Fort Worth's District 2 shifts to the north side's older core

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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For seven years, Sal Espino has been more focused on the needs of the northernmost parts of Fort Worth than any other member of the City Council.

Residential and commercial growth surging toward and beyond Alliance Airport moved faster than many city services -- even fire and police protection comparable to that in the rest of the city -- could match.

Most noticeably, roads built by some developers proved inadequate to handle growing traffic demand.

"We've been playing catch-up since 2005 when I came on the council," Espino says.

There is more catch-up to do, and Espino has pushed hard. As the councilman for District 2, that's been his job.

Now the 45-year-old attorney is running for re-election, and his job has changed significantly. New district lines drawn by the council in July put much of that booming northern area into Councilman Dennis Shingleton's District 7 and Councilman Danny Scarth's District 4.

An arm of District 2 still extends north of Interstate Loop 820 to take in Espino's home near U.S. 287. But Espino, the council's lone Hispanic member, must shift his emphasis toward the older, traditionally Hispanic neighborhoods centered around the Fort Worth Stockyards and just across the Trinity River from downtown.

There's no reason Espino can't make that shift and maintain support for areas north of the loop, given his knowledge built when more of those areas were in his district.

But his opponent in the May 11 election, Jim Lane, held the District 2 seat for 12 years before relinquishing it to Espino in 2005, and he lives in the older, closer-in part of the district. He won't let Espino forget the needs of the district's core.

Lane's focus is on fixing old neighborhood streets, fighting crime and cleaning up areas in need of code enforcement. He also says the city must help push development of Trinity Uptown north of the central business district, where the Tarrant Regional Water District is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on flood control and cleaning up contamination from years of industrial abuse.

Lane has been a member of the water district board since 2006.

The Star-Telegram Editorial board recommends Sal Espino in Fort Worth City Council District 2.

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