Angela Hunt's Announcement Scares Off Just One District 14 Opponent -- So Far

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Jim Rogers won't run against Angela Hunt but aims to replace her in 2013.
With Angela Hunt passing on a mayoral run and instead seeking a fourth and final consecutive term on the city council as District 14's representative (term limits), we called the five candidates who have filed campaign treasurers for her seat to find out which ones are willing to stay in the race. (Strangely, Hunt has drawn the most opponents, while no one has filed a treasurer for Ron Natinsky's soon-to-be-vacated District 12 seat.)

True to the comments he gave us in mid-January, former Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee member and ex-Bryan Place Neighborhood Association president Jim Rogers has pulled the plug on his campaign.

"The whole premise was that the District 14 community wanted to make sure that they had someone in that position that they could trust, that they had experience working with and knew had been in the fight with them for years," he tells Unfair Park. "Now that Angela's staying in that seat, the premise on which my candidacy was based is gone."

However, Rogers vows he'll be back.

"I still expect me to be the person who succeeds Angela in the District 14 seat, but, at this point, that's going to be two years from now," he says.

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Vernon Franko: District 14 candidate and Calatrava bridge enthusiast.
Vernon Franko, a 46-year-old resident of District 14 for approximately 20 years, hadn't heard about Hunt's decision when we reached him yesterday afternoon at the insurance company he owns in District 2. He wasn't happy to hear the news but said it wouldn't affect his plans.

"I'm staying in," he says. "I made my mind up two years ago before the mayor's race."

Franko claims the district "can do a little bit better" than Hunt. While discussing his candidacy, he first mentioned his concerns about the Dallas Independent School District.

"I understand that the council doesn't have much to do with the school district, but I think it is a high profile office -- higher profile than the district," he says. "I think they should be using that to lobby for better pay for our teachers. I think they're grossly underpaid."

And although there's nothing the city council can do about property values either, Franko says while improvement values have dropped, land values are "overblown." And how would the city recover the lost taxes if land valuations are lowered? Franko says the council needs to streamline the budget by eliminating waste and redundancy.

We also asked Franko to address Hunt's positions on the convention center hotel and Trinity River toll road. While he says he needs more information about both, Franko's concerned about the hotel competing directly with private businesses.

"It just goes smack in the face of free enterprise and the free-market system," he says. "There's no way private businesses can compete with the government."

Franko isn't fond of toll roads but hasn't made up his mind about the one proposed near the Trinity River, claiming he wants to evaluate whether it makes financial sense to build it inside the floodway. However, he really likes the bridges -- one of which is under construction (Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge) while the other two lack funding.

"Those will add a lot aesthetically to the city and make it more attractive, which is a good thing, especially for businesses," he says. "I think Dallas is a world-class city, and we need to act like one."

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Brian Oley
Brian Oley, a 34-year-old real estate consultant for Jones Lang LaSalle, isn't stepping out of the race either.

"It hasn't affected my decision thus far because I'm really moving forward with my campaign and think I've made good progress," he says.

Oley, a native Texan and resident of the district for five years, plans to rely on a three-pronged approach in his attempt to oust Hunt based on his business, community and academic experience. His community work includes co-founding the Friends of St. Jude's -- Dallas Chapter, which is a fund-raising arm of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He's also a member of the Friends of Katy Trail and board member of the MLK Community Center (appointed by Hunt). Oley has an MBA from Arizona State University, earned his undergrad degree at Texas Christian University and recently completed the international economic and policy program at Southern Methodist University.

In addition to his three-pronged approach, Oley also has three issues he aims to address if he's elected: safety, promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life. He didn't elaborate on his plans but says his website, which is under construction, will provide more detailed information.

So, what has Hunt done wrong to prompt him to run against her?

"That's a tough question," he says. "Given her situation with the information she's had on the table, she's done a terrific job. I'm not so much interested in what I'd do different, I just bring something different to the table. I bring a business mind to the table -- an entrepreneurial, creative, innovative mind to the table. It's difficult for me to say at this point that she's done a bad job. That's not the case."

We left messages for James Nowlin and Chad Lasseter and haven't heard back yet. [Update: Lasseter called to confirm he's still running. More on him later.] However, Nowlin did tell the Dallas Voice that he's staying in the race as well. The filing period for all council seats begins on Monday.

