Convention Hotel Debate Part II - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Convention Hotel Debate Part II

If you build it they may or may not come

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    "We're talking about what is the right thing for Dallas in the future," - Tom Leppert, on the city-owned convention center hotel.

    Mayor Tom Leppert and Anne Raymond, leader of Citizens Against the Taxpayer-Owned Hotel, had their second debate on a city-owned convention center hotel on Wednesday, which was broadcast live on KRLD 1080.

    The first part of the hour-long show was dedicated to a discussion moderated by KRLD reporter Scott Braddock with Dallas Morning News’ Dave Levinthal, and the last segment allowed for calls from the public.

    At the beginning of the debate, Leppert had a chance to respond to the recent ads by the anti-hotel organization, which accused him of misinforming people during the Trinity River debate.

    Leppert did not address the claims directly, but said the ad ignored more important things, and then took the chance to elaborate on those: city council votes in favor of the hotel, and business groups and major hotels that have come out for it, and other strong support.

    At one point Levinthal confronted Leppert with a critical question: if Proposition 1 passes (which would prohibit the City of Dallas from owning a hotel), would he honor the vote?

    After a lengthy discourse on the importance of voting on May 9 and changing the subject several times, Levinthal pressed him again for a yes or no. His answer: “I think that’s a yes, but I also don’t know what all the circumstances are and how those change in the future.” 

    Raymond argued during the call-ins that an effort to upgrade downtown by cutting down on crime and increasing attractions would spur private developers to decide whether they want to take a gamble on building a private hotel.

    Leppert, on the other hand, stated that building a hotel downtown would attract more people to the area and make more retail and commercial development possible.

    Leppert’s final point was that many companies are waiting on this hotel to bring conventions to the area, making one wonder whether there are no other hotels in Dallas where they can stay.

    Holly LaFon has written for D Magazine and Examiner.