Arlington needs a voice for its neighborhoods

Barbara Odom-Wesley and  Helen Moise are running for the Arlington City Council District 1 seat.
Barbara Odom-Wesley and Helen Moise are running for the Arlington City Council District 1 seat. Handout photos

In Arlington, economic development has been rallying cry from the city council and mayor. A big push has been to build the Entertainment District — hello, Texas Live! — and revitalize downtown. Both of these focuses are important for the city, but neighborhoods need someone to better represent them — especially in District 1.

District 1 includes everything north of Interstate 30, the Entertainment District, Viridian and most of what is north of Division St. The diverse area has many problems, including substandard housing and traffic congestion, that have not been dealt with as the city pursues economic development. District 1 Councilman Charlie Parker, a strong backer of the Entertainment District, isn’t running for re-election, leaving the District 1 seat open.

Helen Moise, 68, and Barbara Odom-Wesley, 69,are running for the seat. Both are long-time residents of District 1, and both want to shift some a much-needed focus toward improving neighborhoods.

Moise, a retired commercial realtor and current chairperson of the Arlington Planning and Zoning Commission, says she understands what Arlington needs.

Arlington has to find the balance between all the families and the growth, Moise told the Star-Telegram Editorial Board.

Odom-Wesley, the daughter of former Arlington mayor Elzie Odom, is a retired health information administrator who doesn’t have as much political experience but has plenty of civic and community involvement.

Odom-Wesley told the board, “I was told long ago service is the price you pay for the space you occupy.”

Moise wants to preserve the integrity of the neighborhoods and help relieve traffic congestion while working on ways to keep young workers in Arlington.

Arlington does great on the play part, Moise said, and a good job on the living part. The work part needs work, she said.

One of Moise’s goals is to lure small-tech companies and other employers that would attract University of Texas at Arlington graduates to stay.

With her career and background in planning and zoning, Moise certainly understands Arlington’s big projects.

Odom-Wesley brings nonprofit expertise. She’s served on many boards and currently is the health committee chair for the Arlington branch of the NAACP. She’s also on the board of directors for the Martin Luther King Celebration Committee.

She believes in continuing Arlington’s economic development but wants to be a voice for the neighborhoods.

Both women are strong candidates for this seat, but the Arlington City Council needs a member who will fight for the little guy and ensure residents and their needs aren’t overshadowed by the aggressive push for economic development.

Odom-Wesley is that person. She seems to better understand the pulse of the district and would make sure residents in North Arlington don’t get lost in the shuffle.

“I want Arlington to be the Dream City for everybody,” Odom-Wesley said.

We couldn’t agree more.

The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends Barbara Odom-Wesley for Arlington District 1.