If a mayoral candidate has a beef with one of his fellow combatants, we usually hear about it -- in the form of a press release, which feels so...oh...impersonal. Past couple of days, we've gotten them from Sam Coats, Tom Leppert, Max Wells and Don Hill. Oh, and speaking of Hill, there are several Hill-for-mayor signs and banners now decorating Walnut Hill Lane between Preston and Hillcrest -- which isn't all that odd, we guess, considering that when we started playing with this most awesome search engine last night, we even found a single someone in the '230 who gave a couple thou to Chris Dodd. Besides, those Hill placards in the Hollow aren't nearly as weird as "It's a Bad Deal! Vote No" sign planted on the southeast corner of Midway Road and Walnut Hill. It showed up this weekend, and, far as we know, the American Airline Center's a done deal. Trinity toll road, maybe? Oh, Sharon?
Anyway, back to those press releases -- and that government fine from 2005 involving Tom Leppert's Turner Construction Company. What do you mean, what government fine?
Well, over the weekend Max Wells and his people released the "results of a citywide survey," conducted in March, in which Wells' supposedly discovered that Dallasites "favor the right to vote on an Anti-Crime District by an overwhelming 65 percent margin." (I wonder how they feel about the right to vote on the Trinity River toll road. Just askin'.)
The best part of Wells' release, though, is at the bottom -- where he mentions that on June 23, 2005, the United States Justice Department, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States Navy Criminal Investigative Services fined Tom Leppert's Turner Construction company $6.6 million dollars "for abusive and fraudulent billings." Which is true. You can look it up.
Then, last night we got a press release from Sam Coats' camp, in which the former sandwich-maker and airline exec takes Ed Oakley to task for the council member's plan to replace old multi-family units in the Southern sector with single-family houses. Insists Coats, "Mr. Oakley’s plan would kick 2,000 low-income families per year out of their homes so that those homes can be torn down and redeveloped at a huge profit."
How ever will we fill Unfair Park after the election? Porn, I hope. Oh, sorry -- "Trinity River toll road referendum," Schutze tells me. The releases from Coats and Wells are below, for those so interested. --Robert Wilonsky
From Max Wells:
Dallas Citizens Overwhelmingly Support Right To Vote On Anti-Crime District
(Dallas, April 20, 2007) – The Max Wells for Mayor Campaign today released results of a citywide survey, conducted in March, that reveal Dallas citizens favor the right to vote on an Anti-Crime District by an overwhelming 65 percent margin.
The poll, conducted by The Texas Polling Group from March 7-10, interviewed 400 voters across Dallas, and has a margin of error of + 4.5 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.
Also, in a recent mail-back survey, in which 626 voters mailed back an issue survey to the Wells campaign, 72.5 percent favored “a small increase in taxes dedicated to putting more police officers on Dallas’ streets.”
Wells first announced his support for a vote on an Anti-Crime District in January. It is a major tenet in his campaign. Wells said the citizens of Dallas feel deeply about solving the crime problem that has put Dallas on the Top 10 List of Most Dangerous Cities in America.
Wells pointed out that even the Dallas Observer has noted that he is the only candidate with a proposed solution to crime. The Observer said: “While just about every candidate talks a good game about hiring more police officers to fight crime, only Wells has a plan to pay for it.”
Wells also sharply criticized opponent Tom Leppert for not being forthcoming about his ten-year residency in Hawaii and about U.S. Justice Department’s findings that Leppert's company Turner Construction fraudulently billed the taxpayers on dozens of federal contracts.
Leppert has lived in the city of Dallas for less than three years and on June 11, 1999, Leppert was quoted in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspaper stating "Hawaii is our home."
On June 23, 2005, the United States Justice Department, US Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States Navy Criminal Investigative Services fined Leppert's company $6.6 million dollars for abusive and fraudulent billings.
“Tom Leppert is criticizing my anti-crime plan because he doesn’t have one of his own,” said Wells. "I don't know how they run city government in Hawaii, but in Dallas, Texas, voters are smart enough to decide for themselves if they want to hire 600 more police officers to patrol our streets."
Wells also added, “My opponent also needs to stop hiding behind his high priced ads with celebrities and face the voters of Dallas directly with an explanation of his short term residency in the city, his eminent domain controversies in Hawaii, and Turner Construction’s own record of troubles with the law which resulted in $6.6 million dollars in fines for fraud and abuse of taxpayers money.”
From Sam Coats:
COATS QUESTIONS OAKLEY’S GENTRIFICATION PLAN
Oakley’s plan would make 2,000 low-income Dallas families homeless
Former Democratic state representative and airline executive Sam Coats this evening challenged City Council Member and status quo champion Ed Oakley to explain how he would deal with the 2,000 low-income Dallas families displaced annually by his redevelopment plan. Speaking at a candidate forum in Oak Cliff sponsored by the Dallas Examiner, the Urban League of Greater Dallas, the Dallas Branch NAACP, and 15 other community organizations, Coats questioned Oakley’s pledge to replace 2,000 units of aging multi-family housing every year with higher-value, for-sale housing units.
“A rising tide is supposed to lift all boats, not drown the sailors. Mr. Oakley’s plan would kick 2,000 low-income families per year out of their homes so that those homes can be torn down and redeveloped at a huge profit,” said Coats. “That plan sounds like a great deal for the developers, but not so much for the folks losing their homes. I’d like to hear Mr. Oakley explain his plan for dealing with those displaced families. Where are those people going to go, Ed? Plano?”
A direct mail piece sent out last week by the Oakley campaign touted the Councilman’s proposal to replace aging multifamily housing units with “privately developed, single family, for-sale homes that enhance the neighborhood.” The mail piece credits Oakley with “a goal of 2,000 units per year.” Oakley has also highlighted this redevelopment plan at numerous recent candidate forums.
“We desperately need economic development in South Dallas, but pricing local residents out of the housing market without doing anything to create jobs or economic opportunity sounds more like gentrification than real development,” said Coats. “To reduce crime, we need more police on the streets and we need to attack poverty at its roots. Gentrification doesn’t reduce crime or poverty; it just shoves these problems out to other parts of the city. We’re never going to get anywhere with a ‘whack-a-mole’ economic development strategy.”
Coats has proposed a Southern Dallas Economic Development Authority, which would be chartered and funded by the City Council to coordinate efforts aimed at job creation, affordable and mixed-income housing, and developing and attracting businesses.
“We absolutely need to revitalize our blighted neighborhoods,” said Coats, “but it needs to be part of a comprehensive development strategy centered around job creation and affordable housing. Tearing down blighted apartments to build half-million dollar condos isn’t going to cut it. Mixed-income workforce housing must be central to any comprehensive strategy.”