Candy Evans Running for Dallas City Council District 11 Seat Held by Incumbent Lee Kleinman

District 11 map

[Editor’s Note: Candy Evans is the founder and publisher of CandysDirt.com and is now running for Dallas City Council in District 11. The opinions expressed in this column are her own.]

I was in New York City right after Thanksgiving, and the two largest mouthpieces in the world — the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal — were basically trashing Dallas. Everyone was talking about our police and fire pension problems, using the “b” word (bankruptcy!), putting us in the same league as Detroit.

Things have not been going so well in our city and in my District 11. In fact, over the last four years, they have gotten worse.

Lee Kleinman supported what I believe is a fiscal giveaway of Fair Park, a near billion-dollar plan that would squander the potential we have for real estate development and private sector job growth in southeast Dallas.

There was his proposal to kill the Dallas Film Commission, citing a “waste” of a measly $200,000 a year grant that results in about $475,000 in tax revenue and terrifically measurable branding for the city. Remember a little show called Dallas?

He has been working hard for the suburbs. He supports the Cotton Belt Corridor commuter rail alignment as a priority over a much-needed subway line reliever route in downtown Dallas. The Cotton Belt project will be a lot more beneficial to our northern neighbors, not us.

Crime has been on the rise in Dallas and in my district, and I don’t see it getting any better with record low police morale and a billion-dollar shortfall for their Police and Fire Pension fund. We are down to 3,252 officers, well below the target of 3,500.

We get less for our money: property taxes are going up, city services are going down.

And we obsess over grand scale projects when all we really need is to fix the damn streets.

All of this was supposed to get better come May. The rotting streets, parks, and other infrastructure (like drainage, to prevent flooding), failing traffic signals that don’t work when it rains, crumbling buildings, were all going to finally get fixed.

Lee Kleinman voted to postpone the bond election, kicking the can down the road just like everyone else. Even worse, he acted without an iota of input from the folks in our district, District 11, his constituents.

On one of the most important issues to Dallas voters, street repair, what does Lee Kleinman do? He cancels not one but TWO scheduled meetings on the bond.

Does he even know what the people he represents want? Does he care?

I am running for his seat because I want to inspire a culture at Dallas City Hall that puts us, the taxpayers, first.  Rather than turn our back on our police, we need a positive working relationship: listen, compromise, don’t bully. We need oversight and accountability in city government at every level, to use every tax dollar efficiently for the best return on taxpayer investment. We need to be available and accessible to the people we represent, communicating with district residents regularly through modern channels, not a list of haters.

Join me in bringing a respectful, transparent vision to our great city, a city that can truly have it all. Every Friday we will bring you a report from the campaign trail as we dig into the issues and find solutions, together. 

22 Comment

  • Excellent to have a voice in residential Real Estate to serve and represent homeowners and residents best interest.

  • Not in your district, but will support you wholeheartedly.

  • How do I contribute to your election campaign fund?

    MRB – Dallas

  • Brava, Candace! THANK YOU for your compassion and enthusiasm for your district and the city. Your insights, intellect and energy will bring an urgently needed infusion of action to the horseshoe. That the incumbent is favoring the Cotton Belt Corridor versus the reliever route downtown is enraging and pathetic. Please know that as time permits I stand ready to support you in any way. Yes we can!

  • Congratulations on your decision to run for this seat, Candy–your passion and unique perspective will bring so much to the area and will definitely bring the politics ‘back to center’ for the residents living in District 11!

  • So many times I have thought about commenting on this blog about how much better for the city it would be if the writers on this blog were in charge instead of the usual suspects. Cannot believe that it is happening. Thanks so much for stepping up.

  • Sounds good, but remember most of the people you would be representing can’t afford the houses featured on your blog. And I agree about the damn streets. I swear I’m going to die one of these days driving home on Royal Lane due to earthquake size cracks and holes.

  • Well I’ll be darn! aren’t you “Somethin”!
    You go Miss Candy….can’t wait to hear more! 🙂

  • If only I lived a couple blocks closer. I wish you the best with your endeavor.

  • Looking forward to hearing more and seeing you win!

  • If repaired streets are on the list it’s long overdo! Yes, let’s get Dallas back to the beautiful city we’ve been proud to call home! Thank you, Candy!!

