It's Time To Take Dallas In a New Direction, Say Mike Rawlings and All His Friends at City Hall

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Photos by Patrick Michels
Lois Finkelman was among the City Council members, past and present, who reiterated their support for Mike Rawlings today.
Even casual campaign watchers will not be surprised to hear that Mike Rawlings has the support of all but a few current city council members, and plenty of former ones as well. Maybe to underscore the point, maybe to show off just a little, Rawlings invited them all to join him outside City Hall at during the council's lunch break and let the press witness the awesome power of their combined presence behind him.

"He's a leader we can trust to cut waste," said former councilwoman Lois Finkelman. "Mike has been tested and found to be a true leader." (Incidentally, that Finkelman-led gas drilling task force will be hearing from interested members of the public tomorrow morning.)

Rawlings and his supporters repeatedly tried to create the impression of a gaping rift between he and David Kunkle, even if they've spent most of the campaign season agreeing with one another -- a choice, as Rawlings put it, between "business and innovation or government and the old ways of doing it."

Having locked up the support of 11 current council members, two former mayors and 10 former councilmen and women, Rawlings cast himself as the nimble problem-solver ready to, finally, make Dallas the business-friendly kind of place we always knew it could be someday.

"It is time for a change," Tennell Atkins offered with a passionate flair. "On June 18, we are not choosing a new mayor. We are choosing a new direction for our city."

Atkins said Rawlings is the candidate who can unite all the corners of the city, while Pauline Medrano took the opportunity to tout Rawlings's commitment to education. Medrano said Rawlings "is committed to getting involved in an area that is traditionally out of bounds for a mayor: public schools." With the "educational alliance" Rawlings would create, Medrano said, the city could take advantage of nonprofit help and private donations to help shore up DISD's budget.

"The differences in the candidates, I agree, couldn't be more dramatic," Rawlings said, sounding like a coach heading into the big game. He reminded the crowd they haven't won the election yet, and asking for help in the last couple weeks before the election and asking the assembled pastors for their help getting voters to the polls.

After the event, Rawlings joined reporters to reflect on the scene. "People say, 'We want the city council to come together?'" Rawlings mused. "They've come together. And they're supporting me."

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Rawlings gets his team pumped for the next two weeks.
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64 comments
Doug in DFW
Doug in DFW

So the genius collective that brought us Actin Mayor Caraway has another recommendation. Answer me these questions three.Was Jerry Jones not available to thank Rawlings for the beer tip money or is Jerry's blessing now meaningless after he ruined the Super Bowl?  What does the DISD Board think of Medrano throwing them under the bus?   Who is more impressed with themselves - Leppert or Rawlings? 

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

Can't wait to see Rawlings ask "How high sir?" when JWP tells him to jump.

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

So the insiders have decided that he's the outsider?  I'll take the guy that makes these clowns nervous.  Actually, who does Mary Suhm like?  I'll take the other.

coolonion
coolonion

Translation of taking Dallas in a new direction: we're headed straight for a cliff and Mike Rawlings says let's just go all the way over the edge, straight down into the abyss.

Whodunnit
Whodunnit

Aren't these the same people who have been driving the bus (over the cliff) for a while now.........yeah, I thought so.

Joanne R
Joanne R

I don't much care who wins the Mayoral election.  As far as I'm concerned the City of Dallas already won when Natinsky walked off the Council.   Round of Applause !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oak Cliff Clavin
Oak Cliff Clavin

Now if Rawlings could just seal up that coveted Neumann endorsement he'd have this thing in the bag.

TX News Princess
TX News Princess

Just look at these people in the picture with Mike Rawlings. Are these people change agents? With friends like these, can we really trust Mike Rawlings to "take us in a new direction"?

cp
cp

Be careful. With a comment like that, John Loza might come in here and try to slam you!

Natkiller
Natkiller

In the photo, you can see Natinsky sending his resume out to a recruiter, via his blackberry!!! 

Good riddance NAT!!! 

bradydave76
bradydave76

Thanks for sharing this great article! I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. Business Loan

Marie
Marie

The best thing for the City of Dallas is that Kunkle would become mayor. Rawlings would be an ideal #2 man (City Manager?) because that was his role at Pizza Hut and he has a finance background.

So, Kunkle would be Batman and Rawlings could be his Robin. Or Kunkle = Skipper and Rawlings = Gilligan.

