Dallas City Council District 7 turned out to be one of the more notable races in the municipal election last month — the incumbent, Kevin Felder, garnered a distant fourth place in a crowded field of candidates.
But that doesn’t mean that there are two complete unknowns vying for the D7 seat, however. Tiffinni Young has spent time on the horseshoe before, having been elected in 2015 and losing her re-election campaign in the runoff election on June 10, 2017.
Her opponent, a high school teacher Adam Bazaldua, is a known quantity in the district as well, having served on several community groups and task forces.
At the end of election night, Bazaldua had 23 percent of the vote, and Young pulled in 22.17 percent. All told, there were six races (five city and one Dallas ISD school board race) where none of the candidates reached the 50 percent threshold required to win outright, kicking off an extended election season that will culminate with a runoff election on June 8.
We solicited questions from readers and voters to craft a comprehensive questionnaire for each individual race. However, only Bazaldua returned his questionnaire — we reached out via email and social media to Young’s campaign and had no response.
We have Bazaldua’s responses in full below, but here are some highlights:
CD: Tell us about your own district. What are the best things about it? What are the struggles?
Bazaldua: “District 7 is comprised of vast diversity in not only racial demographic, but in socio-economics as well. We spread from Joppa up to South Dallas/Fair Park, and from South Cedars to the Mesquite City Line, also north of I-30 between Ferguson, Buckner and south of Oates.
I believe the best thing about our district is the diversity and sense of community throughout the district. The biggest struggles in our district are the many quality of life issues that directly affect the constituents. These struggles are community engagement, affordable housing, homelessness, crime and adequate city services.”
CD: Pick one of those struggles you just mentioned. How would you address it? Please be specific.
Bazaldua: “Community engagement. There are many beautification projects that can be initiated by our leadership to promote community engagement and help the overall morale and aesthetics of our communities. I plan to implement various street art projects, an “adopt the street” program to pilot in District 7 before implementing city-wide, more tree planting and landscaping programs to collaborate with the DISD schools in the district.”
CD: How would you address the police shortage and pay issues?
Bazaldua: “If we want the best police force in Texas, which we do, their salary should reflect that. Once we are at an equal playing field with other major Texas cities we should have no problem recruiting and retaining the best police force possible.”
CD: If you agree we need to raise the starting salary of DPD to remain competitive with neighboring communities, where would that funding come from?
Bazaldua: “The city’s budget already allocates 60% of funds to public safety. We need to audit and repurpose to reflect our priorities.”
CD: How would you suggest we discourage young trained officers from leaving our force once Dallas taxpayers have paid to train them?
Bazaldua: “Officer retention is not the only challenge facing DPD. Officer recruitment is also big. What I propose is a training program that begins in DISD. Speaking as a teacher, I know we have the resources in DISD to provide the college hours students need, the certifications, and even soft tactical training to set interested students on a career path to DPD. In addition to recruitment and retention, this would create bridges between youth and police and help build a community policing mindset because Dallasites would be policing Dallasites.”
CD: Should Dallas open the duties of promoting the city to an RFP, instead of renewing the VisitDallas contract in 2020? Why or why not?
Bazaldua: “Any time tax dollars are misused or unaccounted for, we need to immediately reevaluate. In this instance, especially given the lack of return on our investment, I am fully in favor of terminating the contract with VisitDallas and putting it out for a competitive, fair bidding process.”
CD: How do you prove that your district can trust its representation, in light of the federal charges levied against one of the people that has represented it? (Editor’s note: Carolyn Davis pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges, and was term limited out of serving District 7 in 2016).
Bazaldua: “My most prized role is husband and father. Ultimately, with any of my actions, I want to behave in a way that shows integrity, one that sets the right example for my kids.”
Election Day for runoff races in District 9, District 4 (both city and Dallas ISD), District 7, District 14, and the Mayoral elections is Saturday, June 8, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To find your polling location and more voting information, click here. You can vote in the runoff election even if you did not vote in the general, as long as you are a currently registered voter.