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Election Spotlight | Dallas City Council District 3

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City of Dallas | Image by Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The City Council District 3 seat will be up for grabs this May, as Council Member Casey Thomas II has reached his term limit.

The deadline for filing to run in the May 6 local elections has passed, and several candidates will be on the ballot, most notably former educator and third-time candidate Joe Tave and economic developer Zarin Gracey, who has been endorsed by Thomas.

“Zarin is a God-fearing, family man,” Thomas tweeted in his endorsement. “He has served as chair of my policy team since 2015 and has been right there as we have laid out an equity-driven agenda that has changed the way the city of Dallas does business.”

During a press conference on Friday, Gracey touted his experience working for the City of Dallas in economic development, the budget office, procurement services, and the controller’s office.

“These are the areas that I consider the main arteries of the City,” he said, adding that his main priorities if elected would include economic development, public safety, and effectively representing his constituents.

“Public safety is something I’m very much interested in,” Gracey said. “I want to continue … providing the funding that police officers need to do their job, but at the same time, funding the area to make sure that we’re addressing the needs in our community the way they need to be addressed, and it’s not always, many times, police force.”

When asked by The Dallas Express how he would address the crisis of homelessness in Dallas, Gracey said, “I think that’s an issue we definitely need to address, and one of the ways we do that is identifying those organizations that are already taking the lead on this.”

Gracey referred specifically to Joli Robinson’s work as the CEO of Housing Forward.

“[We are] really wanting to be able to see and understand what is her strategy and how can we continue pushing and bringing her support,” he continued, adding that the City should work to connect the various nonprofits working to fight homelessness and partner with them so the crisis can be addressed more effectively.

“Not takeover [by the CIty], but in partnership, so that we can address it from our unique, different perspectives,” he said.

Gracey’s most likely rival for the District 3 seat is Joe Tave, who previously ran for it in both 2015 and 2017.

Tave told The Dallas Express that, as a council member, he would effectively represent the diversity of his district. Tave touted his commitment to transparency and involving the community in his decision-making.

“The district does not belong to an individual. It belongs to the people,” he said.

“I work with all kinds of folks,” Tave continued. “I will be the face at City Hall, but the people — I [will] be there representing the people.”

He emphasized that “City Hall belongs to the people of Dallas,” adding that he “will represent everybody” in District 3 while also “looking out for the whole of the city.”

In 2017, Tave lost to incumbent Casey Thomas, earning only 21% of the vote. In 2015, however, Tave earned almost 47%, losing by less than 200 votes.

Tave is a retired educator and entrepreneur. At DeSoto ISD, he taught U.S. government, U.S. history, and African American history. He also used to teach for Dallas ISD, but was terminated in 2001.

Tave told The Dallas Express he was given a laptop by the assistant principal that was not properly wiped. It contained files and documents to which he was not supposed to have access.

He said the district took issue with him not informing the principal he had access to confidential information and turning over the laptop, and he was subsequently terminated.

Tave argues this incident should not concern the voters of District 3 as it occurred two decades ago and did not pose an issue when he ran in 2015 or 2017.

“That has not been an issue,” he said. “That has nothing to do with my character or my [care] for the community or the quality of man that I am and I have been and will be in terms of … respecting all people regardless of race, color, creed, etc.”

Tave said the focus should rather be on his extensive community service.

He told The Dallas Express that he has “served on boards and commissions for years for the City of Dallas,” including the Citizens Safety Commission and the Community Development Commission. He has also served on the boards of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, the Bethlehem Foundation, the Punch Family Foundation, and others, according to a resume he shared with The Dallas Express.

Tave said that while some other candidates “popping up” may base their campaign on their family’s reputation or the endorsement of another council member, his qualifications are from his experience “working and serving” the people of Dallas.

He said he does “not necessarily” have any particular issues he emphasizes over others, citing the diversity of his district and explaining that people in different areas of his district will have different concerns from others.

“For example, the folks who live in that part of far Western Dallas, they don’t have fire service or fire protection [or] police protection. It’s always an issue,” he said. “That’s just an example of the diversity.”

Continuing his emphasis on diversity, Tave said the people he recruits to serve on boards and commissions will “reflect the community.”

“They’re gonna be browns, blacks, white, gay, lesbian,” he said. “People will see that.”

Explaining why he believes the voters of District 3 should choose him over his opponent, Tave said, “Time out for lying and people conniving and selling us out — selling our interests out to people who make large contributions.”

“I’m not selling anybody out,” he told The Dallas Express.

Tave added that one issue southern Dallas has had “for many years” has been that the people’s representatives will make deals with developers without involving their constituents, who are only made aware of the deals while they are being negotiated or after they are already finalized.

“I resent that, and most people do,” he said. “People need to understand that this seat belongs to constituents, and so I will make every effort that I can to make sure that the community is involved in the decision-making process at the beginning and not at the end.”

This year, the election for the City of Dallas will be held on May 6. Other candidates on the ballot for District 3 will include John Sims, August Doyle, and Denise Benavides.

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fed up with Dallas County
fed up with Dallas County
28 days ago

“Tave added that one issue southern Dallas has had “for many years” has been that the people’s representatives will make deals with developers without involving their constituents, who are only made aware of the deals while they are being negotiated or after they are already finalized.”

“I resent that, and most people do,” he said. “People need to understand that this seat belongs to constituents, and so I will make every effort that I can to make sure that the community is involved in the decision-making process at the beginning and not at the end.”

I agree with Joe Tave and resent the h*ll out of Casey Thomas and his back-room deals that totally and unlawfully left the community out of the decision-making process to locate a homeless shelter across from a school and library. When Casey Thomas speaks believe the opposite. “His” candidate, Zarin Gracy, cannot be trusted. Due to the criminal leanings of Mr. Thomas the citizens of Dallas now own a defunct hospital sitting on property that cannot be used for the reasons it was purchased.

Casey Thomas’ legacy is one of failure. If you want a dysfunctional city Casey Thomas’ endorsement, Zarin Gracy, is your guy.

Last edited 28 days ago by fed up with Dallas County
fed up with Dallas County
fed up with Dallas County
28 days ago

My last post quoted the article and because of that was marked as spam requiring moderation. Then it “disappeared.” The comment section is seriously broken and despite having one I don’t think the paper really wants comments. Witholding financial support until its fixed…

Last edited 28 days ago by fed up with Dallas County