ALL’S WELL THAT END WELL I suppose, Dallas voters made exactly the right choice in approving all the bond proposals on the May 6 ballot. White Rock Lake needs dredging, the zoo needs help, streets and sewer lines must be repaired and replaced. It’s an investment in the future and a vote of confidence in Dallas.

But why did so few people cast that vote? Somehow the thrill of victory is diminished when you realize that fewer than 24 percent of eligible voters bothered to go to the polls, despite the added advantage of early voting. A whopping 76 percent had better things to do than to pick a new mayor, a city council, or weigh in on the spending of millions of dollars. It’s good that African-American turnout was up, drawn by the magnet of Ron Kirk. But any way you slice it, the overall numbers are dismal. Kirk, who like the other candidates promised to be the mayor of “all the people, ” was chosen by 68, 941 Dallasites. Many rock bands would consider that a lousy turnout for a concert.

A cynical old friend tells me not to mourn but to celebrate the low numbers. “You ought to be glad all those people didn’t vote, ” he opines. “They probably didn’t know a damn thing about any of the issues. Ignorant voters are dangerous voters. “

Call me a romantic populist, but I just can’t share his aristocratic condescension. If it’s true that 76 percent of our eligible voters couldn’t or wouldn’t fathom the relatively simple issues involved in this year’s campaign, that is a terrible indictment of our city, our schools, and our methods of campaigning. When this many people don’t vote, something is terribly wrong.

Such apathy is even scarier given the national trend toward decentralisation. No more of Big Brother’s smothering paternalism, say the new Republican voices. Let the states, the counties, and the cities decide what’s best for them. Fair enough. Let’s try it. But when Washington tosses us the ball, who will be there to catch it?

Until recently, I was one of a handful of Americans who had never encountered an angel, making me feel left out of a great trend. All that changed when we were putting together this month’s cover story, “How to Get More Time in Your Life. ” Here we were, all ready to get people organized to beat the clock, and the editor of the magazine was living in a virtual pigpen-wallowing in press releases, losing phone messages, getting tangled up in endless faxes that curled like anacondas down the hallway. I was spending precious minutes every day just looking for pens and notes that were swallowed up in the rubble. So, to my surprise, a staffer called in Lisa Kanarek, founder of Everything’s Organized, a Dallas-based consulting firm specializing in “paper management, office organization and productivity improvement. “

When the angel arrived to deliver me from chaos, I was skeptical, certain that I was beyond redemption. But Lisa insisted, and the transformation began. Why was my desk in a dark corner, rather than near the windows? Uhhh… Why was the round conference table being used as an inadequate computer table? Uhhh… Why were loose files sitting on my bookshelves? Uhhh… Did I have any idea what was in the foot-high piles of paper on my desk? Uhhh…

Within hours I was saved. New filing systems, new stacking files, new phone-message system-even a new modular computer/printer table, purchased and installed that day. (I’d been putting it off. ) Nomorepiles of month-old memos. And she did it all without making me feel like an idiot, which of course I was to tolerate such squalor.

We hope this month’s issue, which includes Angela Genusa’s discovery of the most organized person in Dallas, will help you win your personal battles with the clock. After you get organized, of course, you’ll have more time to read the rest of the magazine. Don’t miss Glenna Whitley’s visit with the surprising couple behind Fossil Rim Wildlife Center; Brian Melton’s testosterone-charged cruise in a $62, 000 Dodge Viper; and Kirk Dooley’s look at a Highland Park High School class that is held together by tragedy. And, if you have a minute, let us know what you enjoyed about the issue. I promise not to lose your letter.


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