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Is Susan Motley Misleading Voters About Leftist Affiliation?

Susan Motley
Susan Motley | Image by Susan Motley/Twitter

Irving City Council Place 4 candidate Susan Motley has denied having a relationship with the Texas Organizing Project despite listing herself as a member on her publicly available resume.

“I am not a member of the Texas Organizing Project, a statewide group whose political action committee endorsed me a decade ago in a partisan race for a seat in the Texas House,” Motley said to The Dallas Express in an email. “My hyper-partisan opponent has tried to use this fact to argue or imply that I support defunding the police, which is a lie. As a lawyer, I work every day to enforce our laws, and I recognize and support the vital role police officers and other members of law enforcement play in our community. If elected, I look forward to working with Irving’s Police and Fire Departments to help keep our community safe.”

Her resume, which states that she is a member of the Texas Organizing Project, is currently available on Laborlaw.org. Toward the bottom, she lists “Member, NAACP’s Irving-Carrollton Branch & Member, Texas Organizing Project.”

DX was initially unaware of the resume when Motley was asked about her membership in the organization. Accordingly, DX followed up with her and sent her the resume to ask for clarification.

“This is not a current resume and appears to have been from around 2015, considering that I was licensed in 1997,” she responded.

Motley did not indicate when she separated from the group. Her statements, which DX has published here in their entirety, lack details about her relationship with the political group.

The Texas Organizing Project is a leftist political organization that lists criminal justice reform as its number one issue. It endorsed abolishing the police in 2020. Motley was previously reported in the Texas Tribune to be a member of the group, and numerous Facebook posts refer to her working with the organization.

In one FaceBook post, an image appears to show Motley speaking to the group after it became apparent she would head to a runoff in her unsuccessful 2014 bid for the Texas House of Representatives. Indeed, the top commenter on the post refers to Motley as having been a member “for years.”

Still, these posts do not fully illustrate the relationship between the two. During the same period, Motley’s campaign paid Texas Organizing Project for “Office rent,” according to her campaign finance filings.

Contrary to the organization’s platform, Motley’s mailers appear supportive of the police.

“Like you, I want safe, strong neighborhoods, and I support law enforcement,” one recent Motley mailer read.

Susan Motley Email

Her opponent, Luis Canosa, also highlighted the need to support law enforcement when speaking with DX and other media outlets. “We just need more officers, more of a presence … [we need them] to be out there,” the candidate said in a half-hour interview with the Cowtown Caller podcast, nodding toward Irving’s police shortage.

In her non-partisan race against Canosa, she has outraised the young businessman by around $10,000. However, she trailed him in the general election by several points. In May, Canosa led the six-person field with 33% to Motley’s 26%.

Housing has become a focus of the campaign in recent days. Part of this derives from a disagreement between the candidates on the future of a proposed homeless shelter in Irving. Canosa strongly opposes it. Motley has implied that she supports it.

“If the homeless shelter had been approved, Irving would be on a path to seeing a big surge in homelessness,” Canosa previously said in an interview with DX.

“The fact that my opponent considers it a ‘shame’ that building a homeless shelter in Irving was defeated by just one vote proves that she is out of touch with the residents of District 4,” he added, referring to a previous attempt to launch such a project.

“Families move to Irving instead of Dallas because the magnitude of certain problems is much smaller in the suburbs. It doesn’t make sense for Irving to use its limited resources to open a homeless shelter so costly that the $3 million [Department of Housing and Urban Development] grant would disappear like a drop in the bucket and leave the taxpayers holding the bag.”

Polling by DX indicates that roughly 75% of Dallas voters think homelessness, vagrancy, and aggressive panhandling are “major” problems in the city. Residents also registered their support for the “one-stop-shop” homeless services model used by Haven for Hope in San Antonio. The model has been credited with a 77% reduction in unsheltered homelessness in the city’s downtown area.

Canosa warned that homeless shelters could attract destructive behavior.

“We need to use law enforcement to arrest criminals dealing drugs and to restrict panhandling in areas where it is unsafe to do so. We don’t need to invest tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to put in place ineffective programs that will just serve as magnets for the homeless of Dallas,” he added.

Motley seemed to suggest the opposite position in a candidate questionnaire.

When asked, “What is your position on a congregate shelter for the homeless in Irving?” Motley said that she needed more information on homeless center options, including congregate housing facilities.

She then embedded a hyperlink to a video from an Irving City Council meeting where city staff supported building a homeless shelter in Irving.

“While it would not solve homelessness in Irving, it might help, yet many (but not all) of our existing leaders seemed not to want to use available funds for this,” Motley said. DX previously contacted Motley for clarification, but she did not respond.

Motley’s donors have attacked her opponent for allegedly not living in Irving. Matt Varble has repeatedly suggested Canosa lives somewhere other than Irving. Varble previously ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for Irving City Council in 2023. His campaign was swamped with allegations of political censorship, harassment of women, and financial misconduct with regard to a homeowners association for which he served as president, DX previously reported. He denied all wrongdoing at the time.

DX investigated Varble’s claims about Canosa’s residency. DX spoke to Canosa’s landlord via telephone, who confirmed that Canosa has lived for two years at one of his properties and that the property is located in Irving.

Early voting in the Irving City Council race began on June 3 and continues through June 11. Election day is Saturday, June 15.

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