Much More From Angela Hunt, Who Says Tom Leppert Hasn't Been a Good Mayor

huntandkunkle.jpg
Will Hunt back Kunkle? Find out after the jump.
Earlier this afternoon, we broke the news that Angela Hunt won't be running for mayor. She told us that she believes she can accomplish more as a council member and doesn't think the next mayor should be anyone who's on the current council. As it stands, council member Ron Natinsky and former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle are the only announced candidates, with Park Board chair and former Pizza Hut CEO Mike Rawlings expected to reveal his intentions soon. (Official filing for the gig begins on Monday.)

As promised, our interview with Hunt is below. The quotes in italics are ones used in our previous item.

Obviously, my first question is why?

One of the primary reasons is, as I've always said, 'It's not about what I want to be. It's about what I want to do and accomplish.' There are a number of outstanding projects that I want to continue to work on that frankly I think I'd be more effective and accomplish more as a council member rather than as mayor. And that includes work on Lower Greenville, our 2012 bond program, redistricting, oil and gas issues and some other issues going on in my district. Second thing is, I think this council will benefit and be more responsive to someone who is not currently on the council serving as mayor.

If you look at the current configuration of the council, all of the council members have considerable experience, and I think it makes it very challenging for someone within the council to ascend to mayor and essentially be first among equals. It's very hard for council members to respond to that leadership. So I think the city would be better served by someone who is not currently on the council serving as mayor.

A lot of people would point to Audrey Belle as a potential reason not to launch a mayoral campaign. Was she a key factor in your decision?

My family factors into every decision I make, and, certainly, I took that into consideration because I want to be the best mother possible and the best wife possible.

But, at the end of the day, the most important reasons for me are what type of leadership the city needs right now and what I need to continue to accomplish on the city council. There are millions of women across the country who balance leadership roles with caring for their families. I believe that that's doable, and the other reasons are more critical to me.

Are you ready to back David Kunkle at this point?

No, but I'm looking at the candidates. I can tell you what I'm looking for if I do decide to support one of the mayoral candidates. One of the primary things I'm looking for is someone who will focus on the issues that truly matter to the citizens of Dallas, someone who cares about improving our neighborhoods and not just building $100-million bridges or half-a-billion dollar hotels for visitors.

Another thing I'm looking for is, let me put it this way, I'm tired of our mayor being selected by the Citizens Council. And I've been really offended by some of the articles that have come out in the last six months in The Dallas Morning News, in which leadership of the Citizens Council suggest that it's their role to anoint the next mayor. Last time I checked, Dallas has a democratic system, and we need someone who is going to be accountable to the citizens of Dallas, not a small cabal of businessmen.

So would that rule out [Dallas Citizens Council member] Mike Rawlings if he were to announce?

I'm gonna have conversations with Mike and also with David and just get a sense from them what their values are, what they want to accomplish as mayor and how they want to lead our city. So I'm gonna have those conversations before I make a decision.

Also, I want someone who will take a fresh look at the Trinity River Corridor Project, because that has been stalled out, become unnecessarily complex and slowed down some absolutely critical safety improvements for our city. So we really need to take a fresh look at that and get moving on it and not let it continue to let it languish.

Is it safe to say you're gonna support somebody?

Honestly, I'm not sure yet, and that's why I'm trying to lay out what I'm looking for. And if those conditions are met and there's someone I think can bring really great leadership to our city and will focus on our citizens and not a small group of businessmen, I will lend my support to them. I really do believe we need an independent voice as our next mayor.

So would a good conversation with Rawlings supersede his Citizens Council ties?

I guess I need to understand what his ties are to the Citizens Council currently. I don't know that the Citizens Council has come out and said who they're backing, and I also need to understand what his core values are. It really just depends on what that discussion is.

I know you don't have your future mapped out, but winning this next election would mark your last term, so what are your plans after that?

I think there is a misconception that politicians map out their future -- have five-year plans or 10-year plans. That simply isn't the case. I really am focused and interested in what I'm working on right now, which is wanting to make sure that our city weathers the economic storm as best as possible and trying to bring the focus back to our neighborhoods instead of extravagant, big-ticket items. So if I can accomplish that, I'll be very proud. I'll deal with the future as it comes.

