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Narrow Victory for Dallas Hotel Supporters

By Shelley Kofler, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-836470.mp3

Dallas – In Saturday elections, Dallas voters narrowly decided, 51 to 49 percent, to move forward with a city- owned convention hotel. KERA's Shelley Kofler reports hotel opponents are still urging city hall to change course.

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The campaigns spent millions and the debates went on for weeks. But with a final surge on election day supporters of the city-owned, hotel out-voted those who wanted to kill it. The margin of victory was less than three percent.

Mayor Tom Leppert said supporters overcame money.

Leppert: We were outspent by millions and millions of dollars. People played the old politics game. But people of Dallas understood what was important. They understood how to take pride in their city. The message tonight is Dallas is moving forward.

Hotel opponent Anne Raymond heard a different message from voters.

Raymond: I hope the message is the taxpayers want their government to focus on the things they really need to focus on which are the basic city services and the big budget shortfall the city is facing.

Opponents have argued the $500-million hotel won't draw enough customers to pay for construction and maintenance and taxpayers will be stuck with the bill. Raymond still urges the city to change course.

Raymond: We understood they did have proposals that were public-private partnerships and we think they ought to dust those off

Hotel supporters, however, say they'll be ready in about a month to sell bonds for construction.