Mail-in ballot fraud, gentrification and big money campaign contributions are among the issues brewing with voters in a crowded field of candidates for Dallas City Council District 6.
The West Dallas district includes big new apartment complexes on Commerce Street and in the Trinity Groves development along Singleton Boulevard. Hundreds of new residents will be moving into those apartments at rent much higher than the cost of living in surrounding neighborhoods.
Residents of the old neighborhoods are District 6 voters, and they fear new development will push them out in the future as the business people win influence at City Hall.
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“People with power, money are doing that. I know eventually we’re going to be out of here,” resident Ruben Herrera said.
An abandoned pickup truck has been parked beside Herrera’s home for two months. He said he called the city to complain, but got no results.
“No matter who wins, it’s not going to change,” Herrera said.
Incumbent District City 6 Council Member Monica Alonzo drew five challengers for Saturday’s election.
Neighbors said they have heard from all of them.
“When they want the vote, they say, ‘Oh, I’m going to do this and do that.’ And they get the vote, they never see you again,” resident Isidira Faz said.
Many of older residents live in the older West Dallas houses. Faz said they can’t afford the new apartment and need help keeping up their old homes.
“I want to see something get changed around these neighborhoods,” Faz said.
John Darjean runs a program called ‘Beyond Baseball’ in the former West Dallas Community Center. He serves youth with sports and summer camp activities and seniors with meals.
“I’m in the middle of it, but I’m in the middle of it to help the community, not to harm it,” Darjean said.
He receives donations and food from Trinity Groves backers to help the seniors. Darjean believes his program is an example of how new and old can work together in West Dallas.
“From the wealthiest people to the inner city people that are living day to day, I see both sides. And I believe everybody can just live here peacefully,” said Darjean.
A test of that hope will come with the results of Saturday’s election and a possible runoff for the top two candidates in June.
An investigation of possible mail-in ballot fraud is also underway involving hundreds of voters who said they never requested ballots that were sent to their homes.
Council Member Alonzo is also backed by a political action committee that has raised big money to support candidates in several Dallas City Council races Saturday.