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6 Key Questions For Dallas Council District 1: Battle Of The Incumbents

Redistricting has placed current Dallas City Council members Scott Griggs and Delia Jasso in the same North Oak Cliff district.  Contentious debates about gas drilling, the Trinity River Corridor and rapid growth have made this one of the most competitive council races.  

Here's a look at the candidates and their campaigns' answers to six key questions:

Scott Griggs (incumbent) / Age: 38 / Attorney, partner at Griggs Bergen LLP /

Delia Jasso (incumbent) / Age: 58 /

Question #1: Why are you the best candidate?

Griggs: For the past 10 years, Oak Cliff was represented by two council members.  Now, we will be represented by only one leader.  We must choose our best council member to represent all of us. 

I am the best council member to represent us in Oak Cliff.  My record of accomplishments is unmatched by my opponent.  As a leader representing Dallas’ most diverse districts, which is over 51 percent Hispanic and 33 percent African American, I am the leader that can best represent us all in District 1.  I am running for office to give all residents of Oak Cliff a voice and representation on City Council.

Jasso: Delia Jasso is Oak Cliff… She was raised in Oak Cliff and has always called it home. Delia is uniquely qualified to build and maintain “bridges” in the increasingly diverse Oak Cliff neighborhood. As a former Spanish and English teacher and owner of her own language school, she knows how to effectively communicate with everyone in District 1. Delia has helped balance development which creates more job opportunities.  These opportunities create a sense of civic pride and “ownership” and we enjoy a lower crime rate because of this.  She continues to make code compliance and clean neighborhoods her primary focuses.

Before she was elected to the city council, she served seven years on the Dallas Park Board.  She devotes herself full time to the job of council representative.

Question #2: Under what circumstances would you vote to increase the City of Dallas property tax rate?

Griggs: I would support a tax rate increase to fund public safety.  I believe that such a tax rate increase is very unlikely and it is more likely that a tax rate decrease or rollback will occur in coming years.

Jasso: At this time, there are no circumstances that I vote for an increase in the property tax rate.

Question #3: Would you vote for or against gas drilling on city park property?  What is your opinion of the gas drilling task force’s recommendations?

Griggs: I have studied this issue extensively and I oppose gas drilling, fracking, refining and production within the City of Dallas adjacent to our neighborhoods, schools, and parks.  I am opposed to surface gas drilling operations in our parks.  Under state law, we must have a gas drilling ordinance and I want to strengthen the gas drilling task force’s recommendations and I will look to cities such as Flower Mound and South Lake and to the Center for Sustainable Shale Development for best practices that protect our quality of life. 

Jasso: The gas drilling task force recommendations should be made into an ordinance as soon as possible so that it can be a guide for gas drilling in Dallas. I am not for gas drilling on park property.

Question#4: A toll road inside the Trinity River levees is part of the Trinity River Corridor Project.  Explain why you do or do not support the toll road.

Griggs: I do not support the Trinity Tollroad between the levees as there is no money to build the project, the Trinity Tollroad will negatively impact the environment and recreational amenities, and the Trinity Tollroad will not include direct connections to either I-30 or I-35.  Additionally, a better alternative is available.  Completing Project Pegasus (the I-30 Canyon & I-35 Lower Stemmons) costs less, moves more cars and relieves more congestion than the Trinity Tollroad.

Jasso: The toll road issue has been a referendum voted on by the public and the vote was positive for the toll road. I believe we need to follow what the voters said. At this time, there are no funds to carry out that vote.

Question #5: What is your plan for a reliable source of arts funding that is outside the city’s general budget?

Griggs: We need to continue our efforts to better connect the business community with the arts.  I fully support and participate with Mayor Rawlings in his initiative to make this connection.  Every business in Dallas should be involved in at least one arts-related cause. 

Jasso: A reliable source of arts funding outside of the city’s general budget would need to start with a fund development startup. I would look at the tourism PID and see how these funds could help in arts funding, in addition, I would look at how to direct tourists fees could be directed to an Arts fund.

Questio #6: What is your position on the PID (public improvement district) tax that’s currently being discussed by the Klyde Warren Park board and the stakeholders in the Arts District? It would levy a small tax on downtown businesses to help maintain the park and possibly the district.

Griggs: The proposed Klyde Warren Park PID would permit the city to levy and collect a special assessment on properties within the PID’s boundaries for the benefit of the park.  The PID should not move forward without the overwhelming support of the property owners that will pay the assessment.  I encourage the consideration of this PID by all involved parties to move forward with a consensus-based approach.

Jasso: The Klyde Warren Park PID was struck down by the downtown businesses.  

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.