Is Jason Roberts Serious About Running for Congress? He's Certainly Thinking About It.

Categories: Politics
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A few moments ago, Jason Roberts tweeted: "Exploring a run for Congress. With redistricting up in the air, it's going to be an incredibly short campaign for the primary." As long as we've been covering his doings, I've never known the Better Block-er to be ... silly, let's say. Nevertheless, I called with a simple, professional question: "Are you effing serious?"

Yes, he said. Absolutely. Emphasis, though, on the "exploring" part. For now.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with redistricting going the way it is," he says. "It'll be a short campaign, and, if nothing else, it'll be a great chance to bring the things we've been focusing on -- urban revitalization, multiimodalism, repairing communities block by block -- to a larger stage."

We talked for a long while, and the longer we talked, the more excited and animated he became. He said, over and over, "It's too great an opportunity to pass up." Right now, though, he's just testing the waters. Feeling it out. Exploring.

"It all comes down to economic development," says Roberts, who, of course, would be running in the Democratic primary. "It's about: How do you thrive in our current environment? And over the course of our projects, we found a model for doing that. Getting the opportunity to present that at the national level and fight for it is really exciting. And how many people from the creative class are out there at the federal level championing these ideas? There might be a handful, and it's frustrating not to see people from my generation throwing their hat in there. Even if you don't win, you can elevate the conversation." Pause.

"Is that political enough?"
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63 comments
IWantYourVote
IWantYourVote

Hello my fine friends, I am Jason Roberts, a man of great and fantastical accomplishment. In Dallas I once accomplished, wait I guess that really didn't have any effect on anything. That's ok because I am also a man of brilliant ideas. Once I had the idea to, wait I copied that from Portland, or was it Paris. Oh,I remember I copied it from Copenhagen. Oops. Well, anyway I ride a bicycle and I want your vote. I also have a silly hat and a bullhorn. If you want to elect a man who promises to ride a bicycle I am that man. 

Docnuthing
Docnuthing

i remember smoking pot with that guy after a concert he played in austin...not sure if he inhaled though...one thing i dont get is how the "creative class" doesnt have to also be the "finish the project class" they leave it for someone else, kind of like a spoiled child that gets bored and moves to something else but never finishes or completes what they were doing...sure i'd vote for him if he makes a hoverround path in the food court of Grapevine Mills Mall.

Jay
Jay

This is a pretty hysterical attempt at trying to fabricate a negative image for Jason. I've been in bands with the guy for ten years...if you really knew him then you'd know the guy has never even smoked a cigarette. Lord knows we tried to make him.

But since you're so sure of yourself, tell us, who was on the bill for the show?

The Derelict
The Derelict

good guy that the right will label as 'community organizer'

Please
Please

I would love to see Jason go toe to toe with Michelle Bachmann!

LaceyB
LaceyB

I am so for this! But, I'll believe when Rawlings starts biking to work. Or going to scheduled LGBT meetings.

phosho-n-dimsum
phosho-n-dimsum

This is just something else for this "creative class warrior" to put in his personal bio for his later memoir....'The World is a Better Block' by Jason Roberts

Travis Rex
Travis Rex

I hope he does run...he would be the best advocate we could ever have.,

Ellum08
Ellum08

I like Jason and think he has done some pretty interesting things in Dallas, but doing something creative is quite different than making something creative permanent.

I don't think any of the North Oak Cliff folks have a clue how to 'make sausage' nor care to learn. Why actually spend the time/money to make a change when you can complain about why something hasn't/or can't be changed?

See Veletta Lil and the Arts District food trucks as someone putting their time/money in making a change for the better.  

Geotransit
Geotransit

Veletta hired Jason, Amy and I to pioneer food trucks through a better block type eveNT if you recall.

World Class Clown
World Class Clown

I believe he had a hand in the food trucks in the Arts District too http://blogs.dallasobserver.co...

Ellum08
Ellum08

Perhaps, but Ms. Lill raised the money and actually sheparded the process through City Hall.

Again, he has done some great things, but complaining against politics and actually being a politician are two different things. Ask Laura Miller.

anon
anon

He's also one of the owners of Oddfellows restaurant. That's pretty permanent.

Guest
Guest

Sounds like you've just given him a stronger endorsement. Since Oddfellows has been open for over a year, and is packed everytime my wife and I try to get in, I'd say he's pretty decent at beating the odds. Even more of a reason he'll have my vote.

Anon
Anon

a restaurant is permanent? an industry that has 50% turnover in the first year?

Ginsle
Ginsle

Revise to "even if I don't win I can get a lot of PR" yep

It's me
It's me

If you want to put temporary (and quite hideous) things made from shipping containers and old pallets in your streets for a couple of hours and pretend they improve your neighborhood then he's your man.

Dave the Wave
Dave the Wave

And spraying lines on city streets calms traffic. And livestock watering troughs placed on parking lots are swimming pools.

It's me
It's me

I find it hilarious that he refers to himself as being in the creative class. These posers in OC are nothing more than copy machines. An original idea of any value had never emerged from this group. Remember kids, silly hats don't make you creative.

jcawthon23
jcawthon23

@It's me Why do people like you live only to complain about what others are actually Doing?  Why are you so Negative?  What Jason is doing is at least something inspiring and you choose to only focus on dissing the man.  I feel sorry for people like you.  The world must seem like a dismal lonely place to you.

hammertimez
hammertimez

i'd vote for the mayor of oak cliff. 

Anon
Anon

I don't vote for people who use terms like "creative class". Sorry

Ratselblitz
Ratselblitz

True - that phrase isn't used in Dallas - sounds strange huh? 

