Former Mayor Tom Leppert Wades Into District 14 Race, Endorses Bobby Abtahi

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Angela Hunt's Flickr
Councilwoman Angela Hunt and former mayor Tom Leppert have never exactly been besties. She was a frequent and vocal critic of the mayor, accusing him of lying, putting his ambitions for higher office before the interests of the city, and generally not doing a very good job running the city. The distaste was mutual.

It seems that Leppert isn't quite ready to bury the hatchet. Last week, he took a break from his duties at Kaplan, the D.C.-based test prep company, to robocall District 14 residents on behalf of Bobby Abtahi. Abtahi is facing off against Philip Kingston, Hunt's anointed successor, in the June 15 City Council runoff.

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"I personally worked with Bobby, and I saw [in] his role as a city prosecutor the work that he did protecting our communities," Leppert says in the recording. "He made a big difference."

The notion that Leppert, the ambitious mayor of a city with 13,000 municipal employees, somehow maintained a close working relationship with a talented but low-level employee in the city attorney's office, seems unlikely.

Leppert's endorsement, like those from Veletta Lill, Ed Oakley, Craig Holcomb and the Dallas Citizens Council, would seem to have more to do with the Trinity Toll Road, which, unlike Kingston, Abtahi has pointedly refused to take a position on.

District 14 voters generally already know how they feel on that score, just as they know how they feel about Leppert. They also know how they feel about robocalls, which have reached flood stage by this point in the race. One resident I spoke with yesterday pledged to vote for whichever candidate agrees to stop calling his house which, given the stakes, probably won't happen.

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46 comments
rrrosco
rrrosco

Aren't there enough TEA PARTY district's in Texas?  Why would District 14 want to elect another Tea Bagger with a "my way or the highway" mentality?

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Leppert endorses a "gay man"....did he consult rev. jefferies?

Lorlee
Lorlee

As someone who has run about 35 city campaigns, most successful, the presence of Craig, Veletta and Leppert is a clear inidication of who is really behind Bobby.  And the fact that he is unable to clearly define his position on the Tollway boondoggle, is just one more indication.  You are judged by the people who support you.  (And I ran campaigns for some of these peope -- even I make mistakes)

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

The KIngston's self-appointed sheriff role reminds me of George Zimmerman.

WylieH
WylieH

Bobby's actually a great guy... I think he'd have been better off without Leppert's endorsement, though.

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

It's alive! It's alive! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

MattL11
MattL11

I'm pretty sure Leppert's endorsement of Abtahi helps somebody. I'm just not so sure it's Abtahi. 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

I just received a huge flyer from Abtahi with Ted Cruz and Phillip Kingston on the front.  Bobby, now that's really dirty.

rzimmerman1
rzimmerman1

Leppert's endorsement of Abtahi is further proof that I made the right choice when I voted for Kingston on Saturday.

GreaterLakewood
GreaterLakewood

As someone who moved to District 14 from out of state a couple of years ago, I must say that I find the opacity and convolution of Dallas politics to be completely baffling and hard to follow.  It really makes my head hurt.   Unlike national politics, the motivations and strategy are never quite clear.   Of course, the Morning News does less than zero to explain the "why" of the political actors -- they simply report the "what."

I don't always, or even often, agree with Jim Schutze, but at least he offers a coherent and plausible theory to try to make sense of it all.  Thank goodness.

I voted for Abtahi based on the following heuristic:  1. the preponderance of yard signs in my neighborhood - I like my neighbors + the wisdom of crowds.    2.  greater number of personal visits - at least 3 knocks on our front door from the Abtahi campaign including one by Abtahi himself.  That's impressive. At one of the candidate forums, he claimed, plausibly, to have knocked on every door in the district.

jmckee3
jmckee3

Well I was undecided but leaning towards reluctantly voting for Kingston but this seals the deal for me, I'll be voting for Kingston now.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

With Brad Pitt releasing World War Z next week, his endorsement is a good tie-in to a reminder that the politically dead walk among us.  What voter in that district could in any way be influenced by Mr. Leppert?

LowerGreenvilleVoter
LowerGreenvilleVoter

It does make sense that Leppert knew who Abtahi was. If he went to a neighborhood event, he was followed by an entourage that would include the city council rep for the area, the police chief, the local code guy etc.

