Today at the Dallas Regional Chamber luncheon at the downtown Sheraton, the mayor gave his State of the City address, which more or less consisted of a show-and-tell: He told the audience -- businessmen and elected officials, mostly -- how he's wowing and wooing outsiders to downtown, then showed them the iPhone he's sending as an enticement. It's a unique strategy, sure. But what does the move say about Dallas?
The video in the item below is the one screened at the luncheon today, so there's no need to recap. But as you can see from the box in the photo above, the phones have been customized for each CEO, with Dallas-based data relevant for their respective businesses loaded as an app. Bonus: The personal cell phone numbers of several Dallas CEOs have been loaded into the phone book, and they're equipped with Dallas nightlife and restaurant options.
"Today, businesses are thinking much differently," Leppert told the audience, which included the likes of state Rep. Dan Branch, Dallas city council member Angela Hunt, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm and Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa.
"Any issue outside of expense control or the need to restructure operations is literally off the board," Leppert said. "We need to position a relocation [to] Dallas as an integral part of that restructuring and reducing cost. To accomplish this, I'd like to introduce our newest marketing effort called Bold Moves."
Leppert said he was speaking with a Fortune 500 company on the East Coast thinking about relocating to Dallas "because they simply can no longer operate effectively in the regulatory environment in their home state." He told the audience that this giant effort to bring more major businesses to Dallas is going to take time, but that he's not going to let up.
"This," he said, "is going to be a journey."
After the luncheon, Leppert then spoke to Unfair Park.
We wondered about the implied lack of regulations here that would make moving your business here more attractive. Was Leppert saying that Dallas was lax on its regulation of big business?
"It does imply that Dallas ... has a much more attractive environment for doing business," the mayor said.
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Tort reform, for one. "You look at a lot of regulations," he said. "Some of those are taxes. Some of those are employee. All of those sorts of things put additional costs on businesses. That's the regulatory environment that we're talking about."
Leppert said that of course Dallas has regulations. Those are just not as constraining as other places.
"And the reality of it is, businesses and investors are going to go to wherever the money is most receptive, and that can be Dallas, it can be China, it can be anyplace," he said. "Because the world we live in is a very small place today."