Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mayoral Debate

My notes on the Mayoral debate.

This mayoral debate was held at Northhaven United Methodist Church in Dallas.

I counted 167 people for the debate, including kids.

Edward Okpa came across as very down to earth and concerned about the Southern sector of Dallas. He spent most of his time pointing out economic inequalities in the city. He asked the voters to consider that improving the southern sector could improve tax revenues, and could improve the city overall. He suggested that privatizing city land could generate revenue (at least, I believe that's what he stated). He said the city needed a comprehensive regional plan in regards to the Trinity River Project, and the Trinity River in general. He wasn't very specific about how he would accomplish or implement such tasks, but then none of the candidates were.

Mike Rawlings is the pro-business former CEO of Pizza Hut. He said that he would use his CEO powers to attract business to Dallas, that other business leaders would look across the desk at him and see one of their own. He said that his CEO powers were considerable. He had to respond to attacks by David Kunkle that he had put an ad for Pizza Hut on the side of a Russian rocket, and that he had sat on the board of Ace Check Cashing, which has been accused of predatory lending practices. The moderator asked if he regretted sitting on the board of Ace, and he hesitated a bit on that, and then said no. He had learned a great deal about the poor from the experience.

David Kunkle said he had experience in government, real government with real citizens which, he pointed out, is not like being in the private sector. Kunkle is the former chief of police. He said that he had been to South Dallas for community meetings where he was the only white face in the room, and that the thing he believed people honestly wanted was for someone who would listen to them and try to make their lives better. Kunkle pointed to his record of success as chief of police, the fact that the crime and murder rate fell over his term (six years, I believe). Kunkle came across very well.

Ron Natinsky, Dallas council member, said that he was the only person who actually sat on the council and understood how it worked, which I don't think anyone else has ever claimed before. Ever. He said he would proactively continue the council's policy of going out and selling business leaders on Dallas. He said that if the North Texas Toll Authority funded the Trinity River Project, the toll road would get built, and if the NTTA didn't fund it, it wouldn't. It was a clever nonanswer as to whether he supported the project or not.

The tone of the debate was very civil and dull.