Backed by a new group of law-enforcing backers calling themselves "Crime Fighters for Kunkle," former Dallas police chief and mayoral hopeful David Kunkle took a minute this morning to cast himself as a force for sunshine and justice at City Hall.
Introduced by David Dean, chairman of board of the National Crime Prevention Council, Kunkle began by reminding everyone of his record smiting scofflaws and cheats -- even ones within the police force. As mayor, he said, he'd bring the same commitment to openness and moral correctness to City Hall. "I tried to always walk in sunshine," Kunkle said.
Kunkle named three reasons behind the timing of his ethics plan, chief among them the Dallas City Council's laid-back, easygoing ethics policies up for discussion this afternoon.
Kunkle said it's time to put an end to campaign consultants going on to lobby their former clients at City Hall. As much as they may try to keep their roles distinct, he said, they've got special access. "It is very confusing which hat they are wearing, and I think that's something that needs to stop," Kunkle said. "It will be a dramatically different way of doing things at City Hall."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
While the city looks into the propriety of the way Mike Rawlings's old business pals won the contract for the city's "Happy Trails" campaign, Kunkle said he'd be free to run City Hall independent of ties to old friends. "I'm also not entangled with the same types of business relationships he has," Kunkle said. "It is hard to tell people 'no' when those people are your friends and have given you money."
Kunkle's run a far less expensive campaign than Rawlings, and said there's already too much money allowed to flow in mayor's races. "I am new to this process of raising money, but I believe that for the mayor's race, $5,000 is too much money," Kunkle said. He suggested capping donations to mayoral candidates at $2,000, and contributions to council races at half that.
Last, he said the city's fight to keep those Trinity River project documents under wraps was also "one of the reasons I decided to do this today." Even if they're "embarrassing" or make things a little more difficult, Kunkle said openness is key if people are going to trust city leaders. "I'm a skeptical person by nature," he said. "I can't think of a single reason why those documents should not be released."
Other supporters who joined Kunkle this morning included former U.S. Attorneys Richard Roper and Paul Coggins, former Dallas City Attorney Medeleine Johnson and Former Schepps Dairy CEO Hymie Schepps.