Monday, May 23, 2022

Old rivalries resurface in Dallas City Council elections

The City of Dallas is headed toward another municipal election, and there is no shortage of candidates vying for the existing seats. Races feature the current members of the council, with the exception of three who are not seeking reelection. The ballot also features former councilmembers coming back to try to reclaim their spots.

Dallas residents who are not familiar with the candidates are urged to confirm their district and research the candidates running to represent them. With the pandemic, candidates have not had the same opportunities to reach out to voters as in past elections.
The largest race, in terms of potential candidates, is the seat currently occupied by Adam Bazaldua in Place 7. Bazaldua won the seat in the last election after running once unsuccessfully. The seat was held by Kevin Felder at the time, who lost to Bazaldua following controversy which included being indicted on charges of allegedly hitting a scooter rider and leaving the scene.
Felder is back, and looking to regain the seat, along with six other candidates which include Donald Parish, Calvin D. Johnson, Tramonica Brown, Walter “Changa” Higgins, James “JT” Turknett and Israel Varela.
(Photo: Kent Wang / Flickr

In South Dallas, another seat which has seen some tumultuous campaigning in the past has Carolyn King Arnold fending off four challengers for her seat in Place 4. Arnold returned to her former seat on the council after being defeated by Dwaine Caraway in 2017.

However, Caraway found himself in legal trouble over a bribery scandal, causing a public fallout which ultimately resulted in the disbanding of the Dallas County Schools entity that oversaw transportation needs for local schools. Arnold now faces challengers Maxie Johnson, Lelani Russell, Matt Canto and Johnny Aguinaga.
Another councilmember who has been out and back into office is Tennell Atkins in Place 8. Atkins termed out of the council after eight years in 2015, then sat out the two year minimum and returned to the Dallas City Council in 2017. Atkins faces Subrina Lynn Brenham, Davante “Shawt” Peters and Lakolya London in the May 1 vote.

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In Place 3, Casey Thomas II is running in his fourth election, the maximum he can serve without sitting out at least one term to run again. He is challenged by Irby Foster in the May 1 election.
In West Dallas’ Place 6 the current councilmember, Omar Narvaez, also faces a past councilmember in Monica R. Alonzo. Alonzo served for six years on the Dallas City Council before being ousted by Narvaez in 2017. Narvaez staved off a return effort from Alonzo in 2019. In addition to Alonzo; the seat is also being sought by Earl D. Thomas, Tony Carrillo and Wendi Macon.
Councilmember Adam Medrano is leaving his position at the end of this term, and there are five candidates lined up to succeed him (that is, after a sixth withdrew earlier this month). Jennifer Cortez, Jesse Moreno, Sana Syed, Raha Assadi and Michael Fetzer have all filed to fill the vacant seat.

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Places 1 and 14 on the council had been sources of energy in the past when they were held by Scott Griggs and Philip Kingston, respectively.
Griggs ran unsuccessfully for the mayor’s seat, and Chad West was elected to fill the position. West now faces challenges from Gerardo Sánchez, Stephani A. “Skyle” Kyle and Giovanni “Gio” Valderas.
David Blewett ousted Kingston in a contentious race in 2019 to take the Place 14 seat at the horseshoe. He now faces challengers of his own in Paul E. Ridley and Elizabeth Viney.
Jaime Resendez ran successfully in 2019 to claim the council seat in Place 5, despite detractors pointing to his exit from the school board on an address issue. He has three challengers in the upcoming vote; Ruth Torres, Yolanda “Faye” Williams and Terry Perkins.

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In Place 9 which encompasses the White Rock Lake area, Paula Blackmon will attempt to hold on to her council seat and ward off challenges from Judy Kumar and John Botefuhr.
Places 10 and 12, like Thomas’ district, are rarities with only two candidates in the race. In Place 10 B. Adam McGough will try to hold off Sirrano Keith Baldeo on May 1. In Place 12 incumbent Cara Mendelsohn faces challenger Elva Curl.
The remaining two seats — in Places 11 and 13 — are open as Lee Kleinman and Jennifer S. Gates are not seeking reelection. These districts incorporate areas of central North Dallas. Place 11 candidates include; Jaynie Schultz, Hosanna Yemiru, Barry Wernick and Candy Evans.

Place 13 candidates include; Ryan M. Moore, Da’On Boulanger-Chatman, Gay Donnell Willis, Leland R. Burk and Mac Smith.


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