Or so a lot of people are saying. Gromer Jeffers Jr. reports in Dallas’ Only Daily Newspaper that Mayor Park Cities won’t run for re-election.

Leppert declined to comment for the story, but most everyone Jeffers talked to said Leppert isn’t going to run — and that they were surprised by the decision. So am I, since I fully expected the mayor to run this spring. A friend of mine, who often hangs out in city big-wig circles, says he has seen Leppert everywhere over the past six months, shaking hands, greeting well-wishers and the like. “He looks like he just eats that stuff up,” he told me when we talked about this last month.

Jeffers reports that Far North Dallas councilman Ron Natinsky is one of the front-runners to replace Leppert. First, though, Natinsky is going to have to mend his fences south of the Trinity River and in East Dallas, where his staunch support of Leppert over the past four years has not won him many friends.

So why isn’t Leppert going to run for re-election, which he could win easily? Because he has looked at the next four years, and has not seen many opportunities to bask in the political sunshine. The council rebellion over last fall’s property tax rate increase was a shock, and the budget news is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. The days of toll roads and convention center hotels are long over, and the next mayor won’t be building anything. He or she will almost certainly be presiding over a council that will have to cut and cut some more. Leppert no doubt wants to be as far away from that as possible.

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