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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dallas Elections - 2007

Dallas/ Fort Worth Elections -2007
The winners, loosers and concerns.


Here is a complete run down of the May 12, Dallas/ Fort Worth City and School elections followed by my notes;

I am concerned about passing of the Farmers Branch Immigration Laws. I am against illegal immigration, but I am not in favor of City States, this is a dangerous precedent, is the next thing their own Military? Is Farmer's Branch representative of a typical American City or is it an anamoly? The neo-cons are getting thrown out for their extreme positions every where, this is jolting news. I do hope in the interest of co-existence in local communities, we need to fight this out. Let the immigration be handled by the Federal Government. I know that a majority of the Americans would not go for it.

The passing of bond in Allen bodes well for the improvements and progress for the city.

Dallas News had favored Tom Leppert and now he is in the run off. He seems like a good choice for the City.

Glad to see Mayor Salgel in Richardson is unopposed and hope Bob Townsend makes it. He is active in the communities and makes time to be with his people.

Here is the index followed by the columns from Dallas Morning News.

Index:

1. Farmers Branch Immigration Law wins
2. Dallas Mayoral Election: Leppert, Oakley headed for runoff
3. FB mayor: No real winners in this vote
4. Dallas runoff gives voters a choice of two very different candidates
5. Runoffs are set in Garland, Richardson races
6. $77.8 million bond issue passes in Allen
7. County elections Web sites
8. Carrollton Farmers Branch News
9. Voters fired up in Farmers Branch

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FB immigration law wins easily
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/local/stories/051307dnmetfarmersbranch.621241fe.html
02:35 AM CDT on Sunday, May 13, 2007
By STEPHANIE SANDOVAL / The Dallas Morning News
ssandoval@dallasnews.com

Also Online
DiscussLive: Stephanie Sandoval answers your questions on Ordinance 2903 on Monday at 1 p.m. Send early questions
Farmers Branch voters' overwhelming embrace of a law to drive out illegal immigrants – which backers celebrated Saturday as "nothing but positive" – may lead to similar measures across North Texas and the nation, analysts say.
The nation's first vote on an ordinance targeting illegal immigrants by barring them from renting apartments highlighted a resentment of the federal government's failure to secure the nation's borders – and a desire to do something about it at the local level, said City Council member Tim O'Hare, who was the driving force behind the ordinance.
"They are saying loud and clear they want change in Farmers Branch," he said. "People recognize we have a problem, and they are proud we stood up. This is nothing but positive results for Farmers Branch."

Mr. O'Hare's message that illegal immigrants are having a negative impact on neighborhoods, crime, property values and schools may soon be heard in other cities.

"I'd be shocked if I didn't see other cities follow suit," he said. "I've been contacted by representatives from other cities. Any city that wants to protect their town, give me a call, and let us work together."

Opponents of the ordinance said they will try to stop the ordinance in the courts, and despite their defeat, they say they will have an impact on the city in the future.
"Regardless of the results, this is only the beginning," said Ana Reyes. "The community outreach we're doing is going to empower the Hispanic community [to become citizens]. I want them to feel a sense of involvement in the city."

Matthew Wilson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, said the implications of the Farmers Branch election may be felt more in cities elsewhere.
"Farmers Branch is a closed-in suburb of a major American city," Mr. Wilson said. "This is not some sort of remote, rural outpost. Farmers Branch is a pretty mainstream place, and if there is this level of anger about the immigration situation there, then what that suggests is there's probably a lot more of this kind of anger around the country."
And politicians may look to capitalize on the issue by taking similar tough local stances on illegal immigrants, he said.

Irving City Council candidate Tom Spink, who ran on an anti-illegal-immigrant platform, easily won election Saturday over longtime incumbent James Dickens.
And look for more anti-illegal-immigrant measures in Farmers Branch with the election Saturday of two new pro-ordinance council members, David Koch and Tim Scott. The City Council now has a solid majority committed to more ordinances targeting illegal immigrants. Both Mr. Koch and Mr. Scott have said they favor expanding the ban on renting apartments to illegal immigrants to all rental properties in the city and cracking down on businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

But with two lawsuits pending against the city, it could be years before the ordinance takes effect. Attorneys in those lawsuits are expected to immediately file requests from the courts for injunctions to stop the city from implementing the law on May 22, as planned.
Though other cities over the last year or so have adopted similar apartment ordinances, Farmers Branch is the first in Texas to do so, and the first nationwide to put the issue to a city vote.

