Experience Matters

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 (Budget Committee), Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on General Investigating and Ethics, Vice Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, and member of the Transportation, Housing and Homeless Solutions, and Legislative Ad Hoc Committees. Cara serves as the lead delegate to the Regional Transportation Council, serves on the Executive Board of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, is a member of the MetroCrest Mayor’s Council, and is a Board Member on the National League of Cities Women in Municipal Government constituency group.

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District Communication

*Monthly Town Halls to engage, inform, and interact with the community

*District “walk-in hours” twice a month in the district at the North Central Police Station community room to allow residents to easily share concerns, ideas, and get in-person help with city issues without driving 15+ miles.

*Frequent District 12 e-news chock full of information on local events, issues and news from city hall news.

Public Safety

*Leading city council supporter of our public safety officers and initiatives.

*Cara was honored with the 2021 Law Enforcement Advocate of the Year award

*Cara supports market pay, stood up for police budgets to ensure availability of officers to respond to calls for service and tactical unit support.

*Cara believes in a data-driven crime response and is advocating for stronger proactive and city responses at locations with known criminal activity.

DART/Cotton Belt

*Passed two contracts between DART & the city to protect the community from freight and unfavorable construction conditions.

*Although was approved by the city council before Cara took office, she spends thousands of hours a year working to ensure the safety of the residents and improve DART's plan so it doesn't destroy the quality of life of North Dallas neighborhoods. 

Emergency Response

*Secured a full-time ambulance at Station 13 (Frankford & Hillcrest). 

*Cara regularly visits D12 fire stations, the police station, attends DPD & DFR graduations and promotion ceremonies, and is a frequent ride-along guest.

*Cara is the Vice Chair of the Public Safety committee.

Roads & Traffic Signals

*9 new traffic signals

*Pilot program to connect 7 signals on Frankford Rd with the latest technology.

*Frankford Road between Preston and Coit will be reconstructed

*Frankford Road headed west from George Bush Turnpike will be repaved.

Homeless Response

*First social services available in D12, Family Gateway North opened Dec 2020.

*Cara led the city to provide inclement weather sheltering to people experiencing homelessness, first year with no homeless deaths due to freezing temps.

*The panhandling ordinance has been updated to provide compassion and enforcement.

Parks and Trails

*2 NEW PARKS - Parkhill Dog park & Mapleshade Park!! Other projects in the works!

*Enhancements - shade structures, tree plantings, picnic tables, Pickleball, tennis resurfacing

*Expansion initiated of Campbell Green Rec Center

Cara's Platform

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Taxpayers want a good return on their tax investment. Cara believes we must continue eliminating waste, duplication, and end pet projects so the City can focus on doing the basics well. As the Chair of Government Performance and Financial Management, Cara continues to advocate for lower property tax rates, increased senior exemptions based on cost of living index, and efficient use of tax dollars in the city budget. 

Cara believes public safety is a city’s primary responsibility and was recognized by the Dallas Police Association as the Law Enforcement Advocate of the Year in 2021. Cara has supported pay increases for all public safety officers, leading to a higher retention rate, as well as enhanced police and paramedic training, funding of needed gear, fleet, specialized units, and equipment. Through words, votes, ride-alongs, and participation in graduation and promotion ceremonies, Cara has shown her dedication to public safety. 

DPD should continue to focus on recruiting and retention efforts and sensible efficiencies to allow officers to concentrate on activities that most impact crime. Our goal should be for Dallas to become the safest large city in America. Having police, fire, and EMS services available to respond to calls in a timely manner, all over the city, is our urgent priority. Cara’s work to secure the data necessary to show the need for a faster life-saving response in Far North Dallas led to a second, full-time ambulance at fire station #13 (Frankford & Hillcrest). Cara has been endorsed by the Dallas Police Association and the Dallas Fire Fighters Association. 

