Meeker: '99.9% Going to Run'; Kim: Wal-Mart Will Be 'Freaking Disaster'
Responsible Growth for Northcross vows to keep fighting
By Lee Nichols,
10:14PM, Fri. Jan. 11, 2008
The e-mail sent out announcing Responsible Growth for Northcross’ town hall meeting Friday evening said, “Most of all, we want to hear from you tonight,” but the only one who actually fielded any questions from the audience was RG4N attorney Doug Young. Really, the meeting mostly just seemed to serve as a pep rally for the organization trying to stop the Wal-Mart proposed for the former Northcross Mall property, and to outline the plan going forward after losing the lawsuit that sought to force city to overturn the Wal-Mart’s approved site plan.
That said, the 300 people in attendance seemed plenty willing to cheer RG4N’s leadership on, and left little doubt how they feel about their prospective new neighbor. (Hell, the fact that 300 people were willing to show on a frickin’ Friday night ought to tell Wal-Mart something!)
More on the substance of the meeting in next week’s issue (short version: they still plan to use every avenue possible to continue fighting), but I thought I’d let you in on interviews I got tonight with City Council Member Jennifer Kim and likely council candidate Jason Meeker.
First off, would Meeker – the communications chairman for RG4N – finally give a 100% "yes" on whether he’s going to run for council? Not quite: “I’m like 99.9% going to run,” Meeker told me. “I’d be running against Lee Leffingwell for Place 1.” Meeker said he isn’t trying to be coy – the hangup is that he was supposed to meet with a potential campaign manager yesterday and today, but the meeting didn’t happen, and he wants that position nailed down before making a formal announcement.
As someone who is already on the council, Kim had to sit and listen to speeches from Meeker and RG4N president Hope Morrison slamming the council for a failure of leadership on the issue – and Kim actually applauded those comments.
“I think the city, that we’ve let the people down,” Kim told me. “And that’s very clear. But I’m not giving up. You know, I didn’t give up when I was trying to stop Water Treatment Plant No. 4 from being built in the [Balcones Canyonlands] Preserve. It’s never over. I think that there’s still a lot of things we can do.
“I personally am not going to vote any more for legal fees for this case,” Kim said, referring to the more than half a million dollars the city paid to outside counsel Scott, Douglass & McConnico to defend it against the RG4N suit. “What my colleagues want to do, it’s up to them, but I’m done. I just think it’s wrong. If RG4N decides to appeal, whatever they decide to do, I’ll back them.”
Sitting at her side was Kim’s newly hired campaign manager: RG4N co-founder and past president Paige Hill. Asked if the hire was meant to send a message to voters in the area about her support for them, Kim said, “I’ve always supported this group.” (That was news to Meeker, who described Kim as “lukewarm on us.”)
Summing up her feelings generally on the Wal-Mart, Kim said, “It’s going to be a freaking disaster.”