Monday Night Politics comes to an end
Forum features Dallas City Council District 5, 6
DENISHA McKNIGHT | 4/17/2017, 3:36 a.m.
The Dallas Examiner
Monday Night Politics: Meet the Candidates presented by The Dallas Examiner held its final forum before the May 6 general election April 3 at the African American Museum in Fair Park for candidates seeking Dallas City Council District 5 as well as District 6.
The forum began with District 5 incumbent Rick Callahan introducing himself and discussing why he should be re-elected.
“I’ve been involved in that area [Pleasant Grove] heavily for about 32 years,” he said. “I’ve been very much active in the greater community for about 45 years. I’ve been very active on all levels of the political process. With this election, it comes down to something really simple –experience. I have a great deal of experience. Experience is key, and I am happy to serve another two years.”
Audience members capitalized on the opportunity to ask Callahan multiple questions.
Question: What would be your top three priorities, if re-elected, that you would want to see change in the next two years?
Callahan: I am adopting the kind of principle of giving Pleasant Grove and Southeast Dallas a bigger piece of the pie through public safety, parks and infrastructure, and economic development. Those are three things that we need. Public safety in terms of we need to fix the Dallas police and fire pension fund. We’re stuck in the mud right now, but once we do that we’ll begin to hire officers – police and fire – and move forward.
Q: There are vacant businesses on Buckner Boulevard. Are there any plans for that type of zoning to be utilized effectively to benefit the community?
Callahan: There’s really not that much vacancy right now. We do have a lot of negative voters, and I’ve tried to work against that. We’ve been revisiting our plan developers over the last year, and what we want to do is try to eliminate negative businesslike smoke shops and tire and wheels shops and upgrade the retail. There has been a lot of change over the land over the last 10-15 years. As the economy is improving, I’ve seen more investors come down. I think we are on the thumbnail of making this thing operate better than before.
Q: Some say that Pleasant Grove is the forgotten child of GrowSouth. What is your stance on that and what are your plans to promote healthy development in that area?
Callahan: There is probably a lot of truth there. GrowSouth is the mayor’s private marketing program, not mine or anyone else’s. That’s part of his goal set. No doubt we want to grow south. We’ve talked about that for many years. We’ve got GrowSouth along with Neighbor Up and Neighborhood Plus. Those programs are clearly changing the Planned Development District 366 [Buckner Boulevard Special Purpose District]. It’s going to be one way to do that – take advantage of economic development and the mayor’s incentives. That is going to give an opportunity to move forward. He [the mayor] keeps saying, “You’re next.” We’ve been to West Dallas, Bishop Arts and Fort Worth Avenue. Now, it’s time to come to Pleasant Grove, and I think you’ll see that.