Ethics Leadership Accountability
A Stronger Dallas
Cara was elected in May 2019 as the District 12 representative to Dallas City Council. She currently serves as the Chairman of the Government Performance and Financial Management Committee, as Vice Chairman of the Legislative Committee, Vice Chairman of the Housing and Homeless Solutions Committee, and a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure, and Public Safety Committees. Cara has been appointed to the Regional Transportation Council and the National League of Cities Youth, Education & Families Council.
First Term Accomplishments
Fought for Public Safety Funding
In year one, Cara supported raises for public safety officers to a market rate, effectively eliminating the turnover happening as officers fled to nearby towns for increased…
salaries. This resulted in the largest hiring and staffing numbers seen in Dallas for more than 6 years. This year, while some council members looked to cut dollars from the police budget, Cara stood up for police overtime funding to ensure officers are available to respond to resident needs. In the end, the council was able to redirect the disputed funds into public safety initiatives. Additionally, Cara advocated for all public safety officers (police and fire) to receive contracted market-rate increases and advocates for enhanced staffing in investigative and patrol units and focused efforts on violent crime and improved staffing models.
Since taking office, Cara has hosted a monthly Coffee with Cara to engage the community. When COVID-19 hit, the events pivoted to Virtual Town Hall events held…
one, two, or three times per month.Because city hall is so far away, Cara instituted “walk-in hours” twice a month in the district at the North Central Police Station community room. This allowed residents to easily share concerns, ideas, and get in-person help with city issues without driving 15+ miles. Cara sends out a district e-news chock full of information on local events, issues that residents should be aware of, and city hall news. Additionally, Cara maintains an active social media presence to help inform and assist residents.
Cara has hosted several special events to engage and share information including a business crime summit, Denton County Crime Meeting, and How to Start a Small Business.
District Emergency Response
Cara’s first meetings with departments across the city were with the officers of every shift at the North Central Police Station and all three shifts of…
Fire Stations 10, 7, and 13. Cara participated in eye-opening ride-alongs with patrol officers, fire fighters, EMS officers, and the vice department. These visits resulted in urgent repairs and remodeling at Station 7, maintenance to the police station, and the partnership with a non-profit to enhance the police station briefing room for the placement of fallen officer Michael Smith's end of watch portrait. After pulling data to prove that District 12 residents were experiencing the slowest response rate for ambulance services in the city, Cara advocated for a second, full-time ambulance at Station 13 (Frankford and Hillcrest), to meet the needs of the large Highland Springs population and Collin County community. After a pilot program proved successful, the new second, full-time ambulance at Station 13 was announced December 30, 2020!
Cotton Belt Accountability
Although they said it couldn’t be done, Cara secured two Inter-Local Agreements (ILA) between DART and the City of Dallas to ensure no freight trains will ever run on…
the Cotton Belt and all building terms were documented in a meaningful legal way to ensure accountability. She also negotiated a comprehensive construction agreement to enhance safety and quality of life for North Dallas residents.
Roads & Traffic Signals
At least 7 new traffic signals have been secured for the district! (implementation planned over next 3 years) In partnership with Collin County, Frankford Road…
between Preston and Coit will be reconstructed, and in partnership with Denton County, Frankford Road headed west from George Bush Turnpike will be repaved. In collaboration with another council member, Cara secured more than $5 million in additional funding for road maintenance in this year's city budget. Attention to local signage, lane and crosswalk striping, and turn signal modifications have made traffic easier and safer for District 12 residents.
Led city’s first ever effort to provide inclement weather and COVID-19 sheltering at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, providing more than…
45,000 shelter nights to people experiencing homelessness. Winter 2019 was the first year no homeless deaths were recorded due to freezing temperatures. Cara supports expanding homeless services to get people off the street and help return them to independence. In December 2020, the City of Dallas purchased the Candlewood Suites Hotel in D12 to provide emergency COVID services and will become a family homeless shelter. This will be the first social service available within D12.
Parks and Trails, Libraries, Arts
Sadly, District 12 has the least number of parks and least park land of all areas of Dallas. Many of our parks and all of our recreation centers and libraries need…
updating and additional greenery. Many projects have been initiated in the last 18 months to improve the quality of life of Far North Dallas residents.
Cara was able to help steer $1 million of COVID-19 funding to local non-profits that are providing the most essential services of food and mental healthcare. Cara is committed to the Cotton Belt hike and bike trail and improving the connections and greenery of the Preston Ridge and Timberglen trails. Partnership agreements with Plano and Richardson ISDs for parks on their land are in discussion. Although District 12 is currently considered an “arts desert,” Cara is working to add art to public spaces using dollars already allocated for that purpose.
Cara spearheaded the new community resource hotline to connect residence in need of all social services. Serving on COVID-19 Ad Hoc Committee, Cara has…
helped direct more than $300 million dollars to the most urgent needs of first responders, business owners, and Dallas residents. In Far North Dallas, Cara initiated the D12 Neighbors Helping Neighbors group to make sure anybody who needed to be quarantined or was unable to go out could receive help from our generous and caring community. More than 1000 community members stepped up to join the call to help each other!
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First and foremost, taxpayers want a good return on their tax investment. We must continue eliminating waste, duplication, and end pet projects so the City can focus on the basics. As the newly appointed Chair of Government Performance and Financial Management, Cara is working on a long term plan to lower the property tax rate.
While proud of the pay increases for public safety officers this term, Cara knows standing up for public safety is a top priority. With 600+ less sworn officers in the force than 10 years ago, DPD needs a Police Chief that can rethink old and inefficient ways of staffing and fully implement the KPMG staffing recommendations. Cara knows the goal should be for Dallas to be the safest big city in America and to have fire and EMS services available to respond to calls in a timely manner all over the city.
The current procurement system needs improvement so we can get projects done quicker, for lower prices, and with better oversight. A regular system of program and department review should be implemented to provide continuous quality improvement and eliminate duplication and inefficiency.
Residents deserve to have their investment in infrastructure maintained and roads that don’t damage their vehicles. For the last decade, the city has underinvested in streets, traffic signals, and city-owned buildings. There is a backlog of over $2 billion dollars in road maintenance alone and more than half of the traffic signals in Dallas have out-lived their useful life by more than twice their years. A plan is needed to tackle this and then allow the city to provide sufficient funding in the annual budget to maintain our roads and replace traffic signals on an appropriate schedule.
COVID has shown us how important our parks, trails and public art are. Unfortunately, District 12 has the least number of parks (tie) and the least amount of acres of park land (tie). Working with our D12 Park board representative, Cara is advocating for 2 new small dog parks and 2 additional parks, along with enhancements to existing parks for greenery and trees, resurfacing tennis courts, added lighting for safety, deep cleans for both recreation centers, and a plan to update Campbell Green.
Panhandling has grown all over Dallas and the city does not have an effective strategy to address it. Prior public campaigns to discourage giving and to connect panhandlers with services have been ineffective. Working with another Councilmember, Cara has instructed the City Attorney’s office to develop a comprehensive legal strategy to address panhandling. Homelessness is also growing in Dallas, and every part of the city is struggling with homeless encampments. The city is responding by purchasing hotels and turning them into various homeless service delivery efforts located in all council districts. Far North Dallas has many homeless families. District 12 added its first social service non-profit to the district to assist families experiencing homelessness in their journey to return to stability.
Political advertisement paid for by Cara Mendelsohn Campaign
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