On Your Ballot: District 6

Throughout the week, we’ve been sharing the answers provided by city council candidates to questions we posed, as well as questions readers had for the candidates.

Early voting will run from April 19 to 27. Election day is May 1. If no candidate achieves 50% of the vote in any of the races, a runoff will be slated for June 5.

But for the three city council districts that fall in the coverage area for Preston Hollow People, only one incumbent will be on the ballot – Omar Narvaez, current District 6 councilmember, will face off against some new and some familiar faces, including Monica R. Alonzo, who served three terms from 2011 to 2015, and ran again in 2017 and 2019, but lost in a runoff election to Narvaez both times. Tony Carillo has also run against Narvaez in 2017 and 2019, and will be on the ballot again. Wendi Macon and Earl D. Thomas round out the ballot.

Yesterday, we shared the answers from District 11 candidates, and Wednesday we shared the responses from District 13 candidates. To follow all of our Dallas City Council election coverage, click here.

Note: At press time, Macon, Carillo, and Thomas had not provided their responses. Each candidate was sent a copy of the questionnaire via email, and a follow-up email if necessary.

PN: Tell us about your own district. What are the best things about it? What are the struggles?

Alonzo: District 6’s greatest single asset is its people. I will assure that they are well represented and that they are informed of all opportunities available to them to improve the quality of life throughout District 6, to diminish the haves/have nots situations where they exist. The greatest struggles are crime and lack of affordable housing.

Narvaez: The best things about D6 is the diversity of the people and their compassion for others. The struggle is the fast rising property values and need improvement and innovation for our infrastructure.

Pick one of those struggles you just mentioned. How would you address it? Please be specific. 

Alonzo

Alonzo: I will continue to work with the community and the Dallas Police Department to jointly combat crime, take our neighborhoods back and fight to make this district what it once was…low in crime and very vibrant. We need to work together to make it happen. Supporting our district crime watch groups, working with UNIDOS of DPD to work with the immigrant community in the district, as well as the business groups for all to work together, communicate and take the district back.

Narvaez: I recently passed a Neighborhood Empowerment Zone in West Dallas which will freeze property taxes for ten years with home improvement investment which is eligible for home owners and landlords that will rent to working class families. I am also working with state legislators to pass a bill that roll back property values to 2017 that would help all communities impacted by gentrification. We also are have passed a targeted home repair program for 75212 that will also help folks and will qualify them for the Nez if they live in it. I am also to have championed and passed twice increasing the senior homestead exemption which was at $64K when I got on the council in 2017 and is now at $100K. I will champion another increase in the next term for the next budget cycle. We also must look at other tools we may have to help.

Street racing has been a hot topic citywide. What do you think of current efforts to address it, and what could the city do to improve those efforts? 

Alonzo: I will work closely with Chief Garcia to determine his plans for effectively combating illegal street racing. I will then work with the mayor, council members, and the city manager to assure that the DPD has the resources needed to execute the plan. One recommendation that I will make is to put up cones during evening hours in hot spot areas to slow traffic down and to make it difficult for speed racing to occur. Another recommendation is to explore the possibility of working with the Texas Motor Speedway to open the track when it is not being used for speed racers so they will not use our streets for racing.

Narvaez: Current efforts are lackluster at best. Chief Garcia is working on a plan that will help us to combat which my understanding from him and others in San Jose were successful. I look forward to Chief Garcia’s plan and giving him the help he will need to combat this issue. We also must incorporate innovative ideas that have been successful by incorporating them from other city departments like public works and transportation. We can not only rely on DPD to help combat and solve this issue.

Homebuilders and others in the construction trades have been waiting months at a time for building permits. What is your understanding of the underlying cause, and what should the city do to address it? 

Alonzo: My understanding is that due to the pandemic, it has been difficult for staff since they work remotely. As a council member, I will address this matter (like all important matters) aggressively and work with staff to provide the resources, tools, etc., needed to provide better, speedier service where needed. When we focus on Growth that Makes Sense, this not only serves as a catalyst for increased revenue, but we also provide jobs which is very important in our city. Win-win is what we are looking for as a solution.

Narvaez

Narvaez: I am proud to have supported and passed $3M additional funding to bring in a 3rd party vendor to help us catch up. The first 30 day report was promising and we will know how this worked as the next 30 day report will be coming out soon.

Why do you think residents are distrustful of their city officials? 

Alonzo: Currently, the constituency is very upset and do not trust because they don’t see the representation in our district. Lack of leadership from our representative has led the constituency not to call for services or help any more. When they have tried to reach out, no one answers the phone in the District 6 council office. That is direct feedback and frustration I am hearing from District 6 constituents as I am walking the neighborhoods asking for their vote. District 6 needs a leader who is accessible, responsive, who stays attune to the needs of the constituents, and who requires excellent service to constituents from District 6 staff.

Narvaez: It is important that we have civic leaders that inspire trust in city officials and I work to do that every day in District 6.

If elected, would you reach out to your opponents to avail yourself of those strengths if the occasion arose? 

Alonzo: I will always reach out and represent all who live in District 6. That is a true leader in the position. I look forward to working with all whether they voted for me or not.

Narvaez: I am always reaching out to people in the district to bring their concerns and ideas to make our city government better.

If not elected, what will you do to help both your district (if you are running for council), and/or the city as a whole? Please be specific. 

Alonzo: I have been active and accessible in the community and will continue to be active and accessible to work together with others to work on policy, programs, and initiatives that provide a better quality of life for all. I love my city and will do my best to make it more vibrant and safer. I will work so that Dallas increasingly becomes a city Where Big Things Happen because of the collaborations that can take place across communities, groups and leaders! By so doing, we foster a win-win environment which leads to increased quality-of-life and economic impact! We can also increasingly become a destination city for culture and tourism – another win-win and driver of economic impact.

Narvaez: Long before getting on the council I have worked to be a champion for those without a voice in our city government and will continue advocating.

What is one of the best things about your district? 

Alonzo: As stated in the question about District 6’s best asset, the best thing about District 6 is its people! Another best thing about the district is the amount of undeveloped land. This land can be used for affordable housing and mixed-use retail. There is a woeful shortage of affordable housing in all of Dallas, but especially in District 6. Home ownership is a major vehicle for a family to build wealth. This is important for low-income families and for those that live in generational poverty to help them break out of those cycles. I support looking into innovations in home construction that will lower the cost of new homes. In other parts of the country, developers are building 3D printed homes which are approximately 50% cheaper and can be built 10 times faster than traditional construction. These homes are ecofriendly. I will work for the city to explore this new technology and establish incentives for this construction in the undeveloped land in District 6. We need affordable homes and home ownership for families in West Dallas. By putting the best minds together to tackle this issue and explore innovative construction methods, we can make increased affordable housing in District 6 a reality. We can help families become homeowners! This is Growth that Makes Sense in District 6!

Narvaez: The people and their diversity and their compassion for others.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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