Herschel Weisfeld is a property developer by trade, but he's also the guy who started CorinthPark, the graffiti-covered artist's collective that is something of a model for the Dallas Police Department. Yesterday, the Dallas Voice broke the news that he also hopes to replace Pauline Medrano as District 2's city council member.
"I have a passion for the city. I've been involved and engaged in so many different parts of the city for so many years, I decided it was time to take a look at City Council and ask myself what can I [offer]?" he said today.
The answer, he says, is diverse experience that includes a childhood spent in McAllen, as the child of a produce grower, involvement in a long list of civic organizations and strong support of the arts, graffitied or otherwise. He loses no points on the diversity front for being openly gay, Jewish and a fluent Spanish speaker.
The latter will be key in a district with such a large Hispanic population, particularly if Adam Medrano decides to enter the race. The DISD trustee, Pauline's nephew, is the would-be heir to the District 2 seat. As Rudy Bush reported yesterday at the Morning News, Adam Medrano pretty much already has made that decision, though he hasn't technically made it official. Getting officially into the race would require him to leave his job with the city's Park and Recreation Department.
Instead, his aunt is sending out a birthday card featuring a cartoon Adam Medrano running down the Katy Trail, a city of Dallas water bottle in one hand, the other giving his bicycling aunt a thumbs up. He has a the No. 2 on his shirt. Just to dispel notions that the card is a de facto campaign announcement, it should be pointed out that Medrano is jogging in the picture, not running, and that the No. 2 represents the number of legs he's using to do so, not the council district he lives in. As for the water bottle, he just really likes that stylish city logo.
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I've emailed him to talk about his potential candidacy, but for now, what of Weisfeld's vision for the city? He mentioned some specific ideas about promoting smart development around Love Field and making sure the city drains well during floods, but emphasized that what the city really needs is a vision for the next 30 to 50 years. For Weisfeld, that includes a lot more multifamily developments, more walkable neighborhoods and transportation infrastructure that encourages walking, biking and public transportation.
"I think what's happening in urban sprawl is a thing of the past," he said. "What we're looking at now is density. ... I think we look at issues of security, and I think we have to look at places like London."
London, as in the place where cameras watch your every move. Cameras have worked well downtown, and Weisfeld wonders when the city will acknowledge that they can be used in other areas to enhance public safety.
But that's the future. For now, Weisfeld's just wondering who might enter the race against him.