Thursday, June 23, 2011

The 10 Most Powerful People In Dallas A Yahoo Exclusive


I wanna make this list one year

Victor Medina – Tue Jun 21, 6:24 pm ET
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COMMENTARY | Who is the most powerful person in Dallas? It is not an easy question to answer, as it seems everyone has a different idea as to what true power actually is.
For this list, we define power as one's ability to influence or control our daily lives in the city of Dallas. From politicians to media members and clergy to civil servants, we looked over many of Dallas' finest and came up with a list of 10 people who most affect our lives each day. That means some notables do not make the top 10 list, including Roger Staubach, Mark Cuban, Ross Perot, and Jerry Jones. It also means some lesser-known individuals make the cut. Here is our list:

10. Robert Wilonsky, columnist, Dallas Observer
Sure, the Observer may be popular as bird cage liner and the go-to source for local massage therapists, but Wilonsky gives the paper serious journalistic credibility. No one keeps local elected officials accountable like Robert Wilonsky, and he has his finger on the pulse of local issues.

9. Brett Shipp, reporter, WFAA Channel 8
Shipp has a well-earned reputation for breaking significant news stories and exposing scandal. When he reports on something, people all the way up the totem pole pay attention. Channel 8 may not have the best TV news organization in Dallas, but they get the most attention.

8. Wade Emmert, chairman, Dallas County Republican Party
There is one reason Emmert is on this list while his counterpart, Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Darlene Ewing, is not: the Tea Party. No other group of voters has been as vocal or mobilized as Dallas-area Tea Partiers, and while Emmert is not their official leader, he has a lot of influence with them. All of the ruckus coming from the Dallas County Commissioners Court recently has come from Tea Partiers and Republicans following Emmert's direction.

7. George W. Bush, former president of the United States
Having a former president living in town gives Dallas a serious boost, and that includes the soon-to-be Presidential Library and Policy Center at SMU. That institution alone will bring some serious political figures to Dallas in the years to come, but recently the former president has kept a relatively low profile, which is why he is not ranked higher. Most of his activities have involved philanthropic and civic events, but as he steps back into the local spotlight, his influence grows.

6. David Brown, Dallas police chief
Brown has managed to overcome personal tragedy (the death of his son in a police shootout) while keeping officer morale high. He has brought down crime city-wide and kept a once out-of-control police department in order.

5. John Carona and Royce West, state senators
Both Carona and West have kept Dallas interests in the forefront while in Austin. Carona is chair of the powerful Senate Business and Commerce Committee, while West is chair of the Subcommittee of Higher Education Funding.

4. Alan King, Dallas Independent School District interim superintendent
It may be the one job in Dallas no one really wants. Whoever leads the Dallas Independent School District will have to do more than right a district in chaos and balance a budget. He or she will have to improve teacher morale and stand up to the powerful teachers' union by getting rid of dead wood at DISD headquarters.

3. Mike Rawlings, Dallas mayor-elect
Rawlings, the newly elected Dallas mayor, may not carry traditional power in Dallas' form of government, but he has a bully pulpit from which to guide the direction of the city and set public opinion. He has some serious issues to face, including balancing a budget and turning around underserved parts of Dallas. His initiatives could impact the city for decades.
2. John Wiley Price, Dallas County commissioner

It is obvious who wields the power at the county level. Love him or hate him, Price has power and influence in nearly all aspects of county government. Now, if he will only learn to keep his temper and his mouth in check, he could be a true leader for all of Dallas.

1. Mary Suhm, Dallas city manager
Dallas' form of city government is a weak-mayor system, which means the city manager has control of all aspects of Dallas' day-to-day operations. For the most part, Suhm and her staff have done a great job, but she only gets attention when something goes wrong. It is a thankless job, but she does it well.

Agree or disagree by providing your feedback in comments!
Victor Medina has served as a Dallas County election judge and currently serves as his political party's precinct chairman. He has covered local issues as a Community Voices columnist for the Dallas Morning News and has served as a member of the board of directors of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas.

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