In Fair Park Last Night, it was Damarcus Offord vs. Bernadette Nutall for DISD's Future

offord_nutall (1).jpg
In a fiery town hall debate last night, held in Fair Park's African-American Museum, Dallas ISD trustee Bernadette Nutall and 20-year-old upstart Damarcus Offord both tried their hardest to prove, for better or for worse, that they were nothing like their competitor.

The majority of the 100 or so people there seemed to support Offord from the opening statements, when the candidates outlined their platforms. Nutall, well over twice Offord's age and the parent of two, has so much more experience, in life and in office, to say so would almost be redundant. She worked instead to paint herself as the fierce mother bear who cared about and sacrificed for the betterment of DISD students.

Offord, a South Dallas and DISD product, stressed that he'd be a servant of the people; he'd always be transparent with his constituents; and he'd fight for what they want him to fight for. Perhaps most appealing, though, at least to those in the room last night: He's not Bernadette Nutall.

What was immediately obvious was that the diverse audience -- Mayor Mike was in attendance (his PAC supported Nutall), as well as South Dallas activists, frustrated parents and teachers and even future DISD students -- raised more questions and concerns than the candidates had answers. Audience members broached subjects like gang violence, charter schools, DISD's role in educating parents to help their children, the importance of the new DISD superintendent, test scores, and the 11-school consolidation's effect on student safety. Many of the questions led to louder applause than the answers, because the questions seemed to pry at a larger one, which three audience members asked explicitly: "How are you going to regain our trust?"

Both candidates' answers seemed prepackaged at times. It was most obvious when a Texas Organizing Project volunteer voiced her concerns that DISD had become a school district better at incarcerating kids than educating them, asking, "What have you done and what would you do to address the situation?"

Nutall answered first. "First of all, we have to care to make the difference... What we're working on is we have to create a culture of caring." She said to keep more kids out of alternative schools and even prison she was working on revamping the student code of conduct.

Offord fired back. "Let's be specific when we say revamp. Because we have to get people involved. We don't meet with the community to see what they need."

The answers were the entire debate in a nutshell. Nutall spewed clichés, even saying on multiple occasions "it takes a village to raise a child." Offord riffed off of Nutall's more unsatisfactory responses and swore to meet with the community or research the situation, garnering applause with better sound bites but also highlighting that he didn't have much of a plan or personal vision.

The most memorable moment was when one heckler stood up and said: "I think it's a disservice if we look at Damarcus and don't see how arrogant as he is and doesn't know his history!" Many in the audience stood and shouted, outraged, and the heckler was ushered out of the room, but not before saying, "This is not even serious!"

The heckler touched on Offord's biggest weakness, which is also his biggest strength: his age. He is young, 20, comes off as aloof and arrogant, and he doesn't have a whole lot in the way of experience in terms of balancing a budget. But because he's so young, he represents hope, if only because he can't be blamed for the sad state of things. Nutall, the incumbent, has to answer to all that.

The candidates' best moments came in their four-minute closing statements. Offord did his best to attack Nutall's record.

"We have failed when it comes to educating students in Dallas ISD," he said to applause. "Nutall's voted against the teachers 10 out of 12 times. Look at the facts!"

Nutall was also passionate in her final remarks, perhaps still steaming after meeting a constituent in the audience head on about protesting her husband and children at her home. She theatrically and tearfully voted to consolidate the schools, and she defended her decision.

"Any civil rights struggle is not about the building," she said. She spoke about full-time staff and AP classes students would get that they wouldn't have had access to in their under-populated schools. "I want our children to get it all."

She downplayed the importance of the buildings themselves, which was practical and even inspired. The only problem was she also downplayed the memories and history the schools represented to many of the constituents. Still, she was firm. The mother bear.

"If I had to vote again, I would vote yes."

My Voice Nation Help
26 comments
Alfred DuPree III
Alfred DuPree III

please read my comment below regarding Demarcus Offord and local area Campaign Manager

Local Business Owner
Local Business Owner

I question Mr. Demarcus Offords Campaign Manager for tactics and unethical business practices. His manager ran up a print tab at Exquisite printing and did not pay his bill. When he came in on Saturday with his campaign manager and I inquired on the balance, his campaign manager laughed and they both left.

I am a small business and employ local community residents. This is not the kind of actions we need from possible candidates before the're even elected. Is Mr. Offord just a pawn for some underground operation to milk funds that are allocated for our schools but claiming they want to save our schools?

I question the integrity of Mr. Offord and his staff. He is not capable and lacks experience for that position I say vote NO TO OFFORD!  

trudat
trudat

Although the few dollars she got from the North Dallas PAC might enable her to mount a significant defensive campaign, I would be surprised if Nuthall is  able to recover from the mistakes she made during her last term as a Trustee.  Offord will have to make some serious mistakes to not be elected for at least one term.

