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'On The Record' Looks at Crenshaw, Hollins

By KERA staff

Dallas, TX – Sam Baker, Host, "On The Record": Well, Dunning, Miller and Garcia are not the only names on the January 19th ballot. There are two other candidates for mayor. Sujata Dand has this report.

Marvin Crenshaw, mayoral candidate: I'm running for mayor all across the city.

Person on the street: All across. So you're taking -

Crenshaw: Ron Kirk -

Person on the street: Ron Kirk.

Crenshaw: Right, right.

Crenshaw: Marvin Crenshaw for mayor.

Person on the street: Oh, yes.

Crenshaw: Marvin - excuse me, Marvin Crenshaw for mayor.

Sujata Dand, KERA reporter: Mr. Crenshaw, obviously one of your major issues is to
revitalize downtown.

Crenshaw: Right.

Dand: Talk a little bit about that.

Crenshaw: Well, I stated that downtown Dallas after 10:00 - after 5:00 - is dead. And we need to revitalize downtown and bring more people downtown, because I believe that a strong downtown strengthens the whole city, in particular the inner city.

Crenshaw: When the large corporations are gone, little small mom and pop stores like this get 30, 40, 50 years and passing on. I was a candidate in 1987 and in 1989, but I'm also - while I'm running per se, I'm also helping to improve Dallas by talking about different issues and talking about different things that no one else wants to talk about.

Crenshaw: All right, brother, what's going on?

Crenshaw: I always feel I have a real chance to win. I tell people and they say, "Well, Marvin, you can't do this." And can't is not part of my vocabulary.

Crenshaw: I want people to know that I am running. I want people to know that I am legally on the ballot. They already shut me out of everything.

Dand: Why are you running for mayor?

Jurline Hollins, mayoral candidate: I'm running for mayor because the people of west Dallas, south Dallas, Oak Cliff, anywhere there are large pockets of poor, black people, they get no representation. I want to see the housing out here fixed. There's money and housing to fix every house in west Dallas. But they won't. They let it deteriorate so that they can take it by code violation. These people have no way to get this junk out of here. But the city, they won't haul this off. I will create special accounts for people who are elderly and can't get people to come and move junk away. We're going to move this junk away from here. We're going to clean up our neighborhood.

Dand: You showed us the problems. What's the solution?

Hollins: I pray over that every night. And I think the solution is what I'm doing right now, run without money. So the people will believe in me - they'll open their doors. They believe in me. The problem I have is getting my message out, and so I think it's going to get better because I'm talking to you.

Dand: Do you really feel like you have a real chance at winning here?

Hollins: No. That's the sad part. I shouldn't have to have money to represent people that need help more than anybody else. I shouldn't have to have money because over 400 people put me on the ballot.

Baker: Bob Ray, does Jurline Hollins have a point?

Bob Ray Sanders, Editorial Columnist, Fort Worth Star Telegram: Oh, yeah, both she and Marvin have a point. Both she and Marvin are spirited people who care about this city and who care certainly about people who have been left out of the process for a long time. No, they - without money, you don't win elections in Dallas, unfortunately. That just doesn't happen for the most part. If Tom Dunning loses, he'll be the first business candidate to have lost since Wes Wise was elected back in the '70s. I mean, this is a strange kind of race. But she also has a point, the people west of the river and south of the river have not had great representation; they have been left out. And, of course, this time Laura Miller and Domingo Garcia -

Baker: Two of the candidates.

Sanders: They are from Oak Cliff. And it will be interesting to see if Oak Cliff votes. I mean, I don't know if they will. Traditionally, they don't. It will be interesting to see.

Baker: Jurline Hollins has been to one of the debates or forums. Marvin Crenshaw has been to a number of them. Colleen, what has he to say, and how has what he had to say resonated with people attending?

Colleen McCain Nelson, City Hall Reporter, Dallas Morning News: Well, he's made some good points, and he's brought some different ideas to the debates. He talks a lot about downtown revitalization. He also is the only candidate up there who says, "I think the current form of government is working." He's been emphatic that he doesn't want to change the form of government or give the mayor more power. So, I mean, he's brought a contrast to the debates and brought up some different ideas that might not otherwise have been discussed.

Gromer Jeffers, Jr., political reporter, Dallas Morning News: Let me just -

Baker: Which makes sense, I guess. This was a man who had a big hand in changing government to this -

Jeffers: I was going to say 14-1 - he was one of the co-planners with Rory Williams of changing the system of government.

Sanders: It's interesting, I asked him at that debate when all five of them were there. I said, "You know, which former mayor" - and I named four, including Annette Strauss - "would you most like to be like in terms of your leadership?" Marvin started off, and of course, he adored Annette Strauss because she wanted him included in debates when they were running. But all the other candidates also said - Laura - including Laura Miller - also Annette Strauss. Nobody said Ron Kirk. Nobody said Ron Kirk, including Tom Dunning, who is supported by the ex-mayor. I find that very interesting.

Jaime Ruiz, Reporter/Anchor, Univision: And I see a lot of good intentions - probably the majority, like you mentioned, of the west and the south Dallas. But not only intentions - you have to have a plan, you have to have a whole strategy behind you in order to get to see the whole and really apply those ideas.

Jeffers: And you have to have money.

Ruiz: Yes.

Baker: Well, does this shorter election window, does that help things, maybe focus this race in a way it might have not been if it had gone a long time?

Sanders: Oh, yeah.

Baker: Quickly.

Sanders: I mean, there are some people who love shorter races all along. But I think the shorter race certainly has helped Laura Miller. I mean, she's been staying on message. And he's not going to have a chance - Tom Dunning or Domingo Garcia - to unravel her before the election.

Jeffers: And that's the problem, unraveling -

Baker: Very quickly.

Jeffers: - not just candidates, but issues and contradictions. It's tougher in a shorter race.

[Because of space limitations, this transcript is continued. Please click on "On The Record Examines District 3 Council Race" on the left side of this page for part 3.]