Grapevine to celebrate July end of DFW Connector road project

Grapevine is back to business as usual with term limits defeated and incumbents re-elected for three-year terms May 11.

That is especially true for downtown businesses as the DFW Connector project wraps up this summer, Mayor William D. Tate said.

"Now that the Connector project is just about over we're going to have a community celebration together, promote the community, get the community trading back with the people who have been hurt with the Connector," he said.

A top priority also is getting key projects finished. The council on May 7 moved to seize property by eminent domain for a new public safety building approved in a November bond election, and saw refined plans for expansion of the city's Community Activities Center.

More than 60 percent of voters rejected term limits for the mayor and City Council, according to unofficial results from the Tarrant County Elections Administration. A total of 3,284 voters participated.

Incumbents Darlene Freed and Mike Lease easily won re-election over their challengers, Freed with 71 percent of the vote over Marc Blum in Place 4, and Lease with about 60 percent.

The council called the charter election in February in response to a petition drive that gathered nearly 1,500 valid signatures, more than enough to put term limits on the ballot.

Former council candidate Kathleen Thompson created the organization Better Grapevine to collect the signatures.

After an unsuccessful run for council against Stewart in 2011, she was approached by Northeast Tarrant Tea Party president Julie McCarty about helping advocate for term limits.

Tate was first elected to the City Council in 1972 and has been mayor since 1973 except for a term off from 1985 to 1988.

The average length of service on the council is 18.5 years.

Sharron Spencer and Shan Wilbanks have served since 1985; Roy Stewart since 1996; and Darlene Freed since 1998. Chris Coy was elected in 2008 and Mike Lease in 2007.

Freed, a real estate broker who has lived in Grapevine for more than 29 years, said she wants to see the city remain fiscally responsible by reviewing department expenses and continuing monthly meetings with department heads.

She also sees continuing balanced development as a priority,

She said prior to the election that she considered her continued open mindedness and accessibility as key priorities.

Lease, a businessman, said after the election that he would like to see progress in agreeing on appropriate development of DFW International Airport land in Grapevine. That has been a question for years, as both the airport and the city have to agree on the uses.

He also wants to see more retail development and more projects like park renovations and expansion.

Carroll Independent School District

Matt Kormann and Chris Archer, both newly elected to the Carroll ISD board listed fiscal matters as key priorities during their campaigns.

Kormann defeated challenger Sam Torolopolous in Place 6 with 60.6 percent of the vote in unofficial totals from the Tarrant County Elections Administration.

Archer defeated James Palazzo in Place 7 with 59.9 percent of the vote.

The district, like the others across Texas, has suffered from state cuts to public school financing.

Carroll voters turned down a 2-cent tax increase in 2012 that would have generated $1.1 million for the district.

Kormann, vice president of sales for a Dallas company, also included school safety and better partnership with the Southlake City Council as his some of his priorities.

Archer, vice president/shareholder of Associated Time and Parking Controls, also wants to see a "kids first" mentality on the board and work together with the City of Southlake.


Wayne Stoltenberg was elected to the Westlake Town Council for two years, joining incumbents Carol Langdon, Rick Rennhack and Michael Barrett.

Nearly 45 percent of Westlake's 739 registered voters cast votes.

Stoltenberg tallied 22.8 percent of the vote; Langdon had 23.3 percent and Rennhack had 23.8 percent. Council member David Levitan did not seek re-election.

The other two challengers were Michael Crowe and Greg Goble, each with just over 15 percent.

In the special election to fill an unexpired term, Barrett earned 58.5 percent of the vote, to challenger Greg Malone's s41.5 percent.

Rennhack declined to discuss his priorities for the city before the election.

Langdon, who is retired and who has been on the council for five years, said priorities include her continued availability.

Barrett, whose position was up for a one-year term because he was elected in a special election, is managing director, new market development, at GE Capital Equipment Finance.

His priorities include educational leadership (the own council also is the board of trustees for Westlake Academy).

Totals are unofficial until the votes are canvassed.