Well heeled, well connected, and well... one of them will be mayor.

Want to run for city council? Yeah, and we bet you enjoy preparing your tax return every year, too. But believe it or not, as of late January, thirty-two Dallasites thought they were just the ticket to lead this city into the Nineties. That’s the number of ambitious people who had filed campaign treasurer designation forms in the Office of the City Secretary. By the time election day rolls around, and the filees have been forced to come up with $50 and a petition of at least 300 supporters, that list of candidates will be shorter. When the new council is finally seated, the body politic will be whittled down to eleven names. Following are thumbnail sketches of the new faces most likely to be celebrating at city council victory parties on the eve of April 4 and the seven incumbents running for reelection who will probably be there to greet them. Plus the four most-likely-to-succeed mayoral candidates. One of them will be mayor.

Jim Buerger

Magazine and newspaper publisher; foriy-six; married, two children

ven a short talk with Buerger reveals that he is a believer in the power of positive thinking. Buerger is a product of Dallas, was educated in the DISD, and went to Southern Methodist University. He publishes TRAVELHOST Magazine, and in 1986 acquired and became publisher of the Oak Cliff Tribune. He’s been building his publishing business since 1966, when, at age twenty-six, he bought two small newspapers with a car loan.

ON HIS QUALIFICATIONS: Buerger thinks Dallas needs some vitality and some building. “We’ve only had a 6 percent population growth for the last ten years. In those same ten years, we have doubled the taxes, and crime has increased by 80 percent. Now, that is building in the wrong direction. I’ve got experience in building and an energetic, can-do philosophy. And I’m an independent. I’m not tied to any special interest groups,” Buerger says.

ON HIS AGENDA: “Crime is at the top. We have become one of the least safe large cities in the country, and we used to be one of the safest. It’s a matter of commitment. The council needs to look at crime as an agenda item every week,” Buerger says.

“We need to concentrate on economic development, and transportation is critical to that. The city also needs to play a role in education. I would propose that the city council and the school board meet in joint session on a regular basis. The city can’t help the school system get things done unless the needs are communicated.”

Jim Collins

President of Consolidated Industries Inc.; seventy; married, three children, eight grandchildren

Jim Collins served for eight terms in the Uniled States Congress as a Republican from Dallas’s Third District. No one accuses Collins of being a legislative dynamo. He spent most of his time on the Commerce and Energy Committee. Collins spent twenty-five years with Fidelity Union Life Insurance Company. In 1966. he acquired APC Manufacturing Company, which he sold to 3M in 1983.

ON HIS QUALIFICATIONS: “In Dallas, we need a mayor with business experience. It’s a proven formula,” says Collins. He also thinks that to serve the city well, a mayor needs to have experience in civic activities. (Collins has served on the board of the Dallas chamber and was once a member of the Dallas Citizens Council and the Dallas Assembly.) He also says the mayor needs to have the ability to understand the veteran; Collins points out that he served under General Patton in World War II.

“We can’t have a politician in the mayor’s office. I’m through with politics. I’m not using this as a steppingstone to another office,” Collins says. But Collins points to his political career as an asset: “If you’ve served fifteen years in Congress, you have a lot of friends.” Collins thinks his contacts will be invaluable to the city when it must work with the federal government and federal agencies to accomplish goals.

ON HIS AGENDA: Crime is a priority with Collins, and he thinks the city council needs to stand behind the police and build respect for the force with regular recognition. Taxes are another of Collins’s concerns: “Look at the successful cities in this country and you’ll see a pattern of low taxes. We need to build a strong economy for Dallas.”

Fred Meyer

President and chief operating officer of Dallas-based Tyler Corporation until he resigned to campaign full-time for mayor; fifty-eight; married, threechildren

Meyer served for seven years as chairman of (he Dallas County Republican Party and was chairman of the host committee for the 1984 Republican National Convention. He is indeed well connected and his steering committee, filled with names of well-known Dallas establishment types, reflects that.

ON HIS QUALIFICATIONS: “I’ve been a businessman for thirty-five years and that’s very important in city government,” Meyer says. Although his ties to partisan politics are strong, Meyer points out that he has also been building coalitions and working with people to accomplish common goals for Dallas through city and county bond campaigns.

ON HIS AGENDA: “My number one issue is economic opportunity, for all citizens and in all areas of Dallas. Had I been mayor when International Paper was considering relocating to Dallas [the company eventually moved to Memphis], I would have called up the CEO and asked him for an appointment tomorrow. I think I would have gotten that appointment, and with my background in business, I could have spoken his language and anticipated his needs,” Meyer says.

He thinks that lowering unemployment will go a long way toward solving other problems on the agenda, like crime and an increased need for health and human services.

“And education also ties in, because 85 percent of the new jobs require a high school diploma or more. We need to put that high on our agenda,” Meyer says.

Annette Strauss

City council member and public relations consultant; sixty-three; married, two children, two grandchildren

Strauss has been called the council member who most resembles in her behavior “everybody’s great aunt.” She has tended to frustrate and even anger some of the other council members with her sweet, “nurturing” approach with citizens-a time-consuming determination to make it known that she cares about their opinion and is so happy that they came down to the council to make it known. This great-auntishness has tended to distract people from recognizing that Strauss studies the issues and the facts assiduously. She has been very aggressive in hosting public meetings.

ON HER QUALIFICATIONS: Strauss says she “knows how to bring people together” and is proud she has helped make the “people of Dallas feel more connected, more a part of the city government process.” During her term, Strauss pushed a resolution that increased accessibility to the council in the “open microphone” segment of each council meeting. Strauss cites her forty years of volunteer service to Dallas in various capacities and areas as one of her greatest assets.

ON HER AGENDA: “We need to promotebusiness in Dallas,” Strauss says. She thinkslowering the crime rate is a key part of thatpromotion. “But a better quality of life is important if we are to attract business. That tiesin with a good transportation system, workable, affordable housing, and basic healthservices. I am working on a plan to implement programs and bring jobs to our people.We need leadership to bring people togetheron this.. .and when we in Dallas join together, no city can outdo us.”


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