2 candidates file for Fort Worth council election

Posted Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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On the same day the City Council approved placing the District 9 election on the May ballot, two candidates filed Tuesday afternoon to run for the seat.

Joel Burns, who has represented the area since 2008, announced his resignation at the Feb. 11 council meeting, saying he plans to obtain a Mid-Career Master in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School in Massachusetts.

Edward Lasater, 44, and Ann Zadeh, 47, filed for the May 10 election. Early voting starts April 28.

Lasater, a graduate of Arlington Heights High School, Tulane University and Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, said he is still listening to residents about issues important to the district and the city.

In general, Lasater said, he wants to “encourage good development and keep bad development from destroying the character of these neighborhoods,” as well as help the city focus on education, transportation and ignored neighborhoods.

“Right now, I’m busy talking to everyone I can talk to and getting in front of every neighborhood association I can,” Lasater said.

Lasater, who lives in Berkeley Place, worked for the Tarrant County district attorney’s office under Tim Curry for eight years, spending part of the time in the gang and homicide prosecution unit. He now works with his father in the family-owned Asset Deployment Inc.

Zadeh, a former mayoral appointee and chairwoman of the Fort Worth Zoning Commission, has a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of Texas at Arlington and said her experience in city planning will be beneficial as Fort Worth grows.

She worked in city planning for five years before her oldest son was born in 1997, and she has lived in the Bluebonnet Hills neighborhood for more than 20 years.

Zadeh said she wants more neighborhoods in District 9 to become involved in city government and is compiling a database of the neighborhoods and contacts.

“There are a lot of very involved neighborhoods in District 9, but I would like to see all neighborhoods as well represented and involved as those doing a fantastic job,” Zadeh said.

She said transportation and growth are two of the biggest issues facing the city.

Though he did not file Tuesday, Greg Hughes, 57, an engineer at Lockheed Martin, said he plans to run.

Hughes got a Master of Business Administration from TCU in 1991. He served on the Fort Worth Transportation Authority board for four years starting in 1999, was involved in the collaboration with Dallas Area Rapid Transit to bring the Trinity Railway Express to Fort Worth and has lived in the University West neighborhood for more than 20 years.

Hughes said the city’s fiscal position is a primary issue.

“From what I have seen, we have slowly backed ourselves into some corners that we need to get ourselves out of,” he said. “It won’t be quick, and I don’t have any magic bullets. My position is essentially one of pragmatism: We have to live within our means, and we need to increase our capacity to borrow.”

He is also concerned about district-specific issues, such as addressing the growth of TCU while working with the neighborhoods. Hughes formed the University Neighborhood Alliance to address issues such as the tension that arises when students live in family-oriented neighborhoods.

Potential candidates

Two other candidates have expressed interest in the post but have not filed.

Bernie Scheffler, 35, ran for the District 9 seat against Wendy Davis and Joel Burns in 2007 and said he is likely to run again.

“I think District 9 particularly is at a crossroads and there is a lot of change happening,” Scheffler said. “I’m excited for the future of Fort Worth, and I think I have a good vision for the future of Fort Worth and getting those sorts of things done.”

Scheffler graduated from high school in Richardson and attended college at the University of Dallas in Irving.

He owns a bicycle shop, Trinity Bicycles, in downtown Fort Worth and has lived in the city for 14 years. He also worked as a communications director for Davis during her first state Senate campaign and as a legislative aide handling community issues during her first legislative session.

Scheffler said he would address the city’s rapid growth and would like to see the city and his district “remain as diverse as possible.”

Transportation and the quality of streets and parks are also important issues, said Scheffler, Burns’ appointee to the Parks and Community Services Advisory Board.

Brian Renteria, 35, a data analyst for the Fort Worth school district, is considering running. He said he has had his eye on the council seat for years but has been waiting to grow professionally and personally so he can be a more valuable candidate for the district.

“Right now, I have one foot down on the side of running, and I am hoping to pull the second leg over soon,” he said, adding that he needs to make sure that it’s the right fit for his family and his work.

Originally from Fort Worth and now living in Oakhurst, Renteria graduated from Texas Wesleyan University and earned a master’s in public administration from UT Arlington.

Renteria said he grew up in south Fort Worth and is familiar with the challenges facing District 9. Transportation and road conditions will be a primary concern, he said.

“A close second would be the development of the businesses while also maintaining the historic nature of some of the neighborhoods,” he said.

Renteria said one of his strengths is being “able to embrace diverse thoughts to collectively move a group forward.”

The election

Candidates can file until March 10 in the city secretary’s office at City Hall.

More information is at fortworthtexas.gov/elections.

The council member election will be on the same ballot as the $292 million bond program and the renewal of the Crime Control and Prevention District sales tax.

The Crime Control and Prevention District board, made up of the council members and Price, is expected to approve the May election for the tax renewal Thursday.

Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984 Twitter: @catyhirst

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