Dallas_City_Hall

Councilman Sheffie Kadane is in the final stretch of his fourth term and eighth year representing Dallas’ District 9, and term limits will keep him from running again in May 2015. It’s still somewhat early in the race — official filing doesn’t begin until Jan. 28 — but already, four men have tossed their hats into the ring.

The district stretches from Lakewood north to Merriman Park/University Manor on the west side of White Rock Lake, and on the east side extends to Ferguson Road and beyond, encompassing Forest Hills and Little Forest Hills plus the Casa Linda and Casa View areas, along with many of the neighborhoods working together in the Ferguson Road Initiative.

Soon, we’ll be digging deeper into the big issues for our neighborhood and our city. For now, however, here’s a brief introduction to each candidate, in alphabetical order by last name.

Darren Boruff

Neighborhood history: Lives in Lakewood, homeowner in the district for 18 years, born and raised in East Dallas

Credentials: Former Dallas Park and Recreation Board member (appointed by Kadane), co-chaired the White Rock Centennial, helped establish the Dallas Parks Project (public-private partnership), Greater East Dallas Chamber of Commerce committee chairman, vice president of Reddy Ice Holdings

Why he’s running: “I love East Dallas. I think it’s one of the best districts in the city, but I don’t think we’re done yet. There’s a lot of things we can improve upon. I’ve been involved in civic groups and public service for last 10-12 years, and I think the people in East Dallas deserve strong leadership in City Hall.”

Top concerns

• Safety, by growing the Volunteers in Patrol program and adding more police patrol: “It’s not that we live in a crime ridden neighborhood, but any crime is too much crime.”

• Economic development, by encouraging more people to live, open businesses and raise families in East Dallas: “Casa View is prime for continued growth, and probably the greatest opportunity lies there — up and down Ferguson Road and Garland Road — that not everybody in Dallas knows about.”

• Quality of life and education, especially in terms of more activities for families, such as the Dallas Little League fields near Winfrey Point that Boruff helped facilitate as a Park Board member: “We’re losing kids who compete in sports to the suburbs that host coordinated athletic events. I’d like to see kids play in our area and build memories in our area.”

Mark Clayton

Neighborhood history: Lives in Casa Linda, has lived in the district for 11 years

Credentials: Small business owner (Allstate Insurance agency on Gaston), has a first-grader at Sanger Elementary

Why he’s running: The attempt to develop a restaurant at White Rock Lake’s Boy Scout Hill was the trigger. “It was an interesting example of how people can band together and actually accomplish good. City Council is the one area that you can still legitimately make a difference because there’s not that many votes. A few people who care can really make a difference.”

Top concerns

• The growing discontent of people wanting a stake in what’s happening in their neighborhood. “There’s just a feeling, right or wrong, that City Hall hasn’t really been paying attention to what people are wanting in our district. Instead, it’s been: ‘Let us tell you what’s best. Here’s what’s good for you. I want to make sure the values in our area are represented not only in our district but in our city as a whole.”

• Pro-Trinity parks but anti-Trinity tollway. Via his Facebook campaign page: “I have read as much information as I can get my hands on and have met with urban planners that I respect to get a sense of traffic flow and the options available to reduce congestion in the downtown core. I personally feel that the greatest cities in the world are defined by the greenspace, walkability and amenities that it offers its citizens. I don’t think you can be a great city if you build freeways to appease the suburbs with the only benefit being that you become the truckstop for the greater region.”

Christopher Jackson

Neighborhood history: Has lived in Old Lake Highlands for 17 years

Credentials: Dallas Arboretum board of directors, White Rock Conservancy board of directors, avid runner (has run the Dallas Marathon more than 10 times), former vice-chairman of the Dallas Cultural Affairs Commission (appointed by Kadane)

Why he’s running: “I’m a lawyer by training — went to SMU — and have worked mostly with real estate for past 17 years, and most of that public policy dealing with cities around the Metroplex. I end up talking to the fire chief and everyone around the city, and have done a lot of work with our HOAs and our developments. I just enjoy it. I’m bent that way. If you look at my background, you would say it all points to this. I can really help the city using my background.”

Jackson almost ran in 2013. He gathered the signatures needed to file, and met with Kadane to discuss it. “[Kadane] told me, ‘I am going to run again, and the odds of a sitting city council member losing are slim. Why don’t you instead get on the Cultural Affairs Commission and get some more experience?’ I went home and said, ‘Yeah, if I’m doing this for the right reasons, I can wait two years.”

Top concerns

• To continue to protect and preserve White Rock Lake. “The master plan, the lighting plan — I think those documents need to be looked after, constantly brought up and used as guiding principals. A lot of work was put into them, and they shouldn’t be left on shelves.”

• Pending studies and efforts such as the Ferguson Road Initiative, Garland Road Vision and Greater Casa View Area Plan

• Arts in the community, based on his experience with the Cultural Affairs Commission

Sam Merten

Neighborhood history: This past summer moved near Casa Linda; before that lived in Oak Cliff, where he had moved because of his boss’, Mayor Mike Rawlings, interest in Grow South. “I’ve touched pretty much every place in Dallas, and the one that calls my name is East Dallas. It’s a really good fit for me.”

Credentials: Former aide to Rawlings, former reporter for the Dallas Observer, current executive team member at The Bridge

Why he’s running: “I’ve obviously learned a lot about the way City Hall works and how to navigate the complex bureaucracy over there. I’ve always had a passion for giving back and public service, and my experience would be a really perfect fit to hit the ground running as an advocate for East Dallas. City Council has six open seats in this election, and East Dallas would benefit from someone who doesn’t need to learn the ropes.”

Top concerns

• Replacing roads. “I think it’s unacceptable that District 9 has the most miles of streets rated poor and unacceptable of all 14 council districts. The roads citywide are awful, but they’re particularly awful in East Dallas.”

• Making Garland Road more walkable. “It’s almost laughable to walk or bike along Garland Road. From the Arboretum all the way up to Casa Linda, I’d like to see nice wide sidewalks and make it a place for people to walk around.”

• White Rock Lake. “I believe it’s the single greatest asset we have. It needs to be protected and needs somebody who will hold any proposal to the highest standard when it comes to profiting off the lake.”

• Increase the tax base with redevelopment; Trinity Groves in West Dallas is one example. “We never have enough money for what we want as a community, and one of the ways we can get at that is increasing the tax base.”


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