District 14 Dallas City Council member was officially reprimanded by the council after using his office to post a video on Facebook about a fundraiser.

By Ashley Stanley
Special Contributor

Dallas City Council members engaged in a lengthy discussion on Wednesday about the so-called “Kingston ethical lapse.” The body was charged with voting on a recommendation from the Ethics Advisory Commission to reprimand Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston for using his city office to film a campaign video — a clear violation of the ethics code recently approved by Kingston and his colleagues.

I was there hoping to come away with a story about economic development and performing arts because I attended a presentation at The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth the day before. I wanted to see how this meeting would go and what outrage might ensue, especially with the bond program vote concluded, which included funding to repair several cultural and arts facilities such as the Wyly Theater.  I missed the arts item, but I did hear enough to appreciate Dallas Observer columnist Jim Schutze’s bathroom-wall article posed early (4 a.m.!) this morning.

Schutze referred to his weekly paper as the dish. If that is true, then I write for the dirt! Councilmember Lee Kleinman called Kingston’s lapse “going too far” and said it was “just wrong,” according to a story in The Dallas Morning News by Tristan Hallman. I missed that part of the conversation, but I sat down in time to hear Councilman Adam Medrano (a personal friend of Kingston’s) say, “Philip made a dumb mistake.” Or did he? Who knows? Who cares? This meeting was all about Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway, and I heard every word from that dude. Council meetings with that guy in office are free, front-row tickets to the funny show.

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Dallas County

Dallas county voters opted to shutter Dallas County Schools last night with 58 percent of the vote (Photo courtesy Dallas County Schools).

Less than 7 percent of Dallas County registered voters cast ballots to decide the fate of Dallas County Schools — and those 83,209 voters (out of about 1.3 million registered voters in the county) chose to shutter the embattled school bus provider.

“I think we put up a good fight given that we had zero money to fight this while our opponents spent thousands of dollars,” DCS board president Gloria Levario told The Dallas Morning News. “It will be business as usual for our employees, but that’s all I know for now.”

Levario also said that all DCS employees will continue to have jobs through the end of the school year — buses will continue to run.

Now that 58 percent of voters have opted to pull the plug on the agency, the current DCS board and superintendent will be replaced by a committee made up of representatives from school districts and appointees from the state comptroller’s office by Nov. 15. That committee will begin working with the districts that use DCS to unspool the agency and end operations after the school year, distributing DCS assets among the school districts.

Districts currently utilizing DCS for bus service are Aledo ISD, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, Cedar Hill ISD, DeSoto ISD, Dallas ISD, Highland Park ISD, Irving ISD, Lancaster ISD, and Richardson ISD.

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vote

The fate of the embattled Dallas County Schools is on today’s ballot – but several other important things are on there, too (Photo courtesy Dallas County Schools).

Today is Election Day, and since there aren’t any candidates, very few will likely bother to vote, despite the fact that some very important things are on the ballot.

How can I say that with such confidence? Early voting totals show that a little more than 2 percent of registered voters in Dallas County have voted so far.

I don’t think it will get much better today.

In the off chance that you haven’t voted yet and weren’t planning to, I thought I’d outline what your Dallas County ballot will look like, and what you’ll be voting on. Full disclosure: I waited until today to vote as well.

This isn’t meant to be endorsements of any of the measures on the ballot, but instead is a rundown on what you will see. We’ll go in the order the measures are found on the ballot, too. (more…)

This was former Dallas  Councilwoman Vonciel Jones Hill’s pool, breeding grounds for West Nile Virus-spreading mosquitoes and Zika. This is who Lee Kleinman wanted on the DART Board (Photo: Eric Nicholson/Dallas Observer)

The brand spanking NEW City Council voted today on the new DART board. This is a very positive move for Dallas real estate ultimately. And they did NOT vote for the appointee my ex-opponent and District 11 City Councilman Lee Kleinman proposed: Vonciel Jones Hill. That is a very good thing!

Here’s the positive news: the new 7 member DART board that represents Dallas will be the four nominated by the transportation committee a few weeks ago: Patrick Kennedy, Jon-Bertrell Killen, Amanda Moreno Lake, and Catherine Cuellar. The three new members voted on today are terrific and also all three are attorneys: Dominique Torres (love, also just ran for City Council), Michelle Krause, and Ray Jackson. Three of these board members — Kennedy, Lake and Krause — voted against that disastrous $ 1 billion bond borrowing for the Cotton Belt. The new board members say they want to focus on core ridership, improving the bus system, and put reliability over expanding rail lines for few riders. Thank God!

