Harlan Crow’s activist group formed to protest the Dallas convention hotel has come out swinging as the May 9 referendum approaches with an ad campaign featuring a slick-haired spokesman and Mayor Tom Leppert reminding people this ain’t Plymouth.
In 30 seconds, the commercial tells informed citizens that they need to vote yes on Prop 1 on May 9, but to less informed citizens, it confusingly implies that Leppert wants to deny or has denied them the right to vote, just before encouraging them to vote on May 9.
It also includes audio of Leppert's statement in the recent debate: "This idea that everybody votes for everything – it sounds great back in New England in the 1700s, but I'm not sure it's applicable here."
Dallas has sent out an ad with an equal and opposite punch, squishing more information into a mailbox flier. The cover art of a crumbling futuristic Dallas skyline assures viewers that without a taxpayer-owned hotel, Dallas will lapse into a pterodactyl-infested 70s sci-fi movie set-looking ghost town whose only cultural draw will be a leaning Reunion Tower landmark.
The content of the ad doesn’t acknowledge the prominent Citizens Against the Taxpayer Owned Hotel’s opposition efforts, but warns voters of the "real" culprit: New York unions.
The ads will hopefully make more people aware of the effect the importance of the vote that would block construction of a publicly owned Dallas Convention Center hotel and limit city government's ability to grant subsidies of $1 million or more to private developers.
It might also increase interest in the upcoming debate between Mayor Leppert and Anne Raymond, director of Citizens Against the Taxpayer-Owned Hotel, which has been moved from April 28 to May 1 at 12:30.
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Holly is a journalist who has written and worked for various area publications including D Magazine and Examiner.