Then again,didn't Rawlings lose a ton of money and customers when he was president of the Pizza Hut division? Or what's the story there? I haven't heard him explain his results at that company.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Finance isn't that hard to understand.  Perhaps by "knowing it" you fool yourself into thinking there's some trickery that can magically fill our potholes.  It's really quite simple, if you understand an amortization schedule, that's a lot of it.  The thinking and attitude that some novel accounting method is all that is needed to fix our woes is naive and worse, makes us a mark for frauds and shysters who really do understand finance.

Winham
Winham

"The thinking and attitude that some novel accounting method is all that is needed to fix our woes is naive and worse, makes us a mark for frauds and shysters who really do understand finance."

Excellent point, scottindallas.

Mike Rawlings should be well acquainted with novel accounting practices. It so happens that Legends Hospitality, the company Rawlings is CEO of, is part-owned by Goldman Sachs who, during the 2008 financial meltdown, conveniently got its status changed from investment house to commercial bank so it could stick its hand out for trillions of dollars of taxpayer money along with other miscreants like JP Morgan Chase. But that's not all! This, also, recently came to light:

"What was Timothy Geithner thinking back in 2008 when, as president of the New York Fed, he decided to give Goldman Sachs a $30 billion interest-free loan as part of an $80 billion secret float to favored banks? The sordid details of that program were finally made public this week in response to a court order for a Freedom of Information Act release, thanks to a Bloomberg News lawsuit.  Sorry, my bad: It wasn’t an interest-free loan; make that .01 percent that Goldman paid to borrow taxpayer money when ordinary folks who missed a few credit card payments in order to finance their mortgages were being slapped with interest rates of more than 25 percent." http://bit.ly/l46SJs

Now Wall Street, after leaving the housing market looking like Joplin, MO, is pointing its destructive force elsewhere, namely city and county governments. One of the first victims looks to be Jefferson County, AL as outlined in this Bloomberg News article http://bloom.bg/iMpwQ1 and nicely summarized by Matt Taibbi:

"The citizens of the Birmingham, Alabama area years ago got themselves into trouble when corrupt local officials borrowed billions to pay for an elaborate new sewer system (which they'd been forced to build as a result of an EPA lawsuit). The local pols then doubled down on their corruption and stupidity when they ran to Wall Street to refinance the County's debt into the future, signing the citizens of JeffCo up for billions more in finance charges.

It has been established in various courts that bank officials literally bribed Jefferson County Commissioners to refinance using outrageously expensive interest rate swap deals, but despite a number of convictions of local pols like former Commissioner Larry Langford (who got 15 years for accepting bribes), Jefferson County will still be stuck paying this tab for the next gazillion years."  http://bit.ly/jZeOHU

I think the frauds and shysters of Wall St. are exactly who Rawlings has a finance background with and I'm not sure that is the experience Dallas needs.

Mike Rawlings is the classical example of how the wealthy fail up: first with his less than stellar tenure at Pizza Hut, then his sleazy dealings with usurious pay day loans (Ace Cash Express) and recently stiffing beer servers at Yankee Stadium (Legends Hospitality).

City Manager would not be a good path to failing up (too much accountability); whereas a good shyster, by using his bully pulpit as Mayor of Dallas through persuasion or bribes, could allow Wall St. outfits like Goldman Sachs tofinance grandiose schemes of little use to the taxpayers *cough* Trinity River Project *cough* at pay day loan rates.  Then, before anyone catches on, he could abandon his term before it is up to pursue higher office, leaving Dallas taxpayers to sort through the financial rubble he leaves behind.

I'm not saying Rawlings is a shyster (I don't know the man or his character), or if that is what would happen if he became mayor, but his background doesn't give me much confidence. I really don't want to take a chance on going down the path of Birmingham, AL.

Accountant
Accountant

Mike Rawlings has a failed business record. As the "Concept Leader" (he was never CEO) he steadily lost revenue until that business was run into the ground. He was asked to leave by Yum! management.

Ever wonder why this "business leader" never touts his successes in the business world? He has never managed a business the size of The City of Dallas.

Troy of Helen
Troy of Helen

Here are the things that scare me about Mike Rawlings.

1. Revenues at Pizza Hut during his tenure declined significantly during his 6 year tenure.

2. He has never been CEO of a large organization of people. Pizza Hut? He was president, not CEO, and it was a division of Yum! Brands. Most of Pizza Hut employees work for franchises, not the Pizza Hut division, so he only over saw the brand and a handful of corporate people. The City of Dallas has tens of thousands of employees.

