DISD District 8 Residency Lawsuit Kaput Until After Election

A lawsuit against the Dallas school district and a candidate for election to the school board brought by his election opponent Kristi Lara was stopped by court order this afternoon until after the November 5 election, according to a lawyer for Lara's opponent.

Jeronimo Valdez, lawyer for DISD District 8 candidate Miguel Solis, told me: "This afternoon we filed a petition for mandamus in the Court of Appeals for the 5th District and a motion for expedited consideration. The court subsequently entered an order staying all proceedings in the trial court."

Valdez said that means the lawsuit will not be heard until after the election. He said the Lara's claim that Solis does not live in District 8 was never the lawsuit's true motivation, characterizing the suit instead as a fishing expedition seeking political information about Solis' supporters and his ties to Dallas school Superintendent Mike Miles.

I have had calls in to Lara and her lawyer, Lisa Blue, since early afternoon seeking comment. They haven't called yet.

Lara sued Solis and the school district on the first day of early voting, claiming Solis was not a legal resident of the district as required by law. Solis offered rent receipts and other evidence right away to show he had moved into the district in time to meet legal requirements, but the lawsuit ground on. Lara is seeking $100,000 from Solis and the school district and the right to question Miles under oath.

The District 8 seat was vacated when Adam Medrano left the school board to join the City Council last May. That left a four-four split on the board between those members who want to fire Miles and those who want to keep him.

Solis, who was a special assistant to Miles before quitting to take another job, is assumed to be a Miles supporter. Lara's campaign announcement photograph was shot at the headquarters of Alliance-AFT, a teachers union calling for Miles to be fired.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze