GOP Hispanics Not Only Group Trying to Keep Okpa From Having His Say in Mayor's Race

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It's gonna be hard for Edward Okpa to get much traction in the mayor's race when he's being ignored by The News and several groups sponsoring forums.
Turns out the Dallas Chapter of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly isn't the only organization minimizing the mayoral candidacy of Edward Okpa. As we reported Friday, local RNHA chair Jason Villalba originally excluded Okpa from tonight's debate at Thomas Jefferson High School. He later reconsidered after receiving phone calls from candidate David Kunkle and several ticked off RNHA members.

The Dallas County Chapter of the Texas Council of Engineering Companies won't have the same opportunity to change its mind, as we just discovered Okpa wasn't a part of this afternoon's forum at Cityplace. Whilst tracking down a list of upcoming debates, we noticed Okpa's name missing from the organization's invite, so we contacted him shortly after the event to see if he was there.

In a text to Unfair Park, Okpa said he wasn't aware of the forum.

Vicki Reece, executive director for the Dallas & Tarrant County Chapters of the TCEC, said via email there were only three candidates when the meeting was planned in February.

So why not extend an invitation when they realized he was in the race?

"When he announced his candidacy for Mayor, our program had already been scheduled, announced and marketing of the program was underway," she said in an email. "We did not have sufficient time to reorganize the program and announce changes to our membership."

Okpa filed his campaign treasurer on February 11 -- one day after candidate Mike Rawlings. Okpa submitted his petition signatures on March 8 -- two days before Rawlings.

We asked Kunkle why he expressed concern about tonight and not this afternoon, and he says his schedule is so busy he doesn't have time to pay attention to who's been invited to what among the other candidates. The only reason he made a stink about tonight's debate is because someone called his attention to our story.

"I didn't know that he wasn't going to be at the meeting today until I walked in the room," he says. "I can barely keep track of where I'm going, much less who else is going to be there."


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14 comments
Mark56
Mark56

What a jerk...Okpa you have my vote.

RS1963
RS1963

It's great to see the other candidates' flunkies keeping a watchful eye on the blogs in order to cast aspersions on Kunkle. I think that Natinsky would do anything to be elected, and nothing he or his campaign would do would surprise me - especially with Carol Reed at the helm. I formerly had some respect for Rawlins and the work he has done, but his last campaign mailer and his "I steal stuff all the time" campaign slogan have really put me off.

No matter what the police unions say, I think Kunkle would be a great mayor, and has always seemed to be a straight-talker, honest guy.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

So far, Kunkle seems like the only candidate who actually thinks for himself (and doesn't wait for scripted responses from paid handlers). His comments have the ring of truth-- I suspect he would prefer Okpa to be invited to all these forums, and if he is told in advance that Okpa isn't there, he will raise he issue with the debate organizers.

David Wilson
David Wilson

At a Saturday evening in Dolphin Heights, another mayoral forum, the event manager said that Okpa was not able to attend and had sent his wife with a message.

Ms Okpa explained that her husband had flown out of Dallas on Friday evening to deal with some kind of business problem, and asked her to fill in. The event organizers would only allow her to explain this and not sit in his seat on the panel.

It makes sense that NONE of the other candidates - hello, there are two others remember? - did not raise the issue since they all probably assumed Okpa would fly back to Dallas to make it to the TJ debate on Monday night.

Sounds logical to me. How about you, Mr. Oak Cliff Res? Has anyone asked the other campaigns what they were thinking, or is this gonna be a Kunkle pileon again?

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

If Punkle were SO CONCERENED with Okpa getting this "fair shot" then he would have threaten to walk out of today's forum... But he didn't. Hey it's nothing wrong with it. I think Okpa is getting the treatment he deserves... His first bid, i thought it was "good for him", second time I just didn't understand, this time he is officially becoming the Ralph Nader of Dallas Mayoral Elections. But, Punkle should not be going around acting like he really cares if this guy is in or out because he really doesn't.

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

Oh, great. Just when I thought Kunkle would be different.

I now see, he's like all the rest.

Full of excuses, not my fault, I didn't know,

Come to think of it, he's got all the makings of a great Dallas Mayor.

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

So if you read Unfair Park... read this blog post... read these comments.... and then made a one sided comment of your own.... WHAT DOES THAT MAKE YOU???

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

The only reason Kunkle didn't jump on this was it was not beneficial to him and if you think tha Laura, Steve and his wife are not thinking for him,I have some swamp land to sell you.

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

Wylie H.

Ummmmm. Do you know who Kunkle's wife is, what she does, and how she is involved in his campaign??? And don't think she is not getting paid. His comments have a ring of a PR firm just like the rest do. Well.... All except for Okpa who sound like a three ring circus...

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

Wow, a lot of assumptions to make it logical. I hope you don't live your life by the post you just made. You should not be asking me about what other campaigns are saying thats Jim & Sam's job. But what I can base my comments off of is what has been published. (Just a sidebar comment on Okpa and why his campaign is a joke. How can a candidate send a spouse to comment on his behalf??? If he was mayor, and he was out for a meeting would he send his wife to that as well?) Okay back to Punkle. He made himself the pile on by appointing himself as the "all forums fair czar" when the truth of the matter is that he didn't care about Okpa attend and probably thinks the exact same about Okpa as 98% of the rest of Dallas does.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

You mean Sarah Dodd... of course. I don't put her in the same league with Carol Reed, Allyn & Co., etc. (and that's a good thing). She is obviously very competent and she is obviously helping her husband-- but he is clearly taking the lead (unlike Rawlings, who is even re-using some of Leppert's artwork for his campaign signs..... lol....)

cp
cp

And stealing some of Kunkle's lines.....

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

Everyone uses the Dallas skyline for their logo, Convention Hotel, Trinity River, hell even Ron Kirk did.... Although for once I would like to see someone put the ball on the left side as that is the way the skyline looks when coming from Oak Cliff. Not sure what the logo and that last sentence has to do with any of this but still, Sarah Dodd is no newbie to the PR world and that is what we are talking about PR, what the candidates are saying in front of the microphone. Not the overall campaign strategy, not the phone banks and canvassing strategy which yes Carol and Mari trump Sarah anyday of the week and twice on Sunday. But as far as being in front of the camera Sarah is just as good as them... Hell she was a news reporter...

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