3. Why is he hiding the salami about his first marriage?

4. Why is hiding the salami about the Katy Trail park sign scandal?

5. Like Leppert, he has in own variation of "I'm comfortable with that." See his position on the Trinity River tollway.

More to come....

Trixie
Trixie

Here's the things that scare me about Kunkle:

1.  Sarah Dodd

2.  Laura Miller

3.  Sarah Dodd

4.  Avi Adelman

5.  Sarah Dodd

Balladeer
Balladeer

We thought you were friends with Sarah Dodd, fatso.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Why has Kunkle been married 5 times?

Pretty sketchy.

Mark Anthony Dallas
Mark Anthony Dallas

I have seen better clapping dolphins and seals at Sea World than in that second photograph.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Most of the city council is for Rawlings?  That (and the DCC) are good reasons to vote for Kunkle.

claytonauger
claytonauger

Hmmm. So, as head of the new gas drilling task force, was it appropriate for Finkelman to endorse Rawlings?

Watching
Watching

What's "appropriate" got to do with anything at City Hall -- particularly if M.Rawlings gets elected.  He thinks the ends justify the means.   The gang behind him have certainly practiced that rule.   

cp
cp

All those faces standing there, who have been entrenched in Dallas politics for decades, combined there's probably over 200 years worth of entrenched politicians. I'm not sure what "new direction" the likes if Craig Holcomb and John Loza are planning to take the City by endorsing Rawlings. Not one person in that crowd knows anything about being innovative and honestly embracing change. Can't any of them just retire from being politicians already???

Also, memo to Craig Holcomb- would you PLEASE, for the love of god, do something about that awful helmet of yours?????

John Loza
John Loza

Hi Casie Pierce! It's John Loza. Guess the voters of District 7 already "retired" you from politics.What was that, 16% of the vote?

Watching
Watching

Compared to your giant victories?  

Watching
Watching

Craig Holcomb ran his parents' cleaning business into the ground when he got control of it.  And, he's done so much for Fair Park.   What does this guy know about anything?  Or, any of the current/former councilmembers backing Rawlings -- bunch of housewives, trust fund babies and/or subsidized wannabes?

Whodunnit
Whodunnit

If all of these sitting city council members, and soon not-to-be council members, as well as past council members are supporting Rawlings, how could THEY take the City in a "new direction"? VOTE FOR KUNKLE for a chance of a real change!

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

The reason they, and Rawlings, feel that he can take the City in a new direction is because they, and Rawlings, realize they must bring businesses to Dallas.

Kunkle campaign thinks the Mayor's role is to fix roads.

That is why they all see no merit in electing Kunkle as M-A-Y-O-R.  He thinks he's running for a city-wide version of a city councilman.  The two positions are vastly different. 

About 6 years ago, Kunkle's mentor, Laura Miller, wanted to be ruler of the City so she instigated the Strong Mayor Referendum which voters resoundingly voted against.  Now, she is pushing Kunkle in that direction.  Problem is he seems to be unaware that the referendum failed and Dallas does not have a strong-Mayor form of government. 

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

We have a strong mayor government, it's called Mary Suhm. Wake up.

Sgt Hulka
Sgt Hulka

Snookie Pie,

"Bringing business to Dallas" is a failed effort in recent years. AT&T? E&Y? Tell me. How much are they paying in property taxes? Oh, and their employees? Where do they live, and where do they send their kids to school? It ain't Dallas, sweety. They are like you. Most live in a 'burb and and work in Dallas. A few outlier executives live in N. Dallas, but they send their kids to private school. Sure, sure. They buy lunch and gasoline in Dallas. Other than that, they are outta Dallas when the work days is over. Some impact. So Rawlings is going to spend 30% of his time on recruiting businesses? Sound like an excuse for junkets and resume building for his next job if you ask me.

Your effort to paint the position of mayor as a powerful position is nonsense. It's basically an at-large council position with the benefits of neat-o title and the bully pulpit. The latter can affect where millions of private sector dollars are spent. But you already know that better than anyone.

Watching
Watching

Like Rawlings brought business to South Dallas when he closed all their Pizza Huts?

Cliff Dweller
Cliff Dweller

This is the same brillian crowd who marched out behind Natinsky a few weeks ago.  Take a look at the election returns and see how much good that did.  Voters apparently don't give a damn who this bunch endorses. 

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

Mostly I agree.  But there are a few endorsements that weild a lot of clout with voters.  Ann Margolin is definitely one that Kunkle wishes he'd snagged.

