With law and order and rising property taxes on citizens’ minds as early voting for the May local elections starts, the True Texas Project has provided citizens with a list of recommendations from local citizen activists across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

Currently, local citizens face significant issues that are determined in large part by their local officials.

High on the list of concerns is whether or not local officials will enforce law and order when jurors issue their verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, following the tragic death of George Floyd last year.

Property taxes are another concern. Truth in Accounting found Fort Worth and Dallas managed taxpayer dollars so badly, they went into 2020 in poor fiscal health, despite continuing to increase citizens’ property taxes. Data from the four appraisal districts in the DFW metroplex reports most city and county property tax bills for the average homeowner continue to increase, despite some statewide property tax reform two years ago.

Indeed, in interviews from 2019, Colleyville Mayor Richard Newton and former Southlake City Councilman Dr. Shahid Shafi emphasized to citizens the fact that their locally elected officials, not appraisal districts, are responsible for rising property taxes. Newton also encouraged citizens to ask their elected officials to adopt the effective tax rate, which was renamed the “no-new-revenue rate” by the Texas Legislature in 2019.

“What the effective tax rate does is it sets a rate that offsets any property tax increases,” Newton said.

Local officials also decide the budgets for local law enforcement, as was seen with the Democrat-run Austin City Council defunding its police by one-third and the 11 Dallas City Council members cutting $7 million from police overtime.

To help prepare voters, True Texas Project (TTP), a citizen organization that “exists to educate and motivate citizen engagement in all levels of government,” gathered recommendations from local citizen activists for many county, city, and school district positions across the metroplex. TTP is not recommending any of these candidates and encourages voters to use the list as a starting place for their own research.

“These are not endorsements, and True Texas Project has not vetted these candidates personally,” the organization emphasizes. “Most of the time, our contacts must pick the lesser of two evils.”

Mayors and City Councils

In the Dallas City Council elections, the only incumbent recommended is District 12 Councilmember Cara Mendelsohn—one of the four who voted against the overtime cut.

TTP says citizen activists recommend seven new faces for the other city council seats, including Israel Varela, who is running against incumbent District 7 Councilmember Adam Bazaldua, who spearheaded the effort to cut police overtime.

In the Fort Worth City Council and mayoral election, citizen activists recommends incumbent Councilmembers Cary Moon in District 4 and Jungus Jordan in District 6. Newcomer Zeb Pent has been recommended for District 7, while Steve Penate received the nod to replace outgoing Mayor Betsy Price.

Mary Kelleher is also recommended for the board of the Tarrant Regional Water District, the local government body that has been overseeing the billion-dollar Panther Island real estate redevelopment boondoggle disguised as flood control.

In Plano, Anthony Ricciardelli, Justin Adcock, Chris Robertson, and Rick Smith are recommended for city council, with Lily Bao for mayor.

School Boards

Citizen interest in these elections has increased after ongoing conflicts with school board members began last year. The Carroll Independent School District board, for example, is still caught in up the scandal of trying to ram far-left agendas down citizens’ throats. Two board members were indicted by a grand jury for violating the Texas Open Meetings Act during discussions of the matter.

In Carroll ISD, citizen activists recommend David Cameron Bryan for Place 4 and Hannah Smith for Place 5.

In Keller ISD, citizen activists recommend Charles Randklev for Place 6 and Ruth Nancy Keyes for Place 7. In Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, they signaled support for Shannon Braun for Place 1 and Stetson Clark for Place 2.

In Fort Worth ISD, citizen activists recommend Wallace Bridges for Place 4 and Brianna Guerrero for Place 8.

Citizen activists encourage a vote against the Richardson ISD bond on the ballot this year.

Voters may view all of TTP’s Election Information webpage as part of their individual research. Early voting for the May 1 election runs from April 19-27.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.