By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
As of Monday, the city secretary's office listed 20 people who have filed to run. There's the usual slate of generic white male biz types. We forget their names. And of course, it wouldn't be a mayoral race without a former Dallas Observer staffer, Zac Crain this time. Three city council members are in the ring, including Don Hill, whose campaign nickname should be Mr. Clean. ("Investigated out the wazoo by the feds, and still no indictment!" would make a catchy yard sign.) There's even an ex-Marine, homeless transgender candidate. What struck us as odd, though, is that only one candidate with a Latino surname is in the lot: lawyer Roger Herrera, who's a political twofer, as he's also gay. Now, last time we checked, Dallas' population was pushing 40 percent Latino, which means people of that ethnicity must outnumber cross-dressing vets by at least a few dozen, so why so few Latino candidates?
"I think they're all ready and willing to vote for me, and they know they can count on me," Herrera told us, giving a pretty savvy answer for a political neophyte.
Yeah, we wheedled, but why is he the Lone Ranger?
"We're pretty darn good at holding press conferences," Herrera said of local Latino political and civil rights leaders. "But will we finally play a role in electing the mayor of Dallas? That's the question."
Well, having a few more candidates might help, particularly some who don't have Herrera's baggage. In December, the Dallas Voice newspaper reported that Herrera was convicted of shooting a gun into the air outside his Oak Cliff home on September 16, 2002, which also happens to be Mexican Independence Day. Was he celebrating?
That was part of it, Herrera said, plus it was hot, the Cowboys had played the day before and he had fallen off the wagon. (Herrera "suffers from alcoholism," he told the Voice.)
"The truth is, I made a horrible mistake five years ago, and I deeply regret it," he told us.
Oh, well. So he drinks sometimes and does a little gunplay. That shouldn't bar any Cowboys fan from becoming mayor. Could be a plus. And there's this: His law practice is split between criminal defense and family law, i.e. dealing with bickering families. Looks like the man has the résumé for the job.