves on boards such as InterFirst Corp. and Enserch Corp
H.R. “Bum” Bright: The primary owner of the Dallas Cowboys already wields major economic power, although his direct involvement in Dallas civic affairs is limited. But when wheeling and dealing is the name of the game, boards such as RepublicBank Corp. and the Board of Regents of Texas A & M (of which he is chairman) can’t hurt.
Bob Rogers: Directorships on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and Associates Corp. of North America put him squarely in the center of financial power.
Robert Decherd: With A.H. Belo Co. (The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV) as a power base, Decherd can command power at will. His profile is still relatively low, generally combining his civic “chairs” with various fund drives.
Norman Brinker: His current directorships include Muse Air, InterFirst Bank Dallas and Cullum Companies, and he has previously served on the boards of EDS, Pillsbury and Fidelity Union Life Insurance. Brinker’s entrepreneurial energy and extensive experience make him widely sought after for projects or causes, particularly on the Republican side.
Drawing the line between the emerging and the emerged frequently depends on the day’s issues. When transportation is hot, those who focus their energies on that arena come to the fore. When it recedes, so do they, at least for the moment. The same is true of education , the arts, planning or other spheres of influence. Others who are operating in a more generalized manner-across the charitable or civic spectrums-grow with the commitments they make. As they take on bigger and bigger assignments, influence accrues to them.
Carl Sewell: Tuned in and with access to a powerful inner circle of Dallas strategists, Sewell has demonstrated an indefatigable commitment and willingness to serve.
John Wiley Price: His name may become a household word since the county commissioner elections, but Price hasn’t yet had time to prove himself in public office. He has clout behind the scenes, which he’s already shown. His public staying power will depend on his willingness to deal at the table while still representing his constituents and on his handling of funds.
Stephen A. Coke: Immediate past president of the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Coke pursued the chamber’s policy of taking a stand on tough issues.
Ralph Emery: Emerging in the sphere of air transportation, Emery has been tireless in working on Love Field issues.
Carol Younge: One of the directors and core decision-makers of the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Younge is always there with time and energy. Law enforcement is a strong concern, but her interests are broad-based.
Jack Lowe Jr.: Working primarily in charitable areas such as the Salesmanship Club and United Way, Lowe has shown good organizational abilities. He could work well in more controversial areas as a conciliator, if he hooses to enter them.
Joe Musolino: The president of RepublicBank Dallas, Musolino has the reputation of being someone who can always be counted on. Currently he’s chairman of the United Way campaign (perhaps the most important civic job in Dallas) and also heads the Baylor University Medical Center Foundation board.
Bobby Lyle: Lyle is past president of the Dallas Assembly, active in various Republican campaigns and close to SMU’s Cox School of Business.
Sam Coats: The former state legislator keeps a rather low profile today but has shown his strategic ability in the fiery atmosphere of Love Field as a member of the Southwest Airlines team.
Rebecca Nieto Olind: Past president of the Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Olind is known as a worker. Articulate and bright, she can provide a valuable bridge to the Hispanic community, although many “grass roots” Hispanics may view her as too “Establishment.”
Gerald Fronterhouse: President and chief operating officer of Republic-Bank Corp., he serves on the board of the State Fair of Texas (an old-time bastion of The Establishment) and also the boards of Hockaday and Lamplighter Schools.
Harvey Mitchell: President of InterFirst Bank Dallas, he’s involved in the Dallas Citizens Council and the Dallas Assembly and serves on the board of Timberlawn Psychiatric Foundation.
Low Profile But Not Out Of The Picture
Lee Simpson: His time is committed to DART at the moment, but many believe this former City Councilman will be running for office again before long.
Sid Stahl: Once considered as a mayoral candidate, the former at-large City Councilman isn’t likely to stay out of the political arena.
Eddie Bernice Johnson: The former legislator and HEW official has been less active, but not forgotten. Watch for her in Democratic politics.
Controllers Of The Currency
Dallas may no longer be run by a power structure pivoted around the three big banks, but they do count. Their chief executives seldom speak out publicly, but they work hard behind the scenes. A select financial group from the Dallas Citizens Council, for example, keeps an eye on the city’s use of funds and makes recommendations, which aren’t taken lightly.
James Berry: Chairman and chief executive officer, RepublicBank Corp.
Charles Pistor: Chairman and chief executive officer, RepublicBank Dallas.
Ronald Steinhart: President and chief operating officer, InterFirst Corp.
Robert Stewart III: Chairman and chief executive officer, InterFirst Corp. and InterFirst Bank.
Gene Bishop: Chairman and chief executive officer, Mercantile Texas Corp.
George Clark: Chairman and chief executive officer, Mercantile National Bank at Dallas.
