By BRANDON FORMBY / The Dallas Morning News
Illegal immigration will probably be a campaign issue in at least one of three Irving City Council races this spring.
Council member Rose Cannaday drew opposition Monday, the first day candidates could file for May's municipal elections. Incumbent Cannaday and Sue Richardson, an outspoken advocate for more aggressive action on illegal immigration, both filed for the Place 5 seat.
Irving last year became a backdrop in the national immigration debate with its use of a controversial program that turns arrested illegal immigrants over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation.
Mrs. Cannaday said she supports the city's involvement, saying it helped lead to a recent 7.1 percent drop in the city's crime rate. Mrs. Richardson said she wants the city to be more aggressive and would consider drafting ordinances similar to ones in Farmers Branch aimed at making it more difficult for illegal immigrants to rent homes or apartments there.
Mrs. Cannaday, 63, was first elected last year to fill the unexpired term of her husband, Lowell Cannaday. He stepped down so he could run for next month's Republican nomination for Dallas County sheriff.
Mrs. Richardson, 66, named Mrs. Cannaday's council colleague Tom Spink as her campaign treasurer. Mr. Spink ousted a longtime incumbent last year after running an anti-illegal immigrant platform.
Mr. Spink and Mrs. Richardson also work on the campaign of Charlie Richmond, one of Mr. Cannaday's opponents for the Republican nomination for sheriff.
Mrs. Cannaday, who runs a mediation firm, wants to focus on water supply, development, transportation and public safety if re-elected. The incumbent said the council has made successful strides in those areas. She cited as examples a recent agreement to research whether the city could get more water from Lake Pat Mayse, plans for more than $4.4 billion worth of development throughout the city and a push to get DART officials to stick with a 2011 deadline to bring light rail to Irving. She also touted a drop in crime rate.
"We're obviously doing something right," she said.
Mrs. Richardson, a retired railroad company administrator, said that in addition to illegal immigration, she wants to have the Irving Community Television Network air the citizens forum portion of City Council meetings again. She wants the city to better deal with at-large animals and reappoint current board members of the Irving Flood Control District No. 3. She thinks the council could attract better development than what is planned for the current Texas Stadium site. She also wants to add transparency to a council she describes as often unresponsive to residents.
"It is a smoke and mirrors council," she said.
Irving Mayor Herbert Gears also filed for re-election Monday but has not yet drawn any opponents. Irving City Council member Allan Meagher has said he intends to run again for his Place 3 seat, but neither he nor any other Irving resident had yet filed Monday.
All three posts are elected at large. However, candidates for the Place 3 seat must live in a district that covers much of the city's west side, and Place 5 candidates must live in a district that encompasses a central portion of the city. Filings will continue until March 10.