Thanks to the Facebook page Where's Neumann, we learned this morning that council member Dave Neumann has been a no-show at several candidate forums held this month. The page's unknown author named recent forums sponsored by LULAC, the NAACP and both the West Kessler and Cedar Vista neighborhood associations, claiming Neumann backed out because of conflicts with his schedule, even though the events were scheduled weeks in advance.
Of particular note, today's post said Neumann on March 9 confirmed that he'd appear at last night's "Monday Night Politics" sponsored by the Dallas Chapter of the NAACP and The Dallas Examiner but "called at 3 p.m. to back out."
Not true, says Examiner publisher and CEO Mollie Finch Belt.
"He never confirmed," she says. "I have the email where he responded to our invitation, and he did not confirm."
Belt says Neumann told her soon after she extended the invitation that he had a previous church engagement, which he attended, although Belt thought Neumann might reconsider and stop by what she refers to as a candidate meet-and-greet for a few minutes.
"I was hoping maybe Dave would walk in," she says, but Neumann didn't make an appearance.
We attempted to reach Neumann earlier this afternoon through his City Hall office and were told he was in a meeting.
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Scott Griggs, Neumann's District 3 opponent, claims Neumann didn't attend LULAC's March 5 forum at El Ranchito, the March 15 West Kessler neighborhood meeting and the March 17 Cedar Vista crime watch get-together, along with refusing to record a video interview with the Advocate.
"It's so vital to democracy that constituents get to see the candidates for office debate and make themselves available. This is true of an officeholder too. You need to make yourself available," Griggs tells Unfair Park. "And from going around the district and talking to everyone, everyone says my opponent doesn't make himself available and is non-responsive. That's the truth with him as an officeholder as well as a candidate."
Anna Casey, Griggs's campaign consultant, says her client grabbed momentum at last month's forum in North Oak Cliff -- the only time thus far the two candidates have squared off.
"Things he said about Oak Cliff and South Dallas have really resonated," she says, adding, "To ignore Scott is just not appropriate."