"Protecting Richardson From More Apartments." Uh huh. That's the story that we're being told. Not from a PAC but directly from the candidate himself, Amir Omar. Who wants to be mayor. Who has hired a high-priced political consultant to achieve that for him. Who has said he conducted telephone polls to determine the issues that are relevant to our residents. So protecting Richardson from more apartments must be one of those issues that plays well with voters. So, that's our story. But does the story match the history?Junior:
Tell me a story, tell me a story
Tell me a story, remember what you said
You promised me you said you would
You got to give in so I'll be good
Tell me a story, then I'll go to bed
Once upon a time I remember long ago
Don't go back in history your memory's kinda slow
Source: Lyrics by Terry Gilkyson.
Let's go back in history to find out. After the jump.
- August 9, 2010: Amir Omar votes to approve the construction of the Evergreen apartments in Richardson's panhandle.
- January 31, 2011: Amir Omar votes to approve the construction of 3,900 apartments at US 75 and President George Bush Tollway.
- September 10, 2012: Amir Omar votes to approve the construction of apartments in The Shire.
- January 28, 2013: Amir Omar votes to approve the construction of the GreenVUE apartments at Greenville and Collins
- Have I missed any votes? Maybe, but no matter. The point's been made.
- May 1, 2013: Amir Omar distributes a campaign ad: "Amir Omar for Mayor. Protecting Richardson from more apartments."
Am I the only one who finds this dishonest? Cynical?
Full disclosure: I support multi-family, mixed-use development. Up until now, I thought Amir Omar did, too. In fact, I suspect he really did, and will again once this election is over. Maybe the campaign he's running is just a momentary fall from grace. He wasn't thinking. He listened to bad advice. Everyone's doing it. He felt attacked so he struck back. Something. Uh huh.
Or maybe it's not a moment of weakness, but a calculated political scheme. Maybe he's pandering to voters who fear the dreaded "A" word (not amnesty, acid or abortion, but apartments). If so, he is being dishonest, telling voters one thing and voting something else. No salvation there.
Or maybe he really has flip-flopped on his own past support for multi-family, mixed-use development. If so, he should admit that his four years on city council were all wrong, that he's sorry for his votes for more apartments in those developments, and if he could take the votes over again, this time he really would "protect Richardson from more apartments." Possibly a path to salvation there. If he takes it.
Frankly, I can't find any good explanation for the campaign Amir Omar is running. He's misrepresenting both his own and his opponent's positions. He has to know it. It's cynical politics that I hadn't believed was in him, but maybe I was fooling myself. His detractors certainly have accused him of such since the beginning, but I was won over. I remember the candidate from 2009 who ran a positive campaign despite the smears that his detractors were spreading about him. Now, in his 2013 campaign, he himself is ruining his reputation, and for electoral victory. For mayor. Of Richardson.
I'm reminded of the scene in "A Man for All Seasons" where Sir Thomas More confronts his accuser, Richard Rich, who committed perjury against More in return for a political appointment in Wales. Thomas More says sadly, "Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?"