By David Wilfong, NDG Special Contributor
The March 27 edition of Monday Night Politics by the Dallas Examiner featured candidates vying for Dallas City Council District 1, 5 and Dallas ISD School Board, District 6.
In the race for the District 1 position on the Dallas City Council, incumbent Scott Griggs met Stephen Winn, who is challenging him for the seat in the May 6 election. Griggs has served six years on the council and told the audience he was looking forward to serving his last two-year term. He also said his track record would show he has been the hardest working member of the city council.
Winn has served on the Community Development Commission and said he was looking forward to improving what he feels is an underutilized Wynnewood Shopping Center. Winn reminded the audience he is a product of Dallas and Dallas ISD. Winn said he learned in college that local government is where he would have the best opportunity to make an immediate change.
“One of the reasons I decided to run is the economic development,” Winn said. “I feel that Wynnewood, which is located in the southernmost tip of District 1, I feel has been neglected. I would like to see some economic growth in there, so we need to see about getting the small businesses that are already there the support that they need to maintain the business. I also want to see new businesses integrated into that area as well. Wynnewood is actually one of the first open-air mall in the state of Texas, and with that historic value, I want to build on that.”
Griggs noted his own past involvement in the development of Wynnewood, and said business development was a challenge to achieve without affecting the character of the community. He said diversity was key in business development and pointed out the growth already happening.
“The Bishop Arts District is one example,” Griggs said. “You can see so many different types of businesses in that one small area. And what’s great about it is the land is owned by people who live in District 1. The businesses are owned by people who live in District one, and the people that work in these businesses live in District 1.”
District 1 encompasses many neighborhoods of different ethnic and economic compositions. Winn said he wanted to pay special attention to minorities in regard to future economic development and entrepreneurial opportunity.
“I want to make sure that, for African American development, I want to make sure that the grants and the funds that are out there for small businesses and economic development for minorities; that we’re taking advantage of those opportunities,” Winn said.
Griggs responded he is known for “building coalitions,” and says his track record is inclusive of all the populations in District 1, and he gives everybody a chance.
“I have very diverse appointments in my boards and commissions, and must continue to give everyone an opportunity,” Griggs said.
While not the incumbent, Winn told the audience his bid for the city council is based on a long past of preparation.
“This is not a game to me,” Winn said. “This is something I have planned for and sought after … I want to make sure that we are in a city where we can strive and thrive toward the great thing that we know we can do.”
Griggs made his case to continue in his current role.
“I will continue to be your voice at City Hall,” Griggs said. “When issues come up, large and small, I’m there for each of you.”
District 5 Race Part 1
In the District 5 race, only challenger Dominique Paulette Torres-Jeter was in attendance. At the end of the evening, it was announced incumbent Rick Callahan had contacted the Dallas Examiner to say he had not received his invitation, and Callahan would be allowed to attend the following week.
Torres-Jeter is a personal injury litigator and immigration attorney. Having grown up in the District, she says her part of the city is often neglected and seeks to change that.
“I want to be a voice and fight for this district like I fight every single day for my clients,” Torres-Jeter said.
Streets, sidewalks and drainage issues are at the top of her priority list in the district, citing that many streets didn’t even have sidewalks. As Pleasant Grove is inundated with what many consider less desirable businesses, Torres-Jeter also said cultivating a more desirable trend in economic development was also a key issue.
Joyce Foreman is seeking another term in Dallas ISD District 6
Joyce Foreman, an incumbent on the DISD Board of Trustees, was the sole candidate appearing for the Dallas ISD, District 6 position. She is being challenged in the May 6 election by Phelesha Hamilton.
Foreman, who has served three years so far, said she went into the school board to remedy the problems she saw in her specific neighborhood.
“When I was elected there were eight low-performing schools in District 6,” Foreman said. “There are now three low-performing schools; two comprehensive, and one alternative school. My goal is to make sure that this year we have no low-performing schools.”
Monday Night Politics will be held again on April 3 at the African American Museum at Fair Park.