Find a back issue

Will Mike Rawlings Try to Make a Strong-Mayor Initiative His Swan Song?

I have a friend who told me a story about the first time he moved in with a girlfriend. It was their first night together, so of course they snuggled and cooed in bed before falling asleep. Well, she fell asleep. He stared at the ceiling, wide-eyed, and thought to himself, “Okay, it’s clear I hate this. How long before I can call it quits and still seem like a reasonable human being?” His answer: six months, a date he kept.

That’s Mike Rawlings right now. It wasn’t long into this mayoral gig, folks around him say, when he realized he kinda dislikes being mayor. He is good at running a business, not bargaining for votes behind closed doors. Unlike in a real company, the mayor has little power in Dallas except by using the media cred he or she can earn to pimp for worthy causes. To his credit, Rawlings has done that with the domestic violence issue and received justifiable praise for it.

Now, a man can change his mind, and this could just be people wrongly believing his frustration is greater than it really is. But what if he does decide he won’t run again? What will he make his next pet project?

Folks who know a thing or two about a thing or two tell me he’s noodling the idea of advocating loudly for a new strong-mayor system to replace the city manager/weak-mayor system we currently have. Rawlings thinks that it will take someone who isn’t running again to coalesce public support behind such a change, so it doesn’t look like a power grab. I think he’s right, and I hope he does this. The most powerful person in the city should be electable and answerable, and our city managers are not.