A little background: the new Dallas City Council will influence three or four major projects that will shape Dallas for the next 100 plus years. (more…)

Last month, Dallas ISD District 2 Trustee Dustin Marshall found himself upside down in the general election, with challenger Lori Kirkpatrick besting him by 291 votes. However, she was 23 votes shy of the required 50 percent, so both geared up for more campaigning and a runoff election.

What a difference a month makes. Although totals aren’t finalized because mail-in ballots where voters required assistance to complete are currently sequestered, Marshall shot out to a sizeable lead after early voting totals were posted – holding 71.32 percent of the vote to Kirkpatrick’s 28.68 percent.

Kirkpatrick was never able to make up the deficit and finished the night with 33.63 percent of the vote, or 3,136 votes to Marshall’s 6,190.

Marshall was the only incumbent in the Dallas runoff election to retain his seat as well. Omar Narvaez beat Monica Alonzo for the city District 6 race, 1,132 votes to 828. In District 7, Kevin Felder edged out incumbent Tiffinni Young, 1,215 to 1,046 votes. In District 8, Tennell Atkins squeaked past Erik Wilson, 966 votes to 919.

The trustee race was also the one that brought the most to the polls. (more…)

Election day

12:05 a.m. And now for some reaction:

Alex Dickey reached out to supporters via NextDoor, thanking them and adding, “This campaign for City Council has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The best part was having the opportunity to meet so many of you at your doorstep.”

“I’m very happy,” Philip Kingston told me around midnight. “District 14 can’t be bought.”

And on Facebook, Matt Wood responded, “Today, we did not receive the outcome we had hoped for. However, we thank the 3,307 voters and dozens of volunteers who shared Matt’s vision for a more collaborative style of leadership.”

“Congratulations to Mr. Kingston for his victory with 55 percent of the vote,” he added.
Our 42 percent will be paying very close attention.”

Dwaine Caraway thanked his supporters, and told the Dallas Morning News, “I even want to thank the people who hated me and worked so hard against me.”

“When you defeat the haters, that means that God has his plan and his arms wrapped around you, protecting you from every single one of them,” he added.

Erik Wilson said he felt the confusion between his name and a similar sounding opponent, Eric Williams, may have contributed to his second-place finish against Tennell Atkins. “With the absence of any confusion, I feel really good about the runoff,” Wilson told the Dallas Morning News.

And with that, I’ll leave you tonight. Stay tuned Monday for a bigger overview of what happened tonight, and how few people actually decided they wanted a say in charting the course of the city and school district.

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Candy For Dallas Billboard

[Editor’s Note: This story is the opinion of the writer and should not be interpreted as an endorsement. CandysDirt.com does not make endorsements in political races — yes, even when our founder is running!]

Today is the last day of early voting, and our Bethany Erickson did a stellar job of ranking the slate of candidates vying for two Dallas ISD Board of Trustees spots. You can find out more about District 2 and District 6 by following those links. Election Day for municipal and school board races is May 6.

But we’d be remiss if we didn’t share how proud we are of our founder and publisher, Candy Evans, who has run a fantastic campaign for Dallas City Council’s District 11 seat. She’s had the odds stacked against her from the beginning, running against a well-funded incumbent such as Lee Kleinman, but she’s been transparent and honorable, and we’re just beaming! Over the past six weeks, Candy has knocked on doors all over District 11 and received some pretty stellar endorsements. Her background as a journalist and reporter that never stops digging is an asset to our city leadership, noted by Dallas Observer managing editor Patrick Williams, and we’re glad that more and more District 11 residents are realizing it.

Want to thank her in person? Go early vote over at Fretz Park until 7 p.m. today, as there is no wait! Want to get up-to-the-minute updates on her campaign? Check out @DallasDirtCandy on Twitter!

Good luck, Candy!

 

Dallas electionsFourteen Dallas City Council seats and three Dallas Independent School District trustee seats are up for grabs on May 6. I’ll start saying this early — as I always do: It can cost somewhere around $1 million to hold an election, and in most May Dallas elections, we see less than 10 percent of voters turning out to vote.

And it really couldn’t be much easier. Check and see if you’re registered to vote here.  If you’re not, you can click here to register. If you vote early, you can vote at any early voting polling location in the county – so on your way to work, during your lunch break, on your way home, or even on a Saturday. The last day to register to vote is April 6. Early voting begins April 24 and will continue through May 2 for all Dallas elections.

The last day to register to vote is April 6. Early voting begins April 24 and will continue through May 2. You can even vote on a Saturday or a Sunday.

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