Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Meet the Mayor: Paul Voelker

Following a unlikely chain of falling dominoes, Paul Voelker was sworn in as Mayor of Richardson Monday night. (If you've been on Mars the last few months and don't know what all those dominoes were, tough. Here at The Wheel that's so yesterday's news.)

Voelker's selection wasn't a complete surprise. We had Bob Townsend as the slight favorite (or maybe Mark Solomon, depending on how much fight Townsend had in him), but Paul Voelker was our favorite to come out of a deadlocked executive session. And deadlocked it appeared to be, as the council took almost exactly an hour to decide on a pick. After the clock ticked away, it was no surprise when the council eventually named Paul Voelker as Mayor and Mark Solomon as Mayor Pro Tem.

Here at The Wheel, we are high on Paul Voelker. Here's what we wrote in December, 2013, after the initial approval of rezoning for Palisades.
Paul Voelker spoke the hard truth to those who wanted to cut down on the density: "Maybe the density is not quite enough. Density drives success in projects like this."
Source: The Wheel.

And here is what we wrote in June, 2014, after the second approval of Palisades' rezoning after 20 acres were added to the project's original 59 acres:
Once again, it was Voelker who made the best case for high-density, mixed-use, transit-oriented design. I respect his analytical mind, the knowledge he has gained from experience, his vision for Richardson, and his ability to communicate it all. Voelker is a quiet force on the Richardson City Council who deserves more recognition and credit.
Source: The Wheel.
High praise. In a sign that his fellow council members were noticing, too, Voelker ended up being their choice for Mayor.

I doubt I'm making Voelker's job of healing the rifts in Richardson any easier by digging up these assessments from the time of the controversial debate over Palisades. He has a tough enough job facing him. But given what I've seen in his first term on Richardson's City Council, Voelker appears to be tough enough to do the job.

Oh, and Paul is an avid fly-fisherman who once said this about his passion:
The greatest strategic error of my adult life was to take my wife to Maine on our honeymoon on a fly-fishing trip.
Source: Wikipedia.
No wait. That quote is from Paul A. Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve. Still, it's a great quote. I bet Richardson's own taciturn Paul Voelker could give us some great quotes himself if he would just open up a little. Hint.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Palisades was highly charged because it was tied to campaign promises and not only the breaking of those promises but then the further insulting lack of integrity and forthrightness. I think Mr Voelker's real challenge won't be Palisades, but to create a a council who can clearly convey in words and in actions that their sole value lies in the desires of the ones who put them there. If he can do that, he will have been a raging success in my opinion.