Fort Worth political races heat up on city's north side

Posted Thursday, Mar. 14, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

Topics: Fort Worth

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kennedy Campaign season is cranking up on the north side.

Honestly, it never ended.

With incumbents Sal Espino and Carlos Vasquez running to keep city and school positions, and the hint of a 2014 Domingo Garcia congressional bid, north Fort Worth is political ground zero for the May 11 election.

If there was ever any doubt that a "community breakfast" on Saturday would include campaigning, it ended when Vasquez said he and fellow Trustee Juan Rangel have opponents because "downtown decided, 'We don't like these Mexicans.'"

After Superintendent Walter Dansby addressed the monthly Chorizo & Menudo Breakfast, a Garcia-led Dallas event now planted in Fort Worth, Vasquez accused "Tea Party people" of targeting Hispanic school trustees.

"Let's not let the downtown Tea Party people tell us who is going to be on the board," he told a full Nuevo Leon Restaurant.

Former trustee Camille Rodriguez, opposing Vasquez along with county juvenile probation officer Jacinto A. Ramos Jr., laughed at that later and said Vasquez shouldn't campaign at Dansby's speeches.

"I'm for leaving the politics to the board members and letting Mr. Dansby focus on the schools," she said this week.

Vasquez, the board vice president, has been embroiled in politics since he ousted Rodriguez in 2008.

A former elementary school principal who now teaches in another district, he helped oust the last superintendent in favor of Dansby and also lost a close Texas House race.

Vasquez said he is endorsed by both City Council incumbent Espino and challenger Jim Lane.

Ramos, the third candidate, introduced himself to the breakfast crowd. He told the Star-Telegram this week that he moved back to the district from far north Fort Worth last July, even though he changed his voter registration only on March 4.

Dansby, in his second year as superintendent and nearing his 40th in the district, said he didn't expect Vasquez's comments and was making up for a canceled visit.

"I don't want to get in the middle between candidates," Dansby said firmly.

"I will not campaign for anyone."

Garcia, a former Dallas mayor pro tem who lost a U.S. House race to Marc Veasey of Fort Worth last July, and may run again, launched the breakfasts in October.

He wasn't there Saturday but said by phone that the breakfasts are a nonpartisan community forum for everyone.

"One thing I learned about Fort Worth is that Hispanics really needed someplace to talk about issues," he said.

There was definitely talk.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538

Twitter: @budkennedy

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