Dallas Morning News Recommends Lee Kleinman for Dallas City Council

April 22, 2013

Editorial: We recommend Lee Kleinman for Dallas City Council District 11

Voters in Dallas’ northernmost City Council district have, on paper, two intriguing choices for a successor to term-limited Linda Koop.

Dig a little deeper, however, and it’s clear they would be best served by Lee Kleinman, an entrepreneur and technology company investor. His 29-year-old opponent, Ori Raphael, has some grasp of the politics that make up part of a council member’s job but falls short on the substance of governance. Kleinman, who turns 54 the day before the May 11 election, has put in the time learning the politics while building the experience that yields superior governance.

Raphael, a former staffer for Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, is vice president for business development at FreshLoc Technologies, a company involved in wireless temperature monitoring over the cloud. He tends toward black-and-white solutions, understanding the value of a good talking point but too often not venturing beyond that. Still, he’s young and bright enough to give himself time to gain a broader, deeper understanding of how city government works, if he were so inclined.

District 11 voters looking to replace a top-flight council member in Koop should go with the far more finished product in Kleinman.

Unlike his opponent, he has immersed himself in city governance as a member of the Park Board and Dallas Zoological Society. This learning time, along with a demonstrated independent streak, has helped him better understand how city spending works.

Both candidates pledge to hold the line on property tax rates, for instance, but Kleinman displays a stronger background in how the city can spend taxpayer dollars wisely while also watching the bottom line. He correctly notes that debt service is a looming issue and wants the city to reduce its reliance on big-dollar bond programs.

Similarly, Kleinman understands how overinvestment in southern Dallas can pay off for all city taxpayers by increasing the tax base in the half of the city with the most room to grow. Raphael, on the other hand, favors closer to a zero-sum approach, with the parts of town contributing the most tax money getting more back in programs and services. That logic, while possibly seductive in a wealthier council district, offers little hope for bridging Dallas’ long-term north-south divide.

Kleinman oversees day-to-day operations for Bridge Metrics, a business-to-business software company, and speaks from a position of three decades of experience in managing finances and implementing best practices.

In the future, with stronger preparation, Raphael could prove a solid council member. In the here and now, District 11 voters should go with the superior choice in Kleinman.

One in a series of Dallas Morning News candidate recommendations.

Coming soon: More recommendations in selected municipal and school board races.

Voter Guide: To hear from the candidates in their own words, visit dallasnews.com/localvoterguide.

Early voting starts: April 29

Election day: May 11

For more information: Call the Dallas County elections office at 214-819-6300, or visit dallascountyvotes.org. For more help, including how to check your voter registration status, contact the Texas secretary of state at 1-800-252-8683 or visit votetexas.gov.