Brucewayne6757
Brucewayne6757

I would first like to say, as a resident and product of District 9 and the South Dallas community, Ms. Nutall is pure in her concerns and improvement for schools and the children future of South Dallas. Anyone with good sense would've known that Monday Night Politics wasn't about the future of the children of South Dallas but instead a planned attack of this worthy Trustee Ms. Nutall. Those of us who are informed on how the status quo politics work in SD are tired of those who cry "the white people this the white people that" and the blame game. Our neighborhoods and schools have been declining with appointed and self appointed black leaders who do nothing but sell the masses out in the name of.. we speak for the masses. Sorry but that platform is coming to an end. The opposition to Ms. Nutall thats unsaid but understood by her opposition  is SHE WORKS FOR THE WHITE FOLKS. How absurd is that? Are we really in 2012? Do white folks really want SD back? Mis-information is you asked me..What are the real issues??  No one complained when our schools lacked a guidance counselor, community liaision, full time nurses, extra curricular activities, afterschool programming, enrollment drops you name it. And you expected our children to learn and stay out of trouble?? Yeah right! People be for real when you speak. I admire Mr. Offord aspirations but to take him as a serious candidate again be for real. It is obvious he has been trained on what buzz words to say and I give him that but to have depth and experience on how to deal with them sharks at DISD, you got to be kidding me. I myself too adhere for rooting for the under dog but even in that instance the under dog has to be believe-able and convince me he or she stands a chance. And for the white people that love to  get some kind of assurance by partnering with the angry black folks, please stop it you are only perpetuating the problem. Its time for us to be real and really look at whats best for the hundred of thousands of students in DISD not just black and brown but all children, they all deserve a quality education that prepares them for the challenges that lie ahead. Too many people have made nice careers out of saying they represent or speak for the lest of thee giving the lest of thee AWARDS while they take the REWARDS.. My vote is going to Trustee Nutall...and yes my address, family and living arrangement are in SOUTH DALLAS.. 

ByeByeBernadette
ByeByeBernadette

Nutall lost this election when she voted to close schools. Word is she tried to get other board members to vote to close so she could vote no and look strong. That didn't work and now District 9 knows she only answers to the rich white North Dallas bosses. The young brother is a man for the people! Bernadette need to go back to the nonprofit she made so she doesnt have to work a real job and get out of DISD!

Soccer cleats
Soccer cleats

I liked it, good article, I would like to see more similar articles

Soccer cleats
Soccer cleats

I liked it, good article, I would like to see more similar articles

Urbandweller203
Urbandweller203

A replacement is needed, but not this guy. I will not vote for him. This event show where the leadership level  is in Dallas. He is TOO DAMN FUSSY, ARGUMENTIVE, AND EXPOLSIVE... sounds familar.  We need a level headed leader that can bring balance to the board. He has no vision, other than talking to a community who don't want to listen, don't go to PTA....only a 100 showed up. There should have been hundreds at that meeting.

South Dallas Proud
South Dallas Proud

Nutall and her supporters seemed so desperate. What kind of reception did she expect when she not only voted but lead the discussion on closing schools in the South Dallas community. She even bought her thugs with her to disrupt the meeting, but that tactics did not work. She even had Lew Blackburn to bring the newly named superintendent to the meeting thinking she could get some mileage off that, but that did not work either. The South Dallas Community knows who she is and what she is about.

It is time for Bernadette Nutall to be replaced.

Guest
Guest

Nutall and her supporters seemed so desperate.  What kid of reception did she expect  when she not only voted but lead the discussion on closing schools in the South Dallas community.  She even bought her thugs with her to disrupt the meeting, but that tactics did not work.   She even had Lew Blackburn to bring the newly named superintendent to the meeting thinking she could get some mileage off that, but that did not work either. The South Dallas Community knows who she is and what she is about.

It is time for Bernadette Nutall to be replaced.

Lincolnteachie
Lincolnteachie

Research on Damarcus Offord's first dip of corruption last year when he was a student at Lincoln High School. I guess he thought if he can get away with it as a student, he can get more as a board member.

Bbetzen
Bbetzen

Last night's debate between Nutall and Offord was an exciting affirmation of democracy in action. While it was at times an emotional confrontation of facts and myths, it was good. The room was full. All seats were taken. My hat off to both Offord and Nutall. They are both leaders. Hopefully neither of them will shrink from continued public service.  We need them both. It would have been impossible for anyone from outside Texas to have attended last nights event and determine easily who won the debate. Both sides had strong supporters in the room. The only losers are those who are not paying attention to the damage done to our public schools by the Texas Legislature.  The damage from $5.4 billion in cuts to education will continue for generations.  Here is a report card we can use from this day forward to show the effects of the cuts: http://schoolarchiveproject.bl... .  A similar report card can be used for the entire state of Texas: http://schoolarchiveproject.bl... Since these tragic cuts in education by our Legislature, our state income has been $1.4 billion higher than projected. The priority in Austin simply is not education! Governor Perry has said that this income jump changes nothing for our schools.

