Voters in Dallas soundly rejected the idea of allowing non-citizens be involved in redrawing city voting maps. In city council races, “Defund” police ringleader Adam Bazaldua is forced into a runoff while citizens rehired most other incumbents, with pro-police Councilmembers Adam McGough and Cara Mendelsohn getting the highest winning percentages of all other candidates that night.
Ten city council members put Propositions A and B to voters this May election. Proposition A asked voters to allow noncitizens on city boards and commissions created by the city charter—including the one responsible for redrawing voting maps. Voters soundly rejected it 64 percent to 35 percent, according to Dallas County Elections as of 12:44 am on May 2.
Proposition B asked voters to remove the requirement that appointees to the Civil Service Board—which, among other duties, sets the minimum requirements for city employment—be “qualified taxpaying” citizens. Voters rejected this by an even higher margin of 66 percent to 33 percent.
Outgoing Councilmember Lee Kleinman cautioned city council in February that if citizens rejected these measures, it would be a message about the over 50 boards and commissions that already have had alterations implemented similar to what Props A and B proposed.
“I would call that a further direction to the council to rescind the changes we made in Chapter 8,” he said. “If the voters don’t want to change the charter, they’re telling us they want to have citizen representation on these boards and commissions.”
Eleven Dallas City Council members voted to cut $7 million from the police overtime budget last year, and some tried later to reduce police ammunition supplies.
Incumbent District 7 Councilmember Adam Bazaldua, who helped spearhead the effort, found himself facing eight challengers from the right and left. At 12:58 am on May 2, Dallas County Elections reported him winning only 39 percent of the vote, requiring he go to a runoff.
At the same time, District 14 Councilmember David Blewett—who voted for Bazaldua’s cut—will also be going to a runoff, having won only 32 percent of the vote. Challengers Paul Ridley and Elizabeth Viney won 45 percent and 22 percent respectively.
Bazaldua’s allies of Omar Narvaez in District 6 and Paula Blackmon in District 9 won re-election with 56 percent and 63 percent respectively.
All other incumbents won. The only incumbents running who won with the highest winning percentages were also the only councilmembers who voted against Bazaldua’s overtime cut: Adam McGough and Cara Mendelsohn. McGough won 90 percent and Mendelsohn 81 percent. Mayor Eric Johnson, who was against the police overtime cut, was not up for re-election this cycle.
Councilmember Carolyn King Arnold, who also voted for the overtime cut, will also go into a runoff against Maxie Johnson, who is on the board of the Dallas Independent School District and is endorsed by controversial Black Lives Matter activist Dominique Alexander.
Bazaldua, Blackmon, and Narvaez tried to portray themselves as pro-police, even going so far as to seek the Dallas Police Association’s endorsement.
“Funny how six months ago, Bazaldua was pushing for a policy that would prevent public safety [political action committees] from endorsing council races, then turns around and, after marching in the street for defunding, sits for 45 minutes to get the endorsement,” Mike Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association, previously told Texas Scorecard.
The DPA didn’t endorse any of them, and Narvaez was forced to take down a sign claiming otherwise. He and Bazaldua also used photos of them with Police Chief Eddie Garcia in their campaign advertisements, sparking Garcia to clarify he hadn’t endorsed either of them and alleged their actions violated the city’s code of ethics. Narvaez was endorsed by the Greater Dallas Black Police Association, whose president is an ally of Alexander’s. They endorsed Bazaldua as well.
In the race to replace Kleinman in District 11, Barry Wernick looks set to square off against Jayne Schultz. Going to a runoff to replace Mayor Pro-Tem Adam Medrano in District 2 are Jesse Moreno and Sana Syed.
In District 13, Leland Burke and Gay Donnell Willis appear headed to a runoff election as well.