I got a call from Damarcus Offord yesterday. The 20-year-old school-board candidate sounded excited, energized.
"Did you read the email I sent?" he asked. "Did you see the poll?"
I did not, so then I did.
"Damarcus Offord is a candidate running in the May 12 election for DISD School Board Trustee, District 9," it read, "where he currently leads in a district-wide poll 60-40% over the incumbent, Bernadette Nutall."
If what I read was to be believed, Offord was opening up a can in South Dallas.
"Where'd this poll come from?"
"Alliance-AFT," he said. Alliance-AFT is the teachers union that endorsed Offord. "They put phone calls out to the entire district, and asked: Damarcus or Bernadette?"
"Voters are clearly unhappy with their trustee now and want something to change," Tammy Tijerina, the organization's political coordinator, told me yesterday.
We're not sure whether Offord sent the poll results to The Dallas Morning News, but if he did, the newsroom should be on the look out for pieces of opinion writer Tod Robberson's head. Robberson happens to have just penned a gloves-off beat-down of Offord and Alliance, headlined "Alliance-AFT embarasses itself with endorsement of Damarcus Offord for trustee." Here are some excerpts:
His highest educational degree obtained is high school. I asked him what his grade-point average was. He answered "85." I repeated the question. He said about a B average. I told him that normally GPAs are on a four or five-point scale. He answered, "Yeah, that's about what it was."
It's pretty clear Damarcus Offord doesn't know what a GPA is.
I asked him why voters should choose him over Nutall, the incumbent. What does he bring to the table in terms of experience and maturity that Nutall can't offer? He said he has 20 years of experience living in South Dallas. "She's from Alabama. So she doesn't know the community. So the decisions she makes on the school board is against the community." He has a community mentality; she has a "business mentality," Offord said.
Just for the record, Nutall has lived in District 9 -- as an adult -- since Damarcus Offord was 5 years old.
And the kicker:
Thanks, Alliance-AFT. I'm very impressed with your endorsement, and I hope voters use it to know exactly how NOT to vote in the future.
I called Offord to ask him if he saw the article. He hadn't. He asked me if it was good. I told him it wasn't.
He called me with a response last night.
"They lie about everything," Offord railed. "And they pretty much had their mind made up about who they were gonna go with.
"I'm straight for the facts. They're liars. They knew they were going with Bernadette. It's obvious Bernadette is a business establishment person. The guy wanted to get in a debate conversation over the phone, and I didn't get into it with him. I told him, 'Sir, you have a great day.'"
Offord said that Nutall wasn't doing what was in the best interest of the South Dallas community.
"Bernadette voted to close the six schools in our community. She voted against the teachers 10 out of 12 times. She has not been with the community. They're gonna be bussing 4-year-olds at 6 o'clock in the morning. It's time for someone in the community to step up and fight for these schools. She's a sellout. And it's obvious.
"The Dallas Morning News can write what they want to write," he finished. "It's a racist newspaper. They target people who are for the community -- they try to destroy them -- and they support people who aren't for the community."
He reiterated his sentiment by sending a letter to District 9 voters:
Hello District 9 Resident: Thank you for taking the time to email me and thoroughly look at the candidates on the District 9 May 12 ballots. I won't give you a long campaign speech, but there is a big difference between me and my opponent. I want teachers and parents and community members making decisions about DISD. MY opponent wants businessmen, the Dallas Regional Chamber and people that plan to make a profit off DISD, she wants those people making the decisions.
Clearly my vote won't be for sale. My opponents vote is for sale and it was demonstrated when she voted to close down the schools and the Dallas Regional Chamber deposited a $10K check into her campaign account the week of the vote. Recently the Dallas Morning News had a lot to say about Alliance-AFT (Teacher's Union) endorsing me, but no one seems to want to look at the facts that Bernadette Nutall voted against the teachers 10 out 12 times in her 3 year term.
So, I just encourage everyone to look at the facts, look at the fact that Trust Nutall had 6 schools close down in her district. Out of the other trustees that voted yes to the school consolidation, they had no schools close in their district. (Their districts were completely unaffected!)
The voter in district 9 has to make one crucial decision. If they want Big Business, Wall Street bankers, making the decisions for our kids in DSID, vote for Bernadette Nutall.
If you want teachers, community members and parents making decisions for DISD, vote for Damarcus Offord. Damarcus Offord
The liveliest DISD trustee race just got a little livelier. In the words of the immortal Terrell Owens, getcha popcorn ready.