The city council race for southeast Fort Worth’s District 5 has gone three-way, with longtime broadcaster-turned-nonprofit director Gyna Bivens filing her candidacy Wednesday after naming a campaign treasurer a month ago.
Incumbent Frank Moss and John Tunmire, an East Side real estate broker, filed for the seat in January. Filing closes Friday.
Bivens, 58, executive director of the North Texas LEAD nonprofit, which connects diversity job candidates to prospective employers, said she’s worried about lack of economic development for the southeast portion of the district, which stretches from Stop Six to CentrePort near Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.
“We’re all concerned about jobs, good-paying jobs, and development coming to the area,” said Bivens, an ex KRLD radio reporter, Fox 4 Fort Worth bureau chief, and TXU communications rep. Bivens, who lives in Ramey Place near Dunbar High School, took her post at North Texas LEAD in 2006.
Voters in the district need to get more engaged, she said. "I think people in District 5 have to raise the question of where are we now?" she said.
Development of an urban village off of East Berry Street hasn’t materalized, a concern, she said.
Bivens also said she wants to encourage nonprofit development of a database to help keep up with senior citizens who no longer have other family in the area, strengthen relationships between the police and neighborhoods, and deal aggressively with severe code issues.
Bivens said she’ll loan money to her campaign to get it going as she raises money.
Moss, 69, who lives in Stop Six, was elected in 2007 and re-elected twice since then. He also served on the council from August 1998 to May 2004.
Moss said continuing to improve relationships between the district and police is “the key issue that we need to concern ourselves with.”
Moss, who, like other council incumbents, has Mayor Betsy Price's backing in his re-election bid, said he wants to keep pursuing housing and economic development, including finding the money to rebuild the aging Cavile Place housing project in Stop Six into mixed-income.
On Bivens’ concern about the urban village, it “is important, but we’ve got to be able to deal with the housing stock in that area,” which is not strong enough to draw national restaurants such as the Starbucks and Chick Fil-As that residents envision, Moss said.
Voters funded the design and construction of Lakeshore Drive on the west side of Lake Arlington in 2008, connecting Wilbarger and Berry streets, which should improve the chances for development, Moss said. The road is currently in design.
“The majority of the Fort Worth side of the lake is vacant, but it sort of gives us a clean slate on how we can start moving forward,” he said.
Moss said he also wants to continue to work on strengthening neighborhood organizations in the district.
He said he expects it’ll cost $30,000-$40,000 to run his campaign, which has scheduled a Friday evening barbecue kickoff, 5:30 p.m. at Smokey's BBQ, 5300 E. Lancaster.
As far as his health, Moss, who suffered a heart attack in 2011, said his doctors tell him he’s in “good condition.” Rumors are circulating in the district that he’s in ill health, he said. “I’m not dying,” he said, joking.
Tunmire, 58, has lived in Handley for four years, having moved from Dallas as a software engineer with a firm that subsequently laid him off. He now owns a residential real estate firm with 15 agents.
Tunmire said he’s running because he believes the district largely gets ignored by the city.
“A lot of people (he’s talked to) don’t even know who their council member is,” Tunmire said. “A lot of them don’t know what the city does. There’s no jobs over here, we have bad roads over here. I just want to make sure everything gets fixed over here,” which he said will then help draw business.”
Tunmire said he hopes to raise $30,000 for the campaign. Here's a link to his campaign web site.
"There appears to be quite a bit of early voting that takes place," Bivens said. "You've got to get people to go vote."
- Scott Nishimura, Star-Telegram Fort Worth City Hall reporter
Photos, top to bottom: Moss, Bivens, Tunmire