Leppert's term isn't over, but it seems like it's getting very close. How would you evaluate his term thus far?

I think there are a couple ways to evaluate him. If you evaluate him strictly from what my value set is, I don't think he's been a good mayor because he's been a champion of projects that I don't believe are in the best interests of the citizens of Dallas, like the Trinity River toll road, the publicly financed convention center hotel, the enormous $100-million bridge above the Trinity. I think, from that standpoint, he hasn't been in the trenches like our mayor should be and focused on fundamentally improving our government.

If you look at him from the standpoint of has he accomplished what he set out to accomplish and his agenda, I think for the first three years in office, he was remarkably successful. He came in when half of the council was brand-new, and he was able to shape his agenda in that way because, frankly, the council members didn't know any better.

In his last year in office, I have seen a deterioration of his ability to work with the council and coalesce decisions, and that primarily has been because he's already running for higher office. He's running for a partisan office, and he's trying to appeal to a certain sector of that partisan group. So he has been comfortable breaking ties and allegiances with people on the council that he's been typically in alignment with.

One more quick question. Would you support a council vote to remove Dwaine Caraway as mayor pro tem?

I'm still considering that. I know that's kinda been floated in discussions. A lot of my constituents are very troubled by what they view as poor decisions and poor judgment, and so I really think it's important that our mayor be someone who can lead the city effectively and someone who shows good judgment.

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Big D in Big D
Big D in Big D

I like Angela Hunt - she tells it like she sees it - and everything she warned us about the big ticket items about has been remarkably accurate. While I would have liked to seen her run for Mayor - I'm content to see her continuing to represent Dist. 14 well.

cp
cp

I dunno... re categorizing burglaries as "criminal mischief" when an alarm scares off a would-be burglar..... re categorizing car break-ins as "vandalism" or telling the victims that it's their fault and just not reporting it in the first place..... a police department that somehow managed to give 39 tickets to people who don't speak English for.... not speaking English.... publicly stating tat the FBI number crunchers are wrong in how they report crime because the rules for reporting crime is somewhat "vague"..... these are all things that happened on Kunkle's watch.

Now that I think about it, he's PERFECT for Dallas Mayor!

ihavequestions
ihavequestions

Unless he did all that per the direction of city manager aka Queen Mary Suhm.That was his boss and she has bigger balls than anyone in city hall. She is the one and the only one who is running the city. Like a female "Don Corleone".Love that he's not a part of the Citizens Council but do hate that baggage he has. Now, I don't know who to vote for.

rubbercow
rubbercow

I have to agree. The crime "classification" system is a thoroughly disturbing trend.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Its stinks Angela isnt running, but I can understand her reasoning and I support her in that. Heres hoping she both back Kunckle and puts the votes together to have Caraway tossed out on his sorry gold-brickin' ass.

Just the facts, ma'am
Just the facts, ma'am

Angela, you serve admirably and honorably as a Dallas City Council member. Thank you for your service. Glad to know we will still have you on Council. Keep up the good work.

Just the facts, ma'am
Just the facts, ma'am

Whether it is one guy who got it wrong 4 times, or 4 women who got it wrong one time, the aggregate math is the same. It's a matter of judgement. The one getting it wrong 4x is the one to be concerned with here. Honestly, do you want this type of financial trainwreck judgement running your city? While Kunkle served honorably as our Police Chief (a job he was uniquely qualfied to hold) it seems weird to have him even consider becoming Mayor. Dallas is the 8th largest city in the US. Kunkle has multiple ex wives, likely many of whom are the happy beneficiaries of a share of his public pension distribution (Texas is a very wise community property state). Does adding a possible $60,000 a year public sector job (aka Mayor) that will directly bolsters an existing public pension by accruing more public service and expensive to the taxpayers sound like a great way to keep wife #5 from complaining? Not creating talking points, but assessing fact. Please refute.

T-bee
T-bee

what are you talking about? go back to law school and get it right this time. you are so off base with this math quiz.

