The Dallas Morning News

Flyer blasts school board candidate

Highland Park trustee hopeful criticized for supporting BLM

- By TALIA RICHMAN Staff Writer talia.richman@dallasnews.com

A political action committee distribute­d a flyer to Highland Park residents slamming a school board candidate for putting a Black Lives Matter sign in his yard.

The mailer seeks to contrast two candidates, Kelli Macatee and Doug Woodward, running for a seat on the board of the affluent, mostly white school district.

Underneath a smiling photo of Macatee, it lists “Christian Conservati­ve Texan” and “Wonderful Wife and Mother,” alongside green checkmarks. Beneath Woodward’s photo are red Xs next to “New Jersey Liberal” and “Had BLM Sign in His Yard.”

Macatee said she was not involved in the creation or distributi­on of the flyer “in any way, shape or form.”

“I would never approve something like that,” she said.

Photos of the flyer shared with The Dallas Morning News show it was paid for by the Metroplex Citizens for a Better Tomorrow PAC. Monty Bennett, CEO of Ashford Inc.,

is the group’s treasurer, according to state filings.

Bennett declined through a spokesman to answer direct questions about the flyer. Instead, the hotel magnate issued a written statement.

“Everyone knows that the left-wing media’s bully culture is to twist whatever anyone says into making a conservati­ve look bad and a lefty look good,” he wrote. “Everyone also knows that Kelli is the conservati­ve and Doug’s the lefty in this race. There’s no point in countering the misreprese­ntations and distortion­s you will no doubt write in this article.”

Woodward did not immediatel­y respond to a request for comment. He recorded a video on his campaign Facebook page addressing “personal attacks and misinforma­tion.”

He said any assertion that he thinks teacher diversity is more important than teacher qualificat­ions — as stated in the mailer — is “absurd.” On his campaign webpage discussing the issues, he includes, “I heard you had a Black Lives Matter sign in your yard last summer — true?”

“I did, indeed, have a sign in my yard briefly last summer which expressed compassion at a difficult time for all of us,” he writes. “If you are asking whether my response indicates a support of any political platform you may associate it with, the answer is categorica­lly no and any suggestion otherwise is misinforme­d and irresponsi­ble.”

Asked if she would display a Black Lives Matter sign, Macatee said that she wouldn’t “put a sign in my yard without knowing exactly what it means, what it stands for and what it represents.” She said she believes Black Lives Matter is founded on Marxism, which she said “will take any nation down.”

Though one of the Black Lives Matter co-founders said in a 2015 interview that she and another co-founder “are trained Marxists,” their work has grown to become a mass movement against racism and the police killing of Black people. A majority of American adults expressed at least some support for the movement, according to Pew Research Center.

Macatee and Woodward are running for the Place 1 seat in the May 1 election, to replace Jim Hitzelberg­er who is not seeking reelection.

She has far out-fundraised him, according to the most recent campaign finance filings. But Macatee returned a $10,000 donation from the Rowling Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to “help proclaim the name of Jesus Christ throughout the world,” as first reported by D Magazine. Nonprofits are prohibited from contributi­ng to political campaigns.

In a corrected filing, the campaign wrote, “The $10,000 amount from the Rowling Foundation was returned immediatel­y upon awareness of the error.”

The DMN Education Lab deepens the coverage and conversati­on about urgent education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative, with support from The Beck Group, Bobby and Lottye Lyle, The Communitie­s Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, The Meadows Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network, Southern Methodist University and Todd A. Williams Family Foundation. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of the Education Lab’s journalism.

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 ??  ?? A flyer distribute­d to Highland Park residents faults a school board candidate for having a Black Lives Matter sign in his yard.
A flyer distribute­d to Highland Park residents faults a school board candidate for having a Black Lives Matter sign in his yard.

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