Then again Dallas does not attract young job creators or emerging industries either.  That's why we created almost no jobs or population growth in the last decade.  That has never happened in the history of our city. 

The situation is desperate and we need new leadership that understands the missing ingredient is the "creative class" Jason talks about.

Good luck Jason - you have my complete support!

jcawthon23
jcawthon23

@Ratselblitz Not to mention look at what happened to Dallas Alley/Westend and Deep Ellum?  I wish we had a Mayor more like Jason and those things probably wouldn't have happened.   OC really needs more people like him and so do other cities.  Austin is a great example of thriving communities full of people like Jason who make that city one of the best in the country.  "Keeping Austin Weird" is what makes it successful too!   Dallas needs lots more "weirdness"

World Class Clown
World Class Clown

hmmmmm, single issue voter I take it.

Anon
Anon

what does single issue have to do with it? people who see our society in terms of a "creative class" do not share my worldview. anyways, the real reason I'd never vote for him is because he is the self-proclaimed voice of an emerging North Oak Cliff that I don't think he represents. he built up a lot of street cred as a "neighborhood activist" and then quickly turned around and is now attempting to cash in on it through PR/consulting/restaurant business/etc. I would also refuse to vote for him until his non-profit, Go Oak Cliff, releases its financials so we can see how all the money is spent.

jcawthon23
jcawthon23

@Anon Another negative AH.. geez you people.  Self Proclaimed?  Where do you get that?  He's famous for having done something and the media reporting on it.  He didn't do it for said media attention.  He did it for the reason all people DO THINGS.  Because he saw something lacking that he wanted and tooks steps (whatever steps) to try and improve it.  God forbid that some people want to give him a bunch of attention for his actions.  Bitter people like you are what make for bad communities of anonymous neighbors who like to complain when their neighbor has a party but otherwise never get out and meet them.

It's me
It's me

Well if Rob Shearer says it it must be, never mind.

Geotransit
Geotransit

I was the lead on the King's Plaza project requested by the city of Dallas public works. If you honestly think that Jason was given a check for $19K for engineering work (which was the bulk of the project), you're out of your mind. There were 4 firms involved with that project, hired by the city of Dallas. I brought in Jason Roberts and Amy Cowan to do the web work and public outreach because we have to use people on the ground that know the community and have web/marketing experience. Imagining that there was some giant payday involved with the project is ludicrous.

Anon
Anon

correct. everyone who disagrees with you is from Southlake. or Park Cities. or is some uncool person who doesn't live in a dense part of Dallas. I even drive a car, instead of a bike, if you can believe it!

Rangers100
Rangers100

Could you be any more Southlake?

World Class Clown
World Class Clown

looks like the "single issue" is that you haven't much of a since humor.

Anon
Anon

my point is not that GOC is "making" any money on the events that it throws. my point is that several of its board members are now in the business of making money on their "advocacy" and I don't like the blurry line between the two. look, plenty of people are affiliated with non-profits that further their business interests and it's not illegitimate. I just don't particularly care for it.for example, Better Block at Tyler/Davis is sponsored by GOC. event highlights the legitimate need for a change to the layout of that intersection. event is successful (I certainly attended), kudos to everyone for the hard work. fast forward to city of Dallas hiring the consulting firm owned in part by Roberts/Cowan and paying them $19k to study an issue that was highlighted by the very event that they promoted through their nonprofit. again, I'm not throwing around accusations of wrongdoing. my request for the books was rhetorical. I'm sure you're not trying to make a buck when you throw street parties.

Rob Shearer
Rob Shearer

Seriously, Go Oak Cliff has not ever made any money. As a fellow board member I can assure you that the costs of the events we throw meet or exceed the money we bring in. But if you'll send me an email I'd be happy to coordinate a time to sit down with you and review our books. Nothing to hide here - except for your name it would seem.

Bob
Bob

I'd love to see how the DMN would play his campaign. Actually, I kinda wonder what the Establishment thinks of the rising political fortunes of North O.C. 

Guest
Guest

 What are these rising political fortunes you speak of?  Last I checked, North O.C. gets represented by whomever the Black leaders of South Dallas decide will represent them, unless they pick someone who decides to plead guilty before the primary (I'm looking at you Terri Hodge). 

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Who,Black is elected from North Oak Cliff, Guest ? You do not have the facts correct. They are Hispanic other than Scott Greg. Well small part in23 Senatorial

Dist.

Oak Cliff Girl
Oak Cliff Girl

North O.C. is currently represented by Scott Griggs, Rafael Anchia, Roberto Alonzo, Pete Sessions, and Royce West. With the exception of Royce West, I don't think black voters had much to do with the selection of any of those representatives.

Guest
Guest

I'd also add Eric Johnson to the mix.  Which illustrates my point.  How much influence does North OC have on the state legislature when it's split between three different state house districts that answer to very specific populations that have different interests than North OC?  Anchia and Alonzo are both answer to West Dallas and Johnson answers to South East Dallas.  All of them can completely ignore North OC without any risk of losing an election.

Obviously the situation at the federal level is even worse.  Sessions is Highland Park and hates everything that North OC stands for. 

In really, North OC only can claim responsibility for Scott Griggs, who sits on a dysfunctional City Counsel that has ceded all its power to the city manager. 

I'm not blaming North OC.  Clearly it's been sliced and diced to gerrymandered districts, like most of central Dallas.  But this definitely weakens the influence of North OC and all the central areas of Dallas.  

-- Guy in East Dallas that is pretty pissed off about being represented by Jeb Hensarling just because he's stuck in a district that almost reaches Lufkin, Texas. 

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