Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson recently discussed his reelection bid, claiming that Dallas voters believe the city is “going in the right direction” and emphasizing his efforts to reduce violent crime.
“I know that I will be on the ballot in May 2023 for reelection,” Johnson said on CBS News’ Eye on Politics, adding that the people of Dallas should vote in his favor because of the direction in which he is taking the city. He called Dallas a “national success story.”
Johnson said that while the whole world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, “not everybody has bounced back” the way Dallas has, pointing to the $14 billion of new investment Dallas has received over the past four years.
The mayor claimed his other successes have been “eradicating corruption at city hall, passing a historic ethics reform,” and allegedly reducing violent crime. He said one of his proudest accomplishments thus far has been the position he maintained against the “Defund the Police” movement.
“You can’t deny the fact that there really was a movement in this country to defund the police, and I took a very firm stance against that when it was not popular,” Johnson said. “We’ve been proven right — those of us who believed that you don’t cut the police budget … in the middle of a violent crime uptick.”
“The most important thing a city does is provide public safety,” he continued. According to Johnson, Dallas is the only one of America’s top 10 largest cities whose violent crime fell last year.
Despite city officials’ insistence that violent crime is on the decline, there were still more than 10,400 violent crimes and more than 14,300 family violence crimes committed in Dallas this year. Further, aggravated assault cases made up more than 69% of the total violent crimes reported in Dallas for 2022.
Additionally, other categories of crime are on the rise in Dallas. NIBRS REPORT Compstat Daily V1 (2) Business robberies are up 4.2%, and auto thefts are up 12.4% from last year. Stolen property offenses have skyrocketed by 43.6%.
Looking forward, Johnson said the city needs to continue its battles against not only violent crimes but also homelessness and vagrancy. He also said the City needs to reform its permitting process by reducing regulations.
“My big push has been and will continue to be to eliminate the barriers to permitting in our city. We need to permit more efficiently the construction of new housing,” he said. “If we increase the supply of housing, [if] the private sector builds more houses, housing prices will fall in the city, and they will fall naturally. [They] won’t fall because of some government intervention in the housing market.”
He said the City needs to acknowledge that the private sector knows best when it comes to housing construction, and the City needs to simply “get out of the way” by making it easier to obtain building permits.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Dallas suffers from an outdated and inefficient building permit process, hampered by staffing issues, sluggish internal processes, and a flawed software system.
During a city council meeting last month, Chief Building Official Andrew Espinoza said that issues could persist for years and that the lack of staff in the Development Services Department (DSD) to handle the permit intake slowed its ability to make more significant progress.
Mayor Johnson is currently running for reelection unopposed. While many local politicos had previously speculated controversial former Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa would run for mayor next year, he told reporters last week that he will not be doing so.