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City Council races lead into runoffs

20130518 icc electon

City Council candidates are preparing for another month of campaigning as four contenders head into a June runoff election to claim their seats on the Irving City Council.

The runoff elections for Place 1, where John Danish will face Loren Byers, and Place 2, where Allan Meagher will face Kensley Stewart, will take place on June 15.

In the May 11 election for Place 1, Danish took 49 percent of 593 votes. Byers earned 32 percent. Luis Reyes followed with 11 percent of votes and Juan Martin Ronco, Jr. took about 7 percent.

In the race for Place 2, an at-large position, Meagher received about 38 percent of 4,684 votes. Stewart took about 28 percent of the vote. Rene Castilla managed about 26 percent of votes and Francis Schommer only earned 7 percent of votes.

Gerald Farris won the place 7 seat by default.

Place 1 race

Byers moved to Irving in 1974 after graduating from Ferris State University in 1970 with a marketing degree. He also has a degree from the University of Texas at Arlington. Byers has served on the Irving Youth Board and as a committee member for the Texas Electoral College.

“While victory was not determined in (the May 11) vote, it did set the stage for Irving citizens to consider the direction they want the City to go in the future,” Byers said. “The voters are approaching a fork in the road. Their decision will determine the future of our City.

“They could choose the candidate who was on the City Council and (planning and zoning commission) that is destined to regurgitate tired old ideas that didn’t work then, and most definitely won’t work now or they can choose Loren Byers, the candidate with fresh new ideas that will pursue a path to an exciting and prosperous future for South Irving,” he said.

Danish, who is the chairman of the DART Board of Directors, is an attorney in Irving. He has served on the Irving City Council, the planning and zoning commission, the Irving Heritage Society and other community boards. He is a graduate of Wheaton College and Southern Methodist University.
“I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartiest thanks to the District 1 voters who came out during early voting and on Election Day to support me in my pursuit to become District 1’s next City Councilman,” Danish said. “The fact that we missed an outright win by one vote per polling location (just four votes total) underscores each voter’s importance concerning our election process.

“I value and appreciate each voter, and I ask that you continue this journey with me by casting your vote during the upcoming runoff election. Together, with your vote, we will work toward a brighter future for all of us as friends and neighbors in District 1. Together, with your support, we will realize that District 1’s best days are still ahead.”

Place 2 race

Stewart, who most recently worked at Baylor Medical Center in Irving, moved to Irving in 1993 to work for Irving Community Hospital. He attended El Centro College and has also worked as a realtor. This year, he served on the City’s Charter Review Committee.

“Our campaign is pleased to head into a runoff in which such a clear distinction exists between the candidates,” Stewart said. “In the end, we believe the voters will choose the candidate that has demonstrated an absolute dedication to low taxes, fiscal restraint, and a strong ethics policy for council members.”

Meagher served on the City Council from 2004 to 2011. He has also represented the City on the DFW Airport Board and has sat on the planning and zoning commission, the Irving Cares Board and the YMCA Board.

Meagher was not available for comment.

City Charter

All of the City’s Charter amendments passed on the May 11 election. Among the 25 changes to the charter are a proposition to reduce council members’ term limits from four to three consecutive terms, hike Council pay to $900 a month and $1,200 for the mayor and another amendment that will require the City Manager to live in Irving and be evaluated annually.