Thursday, February 2, 2023 Feb 2, 2023
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Publications

CITYSCOPE

By KIT BAUMAN |

Could anyone have beaten Annette Strauss in the mayor’s race? Probably not. say the city’s political pros. And what happens now? Well, the experts say we shouldn’t expect any miracles of leadership on her part. Strauss is well liked by her council colleagues, but none of them regard her as a potent or influential force; it doesn’t help that she’s also aligned with the progressive forces on the council, who are a distinct minority this time around. Don’t expect her to have much of a honeymoon with the media, either. Regulars who’ve covered her for several years see her as well intended but occasionally out of touch with events as they unfold; she hasn’t been very good copy, in other words. Now, they have to cover her-and the competition for news at City Hall is such that no one is predisposed to treat her kindly, especially if it means overlooking a good story.



Perhaps the most interesting political story for City Hall insiders and political junkies has to do with the competition to see who will emerge as the leader of the conservative majority on the city council. Some veteran observers of the scene expect at-large councilman Jerry Rucker to try and take on a more visible role, but he has some problems. Some die-hard members of (he city’s Republican forces are cool toward Rucker. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear-something to do with his not being more helpful to Fred Meyer in the campaign-they’re vowing not to help him. The likeliest leader to emerge, then, is third-term councilman Dean Vanderbilt… if he wants the role, that is.



On the whole, former mayor Starke Taylor will be looked upon as a man with a positive, far-sighted vision of Dallas. But one Taylor flub still gets chuckles in the West End. Last year, when the mayor toured the now phenomenally successful Marketplace just prior to its opening, he bluntly challenged the developer. Market Street Developers Ltd. “Why didn’t you use your development rights to build office space, not retail? Your return on investment would have been much higher.” The developers were stunned. One of them finally spoke up: “Well, for one reason, because a lot of those buildings”-he swept his hand in the general direction of the downtown skyscrapers-’are sitting there almost empty.” Taylor shrugged, then said. “Well, I wish you luck-you’re going to need it.”