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The Unrepentant Tax-Hiker.

Out of the hunt: So, District 14 council member Angela Hunt isn't running for mayor. Guess that means we can still be nice to her for a while. It does seem a bit odd, though, that the popular, anti-establishment Hunt, widely considered to be a serious contender for the mayor's job, has so far drawn the largest field of opponents for re-election to her council seat. Why do four challengers think they can bump her off?

Could it be that tax vote last summer? Hunt joined with minority council members on an 8-7 vote to raise the property tax rate 6.5 percent. Already, two of Hunts' opponents in her District 14 race, Chad Lasseter and James Nowlin, have said they wouldn't raise taxes, with Lasster saying he "would never vote to raise property taxes." Buzz's mother told us only a fool says "never," and that promise seems a bit constricting, but then Buzz is a pinko. We actually like some of the things government does.

Is Hunt worried that the tax vote could come back to haunt her in her re-election bid, and did the chance of being labeled a tax-raiser influence her decision not to run for mayor?

Nope. No way. Hunt is unrepentant.

"It needed to be done," she says. "It had to be done just to maintain city services."

Hunt points out that the city had forestalled fundamental street maintenance for three years already, and unless City Hall was willing to step up and raise some money for repairs, Dallas was facing a huge bill for added costs down the line. Besides, the current city operating budget is already 17 percent smaller than it was 10 years ago, Hunt says, and she was hearing from her district's well-organized neighborhood associations that their members actually liked things like parks, pavement and public libraries. She seemed unconcerned that the tax vote will play as a major issue in her campaign.

One of the chief reasons she's not running for mayor, she said, is that it's difficult for a sitting council member to become mayor and lead council members who once were co-equals. "That person goes to the head of the class," Hunt says, dragging her record and her interactions with the council along with her, making it much harder to win support for a mayoral agenda.

That sort of sounds like a polite way of saying that once you get to know your fellow council members well, you'll find you can't work with them. That's Buzz's interpretation, not Hunt's, but it sounds about right—doesn't it, Laura Miller?


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