Since Carraway was Leppert's favorite, then it makes sense he visited the district and met the crew. 

When Angela goes out in the community, she's got an entourage that fills a couple car loads.

You vote for Kingston, you get Angela. You vote for Bobby, you get Bobby.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

This is just another incentive to hold my nose and vote for Kingston.

Gangy
Gangy

@holmantx That is an outrageous comment, and totally indefensible!

HotHand
HotHand

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz So Abtahi's campaign strategy is to remove the stigma of being the Citizen Council's Manchurian Candidate to smearing Kingston? The Abtahi campaign is further behind than they claim.

Willie
Willie

@GreaterLakewood

It seems to be quite a mess, but it would be quite clear if you did some research on the history of the Trinity Toll Road, and Dallas politics in general.  The Dallas Citizens Council, which has always been the great power broker, and real estate interests, which generally rule the roost, tend to be aligned in this town.  They work top-down and like things to be fairly orderly without pesky politicians like Angela Hunt buzzing around.  They back politicians and hand out money and goodies to further their interests, and they have done this quite successfully with the conservative southern Dallas black power brokers (JWP and ministers) to swing elections, back pet projects (Victory Plaza), and take sides on important referenda, such as the strong mayor referendum.  These folks are quietly supported by the gay political elite, including Craig Holcomb, Craig McDaniel, and Chris Luna, and leftist establishment types like Valetta Lill, because the DCC will back their pet projects in exchange for them staying out of the way.  They have absolutely zero interest in improving local quality of life (e.g, streets, parks, pools, libraries) unless such improvements are an offshoot of development, and you will also notice that they have little interest in revitalizing downtown because, well, that's just old real estate.

You may have noticed that the DCC has stuck its nose in the middle of the DISD mess by publicly criticizing Mike Miles' reform initiatives, including getting rid of the principals of a couple of rotten south Dallas high schools.  It probably isn't that big of a deal, but it's telling.  DCC will blather on about how they are working in the interests of children, but the truth is that the DISD (and the City of Dallas and DART) is part of the southern Dallas black patronage system (employment and contracts), and upsetting that system, even the slightest, is not in the interest of the DCC because southern Dallas blacks are a powerful voting block that universally vote to support DCC interests.  As an aside, John Wiley Price had been the DCC's water boy for eons.

The toll road is a real estate wet dream come true:  turning a flood plain and cheap property into valuable real estate.  The Calatrava bridge to nowhere is tied into the toll road plan, and you can see how real estate interests have bought up all the properties at the two ends of the bridge, and how they are quietly succeeding in getting the private jail across from the county courthouse closed and razed.  I wouldn't be surprised to see a new jail and courthouse on a bond issue in a few years.

So, if you're a top-down, we-know-what's-best-so-get-out-of-the-way kind of thinker, Bobby Abtahi is your man.  He will march to the beat of his master.  If you want someone to throw the occasional wrench in these gears, go with Kingston.

P.S.  An endorsement from Tom Leppert, our transplanted carpetbagging douchebag (is that a conflict?) is quite telling. 

James080
James080 topcommenter

@jmckee3 

Good point. Is Abtahi tone deaf to the likelihood that an endorsement from Tom Leppert wouldn't be considered a positive in District 14? Maybe the historic district gualeiter would be better for this district after all.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

All makes sense. Only question: since Dwaine has indeed been Abtahi's sponsor from early on, why didn't Bobby's campaign get Dwaine to do a robocall, too.?

bealotcoolerifyoudid
bealotcoolerifyoudid

@LowerGreenvilleVoter @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz I would say it reflects poorly that Bobby is not hammering on his own successes in cleaning up tough neighborhoods or putting himself in a positive light.  Of the numerous mailers I have received I think only one touched on Bobby's track record. 

The problem is that in D14 the tough neighborhoods are getting gentrified out of existence (see Hinga's automotive) and those that actually get out and vote are in the M Streets/Belmont District.  I don't get think any candidate is really against developers (drive down Ross from Hall to downtown), it's just the developers in a couple of specific neighborhoods that matter.

Kingston has out-campaigned Abtahi. 

rrrosco
rrrosco

"southern Dallas black power brokers" and "the gay political elite"  Racist much?  Homophobic much?  Is that you Mr. Beck?  Mr. Limbaugh?