Just the facts ma'am
Just the facts ma'am

When you get divorced you give up half your assets in a community property state. TX is such a state. If you have a future pension benefit, at the time of the divorce, depending on what part of the pension was earned during a marriage, the total future qualified pension amount attibutable to the marriage is typically frozen and evenly divided between the parties. Depending on the pension formula used, public pension benefits are often based on the highest three earning years.

Chief Knuckle last got divorced in 2007 from #4 when his earning was at it's highest. D Magazine pointed out at that time that the recent ex wife had no idea they were due to divorce at that time. Likely the resulting quick divorce and the Chief's quickie remarriage now to #5 reflected an uncontested attractive financial settlement with #4. (If there were children to consider, then there would be child support requirements on top of spousal support and dividing the marital assets, too).

Haven't you ever had the misfortune of getting divorced? One need not go to law school to have gotten screwed by the system to understand the math.

Kunkle's public pension can be easily assessed - it's called freedom of public information. What benefit he actually has versus what he earned is another story. Perhaps he needs to go back to work in retirement to make ends meet. For such a person, since we the taxpayers pay the current and future retirement of our public servants, this is information we should know about. If those earning public pensions accrue more years of service, then their pension amounts go way up. Public pensions are expensive enough without public servant's double dipping. Just ask bankrupt Illinois.

Getting divorced is neither unique or profound. It's the 4 getting it wrong four separate times part that is financially, and consequentially problematic. Start with half your net worth after the first divorce, even if you earn more and build up another nest egg, now do that math and half your net worth three more times. What part of this don't you get?

Dinah
Dinah

Who gives a damn about this personal crap? Natinsky told bold faced lies about that river tollway. That is what I care about.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Might be worth reminding folks that many of the most powerful folks on the Dallas Citizens Council aren't even from Dallas-- it includes reps from American Airlines and J.C. Penny's for example-- neither of which contribute meaningful amounts of tax revenue to Dallas County or the City of Dallas.

SnookiePie
SnookiePie

Am I reading between the lines too much? Or, is Angela telling us to step back and take a hard look at Kunkle? Should we be suspicious of his ties to Laura Miller?

I know the Kunkles are very close to Laura Miller. I know Laura Miller is the funding machine behind Kunkle's campaign.

And, I'm wondering if we vote for Kunkle, will we end up with Sarah Dodd (his 5th wife) as our Mayor.

Is Angela suggesting we consider Rawlings for Mayor?

AngelaRocks
AngelaRocks

Heck, I'm just trying to get my mind around why a guy would get it wrong 4 times. I've never known anyone who was married 5 times.

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

You realize it could be four women who got it wrong since they all married the same guy...

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Kunkle is not a man ,who can be compromised by a woman.He is a man's man.Kunkle know how a City operates,having served in City manager capacity in Arlington. Who he socialize with is not my concern,how he manages as Mayor and his vision of the City is my concern. Public Safety will get a supporter from him also. Snookie pie who are the funding machine behind all the others?

Chuck
Chuck

And here, my friends, is your preview of Carol Reed's talking points against Kunkle.

Gatorfest972
Gatorfest972

'It's not about what I want to be. It's about what I want to do and accomplish.' This is nonsensical.

'And I've been really offended by some of the articles that have come out in the last six months in The Dallas Morning News, in which leadership of the Citizens Council suggest that it's their role to anoint the next mayor. Last time I checked, Dallas has a democratic system, and we need someone who is going to be accountable to the citizens of Dallas, not a small cabal of businessmen.' And does this apply to a small cabal of hipster journalists, too?

'I really do believe we need an independent voice as our next mayor.' What does this mean? A voice that agrees with your own?

"If you look at him from the standpoint of has he accomplished what he set out to accomplish and his agenda, I think for the first three years in office, he was remarkably successful. He came in when half of the council was brand-new, and he was able to shape his agenda in that way because, frankly, the council members didn't know any better." Please see your first statement above, Ms. Hunt. And, wow, so the reason Leppert's agenda went through was because some of your fellow council members are rubes who know no better -- unlike you. They couldn't have possibly agreed with the mayor. No way.

cp
cp

yes some of Hunt's council members are in fact rubes. I give you.... Carolyn Davis (who BTW, is not the actual Carolyn Davis responding below...)

Lakewooder
Lakewooder

"nonsensical", really? What don't you understand about her statement?

