Four more candidates enter City Council, Mayoral race
Four new opponents filed for positions on the ballot for Arlington City Council this week.
In the hours leading up to the filing deadline on Friday, Jerry Pikulinski, 74, entered the race against incumbent Mayor Robert Cluck, 73, and Chris Dobson, 34.
Pikulinski, who is retired, feels that Cluck’s current style of governing reflects poorly on the City Council and Arlington.
“I think the Mayor’s style and temperament have really harmed the spirit of government in Arlington,” said Pikulinski. “He has set a bad tone for the council.”
Pikulinski wants to address the Council’s ability to permit gas well drilling in residential areas by reworking zoning requirements and the city’s current gas well ordinance.
“I really think we need to stop the creation of more well sites and permits for Chesapeake because of what they’ve done in Oklahoma,” said Pikulinski.
Chesapeake and outgoing CEO Aubrey McClendon are being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission about a perk that allows McClendon to invest personally in the company’s oil and gas wells.
“Gas well production to benefit the people of the city has been minimal,” said Pikulinksi. “City government, the university, the school district and even the airport have enjoyed substantial benefits.
"Individual households have barely gotten enough from their royalties to cover a grocery bill."
In 2012, Pikulinski ran against Jimmy Bennett for the at-large District 6 seat and received 30.07 percent of the vote. Only 6.18 percent of Arlington’s entire base of registered voters participated in the last election.
Pikulinski spent just under $2,400 in his last campaign. He plans on spending more money in this year’s race. Cluck’s most recent campaign finance report shows that he has over $110,000 in political contributions.
Pikulinski hopes that by putting more money into his campaign and making appearances in front of local groups, he can make an impact in the race.
Two people filed to compete against Michael Glaspie for the at-large District 8 seat. Glaspie, 66, was first elected in 2012, after the seat was vacated by Gene Patrick. Because he was elected during an off-year, or what is considered a special election, Glaspie has to run again this year.
Richard Weber, 56, a retired city worker and president of the Arlington Alliance for Responsible Government, a local organization which focuses on city-related issues, hopes to give Glaspie a run for his money.
“Glaspie has been less than honest with the citizens of Arlington I feel,” said Weber. “When he was running last year, he said he would be able to stand up to the Mayor. We haven’t seen that yet.”
Weber’s platform will focus on three issues: decreasing the street maintenance backlog, limiting the construction of high-density apartments, and improving the council’s treatment of citizens.
Weber plans on using grassroots efforts to distribute his political platform to voters.
“I’m going to tell the citizens what the problems are and I’m hoping they will tell their neighbors,” said Weber.
Also entering the District 8 race is Joe McHaney, 55, who filed his paperwork on Thursday.
McHaney, an environmental consultant, says he wants to bring more small business experience to the council.
“I feel like the District 8 seat has just been an empty chair,” said McHaney. “There isn’t a tax increase that (Glaspie) doesn’t vote for.”
Being a life-long Arlington resident who graduated from Arlington High School and UT Arlington, McHaney believes now is the perfect time to run.
As a councilmember, McHaney said he will work to strengthen the local economy and make Arlington a place where people want to start a business.
He would also focus on improving Arlington's air quality, which he says is affected by the trucks which transport fluids to and from the natural gas wells. McHaney is not against gas well drilling, but believes the flow of traffic from the trucks is having a negative effect on both air quality and street infrastructure.
“I also want to make sure that we don’t implement a backdoor mass transit system in Arlington,” said McHaney. “I was a consultant for DART for years. Nobody rides these trains or buses.
“So if they were to be set up in Arlington, nobody would ride them. Plus our streets aren’t designed to handle buses.”
McHaney says he will try and get people excited to vote in order to gain an edge over his opponents.
Daniel Wood, 29, filed to run against District 4 councilwoman Kathryn Wilemon on Wednesday.
Wood, a medical equipment technician, sees problems on a national level but believes change starts locally.
“I want to try and get some of the City Council’s wasteful spending under control,” said Wood.
Some examples of what he views as wasteful spending include the road development around Cowboys Stadium and a feasibility study conducted by the city to examine whether reducing the capacity of Abram Street is a good idea.
Wood is also not a fan of the police department operating unmanned drones.
“Wilemon has not lived up to my expectations,” said Wood. “I believe it’s time to get some new faces on the council that can bring fresh ideas to the table.”
Wood hopes to capitalize on grassroots support in order to canvas neighborhoods and get out the vote.
All of the incumbent candidates, except District 3 councilman Robert Rivera, have opponents. Election day is scheduled for May 11.