Sam Coats, Like Jim Schutze, Loves Angela Hunt

Sam Coats says if he's elected mayor, he'll undo at least one thing Mayor Laura Miller's done. Which is more than any other candidate's said about the current mayor.
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This morning we showed you the letter Mayor Laura Miller sent to Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau president and CEO Phillip Jones, kicking Angela Hunt off the DCVB board. And we showed you Hunt's pissed-off missive, in which she accused Miller of acting like Ron Kirk. So this afternoon, we present you with a press release we received from Sam Coats' mayoral campaign, in which the former chairman of the DCVB says that if he's elected mayor, he'll put Hunt back on the board. Of course, Coats is also the only significant mayoral candidate to take a stand on the Trinity River Project and, specifically, the toll road piece of the project.

“I have serious concerns over the wisdom of building a billion dollar toll road inside a flood plain where, by definition, it will flood," he says in the press release. Of course, he's not saying he's against the project, only that he's bringing "fresh eyes" to it. Insert joke here about how fresh Sam Coats' eyes are. The press release is after the jump. --Robert Wilonsky


Candidate Echoes Councilwoman’s Concerns about Toll Road

Former Democratic state representative and airline executive Sam Coats today said that he disagreed with Mayor Laura Miller’s decision to remove City Council member Angela Hunt from the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors late last week. Miller dismissed Hunt Friday from her post as vice chairwoman of the DCVB due to Hunt’s outspoken criticism of the Trinity River Toll Road. Coats, who has repeatedly expressed his concerns over the Toll Road plan, pledged that he would re-instate Hunt to her DCVB board position as mayor.

“I have serious concerns over the wisdom of building a billion dollar toll road inside a flood plain where, by definition, it will flood.” said Coats, a former chairman of the DCVB. “Angela Hunt is showing a lot of courage by raising questions that the public deserves to have answered. The Trinity Project is too important to our city’s future. We have to get it right. When I’m mayor, I’ll bring fresh eyes to the Trinity Toll Road debate, and I’ll re-instate Councilwoman Hunt to the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau Board.”

“Angela is right. It would be irresponsible to just rubber stamp a project of this magnitude. Voters were sold on a vision for a flood control and parks project, not a roads project. As mayor, I’m not going to be bullied, bought, or blackmailed into rubber stamping a billion dollar toll road until I’ve taken fresh eyes to the project. And the more that folks downtown try to squash this debate, the more I’m convinced that voters deserve more answers than they’ve been getting.”

Coats cited Hunt’s removal as an example of why a new leadership style is needed at City Hall. “For too long, our leaders at City Hall have been a lot better at making enemies and making headlines than at making progress,” said Coats. “We need leadership that will bring people together and get them to set ego and personal agendas aside. That’s what we did when we negotiated the Wright Amendment settlement, and that’s what we’ll do when I’m mayor.

“Unfortunately, Dallas has gained a reputation across the country as a shining example of how not to run a city government. It concerns me greatly that a city like Atlanta would actually use videos of Dallas City Council meetings to recruit businesses against us. We have to change the tone at city hall.”

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