The "Doctor" Is In

School board candidate Richard Evans has a checkered past, a mail-order degree, and a confrontational manner. But many city leaders think he's the best man for the job.

In 1994, the district attorney's office dismissed the first charge after it lingered in court for two years without being resolved. But the second case remains open, and court records reflect that after Lynch didn't show up for trial, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

"Do you know where he is?" inquires a Dallas county clerk. "Because we've been looking for him."

Lynch says he has been waiting for someone to ask him about the cases. Although he fesses up to the first charge, saying he wrote the check in college when money was tight, he claims his cousin wrote the second check without his knowledge.

"We didn't know about the warrant until recently," says Lynch, who had someone check his records just in case it became an issue in the campaign. "Now we're trying to straighten that out."

When asked where his cousin is, Lynch lets out a sigh and chuckles. "In the pen," he admits. "It sounds funny, but it's not funny. It's sad that you have family members that will do you like that."

Rather than growing defensive when asked about the hot-check charges, Lynch, a self-employed photographer, maintains an easygoing, noncombative nature. The 32-year-old Lynch is married and has two daughters, both of whom attend DISD schools. His knowledge of education issues revolves around his children and his on-going involvement with the J.N. Ervin Elementary School's PTA, where he was twice elected president.

Lynch doesn't have a specific set of priorities that he would bring to the board. Instead, he says he just wants to do what's right for the kids.

"If we get someone in there who can bring a unity to the board, then that might help. We're supposed to stay focused on the children," Lynch says. "We don't need DISD to be used as a [political] stepping stone."

Lynch talks the right talk, and given his unflappable demeanor and his ability to shoulder criticism, he just might have the kind of qualities that would make for a good trustee. That is, if he doesn't get arrested first.

Political pundits often quip that the electorate gets the kind of government it deserves. Judging from the slate of candidates running in District 5's special election, the citizens of Dallas don't deserve a heck of a lot. A timid volunteer, a resume padder, a fugitive from justice--take your pick.

But it's Richard Evans who seems the solid front-runner: the mystery man who refuses to subject himself to public scrutiny despite running for public office; the "management consultant" who some would say has fraudulently held himself out as earning a doctoral degree; the rabble-rouser whose confrontational tactics have won him the respect of some and the disdain of others.

If Evans does win come August 8, there will be no honeymoon period, no chance for on-the-job training. The political forces that blindly catapulted him into office will have to live with him, as is.

In recent months, a momentary calm has beset the school board. But the NAACP's Alcorn says those days may be numbered, because he and his supporters are growing disappointed with trustee Hollis Brashear's performance as president. "There is a peace around the school board. I think that will be short-lived."

DISD Trustee Don Venable echoes the concerns of many who believe that Evans will bring his old game of race politics to the table, and the board will find itself where it was a year ago--embroiled in controversy fueled by people who would rather hurl racial invectives than work together.

Still, it's the political process that discourages truly qualified people from running and has coughed up this slate of unremarkable candidates. And if Richard Evans ever gives those powerful forces within the city cause to consider why they endorsed him in the first place, they can turn to the list of alternatives and comfortably answer: Why not?

For one DISD official, that answer just won't do: " If Richard Evans gets elected, it'll be like pouring gasoline on the fire.

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