  • Hi Candy,
    I loooove reading your blog and look forward to updates each day. Your property appraisal tax explanation had me laughing alongside you at the absolute inanity of the supposed “math” formulas used.
    I’m in District 11 and of course the conditions of the roads is a point of fury… especially a number of alleyways with zero drainage. One of my main reasons, however, for voting for Kleinman in the past was his reluctance to vote on new bonds. Would you mind perhaps writing your views about the pros/cons about city bonds? I am definitely interested in hearing what you have to say.
    Thanks again for all of your hard work and care!

  • How are you going to pay for it? You want to fully pay the pension problem with NO cost to the firefighters & Police (even though the plan was run into the present problem by them) & new streets. The city’s bond rating is dropping due to this. Until it is solved the city cannot do a bond issue.

    • mm

      Guess what, we found it. It won’t cost the taxpayer one dime more. Councilman Scott Griggs has figured a way to shift 1/8th of our contribution to DART (from our sales tax) to cover the deficit in the plan worked out by Chairman Dan Flynn, Chairman of the House Pensions Committee.

      Under the Flynn plan, no tax increases are proposed. But people would pony up a lot more, including police and FF who would make over $1 billion in additional contributions to the pension over the next three decades.

      First of all, the state (who put the plan together) created a bad structure for the pension. Taxpayer contributions were managed by a board where the police and fire had a majority say over City Council members, who were supposed to be safe-guarding the taxpayer’s money. Some of them were vigilant, some were asleep at the wheel or missed half the meetings. Enter money managers who promised the moon although, in my research, I am learning that the pension plan was actually quite robust at one point. There was a too heavy concentration in real estate investment but it was the DROP plan that really hurt. Enter a change in actuarial standards and reporting — see this quote from then attorney general Greg Abbott on actuarial assumptions:

      “Two big problems are being laid on actuarial doorsteps: overly aggressive investing and overly rich benefits. Benefits can go off the scale because widely used actuarial methods tend to make them look inexpensive. And this tends to encourage aggressive investing, because the greater the risk in the portfolio, the less costly it can seem to provide the benefits.

      “Actuarial assumptions based on misinformation are a recipe for disaster,” said the Texas attorney general, Greg Abbott.”

      The problem is not exclusively due to greed and mismanagement: our system of projecting the cost and the benefits was flawed. The beefed up pension was a carrot for hiring cops and paying them less than surrounding cities pay, and retaining them. Now we are basically denying them part of their contracted pay package.

      Last fall, our Mayor and my opponent said publicly that Dallas faced bankruptcy if it had to fully fund the pension. This was a PR move that resulted in many beneficiaries pulling their money out. I cannot say I blame them. The city’s bond rating is dropping due to this, and to the pending 20 year old “Back Pay” lawsuit (which the city hopes to wriggle out of by sovereign immunity). There are those who believe that was orchestrated.

      The firefighters and police are most definitely shedding some blood: retirement age is going up to 58, old for a cop, elimination of COLA, changes to the DROP accounts and interest paid, increased employee contribution, and the clawbacks, which I think are wrong. The city estimates the clawbacks from DROP could approach $720 million, based on a 70% collection rate, which is a generous assumption. That’s also not taking into account any lawsuits retirees may pursue. The Flynn plan leave $3.7 billion unfunded. The goal is to have the plan fully funded in 35 years.

      But the Griggs plan could fill that hole with zero tax increase. Or clawback. Would it hurt DART? Not much, and if I had to rank priorities, which I think is the duty of a Councilperson, I’d say keeping police employed in our city to fight crime trumps a shiny new rail station in Denton hands down. DART is a bit bloated, could use some belt-tightening.

      What is more important for Dallas, for our city, our future, our quality of life? Shifting priorities and dollars to basics: streets, neighborhoods and crime.

  • Why does the Dallas Police union (association) support you? Does this mean you would tend to support the union in cases where the union and Police Chief are in disagreement?

    • mm

      Hey great question, but let’s take it to the CandyforDallas.com site. There is no police union, it’s an association. They are supporting me over my opponent because he kicked them out of his office and wouldn’t communicate. And your question depends on the situation.

  • I disagree with your statement
    “And we obsess over grand scale projects when all we really need is to fix the damn streets.

    It is not the streets, it is the schools!

    I paid for my two children to go to private, fancy north Dallas schools, but how many others did I also pay who received a sub standard education, if any at all?

    Yeah, my taxes are really high. About what a family living in one of our many suburbs pays for the mortgage on their home that is actually larger than mine.

    Fix the school, everything else will just magically fall into place.