Gay Dallas real estate developer Herschel Weisfeld announced his intention to run for the District 2 Dallas City Council seat on Thursday.
District 2 Councilwoman Pauline Medrano, District 14 Councilwoman Angela Hunt and District 11 Councilwoman Linda Koop will reach the four-term limit in 2013. Both District 2 and 14 are heavily LGBT.
Weisfeld will officially launch his campaign at Dallas Pride on Sunday with a float in the parade. He said it was the perfect way to introduce himself as a candidate to the district with the slogan “uniting our diverse city.”
“We realized since District 2 cuts right down the center of Cedar Springs, the fact that we are the ninth-largest city in America [and] without a gay or lesbian representation on our City Council, that Pride would be a perfect time to kick off the campaign,” he said.
Weisfeld has been involved in civic affairs for many years and is known for restoring an old church into a performing arts center he renamed the Sara Ellen and Samuel Weisfeld Center after his parents. He said his background in business and finance will help the council re-evaluate plans for environment, quality of life, bike paths and connecting alternative modes of transportation.
“The issues that pushed me toward running was planning for the next 30 to 50 years, not just the next three to four years,” he said. “I think those are things that will play a long-term role in the future of the city of Dallas for the generations to come, not for the years to come.”
Weisfeld said his diverse background in the gay, Jewish and Hispanic communities, as he is bilingual, will help him relate to the diverse communities in District 2 and help the art venues, entertainment districts and communities thrive.
“These are all very important pieces of the city of Dallas that I believe I’ve got the experience and the exposure to a wide variety of issues that will be important and that will be educational components for me that I can bring to the table to the benefit of all of the citizens of Dallas,” he said.
Read Weisfeld’s full announcement below.
I am proud to announce my candidacy for Dallas City Council District 2 which runs from Love Field to Samuell-Grand & Tenison Parks.
My campaign slogan is “UNITING OUR DIVERSe cITY” because I understand the DIVERSITY of District 2 which deserves the respect for its diverse housing from Historic Neighborhoods and Conservation Districts to our stabilized work force housing. As a two time award recipient from Preservation Dallas plus my years of service on the board of The Dallas Historical Society, I understand the importance of maintaining the character and history of our city while acknowledging the inevitable future growth and development in a responsible manner which is further supported by my term as Vice-President of The Oak Lawn Committee.
As a founder of the Oak Lawn Stakeholders Crime Watch 20 plus years ago, I understand the importance of neighborhood involvement and community participation when it comes to keeping our neighborhoods safe for all citizens and providing the tools to law enforcement to achieve this goal.
As the founder of the Sara Ellen & Samuel Weisfeld Center, a performing arts and conference center that I created in memory of my parents which was chosen as one of the top 10 architectural achievements from America in 2000, my commitment to the Cultural and Creative Community is unquestionable. That’s why the former mayor pro tem appointed me to the Cultural Affairs Commission where I served as Vice-Chair of the Commission and then was appointed to serve as the Chair of the City of Dallas Public Art Program.
Under Mayor Ron Kirk, I was asked to serve as the Chair of Pier Review for the Continuum of Care HUD Funding and then as the Co-Chair of the Public Street Feeding Programs which further resulted in identifying the need to provide an alternative to the then existing system addressing homelessness. Later under Mayor Laura Miller, I was asked to serve on the Homeless Task Force.
Having been born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley with a strong sense of the Hispanic culture, my ability to communicate in both Spanish and English is invaluable. As a graduate of Tulane University with a Business Management Degree with a concentration in Accounting, the Dallas Citizen’s Police Academy and Leadership Southwest coupled with my diverse community involvement in The Dallas Plan, Dallas 360, Forward Dallas, Smart Growth, the LINCing Project, Sustainability Summit, City of Dallas Code Enforcement Conference and A Salute to the Arts, to name a few, have strengthened my knowledge and experience of City operations. Added to my educational background and business experience, my community and civic awareness makes me an ideal candidate to represent all of the Citizens of District 2.