Best, Worst and Other of The Dallas Morning News’ Voter Guide

Dallas City Council member Kevin Felder
Dallas City Council member Kevin Felder Jim Schutze
North Texas' municipal elections are just more than a month away. Anyone who's lived here long enough knows that means a couple of things: 1. Thanks to Texas' voter-access unfriendly laws, it's time to register if you aren't already. Anyone not on the books by a month before the election doesn't get a say. 2. The Dallas Morning News is sending out its full-court press of election endorsements and other tidbits, chief among them its voluminous voter guide, which asks candidates from across the region a couple of dozen or so questions about how and why they're running for office, as well as what they'd do once they get there.

The whole thing's obviously a huge endeavor, for the journalists who put it together and anyone who dares to read the entire thing.

In the unlikely event that you plan to take on the second task, save yourself some time. Over the last couple of days, your friendly neighborhood news vertical combed through the DMN's tome, culling some of the choicest bits for your enjoyment.

1. The No. 1 spot, with a bullet, goes to incumbent Dallas City Council member Kevin Felder, who provided this (non)answer:

Have you ever been arrested on any misdemeanor or felony charge or otherwise involved in any criminal proceedings? If so, please explain and include the outcome of the case.

Kevin Felder: No answer provided.

Felder's arrest for leaving the scene after allegedly hitting a scooter rider with his car isn't even a month old yet. You'd think he'd remember it. 
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Alyson Kennedy is running for mayor of Dallas as the candidate of the Socialist Workers Party, a pro-Castro Trotskyite communist party.
Jim Schutze

2. Socialist mayoral candidate Alyson Kennedy forgot where she was for moment.

Street conditions are a perpetual concern. What new ideas would you bring to bear on this problem?

Alyson Kennedy: I support a massive government-funded jobs program at union-scale wages paid for by corporate profits to rebuild crumbling infrastructure like streets and roads.
Government-funded jobs? Union-scale wages? Redistribution of corporate profits? This is Dallas not Havana, Ms. Kennedy.

3. Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston gets his licks in against Mayor Mike Rawlings.
How would you assess Mayor Mike Rawlings’ tenure?

Philip Kingston: Thumper’s Mother will be displeased, but here goes:

Things he was for that didn’t go well/were illegal:

Flow Control
Gas drilling in parks
Hiring A.C. Gonzalez
Hiring Warren Ernst
2011 redistricting
Be A Man (domestic violence rose 15% in the ensuing 4 years)
The Dream Team
Home Rule Charter
Exxxotica ban
Neighbor Up
The Humann Plan
Goals for Dallas (Part 2, Electric Boogaloo)
Yellow Cab
For Our Community
Trinity LGC

Things he was against that are awesome:

Rest breaks
Living wage
Living wages at Love Field
Raises for first responders
T.C. Broadnax
Larry Casto
LGBT nondiscrimination update
Cite & release
Competitive bidding for Fair Park
Muslim anti-discrimination resolution

Things he deserves credit for:

Investigating DPFP
Supporting downtown parks
Supporting historic preservation improvements
Opposing Trump’s travel ban

There have been worse mayors (Folsom comes to mind) but not recently. I despise the political record of Tom Leppert, but he worked hard to communicate with Council members, which Rawlings strangely refuses to do. Ron Kirk is the acme of legislative mayors (and of mayoral oration and of retail politics). There’s a reason Rawlings gets less than half of Kirk’s votes in a larger version of Dallas. Again my point is that I recognize talent even if I disagree with the ends it supports. I’m trying to be fair when I say he’s bad at the job.

4. Mayoral candidate Mike Ablon tells jokes about Dallas' potholes that would make your dad blush.

Street conditions are a perpetual concern? What new ideas would you bring to bear on this problem?

Mike Ablon: Everywhere you look in Dallas, you see potholes that could almost swallow a small import car. The city has made great strides to make it easier to report and track street repairs, but we must expedite these repairs to completion; but we aren’t there yet. Our issues are not in the quality of repair but the lack of funding. To enact the streets program that we all desire, we need to create a large revenue pool by driving job growth, therefore economic growth, and to be more efficient with our budgets.
Are Dallas' potholes too good to ruin a small, American-made car?
5. If elections were held based on contributors alone, Yvette Gbalazeh, better known as the Will Rap 4 Weed woman, would have Dallas' District 7 council race all but locked up.

Who are your top three contributors?

Yvette Gbalazeh:
South Dallas Residents
With God, and weed, on her side, whom should Gbalazeh fear?

6. District 4's Carolyn Arnold takes the icy high road against the soon-to-be-sentenced former council member Dwaine Carraway.

What was your relationship, if any, with former council member Dwaine Caraway? Describe your opinion of his work in the district?

Carolyn King Arnold:

Predecessor - District 4

So cold it burns. 
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Joe Arpaio
Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

7. Arlington mayoral candidate Ashton Stauffer reminds everyone that yes, one of the main reasons Arlington is the biggest city in the United States without public transportation is because it doesn't want people who might ride public transportation to have access to the city.

How should Arlington approach public transportation in the future?
Ashton Stauffer:

We shouldn’t. It’s not the institutional role of government to provide a free ride to people. Arlington is full of charitable citizens. We need to come together as family, friends, and neighbors to help each other out and keep the government out of it.
Stauffer is also trying to bring notorious former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to Arlington for an April rally. 
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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