CORRECTION: The earlier online and print edition included the wrong dates for the end of early voting. The correct answer is that early voting is available through this weekend, ending on Tuesday, May 5. The election is Saturday, May 9.
By Nicole James Scott, NDG Contributing Writer
The North Dallas Gazette sent a survey to candidates for the 2015 local political elections. Please visit here to read their responses.
The three candidates running for mayor of Dallas couldn’t possibly be any more antithetical. If you visit any of incumbent Mark Rawlings’ campaign sites you will find the common political themes: economic development, educational initiatives, job growth, crime reduction. These issues, for the most part, are the hot button topics concerning most voters. Understandably so, as these are the areas in which our lives are most affected.
Topping Mayor Rawlings’ to do list is the $1.8 billion Trinity River toll road project, an initiative the mayor has deemed the city’s 21st century “transformational project.” The project, initiated as a solution to Dallas’ transportation system consisting of a 6/4 lane told road, extending 8.5 miles from SH 183/IH 35 in the north, down to US 175 in the south. But with much opposition and cuts by federal authorities the initial gargantuan plan is looking less like the version that was used to sway voters in 2007. Even still, that has not diminished Rawlings support of the project.
“The Trinity Parkway is one critical piece to creating a city of choices that can serve an increasingly diverse citizenry”, expressed Rawlings. The mayor says the project is about connecting the residents of Dallas. But his opponent attorney Marcos Ronquillo said the project is a “solution in search of a problem.”
Ronquillo considers the project an attack on the Trinity River and contends what the city needs more of is green space. A Lake Highlands attorney, Ronquillo, is considered the underdog and long shot to unseat Rawlings, however he is confident in his ability to defeat the mayor. He recognizes the mayor’s overwhelming popularity and deep pockets pose a challenge but says he is wrong on the big, important issues.
Ronquillo say voters don’t want toll roads and golf courses. What they want is local investment and development and this is the focal point of his campaign, restoring the city’s resources to its neighborhoods.
“I basically want to go back to basics. Our middle class is fleeing,” said Ronquillo. “We have a crisis in Dallas in terms of an economic divide. There is a lack of mixed income families attending public schools”, he added.
Ronquillo definitely has the resume to become Dallas’ next mayor, a George Washington University Law School alumnus, former board member of DART, the Children’s Medical Center and Dallas Museum of Art and also served in the Civil Rights Office under former President Jimmy Carter just to name a few.
But even with all of these allocates his naysayers contend if Ronquillo wants to defeat Rawlings the only chance he stands is by getting down in the mud, something he says he’s adamantly opposed to.
Unethical behavior may be beneath Ronquillo, but apparently not so much the case for write-in candidate Richard Sheridan who was arrested for allegedly spray-painting anti-gay graffiti two Dallas LGBT landmarks.
Sheridan, a bit unconventional and well known for his anti-gay activist is also a staunch opponent of the Toll Road project claiming it is one of the two greatest things impeding the city’s success.
Dallas’ number one issue, Sheridan says, is racism. If elected he pledges to “address poverty, appeal to the wealthy’s consciences and pocket books that by investing in South Dallas their taxes will go down because the now 15/40 tax population will steadily increase to 20/40, 30/40. By bringing up South Dallas with jobs, jobs, jobs their taxes will go down.” Sheridan is a retired engineer.
Election day is May 8, 2015. Early voting is underway until Tuesday, May 5. If there is a runoff it will take place June 13, 2015.