Wood for Dal­las City Coun­cil Dis­trict 14

The Dallas Morning News - - FROM THE FRONT PAGE -

Philip Kingston’s di­vi­sive and op­po­si­tional style di­min­ishes Dis­trict 14’s coun­cil clout and robs res­i­dents of an ef­fec­tive leader.

Count this edi­to­rial board with vot­ers who thought back in 2013 that they were get­ting a much-needed City Hall watch­dog in Kingston; too of­ten, though, we’ve wit­nessed a nasty at­tack dog.

True lead­ers must be mo­ti­vated not by self­pro­mo­tion but by what’s in the best in­ter­est of their con­stituents and their city.

Long­time East Dal­las res­i­dent Matt Wood, 52, is that kind of leader.

As a con­tracts lawyer, he is in the busi­ness of ne­go­ti­a­tions and out­comes. His vol­un­teer work in Dal­las schools and on neigh­bor­hood is­sues, in­clud­ing help­ing the Ju­nius Heights His­toric Dis­trict se­cure preser­va­tion sta­tus, re­flects a col­lab­o­ra­tive ser­vant-leader style.

In ad­di­tion to strong grass-roots cre­den­tials, Wood has worked, as an out­sider, across many City Hall de­part­ments to bring to­gether teams that share a sin­gle goal.

The third can­di­date in this race, magazine pub­lisher Kim Welch, 58, is out­matched in knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence.

Kingston has proved him­self to be any­thing but a col­lab­o­ra­tor, alien­at­ing those around him with rhetoric that den­i­grates those who dare to get in his way. His treat­ment of others is made worse by his pro­fessed in­no­cence about his ac­tions.

Last week’s Pub­lic Safety Com­mit­tee meet­ing of­fers one small ex­am­ple, as Kingston ver­bally slashed an as­sis­tant city at­tor­ney over an­swers he dis­agreed with. Ques­tioned later about the ex­change, Kingston tossed off his words as merely be­ing pas­sion­ate and tried to lawyer his way out of pointed ques­tions about his con­duct.

Kingston claims he doesn’t crit­i­cize peo­ple or en­gage in rhetor­i­cal fal­lacy — right on the heels of his pub­lic Face­book post about a can­di­date in an­other dis­trict: “He’s run­ning a joke cam­paign … He just wants to be some­body.”

The years-long pub­lic record of archived city meet­ings and Kingston’s many so­cial me­dia tirades re­flect nu­mer­ous sim­i­lar in­ci­dents. Even when the 44-year-old coun­cil mem­ber is right on an is­sue — most re­cently the mar­i­juana cite-and-re­lease or­di­nance — the ride is rough.

Kingston has so thor­oughly chilled work­ing re­la­tion­ships — whether with city staff, coun­cil col­leagues or stake­hold­ers out­side City Hall — that his dis­trict and con­stituents stand to be the big­gest losers.

The weekly drip-drip-drip of his self-serv­ing be­hav­ior demands new lead­er­ship.

Thank good­ness vot­ers have a strong op­tion in Matt Wood. His con­struc­tive ideas and ap­proach would bring bet­ter days to Dis­trict 14.

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