Tennell Atkins Says He Won't Cash In On Dallas Executive Airport, Because "I'm Rich Already"

Categories: City Hall

DallasExecutiveAirportFlickr.jpg
Eric Salard
Dallas Executive Airport
Councilman Tennell Atkins wanted the town hall meeting to be done "the right way." That's why he asked all his angry constituents to stop talking directly to him and instead write their questions down on little cards. The cards would then be passed to the front of a room, for another city official to calmly read aloud.

"That's the process, that's the procedure," Atkins said.

The people who showed up to town hall meeting --homeowners who live near the Dallas Executive Airport who were never warned by their representative until recently about the airport's $35 million runway expansion, weren't thrilled about the whole question-on-card rule. They wanted to ask questions about how their neighborhood may change. In their own words, they wanted a normal conversation between adults.

"No, I don't want him to read my question," one woman called out. "That's you dictating our responses."

Atkins interrupted. "We want to be civilized," he said. People eventually relented and turned in their cards to the front. But Atkins' plan at keeping the talk civilized went haywire when one of the questions on the card turned out to be an insult directed at Atkins.

"Will Mr. Atkins and Councilmember [Vonciel] Hill agree not to financially benefit from any development?," said Dallas aviation director Mark Duebner, reading off the card.

Atkins stepped up to the microphone. "I don't have to, I'm rich already," he said, sounding defensive.

Most of the questions centered around why residents weren't clued in on the airport's renovation plans much earlier. Atkins and Duebner promised to form a citizen's advisory committee with homeowners, and they made a point of asking for everyone's phone, email address and home address. They said people wouldn't have to worry about eminent domain or losing their homes in the expansion, and that the new planes the airport attracts will agree to some sort of noise abatement plan.

So sure, the city's airport expansion plan has sure seemed secretive in the past, and may have even broke federal rules related to telling people who live near airports information about the airport, as Eric previously reported. But the city tried to assure everyone that the lack of transparency was a thing of the past. The renovation, Duebner hopes, will bring much-needed business to the struggling transportation hub.

In an introduction that could either have been a sincere but sloppy compliment or a just subtle jab at his constituents, Atkins thanked all of them for finally coming to the airport.

"Over 20 years this airport's been here, and it's the first time I've seen this many people in this airport at one time, and say we'll come together to find out what's going on. That's called community coming together," he said. "What we're trying to do is come together to find out what's going on in our neighborhood."

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21 comments
mcdallas
mcdallas

I know rich.  Atkins isn't rich.


-JWP

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

If you have to tell people, you aren't.

OldPilot
OldPilot

If the neighbors ever figure out how noisy those WWII airplanes are and  how low they fly they will really have something to complaint about. 

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Because he's gonna really cash in on the land deal when he finally lets the sewers get built.

WylieH
WylieH

I don't think Atkins actually denied that he might profit from the future dealings at Dallas Executive Airport.  Rather, he stated that he doesn't have to profit from them, because he is already rich (from having taking City monies in the past).


See:  http://www.dallasobserver.com/2000-10-12/news/deadbird/

schermbeck
schermbeck

Gone unmentioned by the City so far is the fact that older and small plane aviation is the one transportation category that still uses leaded gas. I suspect that the restored WWII-era Confederate/"Commemorative" Air Force aircraft also run on leaded fuel. Has anyone at City Hall even bothered to ask what the total lead burden currently is at the airport, or will be from the increase in traffic caused by expansion and the CAF? BTW, toxicologists have been unable to find a "safe" level of lead to which one can be exposed and it's especially harmful to developing brains in children.

OCBen
OCBen

That was not a insulting question unless there's some truth behind it.  It was very viable question and one that needed to be asked.  Far too often the agenda of some politicians is to drive initiatives that they can benefit from after they leave office. The reason Atkins hasn't seen that many people at the airport is because it's a city asset for the rich people who can afford planes and jets.  Being rich, Mr. Atkins should already understand that.

Maddox
Maddox

Given that Tennell made his fortune first by suing the City of Dallas over a contract at Executive Airport, I'm glad that he's decided to plunder it just once. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

"Im rich, bitch" lol atkins

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Why does this airport even exist? Just use Love Field if you need an urban airport. I always wondered the same thing about the airport in Denton. Who flies into these places?

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

This was a great evening of democracy in action and a win for Oak Cliff residents who want to have a voice in their future and quality of life. While the City of Dallas has agreed to many requests that were made to benefit the residents, there are still many, many unanswered questions and hurdles to jump. It's now time for everyone to get busy and show Dallas City Hall who the real deal makers are.

http://deaneighbors.com/

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Can we assume the cards are Royal Purple?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@schermbeck Maybe Atkins and Hill figure if the kids are going to be educated in DISD, that's not an exceptionally noteworthy risk?

WylieH
WylieH

@Maddox He didn't actually say he wouldn't, just that he doesn't need to, because he is "already rich."

DallasNative
DallasNative

DEA is in a different airspace control than DFW/Love. So it is not subject to the same traffic jams and is close to both Downtown and IIPoD. It enables the large companies that are providing jobs in Southern Dallas in the IIPoD easy access to their assets and also receives a lot of guest landings during big events such as the Superbowl, Final Four and hopefully the RNC. It does need to be a good neighbor, bit it also serves a purpose

james_nutt
james_nutt

@TheRuddSki They were Green, and there wasn't enough to go around.  I was told to email them a question and they would be sure to answer.  They could start by answering my last email.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@james_nutt

You're probably a poor tipper.

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