Leppert at Council Inauguration: Dallas Won't Succeed "By Cowering When the Storms Hit"

Update: Check out more photos in this slide show.

Not far from a downtown courtroom filled with memories of a time when cash allegedly flowed more freely through City Hall, Mayor Tom Leppert officially welcomed aboard two new City Council members with a promise to work together to do more with less.

This morning's inauguration ceremony at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center included a recognition of outgoing council members Mitchell Rasansky and Elba Garcia -- sent packing with an armful of handsome parting gifts -- and the swearing-in of the new council members Ann Margolin and Delia Jasso.

Leppert then took to the podium to set an upbeat tone for the new council, which is holding its first meeting this afternoon, in spite of the monster budget shortfall they'll have to tackle.

"I can tell you from my business experience that it is times like these that are the greatest opportunities to build," Leppert said, reiterating that the Trinity River project is "moving forward," pledging not to raise taxes and setting up a few applause lines tied to the planned convention center hotel. More good news included investment in West and South Dallas -- marked by this month's picturesque Save-A-Lot opening -- and that the city's crime rate is "in a free-fall."

Nodding to the city's budget problems, Leppert ran through a laundry list of projects the city will continue to push ahead, pledging "to invest, to build and to produce economic activity," he said. "You don't accomplish that by cowering when the storms hit."

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