Community shapers operate more quietly than powerful political figures, but cast a shadow just as long. Their power is in transforming mere existence into life. Without the community volunteer-the hallmark of Dallas spirit-no painting would be hung, no music would sound in our ears, no ballerina would dance, and no homes for children would be funded. Although a cast of thousands-the envelope stuffer, the telephone worker, the door-to-door fundraiser -makes the show possible, star roles are played by some of those listed on the next page.
Powers Behind The Performances
Building and sustaining the arts is an arduous process. These people have been in it for the long haul-on good days and in times that were not so hospitable for the arts in Dallas.
Mary McDermott: Like her mother, Margaret McDermott, Mary gives freely of herself to the community. Her current interests are the symphony, historical preservation and the natural environment. McDermott also serves on the board of KERA.
Dr. Philip O’Bryan Montgomery: The father of the Arts District has worked full time with all the property owners in the District, nudging them toward a common vision.
Edwin L. Cox: A longtime contributor to arts and higher education, Cox now chairs the board of trustees at the Dallas Museum of Art and at SMU.
Henry S. Miller: Active in many areas of the arts, Miller is now tackling the tough job of raising money for the symphony’s new concert hall.
Some people work a few projects and figure their community dues are paid. Others make a virtually full-time commitment to the community.
Ruth Ann Montgomery: Rooted in the past and focused on the future, Montgomery is a leader in historical preservation and a mover in such groups as the Greater Dallas Planning Council and Goals for Dallas.
Ruth Collins Sharp: Frequently recognized with such honors as the Dallas Historical Society’s Philanthropy Award and the Linz Award, she is chairman of the advisory board for the Salyation Army.
Rita Clements: A fundraiser with a record, Clements moves across the spectrum in her commitments -from historical preservation (Honorary Life Chairman of the Friends of the Governor’s Mansion) to the all-encompassing United Way (board member) to the arts.
Betty Jo Hay: A prime mover in the fields of mental health and higher education, she serves as vice chairman of the Association of Higher Education for North Texas.
Beatrice Haggerty: She’s the only woman to have served as president of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas-a chair normally reserved for top city Decision Makers of the city.
Linda Custard: Acting as former president of the Junior League, executive committee member of The Dallas Theater Center and member of the boards of trustees for the Hockaday School and St. Mark’s School of Texas are only a few of her plum assignments in the city.
Lindalyn Adams: If you want something done, elect Adams to the board, the presidency or the chair-posts she has held in at least 18 groups, including being president of the Dallas County Historical Commission, chair of the Dallas Heritage Council and board member of the Baylor University Hospital Foundation.
Ebby Halliday: She earned the nickname “Miss Trash,” along with the Mayor’s Environmental Award for her all-out efforts at cleaning up Dallas. She chairs Clean Dallas Inc. and is a director of the Beautify TexasCouncil.
The Community Conscience
As a center of the Sun Belt and the Bible Belt, Dallas has a unique spirit and spirituality. We are not without our few key leaders who raise-or prick-the collective conscience.
W.A. Criswell: While inner city churches around the country closed their doors in the Sixties and Seventies, Criswell’s First Baptist Church continued stronger than ever-a symbol of the Dallas spiritual life.
Stanley Marcus: Although often out of step politically with his conservative customers, he has never hesitated to speak out on issues of social importance. His viewpoint has helped promote civility and civilization in the city.
Behind the multiple efforts of organizations and individuals lies a key source for meeting the city’s quality-of-life-goals: foundations. Although they supply big bucks, they aren’t just money bags. Those that are well-run keep an eye on their clients and promote streamlining and cooperation rather than squandering and duplication. They shape our city, but more than that, they give heart to the work-a-day metropolis.
Step into almost any hospital or specialized clinic in Dallas, and you’ll benefit from the works of the Hoblitzelle Foundation, which is chaired by Jim Aston. In addition to medicine, the foundation also contributes to education, the arts and innumerable charitable activities.
Meadows Foundation: There are visible signs of this broad-based foundation at work in the restoration of the Wilson Block, where groups such as the Suicide and Crisis Center and the Center for Non-Profit Management are provided free occupancy. But more often, their efforts are not so visible. Behind the scenes, the Meadows Foundation has backed research in cancer, the start-up administrative costs of a hospice and a shelter program for the street people of Dallas, to name but a few.
Power Bases Of Growing Importance
Dallasites know that this is a metropolitan area, composed of the city and its surrounding suburbs. Traditionally, downtown Dallas has wielded decisive power. But as population shifts continue and new downtowns take shape in areas such as Las Colinas and Far North Dallas, suburban leaders will become more and more important, particularly those in key growth areas.’ Here are some to watch.