Q&A with Sylvia Rhodes Bradley, the woman who wants John Wiley Price’s job

Yesterday I had a chat with Sylvia Rhodes Bradley, the woman vying for John Wiley Price’s spot on the Dallas County Commissioners Court for District 3.

The conversation was enlightening, and certainly expressed different views out of District 3 on John Wiley Price than some other’s I have heard. Here is the complete conversation.

Q: Why are you planning on running against John Wiley Price?

A: I learned in 2010 when I first got involved that if you go up the chain of command it always ends with John Wiley Price. You are only protected if you are part of the machine, and I find there is a general level of dishonesty in his office. There is a lot that needs to change. I do want it to be known that I was planning on running even before the FBI investigation began. I filed my papers in May, and the investigation didn’t begin until later. A lot of people may come out of the woodwork to run as opportunists, but I have been in this from the beginning.

Q: What problems do you see present in the way John Wiley Price conducts himself as a commissioner?

A: There has been no development in District 3, and there aren’t any checks and balances. For example, for things like the Dallas Inland Port, all of the information should have been online for the public to view. Instead, the community is dependent on whatever he chooses to tell us. That isn’t how it should be. I also believe in term limits, and he doesn’t. I don’t think being a public official should be a lifetime career. Three or four terms is enough to see your goals through, you don’t need nearly 30 years to do that.

Q: What are your goals for District 3 if you are elected?

A: I really want to make the position more open to comment. Right now it is so shut off, that when a decision is made that is the first you hear of it. I want to hold forums for the community to tell me what they think before we make decisions. We also really need an image makeover in Dallas. We went from Don Hill and now to John Wiley Price, and while we don’t know if anything will come of the investigation, it has certainly had a negative impact on development. Why come to Dallas if you can’t get a fair shake building your business here? We’ve also missed a huge opportunity with the Dallas Inland Port. And while they are developing it, it’s on a much smaller scale. We’ve sacrificed thousands of jobs that could have gone to the people of the district.

Q: Why do you believe John Wiley Price has such an ardent following in his district?

A: I think it is a generational gap. The 65 plus age range was a part of the civil rights movement across the south, so when an African American stands up for you, you will stand behind them. The majority of the younger population, and even some senior citizens, do not feel that way and do not support what he stands for or how he behaves, and are disgusted when he says what he says. We don’t want people thinking he is speaking for us just because we are the same skin tone. I think this is accurately reflected in the popularity and the attendance of the rallies held for him, which have been very small. Ten years ago, those rallies would have been bigger.

Q: You’ve aligned yourself with the Democratic Party in the past. Why run as an independent?

A: Let me be clear about one thing first. I do not have a problem with the national Democratic Party, I agree with much of what they do. However, in my opinion the local party is corrupt. Corrupt is really the only word I know to use. You don’t get the same avenues as a younger person because the same people continue run it. The torch does not get passed down after someone has served for 30 years to a younger person, instead it is passed off to someone of the same generation. I met a lot of roadblocks trying to be successful within the local party, and learned a hard lesson in the school of hard knocks. Until the local party is cleaned up, you won’t be able to work effectively in it. Plus, I happen to believe in some of the same issues that the Republicans believe in. I am an individual that falls in the middle on a lot of issues. But honestly, it doesn’t matter if the idea is a Democratic one or a Republican one, commissioners need to vote on what is better for the people.

Q: What do you believe is the most important role for a county commissioner and how will you accomplish it?

A: Obviously you need to get along with your other commissioners, but additionally you need to make sure it’s not about you and that it is really about the constituents. You need to deal with their concerns and needs in a proactive way. If you put them first, you can’t go wrong.

Q: What is the strategy for getting your word out about the campaign?

A: I’ve been interviewed by traditional media several times, but canvasing along with social media will really be a major part of the campaign. Later we’ll start walking door to door and meeting people, but we really can’t do that until they finalize the redistricting maps in January. It’s really a grassroots effort with social media as the main force. Yard signs are great, but it doesn’t get votes out. That happens when you communicate with people, either through social media online or you speak to people face to face. We were prepared for a long campaign, and we started a year and a half early because we anticipated we would need to work very hard.

Q: What do you see as the biggest need in District 3?

A: Development. If you want to call a grocery store development, that’s nice, but I think we can do better. There are businesses that want to come here but, in my opinion, they have been blocked by the John Wiley Price machine. I’m hoping to navigate through that and get good businesses in to see their plans for employment. We can provide decent employment where people live. The district is so poor right now, and it really makes me sad to see that because it wasn’t always this way. It took a bad turn, and that is where the greed kicked in.

Q: Since there are so few office spaces in your district, how do you make development a smoother process?

A: That is a problem, but I think if we can actually redevelop buildings to make the safe and attractive we can solve it. Some of this area may actually be historical sites, so we can really preserve their qualities and renovate them for modern use. The south hasn’t been given that opportunity yet. I’m also definitely open to new ideas on green development and on how to make the process a smooth one, but unless we have that open door policy we can’t really make changes.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add about your campaign?

A: I would like to talk more about being independent, because that label makes it difficult to deal with generation gaps. The older generation is used to voting strait “D.” I would encourage them not to, and to do their research, because people that shouldn’t be in office slide right in that way. It’s simply a lazy way out. I’m really hoping to educate people on what it means to be independent, because honestly a lot of people are fed up of politics as usual and I’m hoping to solve that.

Posted by on September 2, 2011. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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