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And Why Do You Want to Be Dallas Mayor?

No, you're not having a flashback: Ex-Mayor Tom spoke before his would-be replacements took their turns at Thomas Jefferson.
No, you're not having a flashback: Ex-Mayor Tom spoke before his would-be replacements took their turns at Thomas Jefferson.
Sam Merten

Who says the four Dallas mayoral candidates haven't distinguished themselves from one another? Last night at that forum at Thomas Jefferson High School, the first question they had to answer (and the best question of the night) was why they wanted to be mayor.

Dallas city council member and entrepreneur Ron Natinsky said, "I'm running for mayor because I think it's one of the greatest opportunities one can have to lead the ninth largest city in America."

He wants to be mayor because he wants to be mayor. Good reason.

Former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle said, "We have had the CEO mayor before, and I don't think it has worked so well in the past. I believe that somebody who is not indebted to anybody and can make decisions based on what's the best decision makes a better choice."

Who on earth could he be talking about?

Mayoral candidate Mike Rawlings said, "I was CEO of the largest advertising agency in the South. Spent 20 years in the advertising business."

Rawlings talked about working to improve minority opportunity there. "I then became president of the largest pizza chain in the world."

Candidate Edward Okpa told his life story, a moving tale of immigration to the United States and brilliant personal success. He said his motto as mayor will be "All Hands on Deck" -- troubling, perhaps, for its association with the Titanic, but there you have it.

At the end of a long evening, the warmest response was for Kunkle. He did his usual shtick with a business book on successful leadership in which he was singled out as an exemplar for his leadership of the Dallas Police Department.

"But I have to confess," said Kunkle, who is sometimes faulted for a soldierly style of address, "that the guys who were the most successful were socially awkward and charismatically challenged, and I may have some of that working for me also."

Applause and laughter.

"But I do appreciate your support."

So basically everybody agreed with Natinsky. But in very different ways.


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