MattL1
MattL1

This is starting to seem less like council members taking a principled stand in favor of a new direction for the city, and more like compulsive gamblers at the horse track betting on the leading horse with less than a furlong to go.

Wtf?!
Wtf?!

Being completely blunt, these people are far too old to be the "leaders" of a city heading in a "new direction". These people grew up using sliderules, not computers. Let's be honest, none of these people are creating jobs anymore, nor do they know what a young city is supposed to look like. We're losing in our census population figures because we keep throwing the same generation of people at the same problem. If I'm a young person just exiting college and begining a family and a career and I saw this lot as the group heading things, I'd quickly pack the car yelling, "F Dallas! I'm going to Austin!" Remember that our other boomer leader Leppert was the "great uniter" at the horseshoe that was a shining star in the corporate world...that got us a publicly owned hotel, billion dollar tollroads that never get built, and quarter billion dollar bridges. Exactly what the "creative class" has been dreaming of.  I don't know if we can take much more from the "business and innovation" group...they've brought us neither.

and a note to the Dallas Citizen's Council: "PLEASE STOP KILLING MY CITY!"

Robert
Robert

Being completely blunt, these people are far too old to be the "leaders" of a city heading in a "new direction"

Kunkle & Rawlings are younger than the Austin mayor and by quite a bit too.

Let's be honest, none of these people are creating jobs anymore, nor do they know what a young city is supposed to look like

What businesses are young people starting? Tattoo parlors, lame advertising agencies, even lamer bars, comic book stores, vintage record and clothing stores, and bike shops? Oh boy, oh boy it's young creatives in action!

If I'm a young person just exiting college and begining a family and a career and I saw this lot as the group heading things, I'd quickly pack the car yelling, "F Dallas! I'm going to Austin!"

Smart people go to school in Austin and  then go to work & live in cities like Dallas and Houston. Higher pay and lower housing costs are the main reasons. How could you not know that? Everyone in Texas knows that.

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

The bigger story here is not that 11 of the 14 Councilmembers support Mike, but that none of the Councilmembers support Kunkle.  All 11 are of different race and gender, all from different parts of the city, different professional backgrounds but NONE are for his agenda, NONE want to work with him and NONE support him.  As an Oak Cliff resident, Natinsky's campaign had some kind of merit from the South with Dwayne and Jasso, however out of the minority (black & latino) leadership past or pressent, none on the local or state level support Kunkle.  42% of Dallas is Hispanic, 25% is Black and not one Minority Elected Official is for this guy??? That is a scary thought to elect a man that not even one minority official will get behind...

Liquor Lips
Liquor Lips

Oak Cliff Res,

LOL. Were your lips moving when you wrote this? Are these the city's "best and brightest"? No. They are a bunch of hacks and are part of the Dallas political machine that has been slowly destroying our city.

Hell, if I spread some walk around money I could get these people to claim I'm the Queen of England.

What's next? Are you gonna sell me a fake suspension bridge over the Trinity ditch? Oh wait...

boris the cat
boris the cat

Two words: Laura MillerActually, more like Laura Miller without balls.

Rawlings 57%Kunkle 43%

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

Rawlings:  53.5%Kunkle:  46.5%

Balladeer
Balladeer

What is this I hear about election monitors for South Dallas districts and especially absentee ballots? Can we stop the fix?

Watching
Watching

Name one elected official supporting Rawlings that you would trust to take care of your cat or dog.

David Smith
David Smith

Rawlings quote

People say, 'We want the city council to come together?'" Rawlings mused. "They've come together. And they're supporting me."

They are NOT supporting Rawlings because they like him. They are supporting Rawlings because they are scared to death of what may happen someone like Kunkle starts asking hard questions about all the bond money that was approved and spent with no results in their districts. they are scared of hard questions from someone who does not suck at the same teat they have been sucking on for years. They are scared of being told, No you cannot take that trip to Africa while your neighborhood still looks like Soweto.

Our current city council reps endorsing Rawlings are scared to lose their little power fiefdoms.

Katarina
Katarina

That's my thought exactly.  They must be scared to death of Kunkle (and the ordinary citizens he represents).  And, yeah, the City Manager is really in charge, but isn't it about time the Mayor & council appointed somebody else to the job, if Mary Suhm keeps sticking us with all these pie-in-the-sky projects?

Cold Carona
Cold Carona

Mr. Smith, what world do you live in?I'm serious?You are so far out in wrong field, I don't know how to address your many wrongs.  You seem to envision a world in Dallas government that does NOT exist.

