Councilman Dennis Shingleton, running for his third term, is facing challenger Andy Gallagher for the District 7 seat in the May 9 City Council election.
Gallagher, 59, has declined repeated requests for interviews from the Star-Telegram via phone, email and in person, and did not attend the candidate forum hosted by SteerFW.
A motor vehicle dealer and mortgage loan officer, according to his campaign application, Gallagher has not raised any money for the campaign, has not received money in loans and has not spent any, according to the first round of campaign finance reports.
Shingleton, 67, a retired Army colonel and a retired senior associate dean at the University of Texas Health Science Center’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth, said he is running to continue work on projects, including construction of a multipurpose arena in the Cultural District, getting a sixth police patrol division built in the far north and improving the east-west arterial network north of Loop 820.
“I enjoy the interactions, especially with the neighborhoods, on a one-to-one personal basis and really getting involved at the lowest possible government level,” Shingleton said.
District 7 is the largest and most sprawling council district. It stretches from the Cultural District west to Lake Worth and then to the far north, taking in the Texas Motor Speedway.
The needs of the district are just as diverse, ranging from preserving the historic nature of central city neighborhoods to managing the rapid growth and infrastructure needs in the far north.
According to his LinkedIn page and filings with the Texas secretary of state, Gallagher is a mortgage loan originator with Hometown Lending Llc. and is president of Audio Video Appliance Inc.
He has been president of Audio Video Appliance, a for-profit company, since 1992, according to the filings.
Information about Gallagher’s educational background, service to the community and stance on issues was not available.
One of the biggest problems facing the city, Shingleton said, is building up the east-west arterial network. He hopes to advocate for more funding from the city and also state and federal sources.
“They are a mess and we have got to do something about them,” Shingleton said. “The bond package will help somewhat, but it is not the total answer.”
On the arena project, Shingleton, 67, said he wants to continue to support the project and ensure that the neighborhoods around the arena, including Arlington Heights, are included in planning for parking and other issues.
Building more permanent supportive housing — which includes wrap-around services for the nation’s hardest-to-house homeless people, such as social services, healthcare assistance and transportation — is another of Shingleton’s priorities.
Shingleton is on the city’s permanent supportive housing task force, and his district will host a planned mixed-income apartment complex that will include that housing.
Shingleton also supports the council’s changes in the pension plan, which included reducing the multiplier used to calculate benefits to 2.5 percent and raising the number of high-salary years used to determine retirement pay to five years.
Both the police and firefighters associations have sued the city over the changes. A police-backed lawsuit filed by Fort Worth Police Officers Association President Rick Van Houten and former President Steven Hall was dismissed last week in federal court. A lawsuit filed by Fort Worth firefighters is still working its way through the courts.
“The question becomes — are the decisions the council made able to withstand the scrutiny of the court?” Shingleton said. “If they don’t, we will back up and negotiate another reasonable alternative.”
He served on the City Plan Commission for nine years, five as chairman, was also president of the Lake Country Property Owners Association and was heavily involved in the annexation of Lake Country into Fort Worth in 1999.
Shingleton currently chairs the Lake Worth Regional Coordination Committee and the Tarrant Regional Water District Wholesale Advisory Committee, and is on several other city boards and commissions, including the legislative and intergovernmental committee and the boards of the Speedway, Trinity River Vision and Berry Renaissance tax increment finance district.
Shingleton earned bachelor’s and Master of Science degrees from Duquesne University and a Master of Business Administration degree from TCU.
Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984