to overturn Dallas's at-large plan of electing
council members and permit residents from
individual districts to select their own representatives.
It was patently clear that he had a point.
Before the case could be heard, Dallas voters
approved a revision to the city charter that for
the first time required candidates to live in specified
geographical districts. It did not go as far as
Goldblatt had wanted, but it was the first important
step in dismantling the old at-large system
and eventually seeing it replaced by single-member
council districts as specified in the present
Not until thirteen years later did Goldblatt
achieve his own goal of serving on the city
council, and he was elected to the office three
times, serving from 1980 to 1985. As a councilman
he was outspoken but never impolite. He
enjoyed the challenge of debate, and when he
lost he was never angry at his opponent.
In 1985 he sought election as mayor but lost
to Starke Taylor, the business community's candidate.
Taylor, energized himself by Goldblatt's
campaign of ideas, rated Goldblatt about a "10"
in a niceness scale of 1 to 10.' In 1986 and in
1990 Goldblatt campaigned to be county judge,
losing both times to Lee Jackson. Jackson called
him "refreshingly different from most candidates."
He said Goldblatt, rare among political
people, was known for how much he could
argue without becoming angry.2
Some called him "Mad Max" because of the
uniqueness of his ideas. Always concerned about
the gridlock on N. Central Expressway (in the
years before its widening), he suggested that helicopters
be used to lift wrecked cars and shorten
the maddening delays caused by minor traffic
accidents. More important to him was his advocacy
of a monorail system that would help
relieve the congestion on Central Expressway.
He earned another nickname, "Monorail Max."
In promoting the monorail he and his son, Joe
Jeff, once stood on the side of Central
Expressway and held up a banner, "You could be
there by now." He proposed that municipal vehi
cles be converted to operate on cheaper
methane gas produced from the city's sewagetreatment
One of Goldblatt's proudest accomplishments
was his long-time championing of a community
college system for Dallas County. A
scholarship fund for the Dallas County
Community College District bears the names of
Max Goldblatt and his wife, Rosa. He also was
instrumental in having Skyline High School
built in Southeast Dallas.
Goldblatt was born on December 6, 1911,
the seventh of eight children of a Russian Jewish
couple. The family moved to Texas and made
their way amidst hardship in Houston,
Breckenridge, San Antonio, and Fort Worth. At
one time they lived in a tent with a dirt floor.
Goldblatt graduated from high school in
Breckenridge,Texas, then served in the U.S.Army
during World War II, gaining the rank of master
sergeant. Soon after the war he opened an ArmyNavy
store in Pleasant Grove, where he anticipated
a post-war boom, and soon began selling
hardware. He became one of the most popular
figures in that Southeast Dallas community.
When he died on December 20, 1995, at
the age of eighty-four, Goldblatt and his wife
Rosa had been married just over sixty years.
They had two children, a son,Joe Goldblatt, and
a daughter, Leah Goldblatt Lahasky. Thze Dallas
Morning News editorialized that "Dallas will miss
his ideas and candor."4 *
"Goldblatt is keeping campaign mild," The
Dallas Morningi News, March 14, 1985, 1.
2 "Max Goldblatt, ex-councilman, dies at age 84," ibid.,
December 21, 1995, 1, 26F
3 Ibid and campaign flyer, Goldblatt clippings file,
Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division,
Dallas Public Library.
4"Max Goldblatt," The Dallas Morning Nels,
December 22, 1995. 1985.
Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35092/. Accessed July 6, 2015.