Tk75243
Tk75243

God had his hand on the righteous person in this race only he knows what's best for district 9 and he knows the person that will deliver the best results for the sake of our children of the present and those of the future...

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

Nutall is starting to look like Leigh Ann Ellis 2.0.

Does that mean Damarcus Offord = Bruce Parrott 2.0?

Maybe someone should mount a write-in campaign.

Bdlynn
Bdlynn

Very well spoken!

Anita
Anita

Trustee Nutall was very angry Monday, acting as if she wanted to fight everyone who she thought protested her home. How could a resident of south Dallas think it's okay to put kids from park row, Bon Ton and Dixon all in one school. Do u not care that middle school students will have this disruption and that pre-k and 4,5 and 6 year olds will be bused to other schools. Man really! Her supporters attacked him like the angry little dude who was asked to leave. I was sitting in the back next to teachers who supported Nutall and they talked through out the entire meeting. Said they didn't care about parents with non violent felonies who wanted to volunteer. Bernie even admitted at one point that she didn't even know the neighborhood where one of the schools were closed. My family is five generations deep in south Dallas. Closing the schools was suicide. She brought it on herself. She wouldn't even answer questions, instead asking Damarcus to answer first so she could have time to think of something. Poor thing.

sandra crenshaw
sandra crenshaw

Nutall would have been smart if she could get her votes from the others and then vote no to diffuse criticism. but if it was difficult for her to get 5 votes besides her self maybe her idea was not in the best interest of all of the district.   The young man needs to start off with the fact that it is expected that a  20 years old would not have experience but he fails to point out that he is closer to the student population and would be an added addition and insight into what the students need.

Jimmylive
Jimmylive

This dumb ass hides his stupidity and ignorance by attacking his opponent. He is immature and lacks experience. He has no platform and can't even elaborate on issues to the depth. I don't vote in district 9 nor I know Nutall. But I have relatives in district 9 who would rather vote for Nutall than this whackado.

Tk75243
Tk75243

Exactly what do you mean by corruption? Are you referring to the protest of the teachers layoff??? Are you a parent do you not teach your children to stand up for what they believe in and feel is right in their hearts??? Was this not a righteous cause considering the teachers that were being laid off were those who assisted him along with several other students of LHS in not giving up and graduating so lets not attack his character without understanding the full motives..

Eas
Eas

God doesn't give a shit about DISD.

unicornsandfrillytutus
unicornsandfrillytutus

Why did he decide to put his hand into it now? Why's it taken so long for him(God) to get involved? DISD could've used his help a long time ago.

Anita
Anita

One teacher who said she taught at Madison and was holding Bernie's rather large Louis Vuitton said so what if they all have to go to they same school and that the kids are just bad. It's this type of attitude that hinders the learning process. And speaking of community liaisons, Bernie got into a physical confrontation while working as a liaison at Daniel Chappy James. She's such an angry woman and acts like she can't understand why her community is upset.

It takes a village to raise a child, but only 1 self serving pompous trustee to close down 5 schools. Sucks to be a part of that village.

sdan
sdan

Anita you are correct. Mrs. Nut-Nut was fired from DISD while working as a community liaison because of the physical confrontation with a parent at Daniel Chappy James. The reason she does not understand why the community is upset with her is she does not communicate with the citizens in the South Dallas area.  She does not leave near South Dallas. She does not even drive through South Dallas so why does she want to continue represent South Dallas.

sdan
sdan

Any sensible person would not vote to bus babies across town. It is going to be very difficult traveling with those young babies on a bus.Pre-Ks-3rd graders, Even during deseg. days the judge ruled that the younger children remain in their neighboods and the older children be bused to the white areas. Evidentially, you do not know your history and Nutall sure does not.

ThinkandLearn
ThinkandLearn

And Offord is not an angry person? Did you hear this dumb ass talk? You can't understand a sentence he says and I don't know how he graduate from high school when he can't make a coherent idea in everything that comes out of his mouth. Is this the kind of person we want our students to look up to? He says he represent the youth but, oh what an angry youth and mismatch role model. I live in district 9 and definitely I don't want a dumb ass and stupid child represent me in this district. Just sayin, blacks should stop endorsing blacks for the sake of it, I'm black and young but sure I do have common sense.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...