Dallas has 37 boards and commissions where citizens serve. Some boards and commissions are advisory and make recommendations to the City Council. Others make final decisions, and any appeal of their decision is to state court.

Serving on these boards or commissions is a great way to better our neighborhoods and learn more about City government. In fact, Councilmen Glenn Box and Craig McDaniel served on City commissions before being elected to the City Council.

Each September, the Council selects new members for two-year terms. Most boards and commissions have 15 members, with one member appointed by each of the 14 council members, and one by the mayor.

Boards and commissions usually meet once a month, but some, such as the Park Board and City Plan Commission, meet once a week. Our neighborhoods are well represented on these various boards and commissions. Many citizens are investing their time, efforts and experience to make East Dallas and Lakewood a better place for all of us.

One of the most important commissions at City Hall is the Plan Commission. This group hears every zoning request filed in the City. That also makes recommendations with respect to the Dallas Development Code, which regulates development within the City. The following East Dallasites were appointed to the City Plan Commission: Hector Garcia, Jonathan Vinson and Rob Richmond.

Another important board to East Dallas is the Community Development Advisory Committee. It recommends how the City should spend $19 million in federal grants, targeted for low-income neighborhoods. The East Dallas members are Rick Leggio, Rob Parks, Lawrence Wainer and Lon Williams.

The Board of Adjustment sets termination dates for non-confirming uses and determines if variances should be allowed from certain zoning requirements. Residents Richard Dooley and Debra Gonzalez serve on it.

The Urban Rehabilitation Standards Board determines when substandard properties must be repaired or when they must be demolished . Its role is important as we continue to clean up East Dallas. Residents who serve on the standards board are Pete Pena, Charles Jenks, Helen Swint, F. Eugene Welch and Craig Reynolds.

The Landmark Commission deals with issues relating to our historic districts and historic preservation. This is another important commission that affects a large part of East Dallas. The Landmark Commission is chaired by East Dallasite Trudy O’Reilly, and members include Michaux Nash Jr., Mattie Washburne and Kay Tinner.

The Environmental Health Advisory Commission deals with a wide range of issues, such as noise pollution, recycling, air quality and lead. East Dallas residents serving on the Environmental Health Advisory Commission are Annie Melton, Michael Parkey and James Barton.

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit Board has the responsibility for managing and operating DART. The state legislature recently reduced the size of the DART Board to 15 members. Two of the nine Dallas Board members live in East Dallas – Michael Campbell and Ralph Rodriguez.

The Seniors Affairs Commission deals with specific issues such as health care, transportation and housing that affect our senior-aged population. Neighborhood representatives are Mary Ramirez, Edward Bowles and Mary Albright.

There are many more East Dallas residents who serve on other boards and commissions. We owe them a big thanks for their volunteer efforts.

Many of these appointees are active in their churches, neighborhood associations or crime watches. The most important thing is that we all get involved to improve East Dallas.

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