MAYORRON KIRK PROPPED BY DALLAS the other day, and it was good to have him here. These little visits buck up the city’s morale.
Don’t get the idea I begrudge the mayor his frequent-flyer miles. Quite the contrary. Travel broadens the mind, absence makes the heart grow fonder and once you “re tired of London, you’re tired of life. It’s notas if the man has a real jot)-Gardere & Wynne pays him to keep his name on its shingle, and the mayor’s office was designed to be part-time-so why shouldn’t he enjoy the perks of office while he’s got them?
Anyway, the travel seems to be doing him good. Something about Ron Kirk is beginning to click. Maybe he’s starting to believe his poll numbers, which have to be astronomically high. Maybe he’s figured oui that a leadership vacuum in politics, like one in nature, will be tilled, and if he does not fill it someone else will. Maybe with two years under his belt, he’s gained a sense of himself as his own man instead of the creature of consultants, contributors and Democratic insiders.
Whatever the reason, at a public forum on the Dallas Plan last month, Kirk showed his mettle. The No. 1 priority of this city, he said, is not the Trinity River project, not housing, not downtown, but the state of our public schools.
The mayor’s statement was a slap at the Three Mouseketeers-Kathlyn Gilliam. Yvonne Ewell and Mollis Brashear- whose cartoon tactics have kept the school board in turmoil for years. The mayor reminded us that, despite every effort by these three to elevate their continuing sideshow into a racial crisis, the real issue in public education is about raising educated young people who can take their rightful place as productive citizens. It followed by a few days Kirk’s unequivocal message of support for new Dallas school Supt. Yvonne Gonzales, whose selection has become the Three Mouseketeers’ latest raison if guerre.
The mayor is becoming a Mayor. So what if he avails himself of the occasional free-bie trip? If you had Kathlyn Gilliam calling to berate you every hour or so, you’d want to get out of town, too.
ANY DOUBTS ABOUT GILLIAM’S ROLE IN the school mess were laid to rest in an excellent piece by Julie Lyons in the Dallas Observer.
Lyons had the simple idea of going to a school board meeting and actually sitting through the whole thing. The snippets we see on the Evening News of supposedly angry protesters are only the tip of the iceberg. The whole meeting was a prolonged exercise in mau-mauing, with protesters yelling and screaming in the faces of trustees and school employees.
But the most interesting part of Lyons’ report occurred during a recess. While everyone else filed out of the room for a break from the shouting, the troublemakers stayed to gather around-guess who?– Kathlyn Gilliam. When Lyons refused to leave (it was, after all, public property). Gilliam merely ordered her minions downstairs so they could strategize out of earshot. The tierce and angry protesters followed her out of the room as meekly as lambs.
LITTLE NUGGETS LIKE THAT ARE MORE revealing than 10 hours of the Evening News or an entire year’s worth of the Metro section of The Morning News. If I read one more quote from Gilliam in The News about how it’s all for the children, I swear I’ll gag. Aren’t the se journalists, producers and editors embarrassed that they are regularly out-reported by organizations with one-tenth their resources? Or are they so stuck in the “he said/she said” mode that they cannot recognize, much less report, the truth? Don’t diving ratings and sinking circulation offer up a clue thai pablum isn ’t what the city wants? Doesn’t conscience tell them it isn’t what the city needs?