Monday, October 03, 2005

Miers as City Council candidate

Council candidates spar at forum
James Ragland Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News THE
Published: May 17, 1989

Place 9 Dallas City Council rivals Harriet Miers and Jim Garner and Place 5 hopefuls Mary Poss and Glenn Box squared off at separate Dallas Press Club "hot seat' forums Tuesday as a prelude to the runoff election Saturday.

The candidates spent less time at debating the issues than challenging each other's background and experience and questioning the significance of each other's endorsements. Ms. Miers and Mr. Box touted their endorsements announced Tuesday by the Dallas Firefighters Association, while Mrs. Poss and Mr. Garner boasted of their backing by the Dallas Police Association.

All four candidates agreed that public safety is the No. 1 issue in the city.

In the Place 9 at-large contest, Ms. Miers said that her first-place finish in the May 6 election showed that her support was citywide and "a mile deep.' She collected 40.1 percent of the vote; Mr. Garner came in second with 27.6 percent.

Calling crime her top concern, Ms. Miers said she would work to reduce it by hiring more police officers and stimulating economic development to create more jobs.

Mr. Garner said crime also is his top priority. He said he supports hiring more police officers and expanding community-based police efforts such as Operation CLEAN, a strategy that involves dislodging drug dealers by saturating drug-infested areas with officers.

Ms. Miers also said she supports development of a downtown mall, perhaps by using city funds. Mr. Garner said a downtown mall is not a priority for him and he opposes using city funds for such a project.

He also said he would have "difficulty' in supporting payment of the estimated $1.8 million in operating costs for the new Dallas symphony center, which has almost doubled in cost from its original estimate, while Ms. Miers said she would support the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.

On DART, Mr. Garner said he believes the embattled transit agency ought to return 25 percent of its revenues to member cities. He also said he opposes DART's possible use of the Santa Fe railroad line in East Dallas.

Ms. Miers said she believes Dallas Area Rapid Transit should be given a chance to work, and she said she opposes use of the Santa Fe railroad line through East Dallas but believes it could be used if a consensus of neighborhood residents supported the option.

Both candidates said they support a plan to restrict alcohol at Dallas parks, and both said they oppose a proposed 5 percent surcharge on tickets at Fair Park to finance the South Dallas/Fair Park Economic Development Trust Fund.

In the Place 5 contest, both candidates agreed that crime is the No. 1 issue. But the most volatile issue was DART's proposed use of the Santa Fe railroad line.

Mr. Box, who finished second to Ms. Poss May 6, accused her of waffling on the issue.

Both candidates said they opposed use of the Santa Fe because residents oppose it and it was not included in the original DART plan approved by voters in 1983.

Mr. Box said he would work to defeat DART if the agency proposed using the Santa Fe line, while Mrs. Poss said she was undecided.

"That decision will be made June 27' when DART's new service plan is due, Mrs. Poss said. "I have not made that decision. DART needs a mass transit system.'

Said Mr. Box: "The citizens of Dallas need to know that DART will keep its promises. If they're going to go back on their word, the citizens of Dallas ought to have a chance to vote again.'

Illustration: PHOTO(S): (DMN: Milton Hinnant) 1. City Council Place 9 candidate Jim Garner makes a point as opponent Harriet Miers takes notes Tuesday during a Dallas Press Club "hot seat' forum.; 2. Mary Poss . . . says she has not decided whether to work to defeat DART if the agency proposes using the Santa Fe line.; 3. Glenn Box . . . accuses his opponent of waffling on DART's possible use of the Sante Fe rail line for rapid transit.

PHOTO LOCATION: 1. Garner, Jim (cf 31510). 2. Poss, Mary (cf 31510). 3. Box, Glenn (cf 31510).

Copyright 1989 The Dallas Morning News Company


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