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"We are not going to compete with them for what's left on the table," he says. "That's just not going to happen."
Angela Hunt, who is white, typically has sided with minority council members and has been a thorn in Leppert's side on issues like the Trinity River toll road and convention center hotel. While she says she's still getting up to speed on the issue following maternity leave and hasn't made a final decision, her comments suggest she's leaning toward Leppert's side, which would be a departure from her February 22 vote as a member of the Transportation and Environment Committee.
"Throughout our council meetings, we're given the opportunity to listen to different arguments and hear different perspectives, and March 3 was one of those times when I thought one of my colleagues, which happened to be the mayor, made an argument that was persuasive to me," she says.
Regardless of whether she's able to help the mayor squeak this one out with an 8-7 vote, several of the minority council members already harbor bitter feelings toward Leppert.
Steve Salazar says the mayor's position is an "affront to all minorities" who want to do business in the city because he's attempting to undo a contract supported by the council and city staff. Leppert counters that he's been a strong advocate of minorities during his time in office.
Pauline Medrano says the tension could be felt among council members when Leppert railed against the contract extensions at his May 25 State of Downtown Address because Love Field isn't downtown and the mayor's tone indicated that those supporting the contracts hadn't done their homework. She also wishes he had come to the council with a different approach, perhaps engaging individuals in sidebars to explain his concerns.
"I think it's gonna take some time to heal," she says. "Absolutely."
The gravity of the situation is not lost on Dwaine Caraway, one of the mayor's most ardent supporters. He says it's hard to overlook Leppert's attempt to disrupt the minority-controlled success at Love Field.
"When minorities get an opportunity to really stand up and get involved, you're going to see minorities fighting extremely hard to try to hold on to the little of whatever it is that they've finally gotten their hands on," he says. "And that's not racial, that is the reality of how it is. It's like having Barack Obama as president or the first Hispanic mayor. People are going to rally."