The ordinance is modeled largely after one adopted by Hazleton, Pa., the first city to adopt a rental ban on illegal immigrants. That city also was sued. The case went to trial in the spring, but the judge has not issued a decision yet.

"You have cities all across the country responding to constituent demands," said Kris Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He also is a constitutional law and immigration expert who defended Hazleton in court and helped Farmers Branch craft the ordinance that went to voters.

"These ordinances have proven very popular among city councils," Mr. Kobach said. "This shows the city councils are accurately responding to public opinion. ... A referendum is essentially a perfect public opinion survey because you're questioning the entire electorate."
One political analyst said that the impact might not be as great as it would have been several months ago.

Illegal immigration "is still a very live issue, but my sense is it doesn't have the forward momentum it had in the latter half of 2006, because it was then a signature issue of the Republican Party," Cal Jillson, also a political science professor at SMU, said last week.
A spokesman for Let the Voters Decide, a group that opposed the ordinance, also said the issue may not spread to other cities.

"We're disappointed in the result, but I think the campaign was successful in that it was able to elevate the level of debate about this ordinance and prove the many ways this ordinance is costly and ill-advised," said the spokesman, Travis Carter. "Because of our campaign, there isn't a community or city in North Texas that would think to support an ordinance like this."
The fiery debate drew charges of racism and accusations of voter intimidation and dissemination of wrong or misleading information on both sides both since last fall. Mayor Bob Phelps' house was vandalized twice, including once last week immediately after he announced his opposition to the ordinance.

It also thrust Mr. O'Hare, a native of the city, and Farmers Branch into the national spotlight. Anticipating the large turnout, Dallas County set up seven voting locations in the city for Saturday. Usually, the city of 28,500 has only one polling place. In the end, about 43 percent of 14,060 registered voters turned out and approved the referendum by a more than 2-to-1 margin.

Ordinance 2903 would require apartment management to obtain proof of citizenship or legal immigration status before entering into or renewing leases or rental agreements.
The only exception to the ban would be that mixed-status families could stay if they were already living in the apartment, the spouse or head of household is a citizen or here legally, and the household includes the head of household and spouse and their minor children or parents.

Staff writers Eric Aasen, Stella M. Chavez and Jay Parsons contributed to this report.
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Dallas Mayoral Election: Leppert, Oakley headed for runoff

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/local/stories/051307dnmetdallasmayor.62241469.html
12:16 AM CDT
12:23 AM CDT on Sunday, May 13, 2007
From Staff Reports
And then there were two.
Former construction company executive Tom Leppert and District 3 City Council member Ed Oakley took the top spots in the crowded Dallas mayoral election Saturday. Mr. Leppert drew 27.1 percent of the votes and Mr. Oakley garnered 20.7 percent.
Also Online
Leppert, Oakley headed for runoff
Analysis: Runoff a study in contrasts
FB immigration law wins big
Jacquielynn Floyd: FB mayor says no real winners in this vote
Dallas council races in runoff
Voters OK Bush library land sale
Incumbents keep DISD seats
Tax break approved for elderly
Mostly trouble-free day
Runoffs are set in Garland, Richardson races
Collin County roundup
S. Dallas County roundup
Rockwall/Rowlett roundup
Interactive map: Results by precinct
Tell us: Your candidate lost, so who gets your vote now?
None of the 11 candidates seeking to replace Laura Miller captured a majority of the votes, and the two leaders now head to a June 16 runoff.
Mr. Leppert appeared to have drawn strong support across North Dallas, while Mr. Oakley’s supporters mostly were in West Dallas, with a few scattered precincts across the south.
Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill had 13.9 percent and was followed closely by banker Max Wells who had 12.2 percent.
This has been the most expensive mayoral race in Dallas history, with more candidates than anyone can remember.
The candidates together have spent more than $4.5 million by Election Day. That’s more than any previous campaign, and it doesn’t include the money runoff candidates will spend.
Mr. Leppert led his opponents both in fundraising and in campaign expenditures. And his well-oiled campaign also attracted endorsements from many members of Dallas business and political elite.
But other candidates also have amassed huge war chests and gathered key endorsements. Mr. Oakley, taking advantage of a high-profile council service, touted southern Dallas credentials and reached out to North Dallas.
Another deep-pocketed candidate, Mr. Wells, the race’s oldest candidate, connected his face with past political victories. Mr. Hill was hoping to ride his widespread support in the south into a runoff. His entanglement in a two-year-old FBI investigation into corruption at City Hall has dogged his campaign and crippled his fund-raising efforts.
Current council member Gary Griffith was heavily courting Republican voters, and retired airline executive Sam Coats was making similar appeals to Democrats. Lawyer Darrell Jordan has made the run for mayor before and hoped to draw support from the vote-rich north.
Staff writer Dave Levinthal contributed to this report.
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FB mayor: No real winners in this vote

