Fissures are beginning to show between Dallas’ mayoral candidates.
At a forum on Thursday night in North Dallas, six of the nine got a little over an hour to share their visions for the city. Many of the candidates, in interviews following their initial announcements, spoke generally about addressing the city’s most pressing issues, which include a shortage of police and fire fighters, fixing potholes and the city’s broken infrastructure, and building affordable housing. Now we’re hearing more specifics: whether we should stand up to the Legislature’s attempts to cap property tax rates or collaborate with state lawmakers, whether we should pursue charter schools or invest in our improving school district, and how to use the 1,500 properties sitting idly in our frozen land bank program.
The organizer was the group Women of Dallas United for Action, and the event sold out 250 seats at the Northaven United Methodist Church, off Preston Road. Lucy Billingsley, the co-founder and partner of Billingsley Co., moderated. Participating were Scott Griggs, the North Oak Cliff councilman; Eric Johnson, a Democratic state representative; Lynn McBee, the volunteer, civic leader, and CEO of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network; Regina Montoya, the attorney and civic leader; Miguel Solis, the Dallas ISD trustee; and Jason Villalba, a former Republican state representative. Developer Mike Ablon was on the lineup but was traveling.
Billingsley opened by asking how the candidates would navigate the city’s strong city manager/weak mayor form of government, which means the top position will need to build consensus around priority topics. Each then gave a brief biography and spoke of the need to bring people together in various ways, mostly to help create an equitable city where opportunity isn’t out of reach for so many. Nothing you haven’t heard before if you’ve been following the race.Read More