I want to address my recent campaign mailer, the “checklist” comparing me to the other candidates. It has come to my attention that this was “mudslinging”, something I vowed (and promised my husband) not to do.
So first, an apology to Jaynie Schultz and Hosanna Yesiru for any mud-slinging. That was never my intention.
And apologies to Barry Wernick for leaving him out entirely: he did not attend the Dallas Morning News Editorial Forum, which inspired this mailer.
That chart came about as I asked my campaign consultant, how can I show voters the differences between me and the other candidates in a quick snapshot? Because people truly wanted to know! This is what he came up with.
So many have said, “all you candidates sound alike. How are you different?” The major differences came creeping out in the Dallas Morning News forum. on April 7. The question was prompted by one of the editorial board writers, Jim Mitchell, who said to all of us, “don’t you think the crime in your district is more a matter of perception?”
Jaynie Schultz and Hosanna Yemiru wholeheartedly agreed. I disagreed. They stated, correctly, that District 11 has the lowest crime rate of all the Dallas districts. That includes 8 homicides last year. What they didn’t acknowledge is that while that is a true statement, we live in a city that has seen skyrocketing crime rates, among the highest in the NATION! In fact, from that same newspaper:
While there is no doubt Dallas’ violent crime and property crime rates are nowhere near the historic highs of the 1980s and early 1990s, the numbers in recent years have shown a slight reversal of a downward trend seen since 2004, and that has caused concern.
I feel so strongly about this, which is of course why I am running.
Years ago I came up with a phrase, “equalize to mediocrity”. It’s what happens when we upset the balance. Of course, I believe in equal opportunity for everyone. What I don’t believe in is lowering the curve. It is NOT OK to have the lowest crime rate in a city with a skyrocketing crime rate. It is NOT OK to have 8 murders, even one murder! All policies going forward, in my opinion, must focus on public safety. That means more police officers as soon as we can hire them, well-trained police officers who are not trigger happy, more minority police officers, mental health services for police, sensitivity training and community policing. We may need to devote 65% of our budget to public safety, at least until we get this crime wave under control. Hopefully not forever.
I have heard Jaynie Schultz say, repeatedly, in forums, that our crime is more of a perception problem. She says this from the comfort of her beautiful home a few blocks away.
From the comfort of her car and in her own driveway, another neighbor was shot in cold blood May 25 of last year. My purse was stolen from my car in September.
These are not perceptions.
I think we deserve to live in a city where, if we leave a car out on the street, locked, it should not be vandalized overnight. I think we should not get shot in our driveway. But even if it IS a perception problem, or just magnified by the horrific-ness of the crime, crime has a chilling effect on both business and residential real estate. And that’s the problem we are stuck with when we have had 8 years of terrible leadership.
That is why I say this is the most important City Council election ever in our lifetimes. This election will chart the course of the city to either accept mediocrity, crime and homelessness, or it will take the city back to a public safety/infrastructure-first focus that, once handled, can let us proceed to bringing in the bright shiny objects we love.
And that’s why my flier was short-hand for saying that these two candidates WON’T support our police and keep our city as safe as I can. How can they, when they claim our increasing crime levels are a perception? Here is Hosanna’s crime solution, where she notes our rising homicide numbers:
“We currently allocate over 60% of our general budget to public safety in Dallas. That’s over 800 million dollars. Yet, our city is on track to pass a ten-year record on homicides in 2020.
It’s time we reimagine public safety in Dallas and truly invest in crime reduction in our neighborhoods. We can no longer afford to do only what is most convenient: turn a blind eye to the root causes of crime that continue to overburden our neighborhoods and officers alike.
On City Council, Hosanna will fight for common-sense policies that decrease crime by investing into preventative measures such as environmental design, housing, jobs and mental health resources. She will work closely with community partners and city agencies to identify opportunities to efficiently and properly address violence and crime— such as directing non-police work to the appropriate city departments so that every 911 call is answered and resolved safely while reducing the burden on officers in the process.
Together, we can prevent and reduce crime as well as demand accountability from our city. We must refuse the status quo solutions that got us here in the first place and truly make a robust investment into public safety.”
Honestly, these are great solutions. We DO need more mental health resources. But— “turn a blind eye to the root causes of crime that continue to overburden our neighborhoods and officers alike.” What blind eye?
Here’s where we differ: I agree this needs to be done, I question why it is NOT being done now. Yesterday. We have millions in resources already directed at this, and we pay millions in taxes for schools that are suppose to educate our children so they can be lifted from poverty!
Part of the answer, I believe is corruption. I am the only candidate saying we need to root out corruption at City Hall as much as we need to root out the causes of crime, which are poverty, drugs, lack of stable housing, lack of a stable family environment, however that family looks.
Let’s see what Jaynie Schultz says:
“I will work closely with our first responders to ensure they have the tools and training they need to keep families safe and lower crime rates. I will foster cooperation between Dallas Police, DISD, RISD, and our neighborhood associations to build trust and transparent communication to fight crime. And we can do better on the little things. For instance, it’s proven that proper street lighting deters property crime. It’s a simple, yet effective tool we can deploy now.”
Agree, with the caveat that the man whose side she worked by for 8 years fought harder than anyone on council to de-tool the police she now wants to re-tool. The Neighborhood patrols or ENP’s are already incredibly successful. Is Jaynie talking about the city running them? Please don’t touch them.
By the way, I will NOT in any way support taking away local control of those neighborhood patrols!
And better lighting, already being employed, would fall under my plan to beef up our infrastructure.
But where do these candidates give any solutions to keep us safe at this very moment? Where do they say they will hire more police, better train police (one candidate even told me she thought training could be shorter — NOT!) and deploy them to our neighborhoods?
Let me be clear: there is no doubt we need to clean up many neighborhoods in Dallas, places that have been so neglected it makes me angry to think I live in the same city a few miles away. These are neighborhoods where children, babies, are being shot and where crime is concentrated. The police know what we need to do, and yes, we bring in the resources to “efficiently and properly” eradicate crime. We do this before we do the shiny objects.
But we don’t neglect or shortchange our neighborhoods to achieve this. We keep our neighborhoods safe. On City Council, I will fight for District 11.