"independent voice" is good thing, but hey, if you need the Citizens Council to guide your every move, climb on board. They like people like you.

"rubes"... nicely put.

Gatorfest972
Gatorfest972

Carolyn Davis: It is a nonsensical statement because it contains a not-so-hidden tautology. Think about it carefully and get back to me.

How do you know what sort of person I am? Do you have psychic abilities? But to get back to my question for Ms. Hunt... let's apply it to you. What does independent voice mean? And especially, what does it mean to you?

ihavequestions
ihavequestions

you go girl! amen! Any enemy of the Citizen's Council gets my vote on that alone.

Anyone But Angela
Anyone But Angela

who cares - she raised our property taxes which is the worst thing you can do in a downturn. she will never win and she realized that.

rubbercow
rubbercow

Get a clue. I am sorry to have to tell you this, but in a society (you know, like we live in) taxes are needed for things like education and infrastructure. We have a crumbling infrastructure and a school system that produces absolute morons - even if they stay in long enough to graduate. Further, taxes in Dallas are negligible. We pay about three times as much on our rent house in Houston.

Just the facts, ma'am
Just the facts, ma'am

In 2009 (before the the Dallas city tax increase of 2010), the combined Dallas city, county, and DISD rate was 2.62%. At that time, the combined rate for Highland Park/University Park, HPISD, and Dallas county was 1.93%. If you have a $500,000 house that's a $3,100 higher tax bill for a Dallas resident versus a Highland Park resident. Yes, you are in the Twilight zone nd did not know it. Of course you cannot buy a $500,000 house in Highland Park, so do not sweat it. But for the upwardly mobile, when deciding between HP or Dallas, everyone knows that we in Dallas get so much better service and better schools for those tax dollars. Yeah, right. April Fools.

rubbercow
rubbercow

What are you even trying to say here? Of course, I realize that you are using the typical Dallas measuring stick of "ooh, look how expensive MY house is!", but I have some bad news for you - thankfully, the city of Dallas has not yet reached the 100% saturation of total douchebags just yet. Trust me, my wife and I make more than enough to live in HP. However, that in no way figures into our calculus of what "success" or as you put it "upward mobility" means.

City services and schools are indeed a problem, but that problem isn't going to be solved by comparing tax rates with Highland Park.

Montemalone
Montemalone

HP/UP is a couple square miles, and as you noted, most homes are valued in the seven figure range, so tax collections are sufficient to build indoor football fields for high schoolers (and visiting NFL teams) and pools and tennis courts and police/fire protections and libraries, etc.If Dallas was nothing but million dollar homes, our tax rate would most likely be a fraction of a percent.Apples and watermelons.

Bob
Bob

I know. The extra $75/year on my 2500 sq ft home is killing me.

ihavequestions
ihavequestions

LOL! EXACTLY! That's what I'm talking about. If "Guest" thinks their $75 is too much to handle per year then they probably should get off of the DSL and go back to dial up.Oh no I didn't! LOL!

ihavequestions
ihavequestions

Oh brother.....I got that much of an increase in my change bottle. Get over it. We're still a city in the hole with no way out. That was just to keep the lights on.

Guest
Guest

Sorry, but there are plenty of us out here who won't "get over it". That you're gullible and naive enough to believe the bullshit from Hunt and the rest of the pols about having to raise taxes so the children (of course) could play in the parks and read the books in the library and all the other other standard excuses pols use when they want to dig into the wallets of taxpayers is your problem, not ours. Money is power, pols like Hunt take money from you to increase their power and decrease yours, maybe one day you'll grow up and realize that.

Guest
Guest

Rubbercow - The two aren't mutually exclusive.

rubbercow
rubbercow

Instead of demanding that they don't tax, how about you demand that they spend tax revenues responsibly?

crispinTx
crispinTx

"I'm tired of our mayor being selected by the Citizens Council" -- WORD.

....sorry, is that too 90's? just what I felt. :)

Carolyn Davis
Carolyn Davis

OK Angela, you're running.... or it's a question mark?

Daniel
Daniel

Yeah, well, Hitler had a pretty good run of "accomplishing what he set out to accomplish," too.

Do I win some sort of prize?

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