Game Day voting is this Saturday, May 1. In the Dallas City Council District 14 race, incumbent David Blewett faces challengers Paul Ridley and Elizabeth Viney.
On the map, District 14 resembles an upside-down “U” beginning from the Lakewood/M-Street/Lovers Lane neighborhoods, stretching east and south to Knox-Henderson and then further east and south to catch parts of Oak Lawn, Uptown and Downtown.
Although District 14 includes some diverse neighborhoods, it is not that diverse in color or politics. It is predominately white and leans Democratic.
Blewett won his first term on the message of “Vote Blewett, I’m not a jerk like Philp Kingston. At least I will return your calls.” In large part, it seems like he has kept that promise. Give him credit: With him or against him, he’ll hear you out. Detractors would say he is oversharing (helicopter rides, police ride-a-longs) with words and pictures but not delivering solutions that work for the intractable problems that come with close-in living.
Paul Ridley comes well-qualified as an architect, attorney and urban planner. He is thoughtful and prepared in campaign forums. He has been on the other side of Blewett on many of the complex land-use issues in District 14. Ridley supporters say Blewett is a business guy who sides with developers. Others say that before a tough land use vote, Ridley will count the yeas and nays in his inbox. Neighborhood voices are important, but all public policy can’t be decided by referendum.
Elizabeth Viney is the wild card in the race. Winner of the regarded Good Works award from The Dallas Foundation and Dallas Morning News, Viney left her litigation practice at Gibson Dunn to focus on family and community. Viney hasn’t been active in District 14, where Council candidates typically come from a handful of locals who have built trust and credibility in other neighborhood volunteer organizations. She struggles with answers to hyper-local questions that Ridley and Blewett answer in more detail. She has raised significant campaign funds and hit voters’ mailboxes hard with literature hammering Blewett on his council budget vote to reduce police overtime. Judging from her campaign contributors and campaign flyers, she seems to be the “law and order” candidate. If that message resonates, she could be a factor.
Three diverse candidates with neighborhood ties. Could this head to a run-off? The waiting game begins at 7 p.m. Saturday.
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