Shake-up shifts power

Ouster of in­cum­bents re­sults in al­tered ap­proaches, de­mo­graph­ics

The Dallas Morning News - - FRONT PAGE - By JULIETA CHIQUILLO and JAMIE KNODEL Staff Writ­ers SHAKE-UP See Page 4B

With the win­ners of three Dal­las runoff races con­firmed, the City Coun­cil faces a ma­jor shift in its po­lit­i­cal dy­nam­ics.

Omar Nar­vaez, Kevin Felder and Ten­nell Atkins will join for­mer act­ing Mayor Dwaine Car­away as the new­est mem­bers of the coun­cil when they’re sworn in June 19. They’ve ousted half of the six first-term coun­cil mem­bers.

Their vic­to­ries will re­shape the de­mo­graph­ics of the coun­cil in an­other way: Only two women will be left at the dais.

With the win­ners of three Dal­las runoff races con­firmed Sun­day night, the City Coun­cil is fac­ing a ma­jor shift in its po­lit­i­cal dy­nam­ics.

The fi­nal re­sults of Satur­day’s elec­tion had been de­layed be­cause hun­dreds of mail-in bal­lots that vot­ers had filed with oth­ers’ as­sis­tance were se­questered as part of an elec­tion fraud in­quiry.

But even be­fore those last votes were ac­counted for, the de­feat of Mayor Pro Tem Mon­ica Alonzo, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Erik Wil­son and coun­cil mem­ber Tiffinni Young had been ex­pected.

Omar Nar­vaez will re­place Alonzo in west­ern Dal­las, while Kevin Felder wll take re­spon­si­bil­ity for South Dal­las and east­ern Dal­las along the In­ter­state 30 cor­ri­dor from Young. For­mer Mayor Pro Tem Ten­nell Atkins will as­sume Wil­son’s southeastern Dal­las seat, re­turn­ing to of­fice af­ter he left of­fice in 2015 be­cause of lim­its on con­sec­u­tive terms.

Felder, Atkins and Nar­vaez will join for­mer act­ing Mayor Dwaine Car­away as the new­est mem­bers of the coun­cil when they’re sworn in June 19. They’ve ousted half of the six first-term coun­cil mem­bers.

Their vic­to­ries will re­shape the de­mo­graph­ics of the coun­cil in an­other way: Only two women will be left at the dais.

At least two of the three in­cum­bents in the runoff races had ac­cepted de­feat be­fore the of­fi­cial re­sults were an­nounced Sun­day night.

“The peo­ple have spo­ken,” Wil­son said Satur­day.

Alonzo also con­ceded to her op­po­nent.

“I’m al­ways in the com­mu­nity, and I will al­ways con­tinue to be in the com­mu­nity,” she said this week­end.

Alonzo lost by the widest mar­gin, 291 votes. Her ri­val, Nar­vaez, seized on grow­ing re­sent­ment against her in West Dal­las, which is mired in an af­ford­able hous­ing cri­sis as de­vel­op­ers try to trans­form the work­ing-class neigh­bor­hood into a chic des­ti­na­tion.

Alonzo’s crit­ics ac­cused her of fail­ing to do enough to pro­tect fam­i­lies af­ter a land­lord pulled 300 ag­ing rentals from the mar­ket last fall.

Mean­while, Nar­vaez scored po­lit­i­cal points af­ter the May elec­tion when the land­lord, Khraish Khraish of HMK Ltd., cred­ited him with ne­go­ti­at­ing a deal to sell some West Dal­las homes to ten­ants.

His vic­tory adds an­other per­son to coun­cil mem­ber Philip Kingston’s City Hall bloc, which of­ten chal­lenges Mayor Mike Rawl­ings.

Nar­vaez could not be reached for com­ment Mon­day.

In southeastern Dal­las, Wil­son faced a tough op­po­nent in Atkins, who spent eight years on the coun­cil be­fore term lim­its forced him out in 2015. The can­di­dates gen­er­ally agreed on the ma­jor is­sues, such as us­ing more tax­payer money to prop up the fail­ing Dal­las Po­lice and Fire Pen­sion Sys­tem fund.

Atkins boasted the en­dorse­ment of the Dal­las po­lice and fire­fighter as­so­ci­a­tions and for­mer Dal­las Po­lice Chief David Brown. Wil­son — like the other two in­cum­bents in the runoff — had the fi­nan­cial sup­port of the po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee For Our Com­mu­nity, headed by Mari Woodlief, the mayor’s cam­paign con­sul­tant.

Atkins said Dis­trict 8 vot­ers in­di­cated they wanted change when four peo­ple de­cided to run against Wil­son. He cred­ited his win to a grass-roots cam­paign that he said put con­stituents over the city’s elite.

“It was a good name, but [For] Our Com­mu­nity, that su­per PAC, was not our com­mu­nity,” Atkins said.

The re­turn­ing coun­cil mem­ber said he would push for more money to ad­dress blight and qual­ity-of-life con­cerns in his dis­trict. He plans to sched­ule a meet­ing with con­stituents this sum­mer to ask what they want.

In Dis­trict 8, com­plaints per­sisted that Young wasn’t re­spon­sive to con­cerns among her con­stituents in South Dal­las and east­ern Dal­las.

Her crit­ics at­tacked her sup­port for the mayor’s now-stalled pro­posal to turn over Fair Park’s op­er­a­tions to a hand­picked non­profit led by for­mer Hunt Oil chair­man and long­time Dal­las civic leader Walt Hu­mann.

Young said all she wanted to do was to move for­ward with a long-ne­glected city as­set.

Felder, her ri­val, re­jected the idea of hand­ing over the park with­out a com­pet­i­tive bid. He couldn’t be reached for com­ment Mon­day.

Dal­las County also made of­fi­cial on Sun­day night Dustin Mar­shall’s vic­tory over Lori Kirk­patrick for a place on the Dal­las ISD board.

Staff writer Tris­tan Hall­man con­trib­uted to this re­port.

KEVIN FELDER

OMAR NAR­VAEZ

TEN­NELL ATKINS

TEN­NELL ATKINS

KEVIN FELDER

OMAR NAR­VAEZ

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