Policy

Public Safety

We need to improve public safety by increasing police salaries to retain quality talent instead of seeing experienced officers leave for the suburbs.

  • Offer affordable housing opportunities to our police and firefighters
  • Identify wasteful spending in our city’s budget and redirect funds to public safety salaries
  • Increase starting salaries and improve health benefits to retain quality talent
  • Leverage the city’s land bank as a strategy to provide affordable housing for public safety staff
  • Increase staff numbers of community police officers to improve relationships between communities and law enforcement

Housing

I support the Comprehensive Housing Policy and helped draft key sections. I support continued implementation and tweaking as needed to meet our goals.

  • Supports inclusionary zoning to induce developers to add affordable housing stock to new construction projects
  • Supports Scott Griggs’ introduced policy (2018) to utilize the city’s land bank to increase affordable housing stock (already underway)
  • Supports Scott Griggs’ introduced policy (2018) for tax stabilization overlays for areas sensitive to over-development
  • Favors tweaking language of Comprehensive Housing Policy to remove the requirement that neighborhoods must “opt in” to allow accessory dwelling units. Prefers a way for neighborhoods to opt out if desired.

Infrastructure

I am an advocate of making our surface streets safer and more accessible for more users, including pedestrians and cyclists AT THE SAME TIME as making much-needed basic street improvements.

  • Will fight for prompt attention in areas where repairs are needed to streets and sidewalks
  • Will fight for funding to add sidewalks and pedestrian connectivity where there are no pedestrian routes, prioritizing those that would extend safe routes to schools
  • Supports changing the bidding process for public works contractors from lowest cost to best value

Government Accessibility and Transparency

I am a big believer in direct outreach and accessibility to improve citizen involvement,

  • Revitalize the City Hall Annex on Jefferson to be more user-friendly and accessible to local business owners

Walkability

  • Supports the creation of designated bike lanes where appropriate
  • Supports the use of smart urban design strategies to improve access to small businesses as a way to bolster our local mom and pop shops and to improve access to local schools

What is the district’s greatest single need? How would you act to provide for that need?

The City must provide chances for all residents, regardless of background, race, gender, and income level to succeed. This includes providing equitable city services, parks and recreation facilities, education, job opportunities, and housing across the City. As a former Bond Task Force representative for District 1, District 1’s former City Plan Commissioner, and as a community activist and organizer, I have fought for bond funds, drafted zoning-related code amendments, and actively spoke up and lobbied for equitable resources over the last ten years and will continue to do so as District 1’s next Councilmember.

What is your district’s single greatest asset? How would you promote and preserve it?

Our wonderful cultural diversity and beautiful, historic neighborhoods and architecture. These are the reasons many of us (including me) moved to Oak Cliff.

Displacement of individuals due to rising housing costs is a serious problem. To reduce and hopefully eliminate displacement, we must bring more rooftops to Oak Cliff and provide more economic opportunities (jobs and entrepreneur resources). While on the City Plan Commission, I played key roles in drafting the live-work and incentive zoning ordinances, both of which are tools recommended by the Comprehensive Housing Policy (the “Policy”) to increase the number of affordable units available. We must aggressively promote and enact the remainder of the Policy to continue to bridge the gap. We also must look at opportunities in areas next to transit for additional housing, such as the dozens of vacant acres next to the DART train station at Westmoreland and Illinois.

The heart of Dallas is comprised of our single-family neighborhoods, and we must cherish them at all costs. I have never and will never support a project that involves tearing down single-family homes and upzoning the lots. To protect our beautiful commercial/retail structures that exist along our former streetcar lines and stops, we must give property owners incentives to keep them intact; by working with neighborhood associations, preservationists, and property owners, I have already begun this work through my “Little Villages” concept, and I will expand this work as District 1’s next Councilperson.

How concerned are you about affordable housing in your district? Do you support the city’s new housing policy? Why or why not? What policies would you support or advance as part of a solution?

Very.

Affordable housing, and more importantly, the creation of mixed income neighborhoods, is one of the most critical needs for Dallas’ long-term success. I support the Comprehensive Housing Policy and have hands-on experience working to enact portions of it. While on the Plan Commission, I assisted in the drafting of the Live-Work ordinance and participated in putting together the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) requirements, although I would have preferred the program to be an “opt out” program rather than an “opt in” program. I also played a key role in drafting language for incentive zoning, which requires builders to offer a percentage of affordable housing in order to obtain more density and height.

Moving forward, we need to protect neighborhoods by pushing for the tax stabilization overlays that CM Griggs proposed, and which were incorporated into the plan. We also need to aggressively pursue transit-oriented projects in areas that will not harm single family neighborhoods. And we need to open up the 1500 lots sitting in the City’s Land Bank for affordable homes for police, fire, teachers, and nurses.

How can the city better support improvement and renewal of aging properties in your district?

The market really supports renewal (in lieu of demolition) of aging structures in District 1, but the incentives in the Housing Policy for renewal are important city-wide. And where we do not have zoning in place in commercial corridors to incentivize owners to preserve properties, we need to begin discussions with neighbors and property owners to take action before we lose additional historic structures.

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

The City must find way to lower the maintenance burden by demanding higher quality construction and repair, and completion of projects in a more timely manner. I suggest completion bonuses for contractors who finish road projects on or before deadlines. We also need to consolidate our mobility enhancement and repair work. If the City has long term plans for bike lanes, curb bump-outs, bioswale installation, etc, then put those in at the same time that we are resurfacing the road. We already have the crews out there and are already inconveniencing neighbors, so let’s do it all at once. Lastly, we need to encourage other forms of transportation and shrink the underused and overbuilt arterial facilities around the City.

