Editor’s Note: This is the third installment of our series of Dallas City Council candidate questionnaires. You can view the first here and the second here. We attempted to contact each candidate in every contested race (10 races total), and those who responded with a working email address received the same eight questions. We gave them until April 5 to respond. Below you’ll find the answers to our questions, which we did not edit or abridge.
Today we’re featuring Ori Raphael, a contender for Dallas City Council District 11’s seat. This district is a pretty darn influential one, encompassing much of North Dallas and a good-sized portion of the Preston Hollow area. The district, represented by outgoing councilmember Linda Koop, is being pursued by Lee Kleinman, too. Unfortunately, Kleinman did not answer our repeated requests for answers.
1. In your view, what are the strengths of the Dallas real estate market versus the rest of the nation?
Jobs, low cost of living, low taxes, good transportation, a lowering crime rate and great neighborhoods are all attracting people to our area. If we could improve DISD the city of Dallas would see growth equal to that of the suburbs.
2. What are the next areas/neighborhoods you feel are poised for high volume growth?
In District 11 the redevelopment of the Valley View site is poised to be a signature development. The Southern Sector offers the greatest opportunity for growth, but areas such as West Dallas also offer growth opportunities.
3. What areas/neighborhoods need the most help and any solutions?
The 27 crime ‘hot spot’ areas demand out [sic] attention. In my district we have a number of apartment complexes that have crime problems as well. We must support our police, increase code enforcement and work together to help build strong neighborhoods. Mayor Rawlings’ Growth South plan is an excellent example of planning for success, but let’s not forget other areas in our community that need the same passion and planning.
4. Would you support retaining the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research to do a study of the root causes of decline in the City of Dallas, as it did for NYC during the Giuliani era, leading to one of the most compelling restorations of a major city in history?
I would certainly consider this, although I would like to concentrate on the future and what we can do to improve our international competitive advantage, rebuild our schools and plan now for the future challenges around transportation and water.
5. Would you approving the zoning variance to allow an on-campus lighted soccer field at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, winner of 22 state soccer championships?
This is not in my district and would defer to the councilperson in that district.
6. How would you handle the Museum Tower/Nasher Sculpture Center impasse? Should the Nasher also play a role and adapt some structural changes? Or is the burden purely on Museum Tower and future residential developments to mitigate impact on surrounding structures?
Both parties need to work together on a solution to this problem.
7. Historic and conservation districts are a great way to maintain a neighborhood’s character, but some older districts have regulations that seem somewhat out of date. For instance, a homeowner in Junius Heights was cited for having xeriscaped his front yard in lieu of a traditional water-hogging front lawn even though our region faces long-term drought. Should alternative landscapes and eco-friendly materials be allowed in historic and conservation districts as a citywide policy change?
Yes, I would support that type of flexibility because of the need to conserve water resources.
8. What is your stance on hydraulic fracturing (better known as fracking) inside the city limits? Do you feel it poses a danger to residents and nearby businesses? Or does the potential income to the city outweigh overblown risks?
I am in favor of gas drilling as long as it can be done safely. I am not in favor of drilling on park land.