'I'm not that stupid'

City council hopeful Brenda Reyes shows amazing inventiveness in meeting residency laws

When asked how she could have moved into her Yards apartment in October when the building wasn't yet licensed for occupancy, Reyes began to demonstrate the intellectual dexterity of a nascent politician.

When she mentioned October, Reyes said, she meant that's when she moved into the district, not the Gaston Yards apartment.

OK. So where in the district?
"I was staying with a friend of mine," Reyes said. "When my husband and I separated, uhh, I stayed with a friend for a few weeks until I found this place wasn't going to be ready until December."

Who is the friend who welcomed Reyes, and where is the home they shared? Reyes said she won't reveal the identity of her friend or the location of her friend's home.

"I'm going to respect the confidentiality of my friend. They do not want to be dragged, their names, into the Dallas Observer," she said, sounding increasingly upset.

The candidate's lack of clarity on this issue compelled a search for other clues as to her residential habits.

Voter registration records show that on November 5, Reyes voted in precinct 1157 in District 14, the precinct corresponding to the house at 6112 Ravendale.

But when Reyes voted in that election, she surrendered her voter's registration card at the poll and filled out a new card listing the Yards address as her new home, according to a copy of the card kept by the Dallas County Elections Department.

The card, which is stamped "11-5-96" is evidence that Reyes transferred her Ravendale address to the Gaston address on that day, says Ida Adams, who works in the elections department.

The card is interesting, though, because it differs from the the department's computer system, which shows that Reyes didn't transfer her registration until December 27, 1996, which is about the same time several sources say Reyes signed her lease.

Adams explains that the elections staff didn't get around to entering the information until December 27 and that's why the transfer dates are not consistent. Still, Adams says, Voter Registrar Bruce Sherbet is planning to ask Reyes to send the county an affidavit explaining when she moved.

"Since she is running for public office, we have to make sure that our records are correct," Adams says.

While it's not clear where Reyes is living now, her past addresses are a mystery as well. When she and her husband moved to Dallas in 1990, Reyes thinks they moved into a house at 554 Parkhurst Drive, which is located at the northeast corner of White Rock Lake in Lake Highlands.

"We lived there for about a year, I think, back in 1990. Maybe 1991," she says, sounding doubtful. "It was one of our first residences when we moved here in 1990."

And then the couple moved into the Ravendale address?
"No, we had one more residence on Hollow Ridge...I don't remember the address now, but then we moved in '90, let me think here. It's '97. '93. I wanna say '92, maybe. What's in the property records? Whatever the property records say when we moved into Ravendale," she says.

City tax records show that the house at 554 Parkhurst has been owned by Lawrence and Lorraine Roberts since 1992. Voter registration records, meanwhile, have no record that Reyes ever lived on Parkhurst or Hollow Ridge. They show that in 1994 Reyes lived at 6102 East Mockingbird Lane, apartment 195. They also show that Reyes moved to the Ravendale address in June 1995.

The only place the Parkhurst address shows up, oddly enough, is on the campaign finance records of outgoing councilman Luna. In March 1995 and August 1996, Reyes and Gould gave Luna $25 and $250, respectively. In both cases, they listed their address at 554 Parkhurst Drive.

Growing weary of such inconsequential questions as where she lives, Reyes said she would rather talk about the issues facing the voters of District 2. She also adds that, as the creator of Innovative Computer Groups, Inc., she is a successful, independent businesswoman who has been bestowed with many honors from the community.

Reyes does indeed own her own business, and she has received many awards from various community organizations in recent years. In fact, just last year Girls, Inc. gave her the "She Knows Where She's Going" award.

Reyes is also an active member of countless boards and commissions, including the city's Cultural Affairs Commission--a position she was appointed to by Luna.

When Luna announced that he would not seek reelection last week, he did not endorse either Reyes or perennial candidate and Dallas attorney John Loza, who is also running for the District 2 seat. Luna declined to speak with the Observer. His aide, Adela Sanchez, says the councilman has a "customary policy" of not speaking with the Observer.

Luna may not be speaking, but there are strong signs that he is throwing his financial clout behind the Reyes campaign. Reyes has named Carmen Garcia, a Luna appointee to the Reinvestment Zone 4 (Cedars Area) board, as her treasurer. Reyes hasn't submitted any campaign reports yet, but Garcia's workload is increasing by the day.

This week, Reyes' supporters were invited to attend two fund-raising events. The first was held February 11 (after the Observer went to press) at A.J. Gonzales near the West End. Of the dozens of supporters signed up for the event, the names of Luna allies Adelfa Callejo and Rudy Longoria appeared at the top of the list.

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