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/localnews/columnists/jfloyd/stories/DN-floyd_13met.State.Edition1.3d5c21f.html
01:07 AM CDT on Sunday, May 13, 2007
jfloyd@dallasnews.com
FARMERS BRANCH – Election night used to be a lot of fun for Bob Phelps.
Also Online
FB immigration ordinance approved by landslide
As a popular, longtime mayor who ran unopposed for the last three of his four terms, he would spend the evening at City Hall announcing the returns.
If there were any hot races, this was the night for gracious gestures and all-is-forgiven displays of community solidarity. Mr. Phelps hasn't missed election night since 1986, when he was appointed to the town zoning board.
Until this year.
This year, Mr. Phelps and his wife, Dee, left town.
With what seemed like the whole nation watching and the town seething with tension, city leaders decided to let the results come directly from the county.
Besides, federal agents, sent to investigate the second act of vandalism at the mayor's house since the furor over illegal immigrants erupted, candidly told the Phelpses that out of town was perhaps the best place for them to be.
"These last few months have been the worst time – I don't know, maybe of my life," Mr. Phelps said a few nights ago as we sat around the kitchen table. "I've tried to do what's right. It's so disappointing."
"Disappointing" is awfully mild language when you consider the berserk, spit-flecked hysteria that Ordinance 2903 has engendered at the extremes of both sides.
Those who have tried to keep the debate at a practical level – the cost, enforcement issues, legal risks – have been drowned out for months by overwrought or, worse, calculatedly manipulative partisans. It turned into an all-out war between good and evil, right and wrong.
And a miserable, no-win dilemma for the mayor.
"I'm not in favor of anything illegal," he said. "I'm certainly not in favor of illegal immigration."
But in Farmers Branch, opposition to 2903 has been equated to precisely that: "support" for unchecked, uncontrolled immigration; timid surrender of "American" language, values and culture.
Mr. Phelps and a handful of attorneys and staff members seem to be the only people in town who realized that passing this ordinance could – and probably will – cost a king's ransom in legal fees.
After campaigning and leading for two decades as a fiscal conservative, he was appalled at the risk.
The town has long prided itself on a "pay-as-you-go" policy. New building projects are paid for in full – Farmers Branch hasn't had to float a bond proposal in 20 years.
"We're already spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on attorney's fees," he said, defending against two lawsuits filed since the council first adopted anti-illegal immigrant measures a few months ago.
A few more years of vigorous litigation – after Saturday's vote, a virtual guarantee – will eat through the city's financial reserves like cows through a cornfield, he said.
So, four days before the election, Mr. Phelps went public with what he had been saying privately for months: 2903 would be terrible for Farmers Branch.
"I'm getting hate mail," he said unhappily, as Mrs. Phelps leafed through a pile of printouts, reading from a few e-mails:
"You are an embarrassment to your city – please resign." "You are a pathetic excuse for a leader." "You are a traitor."
"I worry about him," Mrs. Phelps confided. "He's been under so much stress. People turned on him so fast."
With a year left on his term, Mr. Phelps says he's not planning to quit, and he's certainly not considering relocation.
"We've been in Farmers Branch since 1955," he said. "Our friends are here."
With infinite sadness, he added: "I guess our enemies are here, too."
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Dallas runoff gives voters a choice of two very different candidates