@Willie

crimjunkie
crimjunkie

@Willie A very good post, Willie, even though you disprove your initial assertion that Dallas politics are "quite clear."

markmelton
markmelton

@Willie For the record, the DCC did not publicly criticize Mike Miles DISD reform efforts. In fact, many DCC members signed onto the public letter of support for DISD reform efforts put forth by the Dallas Regional Chamber. The actual facts are the exact opposite of what you've said...the conclusions should be as well.

LowerGreenvilleVoter
LowerGreenvilleVoter

@HotHand @LowerGreenvilleVoter  

Yes, I DO live near Greenville Avenue.

 Not sure what you define as 'insider,' but for argument's sake, let's say it's someone who reads as much as he can about the candidates, attends community meetings and is a member of a neighborhood association.

Is that good or bad, in your opinion?

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

@JimSX The week isn't over yet. Better yet, maybe since Dwaine has gone rogue and started beating the drum on plastic bags demise, they may feel that he's off the leash.

James080
James080 topcommenter

@JimSX 

"...why didn't Bobby's campaign get Dwaine to do a robocall, too.? - JimSX

For the same reason that Kingston suddenly morphed into a card carrying Democrat. Gotta play to the audience.....

timdickey
timdickey

@markmelton If Bobby's so independent, how can he not know where he stands on these critical issues that are so important to neighborhoods?

rrrosco
rrrosco

@verbal_kentKingston is a liar who will say whatever the person in front of him wants to hear.  He has run a smear campaign from day one and has never done anything but sue people in district 14.  For example:  He LIED when he said he was a Democrat so he could gain access to the Texas Democratic Party’s voter database.  Kingston's access to the Democrat's database was revoked shortly after they figured out he was a LIAR!  Kingston is laughing at the "gay political elite"  while he steals their data and spreads smears about the "gay army" that he says  Mr. Abtahi is raising in Oak lawn to win the election.  Just the same old dog whistle from another liar. 

verbal_kent
verbal_kent

@markmelton I have asked the Abtahi campaign repeatedly to quit putting yard signs in my yard and they keep doing it! I am also sick of your paid thugs coming to my door. Your campaign is flat out dishonest. I checked out these candidates and Bobby has no record in District 14 at all. So when you say "our community" what community are you talking about??? 

I hope your guy loses big. What a bunch of liars. Bobby even claimed that it was not his campaign putting out yard signs!  WTF.  Someone is running the guy because he takes no responsibility for the lies his campaign puts out or their deceptive tactics. Bobby is either a liar or someone's bitch. Either way he deserves an ass kicking. I wish I could vote against him more than once.



markmelton
markmelton

@bealotcoolerifyoudid @markmelton @Willie My comment was more about DISD than this race, which is why I limited my response to that issue.  I'm passionate about education reform and wanted to be sure information on that topic is accurate. 

As for Bobby, he's an indpendent thinker that will vote his conscience after considering all available information.  He's not beholden to anyone, especially not the DCC.  He's got a record of working hard, doing the right thing and serving our community.  If you vote for Bobby, you can expect to have a collaborative and independent leader that will do the right thing for our neighborhoods.

bealotcoolerifyoudid
bealotcoolerifyoudid

@markmelton @Willie Out of the entire post by Willie, your only response is to show knowledge of the DCC.  You criticize the second paragraph but leave the 1st and 4th paragraph unchallenged? 

Mark, I like you guys.  I hope you both learn from this election and come back stronger and better than before. 

LowerGreenvilleVoter
LowerGreenvilleVoter

@HotHand @LowerGreenvilleVoter I am guessing it was either Gold Rush Cafe or John's Cafe when it was across the street from Terilli's. 

Not that it matters - I can barely remember what I had for breakfast today, let alone where I ate 12 years ago.

HotHand
HotHand

@LowerGreenvilleVoter @HotHand I wonder if OakCliffVoter, PrestonHollowVoter or [YourNeighborhoodHere]Voter will chime in, too? They always miraculously appear on this blogs during voting season. Maybe it's time to work on some more unique, less obvious handles?


Quick, GreenvilleVoter. What was Ron Kirk's favorite breakfast joint on Lowest Greenville? You should know this since you live there and are so interested in politics.

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