Who said college newspapers were useless? Not me. Southern Methodist University’s paper, The Daily Campus will be putting on the first scheduled mayoral debate of the season in parntership with local CBS affiliate KTVT.
Alright, so, I’m organizing the event. So I’m biased. But I think this is pretty awesome.
The event is going down on Tuesday April 19 at 7 p.m. in the Hughes Trigg Theater at SMU. All three major Ron Natinsky, Mike Rawlings and David Kunkle have confirmed that they’ll be there, and KTVT will be giving it an hour of live broadcast time and will be running it consistantly throughout the campaign season.
We have a pretty talented group of students leading the charge on this one, including David de La Fuente, president of SMU College Democrats; Meredith Shamburger, online editor for The Daily Campus; Chad Cohen, president of SMU College Republicans; Alex Ehmke, SMU student senator and Adriana Martinez, the executive director of the student forum at the Tower Center for Political Studies.
But who are these candidates any way?
Lets go from the left, shall we?
Ron Natinksy currently serves on the Dallas City Council. He’s got backing from 11 current and former city council members, and according to the Dallas Morning News, the last time a candidate was endorsed by so many was in 2002 for Tom Dunning and 2003 for Poss. Unfortunatetly, that didn’t work out so well since both candidates were beaten by former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller.
But not to fear, Natinsky also has the backing of the Dallas Firefighters Association and the Dallas Police Association PAC. You can add your name to his endorsement list here.
On his website, Natinksy describes himself as a “Successful entrepreneur. Neighborhood advocate. White-water rafter. Scuba diver. Strong proponent of low taxes and sensible government.”
He went to Hillcrest High School in Dallas before attending UNT. He served as the chair of the city’s Economic Development Committee, and is vowing, like all of the other canididates, not to raise taxes. He’s getting all of these endorsements, by the way, because of his business-savviness.
Mike Rawlings is the current Dallas Parks Chairman and the former Pizza Hut CEO. He’s also served as the Chair of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Dallas’ Homeless Czar.
Rawlings plans to use public-private partnerships to help overcome what the budget deficite due to last year’s shortfall over over $100 million.
His campaign’s chair is Roger Staubach, yes, that Roger Staubach, the Hall of Fame Dallas Cowboy’s quarterback Roger Stauback. Rawling also has a billboard up featuring former Cowboy’s tight end Pettis Norman. Seems like the boys have got his back.
But he’s got more than football players. Area State Senator John Carona also has put in a good word for him on two billboards (one on 75 and one on the tollway). All of these billboards, minus the one on the tollway, went up like lightning after Rawlings announced his candidacy.
The only Dallas City Council member to support Rawlings is Tennell Atkins who said, “”We need someone who looks out for the South, East, West and North and pulls everyone together as one.”
David Kunkle is the former Dallas Police Chief, and starting in the policing business in Dallas in early 1972. He claims the title of the youngest captain in the department’s history. He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Arlington where he got his Masters in public administration.
Before serving as police chief in Dallas, he served as chief in Grand Prarie for three years, and then as chief in Arlington for 14 years. He hasn’t taken a sick day in 31 years.
Jim Collins featured Kunkle in a PBS documentary for his leadership in the city of Dallas. And he was given the the 2008 Prism Award (Mental Health Advocate of the Year) from the Mental Health Association of Greater Dallas for his efforts to improve response efforts for the mentally ill.
While he was Dallas’ police chief, the muder rate dropped drastically, hitting its lowest level in 2008. He also takes pride in his innovations for the city. Those includ the Dallas Police Department Fusion Center, an operations center that gathers, analyzes and distributes criminal intelligence to field and investigative units at the local, regional and national level. He also helped create the W.W. Caruth Jr. Police Institute in Dallas, a leadership and research institute.
Come to our debate and see who wins out!