On Thursday, April 16th, the District 9 tour bus stopped at Ridgewood-Belcher Recreation Center for a candidate forum sponsored by the Lakewood Trails Neighborhood Association. In addition to the Lakewood Trails NA, the forum was hosted by Ridge Park NA, Merriman Park/University Manor NA and the University Terrace Crime Watch. Felix Saucedo, President of Lakewood Trails NA, emceed the forum. All of the initial questions were from leaders of the participating NA’s and the last few were written questions submitted by the voters in attendance. Estimated attendance was 85 people.
The Advocate has covered several of the District 9 candidate forums and many questions are similar in nature from forum to forum. Questions on Fair Park, the bag ordinance, how the City and DISD can work together, is the council seat a full-time job, bond priorities of each candidate, the culture at City Hall and the candidate’s answers can be found in previous pieces here:
But three questions unique to this forum and one on everybody’s mind that bears repeating (potholes!) were posed to the candidates. Here is a summary with paraphrased questions and answers.
Darren Boruff (DB)- Senior management with Reddy Ice
Mark Clayton (MC)- Owner, Allstate insurance agency
Christopher Jackson ( CJ)- Senior management with real estate firm Wynne Jackson
Will Logg ( WL )- Musician and product distributer for Paper City magazine
Sam Merten ( SM ) – Senior staff with non-profit The Bridge
Question: A few days ago, the “Dream Team” that Mayor Rawlings asked to take yet another look at the Trinity Road made their thoughts public. Does their presentation of a smaller, meandering road change your position on the toll road?
SM: “Long-time critic” of the 3C toll road alternative (high speed multi-lane toll option), Very much in favor of the Dream Team plan but believes that it’s a “sham” to get people “distracted” to still get the 3C alternative built
MC: Remains “completely against it”, Dream team option OK, but skeptical of what might get built in the future, Whole issue is a “litmus test”, Believes 80% of District 9 constituents are against the toll road
CJ: Does not believe this is the most important issue in the District, When door knocking people want to talk about potholes and crime, Supports Balanced Vision and the Dream Team plan but traffic needs addressing or downtown will suffer
WL: Colossal waste of money, Levees will flood and nothing should be built there, Increase access roads and number of exits on I-45 to solve traffic issues
DB: Supports the Balanced Vision plan, Traffic needs addressing but not all costs, Supports Dream Team plan and possible referendum if future expansion is considered necessary
Question: There is a current effort to brand East Dallas as the “Lake and Garden” District. What is your opinion of this effort and its importance?
SM: Not important in the “big picture”, but not “against or upset” about it
MC: Good intention for a “kumbaya” moment but concerned about areas like Casa View that may not feel represented
CJ: Member of East Dallas Chamber that originated idea and a supporter, Brings awareness, Positive step, No government money involved
WL: For anything that preserves White Rock Lake
DB: Chamber member, Branding is a ”noble” effort, Branding has helped Bishop Arts District and Design District and Hospital District, Great way to accentuate the positive
Question: There are measures being proposed in the Texas Legislature to prevent enforcement of anti-discrimination laws in the event of a religious claim much like what was recently passed in Indiana that critics say could have been used to discriminate against same sex couples. How do you feel about these measures?
MC: Any law that “discriminates against anybody is awful”, As the son of a pastor and having a gay brother understand views and sensitivities but people should “steer their own ship”, Adamantly against any “whisper” of discrimination
CJ: Already have a law in place that works, Don’t open a can of worms, Against discrimination
WL: Has an uncle and sister that are gay and “any law that discriminates against anybody is wrong”
DB: For equal rights, against discrimination in any sense
SM: Need to make a change from current councilman that “has espoused anti-gay rhetoric”, District 9 needs to have a representative that is for equality and doesn’t discriminate, Also against any effort by Texas Legislature to limit local control
Pothole Question: How are pothole repairs going to be paid for without raising taxes?
MC: Reality is that some money will come from general fund but most will come from a bond program, Only $55 million can come from a bond but the needs are $90 million and general fund will have to be prioritized
CJ: Bond program, But also stretch the City’s dollar, City pays more for road construction than private industry, Need different contracting methods
WL: Use concrete not asphalt
DB: Bond program, Need to increase tax base to fund basics like road repair
SM: Bond program is smart way, Avoid specific council “pet projects” in bonds and focus on basics, Used Dwayne Caraway’s diversion of bond money meant for housing to improvements for a chicken restaurant as an example
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