Last Monday, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings took time to speak to the ladies of Junior League of Dallas. Mayor Rawlings discussed the key challenges and opportunities facing the city of Dallas, including promoting economic growth, improving education, ending domestic violence and creating new strategies for growing the arts. He also discussed Dallas’ recent role in hosting the New Cities Summit and the United States Conference of Mayors.
Interesting facts learned:
- 1) Dallas is competing with Philadelphia and Detroit for the most people living under the poverty line
- 2) 134 separate people donated 1 million or more to build the Performing Arts building. Amazing the dichotomy between fact #1 and #2!
- 3) There are 16 billionaires living in Dallas
- 4) Dallas is on track to overtake Chicago in size and population in a decade or so.
- 5) We have the largest lightrail system in America
Dallas is a City of Opportunity
Mayor Mike Rawlins laid out a 4 part dream he has for his time in office that is incredibly ambitious. While each issue was easy to agree with, I heard many opinions in the crowd that disagree with the way Dallas and City Council choose to handle what are often complicated and very hot topics.
First, be the business capital of the western hemisphere. New York, London – you guys are on notice, we’re after your seats!
Second, advancing the arts: the social ethos that brings us all together. He wants to make Dallas a critical point that all artists need the Dallas market to make their career successful.
Third, “Grow South” to the point that the south Dallas tax base is larger than the north side. Fun fact learned: Atlanta could fit inside of just South Dallas.
Forth and where I heard the most contentious arguments from the crowd, close the gap in economic and racial disparities. This is one of those topics where everyones’ ideas about how to do it are very different, but the need is there. The average white household has $100,000 in assets, an increase of 40% over the last 30 years. The average black household has $6,000 in assets.
Education is the first and obvious was to close the gap. I think that it is easy to mention that Dallas has the #1 high school in the nation, but as it is a gifted and talented magnet, it is not easy to replicate across the city. Mayor Mike Rawlins did point out a want to have more magnets each with a very specific focus and that we were missing a solid HS military magnet.
Change = Change Management
The Mayor got very solemn and serious towards the end discussing family violence against women. He received a round of applause describing the violence as not being a “Women’s issue, but a men’s issue.” He invites the men of Dallas to a Father and Son Pancake Breakfast on October 4th, 2014 at the Dallas Sheraton bright and early at 9am. Free to attend, but they need an RSVP by September 26th. Jon and JonJon will be there to support the DallasMenAgainstAbuse.com message.
What are your thoughts on the future of Dallas? Let us know in the comments below!