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/local/stories/DN-dalanalysis_13met.State.Edition1.3d69eca.html
01:29 AM CDT on Sunday, May 13, 2007
By GROMER JEFFERS JR. / The Dallas Morning News
gjeffers@dallasnews.com
ANALYSIS
Dallas mayoral candidates Tom Leppert and Ed Oakley bring contrasting styles and campaigns to the June 16 runoff.
How they made the runoff
Tom Leppert:
•Employed massive campaign resources and a hefty list of endorsements to overwhelm most of his competitors.
•Hired high-dollar consultants to produce critical TV ads and mailers for a consistent, almost relentless message.
•Cast himself as a business-savvy City Hall outsider with fresh ideas. Crushed his rivals in North Dallas, who all finished far off the pace.
Ed Oakley:
•Blended his strong support in north Oak Cliff, Oak Lawn and parts of southern Dallas with just enough votes from elsewhere.
•Had the best grass-roots campaign. Avoided costly TV commercials in favor of billboards and mailers. His plan to tear down thousands of crime-plagued apartment units in North Dallas resonated with voters.
How they match up
It will be the veteran City Hall insider against the newcomer pushed by the city's business elite.
•Mr. Leppert poured massive resources into the southern sector, where he finished surprisingly strong. He'll sharpen his focus in North Dallas, but the south will be the site of key battles.
•Mr. Leppert is expected to continue to talk about "big ideas" instead of nuts-and-bolts issues like filling potholes.
•Mr. Oakley is trying to become what he calls the first mayor from the southern sector.
•Mr. Oakley continues to bring with him a strong Oak Cliff base. He's popular with neighborhood activists and the city's gay political machine.
•Mr. Oakley will continue to use his crusade against crime-ridden apartment buildings to gain steam in North Dallas, where Mr. Leppert holds the advantage.
Political appeals
Both candidates will work hard to appeal to black voters, many of them supporters of council member Don Hill.
With Mr. Hill out of the race, Mr. Oakley will lay claim to the entire south.
Radio talk show host-turned-consultant Willis Johnson effectively chipped away at Mr. Hill's stronghold in Oak Cliff, giving Mr. Leppert a significant beachhead.
Despite the attention to the southern sector by numerous candidates, mayoral races are almost always won in North Dallas.
Each will be working to woo his opponent's supporters.
Early friction
Mr. Leppert has cast himself as a man with the big picture. He'll try to minimize Mr. Oakley as merely a council member without a broad vision.
It's not Mr. Leppert's style to meet his opponent head-on, but his future ads and campaign mailers will stress a need for new leadership.
Mr. Oakley has often been irked by Mr. Leppert's contention that City Hall is on the wrong path.
He'll portray Mr. Leppert as an outsider with little knowledge about how City Hall works.
Mr. Oakley also recognizes the importance of the south, where he has told residents to ignore neighbors who support North Dallas candidates.
What happened to the others?
•Former council member Max Wells spent at least $800,000 of his own money on his campaign. But his poor showing suggests he failed to get traction in key parts of North Dallas.
•Council member Gary Griffith's effort to appeal to Republicans and former airlines executive Sam Coats' tactic to appeal to Democrats ultimately didn't work.
Mr. Griffith may have turned off Democratic supporters in his own Lakewood district and in the southern sector by trotting out the likes of Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions and other members of the GOP.
And most of the Democrats whom Mr. Coats craved probably wound up with Mr. Oakley and Mr. Hill.
•Darrell Jordan, an early candidate for mayor, failed to build on his early support in North Dallas, or on his unsuccessful 1995 campaign against Ron Kirk.

