Flanked by Cowboys Legend Roger Staubach, Mike Rawlings Kicks Off Mayoral Campaign

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Photos by Sam Merten
Mike Rawlings and Roger Staubach
Mike Rawlings formally announced his candidacy for mayor this morning to a group of approximately 150 supporters in front of Dallas City Hall, claiming he'll utilize public-private partnerships to protect both the city's infrastructure and its citizens during what he said would be a budget deficit as difficult to overcome as last year's more-than-$100-million shortfall.

"That just means we have to work harder and we have to work smarter to protect our infrastructure, while at the same time not further burdening our taxpayers," said the former Park Board president and ex-CEO of Pizza Hut.

Rawlings, who also served as the city's homeless czar and chair of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, also stressed the need for the city to focus on the basics.

"That means making smoother roads that are free of potholes, beautiful parks where our families are safe together and can spend time together, libraries like across the street that are open and equipped with books and resources to serve our families, rec centers and swimming pools that our children can go to not only to have fun but to get fit," he said. "Our firefighters and police officers have to have the resources to do their jobs and to make this community safe for us."

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Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, who's serving as the campaign's chair, said he knows Rawlings from their membership in the World Presidents' Organization. He described Rawlings as having "a linebacker mentality" and someone who gives back to the community.

"Mike really gives a darn about others than himself," he said. "I believe in him. I trust him. And I think we're really fortunate."

Former Cowboys tight end Pettis Norman was not in attendance as expected, but Arcilia Acosta, the president and CEO of CARCON Industries & Construction and STL Engineers, and Curtis Ransom, a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise owner in the area for 21 years, said Rawlings was not only trustworthy, but someone to lead the city in the right direction.

Four billboards have been erected in Dallas thus far to promote Rawlings's campaign. Two feature Staubach (one on N. Central Expressway and another on the Dallas North Tollway), one features state Senator John Carona (Central) and another features Norman (Interstate 35). A fifth featuring Carona is expected on the Tollway soon.

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Like almost every mayor and mayoral candidate before him, Rawlings said the Southern sector is one of the city's "greatest untapped resources."

"For too long, Dallas has been two cities: the North and South, the black and white, the rich and poor," he said. "No mas. OK?"

And, much like those before him, he claimed the city must "fire up" its economic engine to become great.

"Business is the lungs of our city," he said. "It breathes life into the basics."

Economic growth is not a luxury, it's a necessity, Rawlings said, and he touted his experience at Pizza Hut as the CEO of 3,500 stores and 150,000 employees. He vowed to continue to encourage companies to relocate to Dallas, listing the ones who have arrived recently "because of the leadership of our mayor."

"I'm not here to point out what's wrong, but it can never be too easy to do business here," he said.

Tennell Atkins was the only council member in attendance, and he says he's supporting Rawlings. We asked what makes Rawlings stand out compared to the other candidates -- fellow council member Ron Natinksy and former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle -- and he refused comment.

When pressed about why he's supporting Rawlings, Atkins first stated his desire for more candidates to choose from before offering his reasons.

"We need someone who looks out for the South, East, West and North and pulls everyone together as one," he told Unfair Park. "We need someone who understands the passion of the people, how to make deals work, how to reach out to other CEOs. We need to build our revenue and our tax base to fix our streets and libraries. ... I think he's got the passion and drive to do it."

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Left to right: campaign treasurer Joe Haggar Jr., Rawlings's wife Micki, daughter Michelle and finance co-chairs Jennifer and Tom Karol

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30 comments
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Kristi Trees
Kristi Trees

His female financial co-chair can't afford a bra? And her husband can't afford some tailoring after what appears to be at least a fifty pound weight loss?

Ccbow123
Ccbow123

Mike,Good luckCharlie & Corky

Just Asking
Just Asking

Maybe he will take advantage of the poor like he did when his company owned Ace Check Cashing, the payday lender.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

Well, he lost me when he analogized governing the city to when he made Pizza Hut perform better by closing stores and laying off employees. That works in a business, but not in a city. The laid off city employees stay on the public dole, the expense is just move as to another part of the city or state budget until they can find employment with someone else. When Pizza Hut laid people off, it shifted the financial burden from Pizza Hut to governmental entities. Bottom line, government ain't business.

Shalom
Shalom

Where is Kathy L. Nealy & Associates?

anna
anna

Homeless Czar.....spare me...that is enough to disqualify him there.

Stan
Stan

Blinding white support team. Did they forget that whites are a minority in the city of Dallas? What is he going to sell to pay for all of his promises?

JayD
JayD

Rawlings will operate this city like a business man. We don't need more politicians ruining our city government! YOU GO MIKE!

JS
JS

He's a marketing guy, not a businessman. I wouldn't buy his crappy pizzas, and I sure as heck would never vote for him.

sandra crenshaw
sandra crenshaw

Refreshing to see a mayoria candidate without Willis Johnson whispering in his ear. mayor Leppert is the only Mayor in the last 30 years who was hoodwinked into having his own black lackey. All previous council members let the Mayor know that the black folks voted for them to represent the southern sector. No spooks beside the door. South port is no more because of the likes of Willis Johnson. We don't need window dressing. Why haven't the Hispanics called for a hispanic counter part to Johnson, because they know who got elected?

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

Hate to break this to ya, Sandra, but Rawlings is negotiating with Johnson to become a part of his campaign.

GoMikeGo
GoMikeGo

A Great Candidate and future Mayor for our City............Go Mike!!!!

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

He forgot: A Chicken in every pot.

"... making smoother roads .. free of potholes, beautiful parks ...libraries ... that are open and equipped with books and resources t...rec centers and swimming pools ...firefighters and police officers have to have the resources to do their jobs and to make this community safe for us."

Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk

So, he's pretty much Leppert II, right?

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

Leppert's legacy lives on.

First order of business for Rawlings will be to rename the taxpayer-funded Convention Center Hotel to: "The Leppert".

LakeWWWooder
LakeWWWooder

Glad he mentioned "East" and "West" instead of the usual "North" and "South".

G_David
G_David

Apparently he thinks the black folks in the southern part of the city speak Spanish. He's very in touch.

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

And where does Mr. Rawlings plan to find the money to fix the potholes, open pools, rec centers, libraries, maintain parks, hire police & fire, etc.? And by public-private partnership he plans to sell the convention center hotel for a realistic market price, not an insider deal price?

Montemalone
Montemalone

I think he's planning on selling a bridge, and maybe a hotel...

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

Yes, indeed, he was a member of SALT.

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

Whoops. This was an answer to your post about about Norman.

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

Naturally he invokes the magical thinking that the City of Dallas can operate without the possibility of raising taxes.

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

Wasn't Pettis Norman one of the individuals involved in the Inland Port equity deal?

allegro
allegro

Yes indeed. This is a easy one. Roger S= raw land for the taking. Rawing is "sensitive" to the plight of poor folk (homeless involvement) = southern votes. He will slide right into a powerless mayor seat to "finish the work, the mayor couldn't do. Look at T. Atkins; wide eyed and bushy tail, he is ready because the political move equal the Inland port development . The deal has already been cut. The give away was Norman and Roger. You don't move your corporation and sell all assets and come to another state to loose the whole 60 acre deal. This is done. Nothing will change.

Alan
Alan

He's against potholes and so enamored of "the southern sector" that he lives in it--if you mean south of LBJ Freeway ($3 million mansion on Lennox Lane). What's not to like?

watcher
watcher

Amazing that Royce West & JWP weren't standing behind him.

Yakuza_Fighter
Yakuza_Fighter

Does every mayoral candidate have to mention potholes? Is this some sort of requirement?

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