Incumbents ruled Fort Worth elections for the most part on Saturday. Still, voters sent longtime District 4 City Council member Danny Scarth packing. Challenger Cary Moon, a developer, won handily on his promise to provide better leadership and more thoughtful development.
Redistricting had stretched the District 4 boundaries farther north, and Scarth, a longtime Eastside resident, saw some of his voting base diluted.
“They voted better up north, and [Moon] got his vote out,” said Eastside activist Wanda Conlin. “We probably had gotten a little complacent down here.”
Fort Worth Weekly has sparred with Scarth on several issues over the years, and even before he was elected. The first salvo was fired after Scarth was appointed to serve on the city’s gas drilling ordinance task force and represent residents. Instead, he forged relationships with drillers and let them finance his first political campaign that got him elected to the Fort Worth City Council in 2006.
As Scarth was in bed with drillers, he was soon embraced and endorsed by former Mayor Mike “Gasfather” Moncrief and Sen. Kay Granger. Before you could say “what the frack” Scarth was a city councilperson backed by industry and power.
Even those connections couldn’t save Scarth from himself at times. He failed to pay his property taxes a few years back and at one point owed more than $2,600 in overdue taxes and penalties. He didn’t properly file a campaign finance report one year and was fined $500 in civil penalties. And his son once received financial aid routed through city government under a program intended to help low-income residents.
Still, Scarth won over some detractors during his tenure. Norm Bermes wasn’t a big fan of Scarth’s at first, but over the years Bermes came to appreciate Scarth’s availability to his constituents.
“I could get to him and find out what was going on and what he was thinking,” Bermes said. “He was pretty honest with me too.”
Bermes and other activists will now try to establish strong communication with Moon, who is the president of a Heritage Homeowners Association north of Loop 820.
“We’re going to have to some courting,” Bermes said. “He’s the president of a neighborhood association, so that’s a good sign. He’s involved and active. He’s working with the neighbors.”