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Runoffs are set in Garland, Richardson races

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/local/stories/DN-dalcowrap_13met.State.Edition1.3d7a914.html

Dallas County: Many suburban offices won by incumbents
01:14 AM CDT on Sunday, May 13, 2007
By WENDY HUNDLEY and RICHARD ABSHIRE / The Dallas Morning News
Runoffs will have to decide the winners of races in Garland and Richardson. Irving will have an all-white school board. Suburban voters returned incumbents to their positions in a number of races.
Here's a wrap-up of key races:
Garland mayor, council
In the Garland mayor's race, former assistant city manager Ron Jones and credit union vice president Lee Alewine are headed for a June 16 runoff, finishing first and second respectively in a three-way race.
Mr. Jones was Garland's first black assistant city manager.
If he wins the runoff, he will be the city's first black mayor.
In City Council District 6, incumbent Barbara Chick easily defeated challenger Marcus Reed for the second time.
In a battle of political newcomers, Rick Williams, recently retired from the Social Security Administration, won over retail planner Scott LeMay in District 7.
Preston Edwards ran unopposed in District 3, as did Darren Lathen in District 8.
Richardson City Council
Challenger Bill Denton and incumbent Bob Townsend were running a tight race for Place 1. With all precincts reporting, Mr. Townsend led Mr. Denton.
In another very close race, Place 7 challenger Dennis Stewart had a slight lead over incumbent John Sweeden.
It's the second time these two have faced off in a race for a City Council seat.
Mr. Sweeden edged out Mr. Stewart in 2005.
But incumbents were sailing to easy victories in other races.
Rhea Allison was headed to his second term in his Place 2 seat, leading by a wide margin over Kevin Cozort.
In Place 3, incumbent John Murphy held a firm lead over opponent Darrell Day.
In the race for Place 6, Steve Mitchell, who was elected in 2005, prevailed over Matthew Moseley.
Mayor Gary Slagel had no opponent for his Place 4 seat.
In the five-way race for Place 5, a runoff was brewing between George McKearin and Pris Hayes.
Irving City Council
In the race for Place 1, challenger Thomas D. Spink held a strong lead over incumbent James Dickens.
In the three-way race for Place 5, Rose Cannaday was headed to fill the unexpired term of her husband, Lowell Cannaday, who stepped down to run for Dallas County sheriff.
Place 2 incumbent Beth Van Duyne and Place 7 incumbent Sam Smith faced no opposition.
Irving ISD
In the race for Place 5, incumbent Nita Patrick outdistanced Patricia J. Kilmer.
Incumbent Jerry Christian ran unopposed in Place 6.
In the three-way race for Place 7, Ronda Huffstetler had a decisive lead over her two challengers, Gloria Agyemang and Adrian Tyrone "A.D." Jenkins.
Ms. Huffstetler is white. Her challengers are black.
Ms. Huffstetler's victory means an all-white school board for the minority-majority district.
Mesquite ISD
Incumbent Mesquite school board member Rita Crump won re-election, dashing challenger Barry Walker's hopes.
Both candidates supported a $180 million school bond program that included money for a new elementary school in south Mesquite. The bond program passed.
Carrollton-
Farmers Branch ISD
The third time was the charm for attorney Frank Shor, 55, who won a seat on the school board after losing two previous bids. He defeated retired Highland Park school administrator Rodney Pirtle, 72.
whundley@dallasnews.com
rabshire@dallasnews.com
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$77.8 million bond issue passes in Allen

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/local/stories/DN-collinwrap_13met.State.Edition1.3d89ae0.html

Collin County: Sedlacek, Goss, Webb, Poe win seats; Frisco runoff set
01:09 AM CDT on Sunday, May 13, 2007
By JAKE BATSELL / The Dallas Morning News
jbatsell@dallasnews.com
Allen voters approved spending $77.8 million for a bond package that will improve streets, parks and public safety facilities, but a measure to spend $1.4 million on public

ALLEN BOND ELECTION
Allen residents approved all six bond propositions. The largest amount, $27.2 million, is for street improvements. The next-largest, $17.2 million, is for park improvements.
Voters were less certain about $1.4 million to implement a public art master plan, approving it by only a slim margin even though there was no organized opposition.
ALLEN CITY COUNCIL AND SCHOOL BOARD
Winners: Robin Sedlacek and Lois Lindsey
Accountant Robin Sedlacek cruised to a decisive victory over educator and executive Phillip Jenkins in the City Council Place 4 race.
Retired teacher Lois Lindsey defeated sales manager Scott Jergensen for the Place 4 school board seat.
FRISCO CITY COUNCIL
Runoff contenders: Jeff Cheney, Fred Pascarelli, David Prince, Chris Moss
Jeff Cheney, a 32-year-old real estate agent, and Fred Pascarelli, a 43-year-old software developer, will compete in a runoff election for the Place 2 council seat.
David Prince, a 57-year-old accountant, and Chris Moss, a 36-year-old risk management consultant, will square off for the Place 4 council seat.
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County elections Web sites

