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Carroll, Salih file for council

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

Two former Denton City Council candidates are making a go of it again.

Both longtime residents and local business owners, Brendan Carroll, 44, filed on Monday afternoon for Place 6, and Hatice Salih, 55, filed on Friday for Place 5.

Place 5 is being vacated by Pete Kamp, who reaches the end of her term limits under the city charter in May. The term for Place 6 also ends in May and while James King is eligible to run again, he has said he will not.

In addition to the mayor’s race and the two at-large seats, the city will be adding a District 2 race to the ballot. Current District 2 council member Dalton Gregory announced his candidacy for Place 5 last month and submitted his paperwork for a spot on the ballot soon after the filing period opened at the end of January. But to do so, he had to resign his District 2 seat effective at the canvassing of the May 10 election.

It will be the first at-large run for Gregory, but not for Salih. Salih ran for Place 6 against three other opponents in 2010. King won that race and Salih came in second, but with far more votes than the other two candidates combined. She first ran for Denton City Council the year before, coming in second to Jim Engelbrecht in a five-person race for the open seat in District 3.

Because of redistricting, Salih’s home on Northridge Street used to be in District 3, but is now in District 2.

Although both elections are at large, to be eligible for Place 6, a candidate must live in District 3 or 4; for Place 5, a candidate must live in Districts 1 or 2.

Generally, the southern and western parts of the city comprise Districts 3 and 4; the northern and eastern parts of the city make up Districts 1 and 2.

Salih, who owns Dan’s Meat Market and several rental homes, said she’s running because she’s concerned about policies and issues that continue to marginalize voters and property owners.

Actions speak louder than words, she said, pointing as evidence to the council’s stripping of some powers from its boards and commissions, a policy of issuing taxpayer-guaranteed certificates of obligation rather than revenue bonds for utility projects, the increase in the number of closed-door meetings and weak city regulations that see mineral interests predominate over surface rights.

She called the council’s push for residents to “engage online” a push to get people’s cooperation, rather than full participation, in local governance.

“I’m not too interested in consensus-building,” Salih said. “That means you sacrificed the issues you represent to keep the status quo.”

Salih never closed her campaign war chest from her previous runs for council and has kept Richard Bryson as her campaign treasurer.

Bryson said he’s known Salih for a few years and has found her to be knowledgeable and a person of integrity.

“I like her ideas,” Bryson said. “She does her homework, and she knows the city’s business.”

Carroll ran for the first time last year in an unsuccessful bid to unseat Jim Engelbrecht in District 3.

Carroll said that he had planned on running when Engelbrecht reached his term limits next year and the District 3 seat would be open, but changed his mind when he learned that King would not run again for Place 6.

“This is just as good of a time, or better, because there are [a] growing number of people in Denton who are looking for someone different to represent them,” Carroll said, pointing to increasing concerns about the city’s debt policies and ongoing issues with the gas well ordinance.

He thinks it will be a challenge for him, and any other “outside” candidate, because the traditional path to office has been through service on the city’s boards and commissions.

But, he said, that also tends to build public servants who are seasoned by years of working with the city staff.

He agreed with Salih that the City Council needs more people who are thinking critically about the way that the city does its business.

“There are a growing number of citizens who want to see that challenged,” Carroll said.

He closed his campaign finances at the end of the election last year, but said he has asked his mother, Patti Parks, if she would serve again as his campaign treasurer.

In the race for District 2, two local businessmen have filed so far to replace Gregory: Glen Farris, 34, and John Ryan, 48.

Two others have filed to replace outgoing Mayor Mark Burroughs: Jean Schaake, 70, an associate dean at the University of North Texas; and Chris Watts, 52, an attorney and real estate developer.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.