Posted inLocal Government

KERA: Arlington incumbent wants to focus on equity. Her opponent says ‘it increases the amount of racism’

Arlington voters will choose between two-term incumbent Barbara Odom-Wesley and first-time challenger David Mosby to represent the entire city as District 8 council member.

Odom-Wesley, a retired health care professor, wants to continue implementing recommendations by the Unity Council. Odom-Wesley played a major role in forming the committee of 28 council-appointed board members, which produced a 132-page disparity study that included dozens of recommendations, including the creation of a permanent Unity Council, appointment of a chief equity officer and address barriers for marginalized groups.

“I’m really happy that we took a comprehensive look at that,” Odom-Wesley said. “It’s not just about policing and social justice, which is what cities across the country were focusing on at the time in 2020, but we took a comprehensive look.”

Mosby said he’s centered his campaign on municipal basics, keeping city spending low and lowering the crime rate. He said he believes equity-focused programs discriminate against white men. He cited his time working through a UT Arlington Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) program, which worked with Black and brown business owners and women.

“Discriminating against white males, I don’t think, helps the situation. It increases the amount of racism out there, I think. I’m not complaining for myself. I feel that I don’t need any helping hand up,” Mosby said.

He said in an email he doesn’t believe the city needs a full-time chief equity officer, but would want to evaluate all city positions before recommending the city cut positions.

“I don’t think we need a full time person for ‘Equity Officer,'” Mosby wrote. “What I know is that I don’t have all the facts.”

Odom-Wesley said she wishes there wasn’t a need for equity programs or positions like the chief equity officer. However, the barriers that face residents depending on race, ethnicity, gender, age range, sexual orientation and disability status require attention, she said.

“The city also adopted an equity resolution and every department head signed off on that. So what it does is it makes it a priority. And if you look at city council priorities that are published on our website, building unity and inclusiveness is one of those, so it makes sure that we continue to move forward,” Odom-Wesley said.

In addition to continuing the Unity Council’s work, Odom-Wesley’s platforms include getting residents more involved in municipal government and expanding transportation options beyond Via rideshare.

The program, which offers people rides for $5 or less in town, was never meant to be the only transportation option in town, Odom-Wesley said.

“It’s part of a system,” she said of Via. “I’d like to see it move forward in implementing all the other components of the system.”

Mosby, a business owner, is campaigning on property tax relief, public safety funding, transparency in city government, zoning and beautifying the town.

Mosby said in a phone interview that people including political consultants and a current Arlington council member encouraged him to run for either mayor or District 8 council member. He’s received a lot of calls from people concerned the city is greenlighting too many more apartments. He said he’d fight for transparency in zoning and too many new apartments in places including Highway 287 in east Arlington.

“I’m not 100% against new apartment buildings, but we can’t put more in where there’s already too many,” he said.

He’s also going to delve into what city government can cut to provide tax relief to residents.

Odom-Wesley has advocated for a wider array of housing options, as well as more affordable housing. She’s also interested in looking at health in the 76010 ZIP code. The city received funding for an initiative to tackle the lack of nearby healthy food options and create a program that can be replicated citywide.

The District 8 race will be on all Arlington residents’ ballots this spring. Early voting runs April 24 through May 2, and election day is May 6. Tarrant County’s website includes a detailed list of voting centers available. The Arlington’s mayor race and five bond proposals are also citywide races.

Got a tip? Email Kailey Broussard at You can follow Kailey on Twitter @KaileyBroussard.

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