DALLAS - What does the grim reaper have to do with election day? Well, a group of Dallas professionals are using the fictional character, as well as social sites, to promote the upcoming ballot issue on a city-owned hotel. The effort is garnering a lot of attention from young voters.
If you've seen the signs, you may have seen the site. Ripdallas.com tackles an upcoming election issue about whether taxpayers should fund a downtown hotel and convention center. Some say it's a waste of money, but groups like R.I.P. Dallas say without it, the city is doomed. Mayor Tom Leppert supports the group's self proclaimed "grass roots" efforts to reach young voters.
"These votes are more than just words. In a lot of ways they're going to determine the future success of Dallas," Mayor Leppert said.
The organization only formed a week ago, but it's gained blogger attention and it's already grown to more than 600 members through Twitter, Facebook, and email.
"We just sent it out to our friends and they sent it to their friends and we're actually pretty impressed with the response we got. People were just interested in what we were doing," said Clay Roby, an R.I.P. Dallas member.
"Of course there are two sides to the issue and the side that's saying 'vote yes' says groups like R.I.P. Dallas are using scare tactics that are just plain silly.
R.I.P. Dallas features a YouTube video on their site. It's of a civic disobedience protest at Grand Central Station in New York. The group says it's a clue to what "Grim and the gang" are planning for the streets of Dallas.
"Ultimately, we have to get to an audience that's not use to watching the 8 o'clock news at night or what have you. They're use to being approached about interesting things through different media," Roby said.
"Because they don't have a good argument to convince taxpayers they should want this half a billion dollar mortgage on the hotel, they just attack the messenger," said Anne Raymond, a real estate executive against the hotel.
Raymond is the Director of 'Citizens Against the Taxpayer-Owned Hotel.' She says her group is also using social media.
"We also have a website. We've had thousands of people come to our website showing their support for the effort and I think we have a Facebook group as well," Raymond said.
Despite disagreement, both sides have one common goal: to get more voters out to the polls on May 9th.