Should Dallas be cooperating or competing with its suburbs for corporate relocations and on other matters?

On relocations, Dallas competes with the suburbs. And even if Dallas doesn’t want the corporation, when our neighbors get one, they immediately demand more highways that further burdens Dallas with traffic and pollution. The COG’s Mobility 2040 plan puts more than 80 percent of funding toward automobile travel over the next 20 years when the City of Dallas desperately needs mass transit improvements. That plan is a reaction to suburban demand for subdivision development and support for relocations.

On other issues like water and flood mitigation, we have to work together.

How should the city go about hiring more police officers and retaining those we have?

We need to first watch how the recent pay raise impacts numbers. It should improve because we’re now competitive on new-hire pay, but I suspect that, at the next meet-and-confer, another raise will be appropriate to be competitive. The City should use a good portion of our 1500 lots sitting in the Land Bank for affordable housing options for police officers, with a goal of keeping them on the force long-term and moving them back into Dallas.

Would you support raising the city’s property tax rate to pay for public safety, street improvements or other services?

No. It is our duty as elected officials to act fiscally responsible, and we must first seek budget cuts where we can.

What’s your view of the quality of DISD schools in your district and what would you do to support them?

Oak Cliff has outstanding DISD schools. And I have a history of supporting them. Through the Dash for the Beads, which I founded 10 years ago, several of us have raised over $250,000 for health, fitness and wellness programs in our local schools and introduced hundreds of children to the joy of physical fitness. And we bring runners, walkers, and families from all over the District together yearly for this community-driven event.

I was a critic of DISD’s plan to demolish Hogg, Reagan and Peeler Elementary Schools and consolidate the children into one mega campus. And I am the only candidate running for D1 who spoke out publicly, citing concerns with the loss of community support available in the smaller campuses, reduction in walkability for kids, and increase in traffic for the neighborhood that has to absorb the mega campus.

DISD needs after-school programs at all of its campuses. Last time I spoke with our trustee, only about half of the DISD campuses in my District offered after-school programs. The City should enhance its after-school offerings at our rec centers and libraries to help close the gap.

Many workers in Dallas work full time and are still in poverty. About 30 percent of Dallas children live in poverty. What would you do as a city council member to address this?

There are simply not enough living wage jobs available to those living in poverty. The City’s Comprehensive Housing Plan and the forthcoming Comprehensive Economic Development Plan should work together to both allow people to live near existing employment centers and move employment centers closer to those who need them most.

Oak Cliff is also fortunate to have Oak Cliff Works, and I propose that the City continue to support this jobs program. I am also proud of having supported living wages for airport workers, and will support paid sick leave.

North Oak Cliff continues to witness fast-paced redevelopment. What is your opinion of the way the district is developing? How can it be improved?

North Oak Cliff is starting to see the positive and negative results of the zoning overlays that were put into place 6-10 years ago. Some aspects of the overlays are good and have helped us preserve structures that would otherwise be ripe for demolition. The lack of design standards in other overlays has led to mega-block buildings that are eyesores. As the District’s Plan Commissioner, I engaged District 1 neighbors in the zoning and plat process by posting agendas and vote results on social media. Because of widespread community input, I successfully defeated four super-block plats that would’ve destroyed the fabric of the neighborhoods – in each of those cases, developers were seeking to consolidate entire blocks without discussing their building plans with the community. Now, developers are seeking community input before filing for their plats, and I will encourage our current Plan Commissioner to continue this tradition. We also need design standards across the district.

Do you support construction of a deck park over Interstate 35? If so, what would you do to help ensure it is a high-quality project?

Yes, because the park is, in large part, funded by North Central Texas COG and private donations and much of the funding is already in place. From the very beginning, Oak Cliff leaders and the park team knew that this absolutely had to be a community-driven design. And the park team continues to meet with residents, nonprofits and faith leaders to determine how to equitably improve the area without pushing out longtime residents. I support the community-driven efforts of the park team and the current design draft.

What should be done to fix traffic and parking problems in Bishop Arts?

This is not a simple fix, or it would’ve already been accomplished by our local merchants (BADMA) and Bishop Arts NA long ago, as this problem is not new. When Nazerian’s construction is finished (south of Bishop Arts), this will open up new parking along the streets and at least one parking garage that will be tucked into the buildings. In the meantime, I propose converting the rest of 7th Street (between N. Adams and Bishop) to a one-way street.

We should add a Pedestrian Refuge Island on Davis where there is no need for a turning lane – this can become a gateway/branding opportunity announcing “Bishop Arts” and will be relatively inexpensive. And at the block on Bishop between Davis and 7th Street, we should consider adding removable bollards for special events and busy evenings to close off this block for cars. This block is so short that it creates a cluster of Ubers, Lyfts, and cars who want to drive right down the middle of Bishop Arts during the busiest moment of the evenings.

Across the District, we also need to make it easier for pedestrians, bicyclists, and scooter-fanatics to get around safely. By adding curb extensions and other traffic calming measures near Bishop Arts, we will better encourage non-vehicular mobility.

Assess the work of incumbent council member Scott Griggs.

Rock solid. Scott has always protected our neighborhoods and put the people of our District first. Scott and his team are incredibly responsive and proactive in handling neighborhood issues. He has taken the lead on many difficult, controversial issues (e.g. pension fund) and he isn’t afraid to dig in an uncover corruption or mismanagement. Scott sets the example for his fellow Councilmembers on accountability and transparency. And he’s a solid leader.

Mobility in Dallas | Curb Extensions

Mobility in Dallas | Woonerfs

Creating Little Villages

Mobility in Dallas | Bioswales

Coombs Creek Trail Expansion