04:28 PM CDT on Friday, May 11, 2007
Dallas County elections site : http://www.dalcoelections.org/
Collin County elections site : http://www.co.collin.tx.us/elections/index.jsp
Denton County elections site : http://elections.dentoncounty.com/go.asp?Dept=82
Tarrant County elections site : http://www.tarrantcounty.com/eVote/site/default.asp
Rockwall County elections site : http://www.rockwallcountytexas.com/ea.htm
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Carrollton /Farmers Branch

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/city/carrollton/vitindex.html
05/13/2007

Attorneys: Prepare for court fight
FARMERS BRANCH – The first order of business for attorneys Marisol Perez and Bill Brewer this week is to block implementation of an ordinance that would crack down on apartment owners who rent to most illegal immigrants.
05/12/2007
FB immigration law wins easily
Voters in Farmers Branch strongly favored an ordinance that would make the city the first in the nation to prohibit landlords from renting apartments to most illegal immigrants.
AREA BRIEFS
Voters fired up in Farmers Branch
Say what you will about the illegal-immigrant measure on the ballot, it at least has given democracy a sorely needed shot in the arm.
McKamy Elementary presents: 'Broadway at Briargrove'
The glamour and glitter of Broadway come to the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district in a pint-size version of musical magic when the McKamy Elementary School choir performs two shows next week.
SCHOOL BRIEFS
C-FB school district
NORTHWEST DALLAS HOME SALES
This list of selected home sales in Carrollton, Dallas and Farmers Branch was compiled by MasterFiles Inc. from county deed records. The amount listed is the mortgage, not the total price. In each ZIP code, sales are organized alphabetically by street.
GOOD KID
CONGRATULATIONS
COMMUNITY CALENDAR
MOTHER'S DAY CONCERT : The A. W. Perry Museum presents a free Mother's Day concert at 6 p.m. Sunday. Guests should bring blankets or lawn chairs. Free ice cream and lemonade will be provided. The event includes a picnic basket contest with registration starting at 5:15 p.m. The museum is at 1509 N. Perry Road. Call 972-466-6380.
POLICE BLOTTER
The police blotter summarizes selected crimes reported in Carrollton through Sunday and is organized alphabetically by street, with the reported time.
05/11/2007
FB rivals step up efforts

JIM MAHONEY/DMN
Signs showing support of or opposition to Ordinance 2903 are seen throughout Farmers Branch.
As the campaigns for and against an ordinance targeting illegal immigrants in Farmers Branch enter the final two days, both sides intensified their efforts to appeal for votes in what already is a record turnout for the city.

Feds to monitor FB election
The Justice Department will send federal monitors to observe the controversial Farmers Branch election on a measure that would ban apartments from renting to most illegal immigrants.
FBI may investigate attack
The FBI is conducting what it calls a preliminary investigation into an act of vandalism against the home of Farmers Branch Mayor Bob Phelps this week.
05/10/2007
Study: Rental ban bad for FB

JIM MAHONEY/DMN
Signs showing support of or opposition to Ordinance 2903 are seen throughout Farmers Branch.
Crime rates are down, unemployment is low, business buzzes because of prime footage near major arteries and interstates. But marketing of the city's pluses could go bust because of those trying to rid Farmers Branch of illegal immigrants, according to a study paid for by a group fighting an anti-illegal immigrant ordinance in the city.

