Wednesday, September 27, 2023 Sep 27, 2023
93° F Dallas, TX

Apocalypse Now: The Tax Collector’s Race

By Chris Tucker |

“This could become a real strategic race in that battleground…Gettysburg, the town, wasn’t important. It just happened to be the site the two sides passed or their way to victory. This race is a symbol of party control.”

-Rob Allyn, political consultant, in the Dallas Times Herald

DALLAS- -Calling the move “the only way to stave off Ar-maggedon,” evangelist Jerry Falwell endorsed Republican Gerald Reed in the historical, cataclysmic race to fill the Dallas tax assessor-collector post being vacated by Democrat John Childs. The endorsement came just two days after Ceil Wiseman, the Democratic candidate for the vital job, received the endorsements of New York Governor Mario Cuomo and President Oscar Arias Sanchez of Costa Rica, winner of the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize.

The endorsments were only the latest salvos in a pitched battle that has attracted the attention of the nation due to its ferocity and the staggering expense both paries have incurred to win the office of tax-assessor collector, whose chief duty is to send out those little cards reminding drivers that their license plates are up for renewal. The main issues in the hotly fought contest have been the color of ink to be used for the signature on those cards and the politically sensitive question of the “grace period” given to drivers whose plates have expired. Liberals want a grace period of seen days, while hard-line conservatives want tickets issued after three days.

In mid-February, the debate reached the floor of the U.S. Senate. Conservative Jesse Helms and liberal Edward Kennedy engaged in a shoving, cursing brawl after Helms accused seven-day advocates of “creating a climate of pusillanimous permissiveness that has brought kiddie pom into the living room and decimated the dollar on international markets.”

In Dallas, cooler heads may yet prevail. So far, no party official on either side has compared the Democrats’ possible loss of the office to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. As for Allyn’s startling revelation that both sides had won the Battle of Get-tsyburg, no survivors of the conflict could be reached for comment, though psychics conducted seances throughout the night. Reached at a cemetery in Richmond, Virginia, Civil War historian Bruce Catton (A Stillness at Appomattox), who died in 1978, said he was not surprised. “Really, when a major historical event like the Dallas tax collector’s race occurs, it can upset our fundamental assumptions about so many things. A rewriting of Civil War history is just part of the expected fallout from such a race.”

As the March 8 primary drew near, political observers would not speculate on the outcome if, as expected. Pope John Paul II throws the weight of his two-thousand-year-old church behind Ms. Wiseman. “If that happens,” said one Republican consultant who asked not to be identified, “only Donald Trump will be able to save us.”

Related Articles


The Dallas Dozen

We salute the city's most important players in 2011. They made a difference and inspired others to do the same.
By Jeanne Prejean

Souvenir of Dallas

"The Mighty, Mighty Hands of Mayor Tom Leppert"