Residents deserve to have their investment in infrastructure maintained and roads that don’t damage their vehicles. In the decade before Cara was elected, the city underinvested in streets, traffic signals, and city-owned buildings. There is a backlog of over $2 billion dollars in road maintenance, $2 billion in sidewalks, and more than half of the traffic signals in Dallas have out-lived their useful life by more than twice their years. Cara has been an outspoken advocate for infrastructure investment, resulting in fully funding street maintenance in 2020 and every year since, and a staff plan presented to address traffic signals and sidewalks. Cara advocates for sufficient funding in the annual budget to maintain our roads and replace traffic signals on an appropriate schedule. In District 12, Cara has been able to secure funding for the installation of 9 new traffic signals and a pilot program on Frankford Road that will connect 7 new traffic signals with the latest technology to evaluate the impact on connectivity, safety, and traffic.  

Parks and trails are at the heart of quality of life for residents. COVID showed us how important outdoor activities are for our physical and mental health. 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 has worked to enhance existing parks with trees and amenities like shade structures, picnic tables, resurfaced tennis courts, and Pickleball courts. 

Securing new parks is a priority and so far, District 12 has added two new parks while Cara has been in office!! Four additional projects are in the works! Of the two added, one is through an interlocal agreement with Richardson ISD that resulted in Parkhill Dog Park and the second is through the purchase of land on Mapleshade between Preston and Hillcrest. The Mapleshade park will be part of a new trail which will connect the Timberglen Trail and Preston Ridge Trail, providing connectivity for Denton and Collin County residents to the rest of the trails in Dallas. Phase one of the project is pending with a grant application under review. Several other projects for new or developing parks and art projects are in the works! Cara is working with the parks department on plans to update and expand Campbell Green Rec Center and plans to include an expansion of Renner Frankford Library in the next bond election.  

Homelessness is growing in Dallas and across the nation. Every part of Dallas is struggling with homeless encampments. The city has responded by working to increase the number of beds available for people experiencing homelessness. With every city council district stepping up to host homeless services, a family homeless shelter was established in District 12 with the purchase of a hotel. Cara’s leadership in this area has been documented in multiple news articles, at city council meetings, and panel discussions. Cara was invited to present a session with Family Gateway CEO Ellen Magnus at the Texas Homeless Network conference to share the best practices of incorporating a homeless shelter in a fully developed area without community opposition. The Family Gateway North facility is the first social service provider in District 12. Since the facility opened, prostitution has decreased, no nearby residents have complained of issues, and hundreds of homeless families have made progress to regain their stability and independent housing. Cara has a long history of working with homeless populations both professionally and as a volunteer. She believes there should be sufficient emergency shelter beds to allow anyone who needs shelter to find a safe place to sleep. She does not believe homeless encampments should be tolerated and immediately removed with shelter services offered. The long-term solution to homelessness must incorporate robust mental health services, substance abuse recovery, and affordable housing. Cara is an advocate for supportive housing that provides on-site services to disabled individuals, as well as single-room occupancy housing and shared housing as affordable means to provide stable housing to the lowest-income residents of Dallas. Cara advocated for the new Master Leasing program to provide housing for voucher holders who can’t find a place to rent.

Panhandling persists in Dallas, but an effective new plan was piloted at the direction of Cara and Councilmember Lee Kleinman. Prior panhandling efforts in Dallas did nothing to remove people from the street or to connect them to needed services in some instances. During Cara’s term, the city rolled out the program that combines compassion with enforcement. Working within legal constraints, the new panhandling program can’t quickly remove panhandlers, but it makes a sustained effort to document the panhandler, offer assistance, and ultimately conduct municipal court sessions on the sidewalk to address non-compliance. Residents are strongly encouraged to NOT give money to panhandlers, and instead direct charitable efforts to homeless non-profits that provide the assistance needed by people experiencing hardships.

Policy matters and Cara does her homework to help shape policy and support ordinances, plans, and policies that will improve the city. Following the IT department’s loss of DPD data, Cara initiated the monthly Technology Accountability Report to provide better governance and transparency of city technology.  Cara voted for the Ethics ordinance, CECAP, Vision Zero resolution and plan, racial equity resolution, restrictions on hours of operation for sexually-oriented business, and for additional homeless funding. Cara has pushed back against plans that provide 75-year tax abatements to developers, against wasteful spending on boondoggle projects like rebuilding the convention center, and spending that drains the city’s reserve accounts for short-term gains.

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