Several people who attended the inauguration of the new Council suggested that I share my short speech with you. Each new Council member prepared remarks independently, but the same themes were heard from all of us.
“As I took the oath of office in December of 1991, I was absolutely confident that my colleagues and I were going to change the face of Dallas forever. I stand here today, just as enthusiastic but a great deal more realistic.
While we haven’t made the giant strides that I had hoped, we’ve taken some significant first steps toward addressing the problems in our City.
First and foremost, with outstretched hands and open minds, we have worked to understand and appreciate each other and the constituencies we represent. This Council must do the same if we are to be successful in addressing our problems.
With our strong support, the police department was able to reduce violent crime by almost 20 percent. Our new Council must be equally committed to reducing violent crime, so that the citizens of Dallas may live in peace and security.
We took some major steps to improve economic development opportunities in the City, and for the first time in years, the term “corporate relocation” was a part of our vocabulary.
This new Council must redouble its efforts in the area of economic development, so that all of our citizens will be able to find meaningful work.
We made a major commitment to the revitalization of the central city. As a result, virtually every street in Downtown Dallas is torn up right now, but when these projects are completed, we will have the infrastructure in place to support new retail, Downtown housing and a Downtown higher education facility. It is up to this Council to make certain that those become a reality.
And finally, it is my hope and my goal that a fourth priority be adopted by this Council. We must make the preservation and revitalization of our neighborhoods one of our highest priorities.
The citizens of Dallas deserve to live in peace and security – in vital, vibrant communities where their children can play in safety.
The challenges ahead of us are many, but we can meet them if we draw upon the strength within ourselves, the talents of each other and the goodwill of all the citizens of Dallas. May God bless our endeavors.