West Dallas Council Candidates Turn Affordable Housing Crisis Into Weapon Against the Incumbent

The race to represent West Dallas and Bachman Lake on the Dallas City Council is one of the most crowded contests this year -- and one of the most combative.Five people are chasing the seat of incumbent Monica Alonzo, who is running for a fourth term and has more campaign contributions than all of her challengers combined. But she also has an affordable housing crisis on her hands that has eroded some constituents’ confidence in her leadership.In recent years, District 6 has brought the city’s problems with low-income rentals to the forefront. A nonprofit’s walk-through of 12 apartment complexes in Bachman Lake in 2015 documented moldy ceilings, hole-riddled walls and pests. The findings prompted the council last year to toughen the city’s housing standards -- changes that a West Dallas landlord cited as the reason for pulling more than 300 aging rentals from the market.The plight of those families, who have until June 3 to move out, has underscored the shortage of affordable housing in West Dallas and the rest of the city.Alonzo’s opponents have seized on the issue and used it as ammunition.Those fighting to unseat her are Tony Carrillo, a landlord and auto parts store worker; Gil Cerda, a former Dallas police spokesman; Alex Dickey, an Irving ISD high school teacher; Omar Narvaez, a policy coordinator at Lambda Legal; and Linus Spiller, a human resources recruiting assistant.  Continue reading...

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