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KERA Local Elections Summary

By KERA News

Dallas, TX – Now that voters have approved Dallas building a convention center hotel, City Councilman Ron Natinsky says the city needs to make up for lost time.

Natinsky: "We've lost a couple of months because of the campaign. But come Monday morning, we're going to be getting the paperwork together to get the bonds sold and get the hotel coming up out of the ground."

Natinsky believes the bond market is improving, and the city could sell the bonds in the next month or two.

But Councilman and hotel opponent Mitchell Rasansky wants to carefully scrutinize everything about the project. He also wants the city to be willing to change direction if it's not going to work.

Longtime civic activist Ann Margolin has won the District 13 council seat in Dallas. She defeated tax consultant Brint Ryan by a 14-percent after he sunk more than a million dollars of his own money into the race. KERA's Bill Zeeble has more.

On the night of her victory, Ann Margolin was both happy as she thanked her volunteers, and serious, about the council job she faces. Dallas faces a budget deficit of a hundred million dollars.

Margolin: Before I even take office I'm going to start looking at that & really delving into it and really understanding everything I can about it. . My background is in finance and I really know how to look at these things. And that's probably going to preoccupy me first month or two.

Margolin says she'll apply those finance skills to watch how the city- owned hotel proceeds, now that voters have ok'd it. Margolin does not favor the city owned hotel. No matter what Dallas's future holds, former council member Donna Blumer, who praised Margolin at her election night party, expressed full confidence in her.

Donna Blumer: She's got the background, she's got the smarts to do it. And I think she'll be a coalition builder. And I'm looking forward to having her down there.

Zeeble: Blumer says Margolin has enough city and county experience that she'll be able to hit the ground running. Her opponent, Brint Ryan, has offered to help her in any way he can.

Voters still have to decide 2-runoffs for Dallas city council seats: Delia Jasso and Justin Epker in District 1. Incumbent Carolyn Davis faces Dallas school board member Ron Price in District-7. In Fort Worth, Eric Fox and W-B "Zim" Zimmerman face a runoff to replace the late Chuck Silcox in District-3.

Among other municipal races from Saturday, a leading opponent of efforts in Farmers Branch to stop landlords from renting to illegal immigrants failed to win a city council seat.

Restaurant owner Elizabeth Villafranca lost to executive assistant Michelle Holmes, but she said some good came out of her run for council.

Villafranca: We called attention to a lot of things that are going on. And this is a good thing. This is a good day. Sometimes winning is not necessarily the most important thing. And certainly in this case that has proven to be the truth.

Villafranca said Farmers Branch has never had any minority representation on the city council and that needs to change.

By the way, several incumbent mayors won re-election Saturday. Voters in Fort Worth, Arlington, Addison, Mesquite and Garland elected to keep their current leaders. Lewisville, Southlake and Plano elected new mayors.

And Rowlett voters overwhelmingly said yes to new restrictions on smoking. You can't light up in or within 15 feet of indoor or enclosed public spaces. Bars are exempt if they derive at least 75 percent of their annual revenue from on-site alcohol consumption.

The City Council approved all that in February. Opponent of the ordinance petitioned a special election to try and left the ordinance.