05/09/2007
FB mayor's window hit by vandal
A vandal threw a rock and broke a rear window of Farmers Branch Mayor Bob Phelps' home late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Mr. Phelps and his wife, Dee, were home at the time, but neither heard anything, city spokesman Tom Bryson said.
Early voting in FB breaks 14-year record
Farmers Branch voters – fired up over a divisive and controversial ordinance aimed at illegal immigrants – hit the polls in record numbers during early voting that ended Tuesday.
05/08/2007
FB mayor rejects ordinance in letter
Farmers Branch Mayor Bob Phelps has come out strongly against a controversial proposed anti-illegal immigrant ordinance on Saturday's ballot in a letter that went out to voters Tuesday.
Friends agree to disagree in FB


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Voters fired up in Farmers Branch

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/localnews/columnists/jragland/stories/DN-ragland_12met.ART0.North.Edition1.434a6b4.html
10:04 AM CDT on Saturday, May 12, 2007
The early vote is in, and the clear-cut winner is ... Farmers Branch.
Proving once again that there's nothing like an incendiary issue to get the electorate off the couch.
In Dallas, we've got a crowded double-digit field of candidates running for mayor. Combined, they've spent millions of bucks on high-dollar consultants and slick media ads to separate from the pack. They've rehearsed their campaign speeches so often that they can recite them in their sleep.
And how are voters reacting?
With a yawn as wide as the Trinity River.
Roughly 25,000 Dallas voters bothered to cast early ballots, underscoring political pundits' predictions of a paltry turnout in the low teens.
"Not much excitement is going on in Dallas," said Dallas County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet. "It's just average, middle-of-the-road. I think our turnout is going to be about 13 percent."
Translation: ho-hum. Wake us up for the runoff election in June.
No one is sleeping in Farmers Branch. Say what you will about the illegal-immigrant measure on the ballot, it at least has given democracy a sorely needed shot in the arm.
"I'm not seeing anything but Farmers Branch going crazy," Mr. Sherbet said. "It's just amazing what's going on out there."
Case in point. The highest previous turnout for a municipal election in Farmers Branch was about 3,200. The electorate's already broken that record. More than 3,500 voters cast early ballots.
And Mr. Sherbet projects that Farmers Branch will generate election day votes like never before.
"They'll probably end up with a 50 percent turnout in Farmers Branch," he said, adding that North Texas jurisdictions seldom, if ever, reach that level of participation for a local election.
"There will be nothing for the city to compare it to. And they may not ever see these numbers again."
Question: Is it too late to get our own flamethrower, Laura Miller, on the mayoral ballot?
"There is something about that Laura Miller love-hate thing," Mr. Sherbet acknowledged.
Without a real fireball personality or issue in the race, Dallas voters have just tuned out.
Or so it appears.
The idealist in me is still hoping that registered voters will wake up this morning, take a cue from Farmers Branch residents and march to the polls ...
In Dallas.
I know that's a long shot. We have a better chance of the Mavs beating Golden State in seven.
But it's also a shame that voters seem to care so little, especially when the city has produced the largest number of mayoral candidates ever.
These aren't fringe candidates, by and large. Most of them are straight-laced, sober-headed and civic-minded. They are a thoughtful and respectable bunch with good ideas about how to move the city forward. They've paid their dues.
Problem is, they're also b-o-r-i-n-g.
Which is not to say that none of them has a sense of humor or can't occasionally crack a clever quip or deliver a good line. If you went to a forum or two, you know what I mean. Or if you've managed to get one-on-one time with the candidates, which, unfortunately, only a privileged few ever get a chance to do in big-city politics.
So one glaring problem was that the serious candidates were too busy trying to look, well, you know, mayoral.
And most voters have been looking the other way, seemingly unaffected by the candidates' billboards, fliers, automated phone calls and campaign commercial plugs.
Voters like grit and tension. They want to understand what the stakes are, to see someone waving fingers and pounding the podiums with their fists.
They want clear choices.
They're getting that in Farmers Branch, in the form of an ordinance that would ban landlords from renting to most illegal immigrants.
In Dallas, voters are getting a chance to pick one of multiple mayoral candidates, several of whom have solid credentials and worthy ideas, and none of whom is expected to win outright.
The results: Farmers Branch gets U.S. Justice Department officials on hand to observe an election that's being talked about nationally and is attracting record voters.
And Dallas gets a costly dud.

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