The electorate spoke May 5 in North Side elections.
Castle Hills voters upset by the City Council’s censure of an alderman let him keep his seat while ousting two of his colleagues in the May 5 elections.
In Shavano Park, an incumbent council member won re-election while another was voted out of office.
A political newcomer narrowly claimed a seat at the Hollywood Park council dais.
Elsewhere, Northside Independent School District voters overwhelmingly passed the system’s largest bond issue ever — $849 million — to be used in part to refurbish and modernize many of the campuses in Texas’ fourth-largest district.
Despite being at odds earlier this year with some of his City Hall colleagues, Place 5 Alderman Douglas Gregory fended off business owner Todd Herman’s challenge with 56 percent of the vote.
The council in February censured the incumbent after police probed claims he used his position as the Streets and Drainage Committee chairman to get his road higher priority for maintenance.
Investigators cleared Gregory, and the council’s decision to issue a reprimand upset many residents, including former Alderwoman Lesley Wenger and Clyde “Skip” McCormick. Both went on to successfully challenge two incumbents.
Gregory explained his censure was the final straw for many voters. He campaigned for fiscal responsibility, and a more efficient way to survey road conditions and prioritize maintenance.
“In general, (voters’) anger was about how the council has been running lately, drifting and lacking in leadership,” he said. “They drifted into obscure issues and weren’t concentrating on fundamental issues.”
Wenger beat Place 4 Alderman Frank Paul with 54 percent. Her focus has been on fiscal responsibility, being proactive on road maintenance, and enhancing communication between city government and residents.
McCormick collected 55 percent of the vote against Place 1 Councilman JR Trevino. McCormick, an Air Force veteran, campaigned on his experience as an attorney, educator and business consultant. He focused on road and drainage issues.
Facing a four-candidate field, voters awarded three at-large council seats to incumbent Bob Heintzelman, former Alderman Lee Powers and longtime civic volunteer Maggi Kautz.
Incumbent Mike Simpson finished fourth.
Powers said his public-safety background could help guide the city through planned Northwest Military Highway improvements and other challenges related to encroaching development.
“The massive construction upcoming to widen Northwest Military from Huebner (Road) to Loop 1604 and beyond will strain our emergency services, and require innovation from our fire, police and public works departments to manage the workload,” he added.
Heintzelman said he looks forward to helping the city stay atop “enhancing our police presence and resources, supporting and executing family-friendly city events, implementing drainage projects, advancing hike and bike trails, and managing traffic and the execution of the Northwest Military project.”
Having been involved with several local organizations, such as the women’s club, and various city initiatives, Kautz said she felt qualified to help the city address the Northwest Military improvements, drainage and maintaining the community’s character.
“I have a positive approach to problem-solving, and a leadership style that is a definite plus,” Kautz added.
Shavano Park voters also reauthorized the local street maintenance sales tax at one-fourth of 1 percent.
Delaine Hall won the open Place 4 City Council post, outpolling retired businessman Tom Sims by five votes.
Hall has been active with the Hollywood Park Community Association and Hollywood Park Bicycle Club, and was recently an alternate member on the zoning commission.
After her first campaign for public office, Hall said she takes seriously her new role as an elected official.
“When you’re on the council, you’re making decisions to keep Hollywood Park financially healthy, not to tarnish the city’s name, and to maintain a positive image of the community,” she added.
Debbie Trueman was unchallenged in her re-election bid for council Place 2, and Place 4 Councilman Chris Murphy ran unopposed for mayor.
Hollywood Park voters also reauthorized the local street maintenance sales tax.
Sixty-eight percent of voters approved a record $848.91 million bond referendum to “address much-needed improvements at existing schools and to continue to keep pace with growth,” according to district officials.
It’s the eighth consecutive bond issue the electorate has passed since 1995.
NISD is the state’s fourth-largest district with a reported enrollment of 106,000 pupils.
The last NISD bond election was in 2014 when voters authorized $648.34 million. Around one-third of funds in the latest bond will go toward four new campuses, including the next high school, on the far West Side.
Bond payments will plateau in 2025; some NISD homeowners could see a tax hike of $8.10 a month compared to current assessments.
“Northside’s history of projecting impact on taxpayers has been very conservative,” said school board President M’Lissa Chumbley in a release. “In the last four bond elections, the projected tax increases never materialized or were considerably less than projected. In fact, NISD’s tax rate today is about 12 cents lower than what was projected in school bond 2014.”
Alamo Colleges District board President Yvonne Katz, a consultant who lives north of Castle Hills, was re-elected to the District 7 seat with 64 percent over David Fischer, a retired university professor from Castle Hills.