In what make-believe land do you pretend that Kunkle will do these miraculous actions?  Whom will he be questioning?  Like so many other uniformed Kunkle groupies, you seem to think the Mayor position is some sort of ruling power. 

Here in the City of Dallas, the Mayor position does not perform or ask any of the questions you pretend.  Here in Dallas, the Mayor is simply an ambassador, or public relations type position.  Here in Dallas, the City Manager (hired by vote of all 15) makes all these many decisions you dream about. 

Your idol, King-God Almighty, Kunkle will fill his calendar with photo-ops of him holding a shovel at some groundbreaking event, or cutting a ribbon in front of something that is "opening", or chatting with a foreign dignitary, or flying to Washington to attend nationwide mayoral press events. 

What your imaginary supreme being will NOT be doing is:  1. fixing your roads2. reworking the budget3.  retracing bond spending4.  "saving" neighborhoods (my personal favorite of the many goofy items on Kunkle's platform)5.  undoing the entire trinity park/tollroad mess6.  saving all the unwanted pets in City

and so on.....

What the Mayor will receive, in addition to the photo-ops and public relations/press events---is the ability to cast one (not, ten, or a hundred, but one) vote on issues just like all the other fourteen (14) city councilmembers.

Now, tell me how his one little ol' vote, out of 15, is going to solve all these grand issues that Kunkle claims to miraculously fix?

It is Kunkle who's got his head up his ass because he never even bothered to read the friggin' job description!

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

If you're right, it leads to a pretty obvious question: why does anyone care much at all who wins this or any other mayoral election?

Witchy Woman
Witchy Woman

Precisely.  It is a fool's parade.  The Emporer has no clothes!

Watching
Watching

The Mayor gets to hand out committee chairmanships and appointments.  That's a big deal to little people who want to be kings/queens of their districts and travel all over at our expense.  How to you think Ron Kirk bullied everyone into doing what he wanted?  Rawlings has already bullied the Park Board into breaking City Hall rules of conduct.

David Smith
David Smith

Mr. Carona

Looking at your list of things Kunkle won't be able to do:

1. fixing your roads2. reworking the budget3.  retracing bond spending4.  "saving" neighborhoods (my personal favorite of the many goofy items on Kunkle's platform)5.  undoing the entire trinity park/tollroad mess6.  saving all the unwanted pets in City

it would seem is the same list of things that Rawlings won't be able to do:

What your imaginary supreme being will NOT be doing is:  1. fixing your roads2. reworking the budget3.  retracing bond spending4.  "saving" neighborhoods (my personal favorite of the many goofy items on Kunkle's platform)

Kunkle wants the parks, not the tollroad.

But for the most part, they say the same thing.

However, the difference is whom do you believe? I believe the 11 reps standing back there are doing all they can do maintain their favorite staff person, Status Quo (an hispanic?).

If Kunkle is elected it won't be business as usual - at least not right away. First you will have the usual crybabies complaining their districts are being infested with people who expect them to do their job, and not look good at their job.

You will see a dramatic decrease in kiss ass photo ops (i have never seen a photo of kunkle where he looked like he was having fun).

The only reason the mayor is an ambassador etc is because we let that happen. The City Charter ignores those things because all the stuff listed as ambassadorial belongs in the private sector. There's very little reason to have any mayor go to africa for an event that has zip crap to do with dallas. Show me benefits - there are none!

Let's stop lying to ourselves. Our next mayor is not being elected to save the world from evil doers.

He is being elected to lead a city council and represent all the citizens of teh city. Everything after that is wasted time (sort of like Rawlings's rolodex).

Cold Carona
Cold Carona

I believe you need to go back to school.  And, this time, pay a little bit more attention in your civic government classes.

You really have no grasp at all.  The basis for your beliefs, the foundation of all that you are blogging about....every bit is completely unfounded.

I don't have the time to teach you everything, but l can't resist pointing out to you that the Mayor does NOT "lead the council".  The mayor calls the meeting to order, etc., but does not "lead the council".  And, the "represent all the citizens in the City" statement of yours....well, I believe you are interpreting too much into that.  Because what the Mayor does is when a dignitary flies to Dallas and Mayor meets the person, he essentially "represents" the City when he "welcomes" the dignitary to Dallas.

Mr. Smith, none of this we are arguing about matters one iota because the handwriting is on the wall--Rawlings will win the election.  Even Kunkle and his wife, Sarah Dodd, and their campaign advisor, CP Henry, all know and recognize this.  At this point, their campaign is just hoping Kunkle looses by as small a margin as possible.

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