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16 comments
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Vernon Franko
Vernon Franko

I just wanted to say that I am very disappointed in thearticle above and the photo caption indicating that I am or ever was a Calatravabridge enthusiast. This is not true.

 

The writer has misconstrued what was said or just decided totake my comments completely out of context.

 

My position on the Bridge issue is the same now as it waswhen he asked me the question. I am and always have been against the awardingof the bridge contracts to a foreign firm.

 

What I actually said was that the current bridge structuresleading south out of downtown are aged and crumbling. They were never designedto handle the capacity that is now demanded of them and they are unsafe forpublic usage. They need to be replaced. I am not against an aesthetically pleasingsignature bridge concept to replace them but I would have voted the design andengineering contracts for such an endeavor to have been awarded to localcontractors.

 

We have enough local talent in the industry that could haveput a Texasflavor on their design and could have delivered them at a far lower cost toDallas Taxpayers.

Justsayin
Justsayin

Angela Hunt's left wing politics are a turn off and are bad for the city. The more successful mayors are partners with businesses versus antagonistic. Hunt can't seem to get away from her liberal political bent and tort lawyer training where she made it her business to attack and demonize the business community. In case she hasn't noticed this hasn't worked nationally and it won't work in Dallas. We can do better than Hunt. She needs to be replaced.

Clancey
Clancey

'a few people that think she is vaguely too socialism marxist and liberal and doesn't do enough to allow businesses to stomp on her district.-------Tell me, in what specific ways does she endorse socialism, marxism (from each according to his abilities to each according to his need) ... and ...doesn't do enough to allow businesses to stomp on her district. Seems allowing businesses to stomp on her district would equate socialism and marxism.

You been listening to Limbaugh?

jfpo
jfpo

I think your sarcasm meter needs to be recalibrated.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

Well, Vernon Franko will be sure to get the silly hat vote.

Alan J
Alan J

He may also get the vote from people who need a job in this economic down turn and from property owners who are being overcharged on their taxes.

warden62
warden62

I'm not sure years needs an apostrophe, Sam.

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

Thanks for the heads up. It's fixed.

SnookiePie
SnookiePie

lemme see if'n i got it right or not...we got a has-been cowboy insurance salesman, who's wanting the job so he can raise teacher payand, another one who's jumpin' around from address to address trying to run for something so he can please Eddie Bernice Johnson,and, finally, there's the guy who just 3 months ago moved into Distr 14 (Hollywood Heights), and is sponsored by Brinker Int'l and other big corporate business (can you say "Citizens Council")

Hell, Angela won't even hafta break a sweat.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Um, Franko really needs to get rid of that hat, and that tie, and that suit.

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

Are you kidding? Those are the only things he has going for him.

Alan J
Alan J

Thank God someone is finally interested in a city council seat who will lobby the School District on fair living wage for Teachers and maybe do something to stop those thieves over at the Appraisal District. Vote for Franko.

Alan J
Alan J

Um, Lets see, Franko is the only guy interested in creating "Jobs", protecting property owners and fiscal responsibility on the city council, but you don't like his silly cowboy Hat? jeez

District 14 Club
District 14 Club

Jim Rogers gets it. Clearly these other guys do not...they're cracking me up. That's all we need, some real estate leach with creative ideas, or someone whose platform is liking bridges and thinkin' they're cool, or god help us, some prettyboy junior flybird who wants to run for EBJ's seat and is just shopping for some race in which to get some experience behind his fluffy greenery. Screw that. District 14 has hard, tough issues, and Angela has been one of the best reps to hold the seat when it comes to putting in time and sweat to get things done. And, I suspect in a couple of years, Jim Rogers will bring a similar profile of experience and leadership to the seat. Until then, shoo flies...don't bother us. You're out of your league. Way out.

John_McKee
John_McKee

Besides the minor Ross Avenue debacle I find it hard to believe that she has much opposition besides a few people that think she is vaguely too socialism marxist and liberal and doesn't do enough to allow businesses to stomp on her district.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Of course the ironic thing is that Leppert's "Great People's Hotel" was a perfect example of a socialist project-- and Hunt opposed it as being an inappropriate function of government.

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