The 20 Things You Need to Know For 2011

We figured out the people, places, and ideas that matter this year in Dallas. You're welcome.

photography: Leppert by Dan Sellers, Hunt courtesy of the DMN, Natinsky courtesy of Natinsky

Ron Natinsky will be the next mayor of Dallas.

Let’s start with the fact that Tom Leppert will not run for re-election. He has nothing to gain from another term as mayor. It’s quite apparent that he has his sights set on a higher office, and another four years on Marilla Street aren’t  going to get him there. His strident position on the no-bid Dallas Love Field concessions contracts (against them) and his vote on the property tax rate increase (against it) hurt him badly in South Dallas. Another term would just bring more pain.

Which brings us to Councilwoman Angela Hunt, the poor man’s Laura Miller. She’s a firebrand populist all right. She’ll analyze a Trinity toll road spread sheet with the intensity of a thousand suns. But then, in what seemed like a transparent effort to build a bridge to South Dallas, she supported that tax rate increase, saying it wasn’t actually an increase because appraisals were being lowered. That did not play well in North Dallas. Not one bit. As far as the moneyed crowd is concerned, Hunt is dead to them.

And money is going to matter in this race. Money always matters. But in this election, it’ll matter even more. Leppert is going to wait until the last possible moment to break the news that he’s not running. The filing deadline is March 12. The election is less than two months later, on May 7. If—IF—Leppert were to run, he’d win easily. So hopefuls will wait to hear his decision. The field will be narrow, and the race will be compressed, but a viable candidate will still need to raise about $1 million.

That candidate is Ron Natinsky, the three-term councilman from North Dallas’ District 12. Book it. —TIM ROGERS