Dave Neumann, You Have a Challenger!

scottandmarianagriggs.jpg
Sara Kerens
Scott and wife Mariana Griggs, standing in their so-called "West Dallas Country Club" community garden
Council elections are in May, and this morning we learn that District 3 rep Dave Neumann will square off against a political newcomer (of sorts): Scott Griggs, with whom you're probably familiar by now. The attorney is, after all, among the more outspoken and visible of the North Oak Cliff activists and a constant in pieces about that part of town. President of the Fort Worth Avenue Development Group and a longtime contributor to Bike Friendly Oak Cliff's website, Griggs won't officially announce till Monday at noon-thirty at the intersection of Fort Worth Avenue and Jacqueline Drive -- not far from Cliff Manor, site of that recent battle in which Griggs took on Dave Neumann and the Dallas Housing Authority.

But he tells Unfair Park this morning he's running for one reason: "I've heard again and again people say, 'Never trust a council member named Neumann.' There's fundamentally a trust issue, and that's the most decisive and important issue facing District 3." The way he talks about Neumann -- pointing not only to political decisions, but financial issues relating to his former business -- suggests Griggs is spoiling for a fight.

And a fight it'll be: It's fair to say Neumann's among Mayor Tom's favorites, as evidenced by his position as chair of the Trinity River Corridor Project Committee and Leppert's stepping into the Cliff Manor mess once it became clear Neumann had bobbed and weaved himself straight into a tangled mess. Neumann's also got a lot of big-money, bold-faced-name contributors to his campaign -- people named Scovell, Simmons and Nye, for starters. I asked Griggs: Is he prepared for what could be an expensive fight?

"We are. We're prepared," says Griggs, whose wife Mariana is also among Oak Cliff's most visible and outspoken activists. "We're gonna run on our strengths -- I'm a strong, decisive leader who can be trusted. We have ideas and have turned them into action and turned our actions into results. We have a history of results. ... I'm progressive on these issues of urbanism and fiscal responsibility and open government and want to improve the district and the city. Neumann can't even level with people on the tough issues and tell us the truth. Right now, we have the worst of both worlds -- a councilman who won't take a position, and when he does, he's like a fish out of water who flips and flops."
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