Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Amir Omar, Public Policy Tease

This week, Richardson City Council member Amir Omar has been teasing those who follow his Twitter feed with promises of great things for Richardson soon to be revealed.

"7 days till the presentation of the signature project I've been teasing! Hundreds of hrs of work finally revealed!"

"Just landed my 3rd Corp Sponsor for the project I've been working on! March 1st council meeting it will all be made public!"

After the jump, why I'm not holding my breath.

I've blogged before that there's something about Amir Omar's sociability that bothers me. What others, perhaps reasonably, find charming, I, perhaps unfairly, consider name-dropping and political schmoozing. But we are what we are. For example, two days ago Omar told us he was at a "late lunch reception w/ the Mayor of Accra, Ghana". Then he was off to the "Taiwanese Chamber Lunar New Yr Charity Gala." As boastful as that sounds to me, what bothers me most is his constant teasing that he's working on great ideas, without ever delivering, or even telling us what the great ideas even are.

Amir Omar has a history of this. Omar ran for (and lost) the GOP nomination for Congress in 2006 in the south Dallas 30th Congressional District. Even back then, he was teasing voters about the great things he was planning:

"Over the next several months I will turn my attention to special projects that I am passionate about and that have a lasting positive effect on the community."

He lost his primary race in 2006, so he never had to tell us what "special projects" he was planning. But he moved to and won in Richardson in 2009 and has now been in office almost a year. What could Amir Omar's big project be this time? For answers, perhaps we should look back at what he said in his campaign for city council in 2009. Here is an excerpt from an Omar interview by the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC):

IAPAC: What are the most critical issues facing the City of Richardson today and how do you plan on addressing those issues?

Omar: We need to freeze senior property tax permanently and cap spending in our city until the country begins to recover from the economic downturn.

Given than Amir Omar just voted to raise property taxes in Richardson for everyone, including seniors, to pay for a $66 million bond issue for new rec centers, pools, parks, neighborhood landscaping, etc., it may be safe to rule out "capping spending" as the basis of Omar's great idea. Unless, that is, Omar thinks the national economic recovery is far enough along to open the spigot on government spending again. We'll learn soon enough. March 1 is less than a week away. I'm not getting my hopes up. Omar has proven himself a master of hype, but in general hype seldom lives up to reality.

As already noted, Amir Omar has run for Congress before. I doubt that Richardson City Council is a big enough stage to satisfy Omar's ambitions beyond one or two terms. What advancements are likely to be available to him? Pete Sessions isn't going anywhere. Neither is Angie Chen Button (Texas State House District 112). John Carona (Texas State Senate District 16) has hinted that he might run for Mayor of Dallas if that office becomes open after a complicated row of dominoes falls. Omar might decide to go after Carona's vacated seat. On the other hand, the last I heard, Omar is living in an apartment, so he could easily move to wherever a promising seat emerges. Please let me know if you hear that Omar is house hunting.

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