Mayor Eric Johnson’s State of the City address highlighted his record while drawing attention to the work that still needs to be done in order to improve public safety, increase economic development, and reduce homelessness.
Johnson, who recently announced his plan to run for another term as mayor, spent more time addressing public safety issues and the “scourge of homelessness” than any other issue while laying out his vision for Dallas.
The mayor declared, “Dallas is back,” pointing to the difficult period of widespread riots and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 and 2020.
“Friends, we have come a long way from the distressing days of lockdowns, civil unrest, natural disasters, and all sorts of calamities,” the mayor explained.
“Dallas emerged from the pandemic as a national leader, as what some have called ‘America’s comeback city.’ We have an undeniable and irrepressible spirit, or, as some call it, Big Dallas Energy,” Johnson continued.
“We’re boosting spending to grow our police department to fight violent crime, to support our firefighters and our paramedics,” Johnson continued. “We’re investing in new strategies to reduce the scourge of homelessness.”
The mayor specifically highlighted the creation of the Office of Inspector General (OIG), which is tasked with rooting out corruption at City Hall.
Johnson delivered his address to a full crowd, which included the majority of the city council members and other members of local government who had gathered at the Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center in historic Fair Park.
Johnson noted that the venue was specifically chosen to highlight the successful passage of the ballot initiative Prop A, as reported by The Dallas Express.
Prop A raises the hotel occupancy tax across Dallas by 2% with the intention of collecting $1.2 billion for a new convention center and $300,000 for improvement projects at Fair Park – the largest single investment in the area since Fair Park was built.
The mayor insisted that city officials would be held accountable for how the money will be spent.
“We shouldn’t act as if Dallas voters just handed us a blank check,” he explained. “We must ensure that these transformational projects of generational consequence are completed in a responsible and in an accountable way.”
Mayor Johnson emphasized his belief that “the foundation of everything we do is public safety.”
“No matter which way the political winds blew, I always put public safety first,” he said, reminding the crowd, “I fought back against the defund the police movement.”
Recalling the wave of violent crime that swept across Dallas in the early 1990s when he was a child, Johnson condemned the “criminal element” in no uncertain terms.
“They’re not the victims of a flawed system. They’re one of the system’s biggest flaws. They took people’s lives, they terrified and devastated families, and frankly, they were a hindrance to the rest of us who wanted to reach their full potential,” the mayor explained. “That’s the world I grew up in.”
Looking at today, Johnson suggested, “we must be guided by the core that every single one of our communities in Dallas deserves to be safe and that they all want to be safe. That they want the criminal element weeded out of their communities and that they want to be treated fairly.”
Mayor Johnson outlined 10 key goals of his leadership going forward:
- Additional tax rate decreases
- Fueling economic development by incentivizing corporate relocation
- Capitalizing on restoration projects that passed City Council, such as the Longhorn Ballroom
- Developing Hensley Field
- Utilizing the Office of Inspector General to weed out corruption in City Hall
- Build a business ecosystem through workforce development
- Improving city programs such as the building permitting office
- Implementing the sweeping plans adopted by the council “to ensure that these plans aren’t just filed away, collecting dust in the fiction section of our public library.”
- Opening foreign trade offices in the International District of North Dallas
- Addressing the homeless and vagrancy issues plaguing the city
Johnson noted, “Like almost every major city in this nation, the ranks of our homeless population have swelled in recent years.”
Johnson also noted that while “Dallas is a city of love and empathy … we’re also a city that cares about health and safety and respects our residents who simply want to walk to work or into one of our public libraries without being accosted and without fear.”
Despite the difficulties, Mayor Johnson said, “Dallas is back. Dallas is strong. And the future is ours. Now, it’s time to get back to work.”
No its not back. I live here and I avoid Dallas as much as possible. The City Council has a particular hatred of the residents of Oak Cliff and use it as their dumping ground. I will never forget the city’s betrayal of its residents in 2020.
Well…it sounds good but we shall see. Will be hard to fight crime with let ’em go Creuzot on the payroll.
Dallas Is A Filthy Shell Of It’s Self. Crime Homeless Camps On The Sidewalks Trash Every Where! The Sad Reality With dimocrats in CONTROL
POOR DIMBO GO DALLAS BLUE!