City News Roundup

City elections and Trinity River cleanups top this shot of Dallas news

City elections and Trinity River cleanups top this shot of Dallas news

Sunset in Dallas from Great Trinity Forest
You could be spelunking here. Photo by R.P. Washburne

Campaigning for the Dallas City Council election on May 6 is underway. Unfortunately, some of it is negative; fortunately, that's backfiring badly. In city management news, a high-profile assistant city manager for Dallas is leaving to take a new job.

Here's what happened in city news this week:

City Council skullduggery
The yard signs have been printed, the block walks are on, the endorsements are rolling in. Ordinarily, that might be as feisty as it gets on the local level of politics, but this election, a political action committee called For Our Community is trying to inject some slime.

The PAC is overseen by Mari Woodlief of Allyn Media who previously managed campaigns for Mayor Mike Rawlings and District Attorney Susan Hawk. According to its finance report, donors include real estate honcho Jack Matthews, Ambit Energy CEO Jere Thompson Jr., Woodbine Development Corp. head John Scovell, investor Mike Terry, Deedie Rose, No. 1 fan of the Trinity Toll Road project, and more other old people.

Their target is City Council member Philip Kingston, who serves District 14 and is one of the most articulate representatives of a generation of younger, community-oriented Dallasites who favor investing in neighborhoods and quality of life over big projects like the toll road.

Their smear efforts include a barebones website, a video, Facebook page, and half a dozen scurrilous twitter accounts (none of which have more than 30 followers, so they seem to be preaching only to themselves). They pull phrases and scenarios out of context to paint an inaccurately negative portrait of Kingston.

Laughably inept and transparent, they feel like 2008-era internet, when you could still troll anonymously and not have it be 100 percent obvious who and what you were. They're so old-school, they're running ads in the Dallas Morning News.

Their campaign has only generated more support for Kingston, including testimonials to his effectiveness, rejecting what one supporter called "one of the slimiest political hatchet jobs I've ever seen in a local race in Dallas," and endorsements from the likes of the Dallas Police Association and Dallas Firefighters Association-Local 58.

This is going to be a fun election to vote in; you'll want to say you voted against this nonsense. The deadline to register is April 6. You can do it online.

From Dallas to Kerrville
Assistant City Manager Mark McDaniel has accepted a conditional offer to become city manager for Kerrville. McDaniel came to Dallas in 2014 from Tyler, where he served as city manager. He was also a candidate for the position in Dallas, after the resignation of former manager AC Gonzalez.

McDaniel says in a release that he has family in the Kerrville area.

"After more than 30 years of public service spanning six different Texas cities, I am taking an initial retirement and starting my second career in local government, returning to the role of city manager," he says. "Kerrville is close to family and an ideal community that matches up well to my experience."

Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax says that he'll review the city's new organizational structure and make necessary adjustments and interim assignments as needed.

Volunteer opp
The Trinity River Conservation Corps' Corporate Day of Service is Friday, April 7 from 8:30 am-12 pm. If you volunteer, you get to spelunk within the Trinity River Corridor near Moore Park Gateway along the river and Cedar Crest Creek. You get to plant native grasses, weed out invasive species, pick up trash, and participate in a "bio-blitz," capturing inventory of the biodiversity in the area using an app. An app is involved! It must be fun.

The Trinity River Conservation Corps began in 2013 with a gift from Southwest Airlines to the Trinity Park Conservancy (formerly The Trinity Trust Foundation) to create a volunteer program in the Trinity corridor. Last year's Corporate Day of Service drew more than 400 participants and 42 companies and organizations, that collected 10,000 pounds of trash and invasive species and made thousands of seed balls to disburse in the corridor.

Go to eventbrite to register and get more info.