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All Differences Aside As Five Dallas Council Members Depart

BJ Austin

Dallas City Council members took turns saying goodbye to five colleagues Wednesday. It was their last meeting.  The new, 2013 Council will be sworn-in Monday.

Gone was any hint of consternation over Angela Hunt’s 2007 petition-referendum to scuttle the proposed Trinity River toll road, or disappointment among some council members over Delia Jasso’s more recent flip flop on a resolution supporting gay marriage. It was all hearts and flowers.

Colleague Dwaine Caraway focused on the many things Council member Jasso accomplished during her four years.

“Streetcars and domestic violence, graffiti, and Bishop Arts, those things are different because of your commitment,” noted Caraway.

Jasso chaired the council’s domestic violence task force, and helped jumpstart the streetcar line from downtown to Oak Cliff, now under construction.

Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano received high praise from council colleague Vonceil Jones Hill.

“I don’t believe there could be any higher accolade than to say that Pancho would be proud," Hill pronounced. "You have carried the Medrano tradition wonderfully well.”

That tradition will continue when Adam Medrano is sworn in to take his Aunt’s seat on the council.  And what’s next for Pauline Medrano? For one thing, she’s just been appointed to the US Census Bureau’s National Advisory Board on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations.

Council member Linda Koop has been the council’s expert on transportation, serving on the Regional Transportation Council. Councilman Tennell Atkins praised Koop for her ability to get to the nitty gritty of a problem and build consensus around a solution.

“When we did have a problem with infrastructure, transportation wise, you didn’t talk about it.  You hopped in the car and we drove around talking about what we could do, and the best way to approach it,” Atkins said.

Jerry Allen acknowledged that he and Council member Angela Hunt frequently disagreed on issues. But, Allen said facing Hunt, with her deep research and accomplished debate made him a better council member. 

“You’d be looking at your computer, and if I did my homework all of a sudden your head would go like this and we’d lock eyes," remembered Allen. " And then I knew it was show time.”

Hunt was applauded for being a champion of the city’s bike trails, as well as solving longstanding parking, noise and rowdy behavior complaints on Lower Greenville.

Ann Margolin decided not to run again.  Sandy Greyson pointed out that she and other council members could take a lesson from Margolin’s style.

“I really enjoyed sitting next to you," Greyson said looking at Margolin. "You have brought such calm and levelheadedness to this council.”

Margolin will devote more time to family obligations.

Mayor Mike Rawlings says he’ll add his comments at Monday’s inauguration ceremony at the Myerson.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.