Last Friday, Highland Park resident and philanthropist extraordinaire Lynn McBee threw her hat into the ring to run for mayor of Dallas. Lynn is the CEO of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network, a former biochemist researcher who is known for her strong fundraising chops for many of the city’s leading nonprofits. Her press announcement came with built-in support from many area heavyweights:
Lucy Billingsley, CEO, Billingsley Co. and Trustee, Southwestern Medical Foundation
Clay Cooley, CEO of Cooley Auto Group
Lisa Cooley, Board Member, Callier Center at UT Dallas and Young Women’s Prep Network
Lyria Howland, Founder, Howland PR, Board Chair, Friends of Barack Obama Leadership Academy and Board Member of Mayor’s Star Council
Tom Karol, CEO of Cornerstone Automation and Former Chair, Dallas Housing Authority
Jennifer Karol, Board Member, The Bridge Homeless Center
Carol Levy, Board Member, KERA and Trustee, Dallas Museum of Art
John Levy, Co-CEO of NCH Corporation and Former Chair, Dallas Zoo
Sarah Losinger, Board Member, Salvation Army and Advisory Council, Dallas AfterSchool
Richard Rogers, Former CEO of Mary Kay
Lynn has served on scads of Dallas area boards (on more than a dozen as we speak), from the Dallas International Film Festival to the Family Place Foundation. She is currently the board chair of The Bridge homeless shelter. The Dallas Morning News has lauded her and she is the recipient of the Texas Trailblazer Award, given out by the Family Place, one of my favorite organizations. Lynn helped the non-profit raise almost $17 million in under two years. Clearly, Lynn has philanthropy in her heart and I cannot wait to interview her on why she is running for Mayor of Dallas.
The only problem is that Lynn is a resident of Highland Park. And to be mayor of Dallas, you have to live in Dallas. So Lynn’s Highland Park house is now officially on the market with Anne Oliver of Allie Beth Allman.
Critics say someone from Highland Park should not stick their nose in Dallas business: they don’t pay Dallas city or school taxes (they do pay Dallas County taxes), they have their own elite school district, and they have zero knowledge of the problems Dallas faces: a dwindling, low morale police and public safety force, potholes, lack of affordable housing, homelessness, decaying infrastructure, a racial and cultural divide that divides the city into two segments, north and south, rich and poor. Something like 75% of the city’s tax revenue comes from taxpayers north of the Trinity. All week long I have been engaged in discussions on why it is so “bad” for a Highland Park resident to run for Mayor of Dallas. Lynn says she has been living in an apartment downtown since August, qualifying her for the six month residency requirement before the May 2019 election. I believe she told Robert Wilonsky that she loves living downtown. It is not unusual at all for many Park Cities, North Dallas or Plano homeowners to shed large homes for urban living: that’s why we have all those condos.
And what if she ended up buying a place in Museum Tower, helping fortify the Dallas Police Association’s pension investment? Don’t see our current mayor doing that. He, along with former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller, live in Preston Hollow (Mayor Rawlings lives in the Strait Lane area). Former Mayor Tom Leppert moved out of his Preston Hollow home and over to a zero lot line community off Northwest Highway.
I do not understand why a Highland Park heritage is considered a pariah when it comes to Dallas politics. Discrimination against wealth, perhaps? To say that just because Lynn doesn’t have a child in DISD means she can not understand education issues, or that because she was not a homeless, impoverished person at one point in her life means she can have no empathy for the homeless, makes no sense to me. Regina Montoya, also a very accomplished woman (I used to see her a lot at the Ivy Leagues college fairs where she would energetically help recruit students after a full day of work) lives in a 10,627 square foot home on Lobello in Dallas that is valued by DCAD at $4.2 million. And I will bet you her kiddos went to private schools.
Does that mean she can not relate to the problems Dallas faces?
I think it is so admirable of these women (and men) to pitch in and try to help the city they obviously love and want to make a better place. I have had the exact same feeling.
Anyhow, Lynn and Allen McBee’s house is now on the market. $4.250 though DCAD has it appraised for $2.8ish. My guess is that they have been getting the house ready for the photo shoot session and de-cluttering, though this woman is so organized I bet it took no time. The was built in 1920, has a full basement!, 3876 square feet with four bedrooms, three and a half baths, on about a third of an acre close to the Dallas Country Club and Lakeside Drive. The interiors are said to be charming. Cannot wait to see.
In the next few weeks, I am going to take a look at the Dallas mayoral candidates and their homes. I think it’s important for us to know where and how they live for many reasons, most vitally, because the last time I really looked at City Hall, I thought the exterior needed a major steam-cleaning. Just like the horseshoe does. And I am so grateful to these fine women and men who have stepped up to the big plate to do it.