Last December, Giovanni Valderas began placing small piñata houses around building sites and vacant lots in Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood, where he’s based. As Next City’s Rachel Dovey wrote in January, the houses are meant to recall the area’s Latino residents who are being priced out.
Now, Valderas wants to do something about the problem as a potential city council member. He’s throwing his hat into the ring to represent Oak Hill on Dallas City Council, the Dallas Morning News reported yesterday.
The next local election is in May 2019, and Valderas plans to file to run in December, according to the paper. Valderas told the paper about how, since placing the houses and doing a few other artistic projects around the issue, his neighbors began asking him what’s next.
“I wish more artists ran for office, because they are often the most creative problem-solvers,” Valderas told the Dallas Morning News. “We know how to run a shoestring budget. Through art, we already know how to engage and motivate people. This city could benefit from more creative people running. We can’t leave it up to developers and business people who are all about the money aspect of things. Imagine how much a community could change with an artist at the helm. There would be some crazy ideas, but it would be pretty fantastic.”
Oscar is Next City's senior economic justice correspondent. He previously served as Next City’s editor from 2018-2019, and was a Next City Equitable Cities Fellow from 2015-2016. Since 2011, Oscar has covered community development finance, community banking, impact investing, economic development, housing and more for media outlets such as Shelterforce, B Magazine, Impact Alpha and Fast Company.