This election is from 2007. 2009 Lewisville City Council Elections are HERE
This election resulted in a runoff: For more, see this article.
Voters in the City of Lewisville will be going to the polls on May 12, (Election day Voting Locations)and the major race on the ballot for most will be the Place 3 City Council seat vacated by Mike Nowels.
Although I've said I'm not going to endorse any candidates here, I do have some thoughts on the election. Though I've yet to make up my mind who I will vote for, I know without a doubt who I will NOT vote for, and I'll share that in this posting.
First let me say what I think this election is about: I believe it is about finding the right guy who will bring a level of experience and perspective that compliments and balances that of the other council members so that all residents of our city can be assured that their views are heard and considered. Our city faces a variety of challenges going forward, but they all boil down to maintaining and improving the safety and quality of life for our current citizens with maximum efficiency for every tax dollar collected and spent.
For each and every issue facing the city, our leaders ought to be asking "What does this do to help or hinder the current residents? What is the most effective and efficient thing to do?"
The specific challenging issues, as I see them, and as I can prioritize them are as follows:
1. Preventing and reversing the decay of our neighborhoods.
2. Keeping our streets and neighborhoods safe and crime-free.
3. Carefully balancing our growth rate as the city fills up its land, so that we can maintain our vital infrastructure without incurring costly debt, and causing our school districts to do the same.
4. Transportation as a quality of life issue. As our county fills out to the west of I-35E in fast-growing areas, people will pass through Lewisville on the East-West routes to I-35E. This will continue to clog our thoroughfares and keep a lot of our citizens sitting in their cars for more of their day.
5. Keeping our business climate vital and growing to provide tax revenue and jobs for our citizens.
What is NOT at issue here in Lewisville are partisan grand-standing and divisive attention-getting tactics from politically ambitioned councilmen with their eyes on higher office. We've seen what happens with that sort of nonsense in other cities, such as Farmers Branch or Dallas. Our city council, though entirely Republican, under the wise leadership of Mayor Carey, and before him, Mayor Mitchell, have done a good job of keeping this kind of abuse out of the council so that they can spend their limited time focusing on the real issues.
As a city, it is not in our interest to jump in and take an activist role on partisan issues, such as immigration, the judicial system, foreign policy or anything of that nature. As a city, we must be pragmatic and squarely focused on what directly affects Lewisville citizens. Our council must consist of people with a record of service as proof of their dedication to the city and our residents needs. Our council should consist of people who have lived here long enough to understand the differing needs of our differing neighborhoods. Our council must consist of people who can and will devote the amount of time necessary to understand each issue and attend each meeting. Our council must be diverse enough and open-minded, so as to avoid group-think.
For this reason, though I am not endorsing any candidates, I am going to state my opinion about who is not qualified for this office. Using these criteria, I would disqualify even myself from holding this office, if I were running.
First, Jim Mundt. Although he has potential for the future, he has no record of any community involvement, aside from his PTA membership. That may carry some weight in a school board election, if he were an officer, but it doesn't carry any weight with me. Like myself, Mr. Mundt is a former Marine with military leadership experience. I count this as a plus, and is why I think that Mr. Mundt has potential for the future. However, I would like to see Mr. Mundt apply for and get an appointment to a city board and spend some time proving his dedication to the city. Mr. Mundt's platform is basically this:
"The key difference is that I am not a political or business leader in the community. I am an average, working class citizen who hopes to represent all the citizens of Lewisville."
Although I can appreciate being average and working class, neither of these things precludes someone from being a leader in the community.
Further, when I called Mr. Mundt, explaining that I was interviewing the candidates for my website, he politely declined after some initial attempts to ignore. In city politics, this is just silly. Mr. Mundt has probably noticed that our local media is not exactly beating down his door for interviews, and any opportunity to get one's message out should be jumped at. When a Republican running for a non-partisan city office refuses a non-partisan interview because the interviewer leans the other way, it shows one of two things: Contempt for those he disagrees with on completely different issues, or a lack of understanding that city leaders need to reach out to all groups if they intend to have any popular support.
I don't dislike Mr. Mundt. I just do not think he is ready to take on this responsibility yet.
You can see more information on Mr. Mundt here: http://www.vgt2004.org/a-dallas07/candidate-detail.go?id=6883436
Secondly, and I've saved the "worst" for last: Lathan Watts. I would absolutely NOT vote for Lathan Watts if he were the only candidate on the ballot. This is based not only on my personal interactions with his campaign, but on his brief but tainted past history with our city and some less-than-ethical political activities on behalf of Governor Rick Perry directed at Carole Strayhorn. Mr. Watts likely views this office lightly. I predict that if elected, he will promptly divide our city by grandstanding about deeply divisive conservative hot-button issues to build his name recognition, after which he will abandon the Council and attempt to run for higher office. Mr. Watts served a partial term on the City of Lewisville Transportation Board, then switched to the Planning and Zoning Commission, where his attendance has been less-than-stellar, and has almost gotten him removed for too many absences. In addition to being the Vice President of the Denton County Young Republicans, this 30 year old serves as a lobbyist of sorts for the group Associated Builders and Contractors. He doesn't seem to have or list any experience OTHER than political, having worked on several campaigns, and being deeply involved with the Denton County GOP.
Like Mr. Mundt, Watts also refused an interview with WhosPlayin - twice - because of our reporting on what we perceive as the poor representation provided by Congressman Michael Burgess. Again, like I explained to Watts, I was prepared to interview him without bias, and let his ideas stand on their own. I had already interviewed Ron Aljoe, (also a Republican) and he could see that I've not said anything negative about him in that interview. To me, this shows again either a lack of tolerance or political ineptitude to realize the opportunity to have your views known. I offered him a forum, and he turned it down.
Mr. Watts has already picked his first hot-button grandstanding issue - one that has cost other cities lots of lawyer fees and ruined lives: Redlining where registered sex offenders can live. At last count, our city had 72 registered offenders who had been released back into society after serving their terms. Given the fact that 1 out of 4 women and 1 out of 6 men will be a victim of a sex crime in their lifetime; and that Lewisville's population is roughly 90,000, this staggering statistic would mean approximately 11250 women or girls and 7500 men or boys in our city have had or will have a sex crime committed against them. Even assuming that the average sex offender committed crimes against 3 people, this would mean that there are roughly 6250 unregistered offenders.
But hey: Registered Sex Offenders are an easy target aren't they? Who cares about their families and their ability to rehabilitate? The empty gesture of making them pick up and move will do nothing but provide a false sense of security while preventing no crimes, and possibly preventing registration by offenders.
Lathan Watts may put on a good show, and even pick up some partisan endorsements, but he lacks maturity and substance in his platform, and he mistakes party loyalty for public service. We need less politics and more service when it comes to city government. For a 30 year old, 3 and a half year resident to come along and expect to buy himself a seat on the city council after a lackluster stint on a couple of boards, and very little career and life experience is naïve. Watts needs to spend more time on the P&Z commission, more time with his two young daughters, and more time listening to points of view rather than talking points.
You can see more information about Mr. Watts here:
Let me stress that there is no personal animosity here with Mr. Watts. I just feel that there are better candidates who will make better use of the office than Mr. Watts.
My next post will review the other candidates, and at some point soon, I'll post all the information on the City of Lewisville, and LISD School Board Elections.