Council candidates attend forum

Candidates for Galveston City Council participate in a public forum hosted by The Galveston County Daily News on Wednesday evening  at Ball High School. The candidates as well as those running for mayor answered a panel of questions in anticipation of the general election in May. 

KEVIN M. COX/The Daily News

GALVESTON — District 6 candidate Marie Robb wanted it to be clear that she did not knock her opponent Carolyn Sunseri from the stage during the opening statements of Wednesday’s candidates.

Sunseri took an accidental tumble backward at the beginning of the forum and came away unharmed.

Relatively few literal or figurative elbows were thrown as 13 of the 15 candidates running for City Council positions participated in a candidate’s forum at Ball High School on Wednesday evening.

The candidates who participated in the forum were Cornelia Harris Banks, Tarris Woods, Craig Brown, Susan Fennewald, Richard Batie, Kate Marx, Ralph McMorris, Norman Pappous, David Hoover, Diana Bertini, Terrilyn Tarlton, Marie Robb and Carolyn Sunseri.

On the crowded stage, the candidates, four incumbents and nine challengers, worked to set themselves apart from the crowd.

Others took the opportunity to create a clear dividing line between themselves and their district opponents.

After District 5 candidate Terrilyn Tarlton called using Galveston police officers to enforce the city’s seawall parking program a “mistake”, her opponent, Diana Bertini, saw an opening.

“I would never apologize for additional police force anywhere,” Bertini said.

In other cases, the dividing lines came through individual proposals. Former council member Tarris Woods, a District 1 candidate, used the platform as a place to propose new policies. Woods, in his closing statement of the night, said he wanted to set a $10.10 minimum wage for all city employees.

Other candidates, including District 3 candidate Ralph McMorris and Sunseri, said they were in favor of allowing construction of high-rise buildings in areas on the eastern end of the island.

Of the four incumbent candidates — Robb, Banks, Pappous and Tarlton  — Tarlton spent the most amount time speaking about her accomplishments during the past two years, highlighting her involvement in the creation of dedicated neighborhood improvement fund and her efforts to oppose changes to city city’s flood plain maps.

Pappous, who like Tarlton is running for a second term on the council, acknowledged that he had not accomplished, or in some instances failed to live up to, the promises made during the last election.

“In the past two years, I’ve seen the City Council put a lot of things first, but quite often the citizens of Galveston are being put second,” Pappous said.

Election Day is May 10. Early voting begins April 28.

Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or

(8) comments

Brian Cann

Tarris woods lives in colony park, has for years. See him everyday.
Is anyone going to call this fraud out? If the other council candidates are too afraid to state the obvious, they will not get my vote. Or is it racist to point out the truth?

Ellen Morrison

Right or wrong, according to the charter TW is eligible to run in D1.

Mary Branum

I brought this up in another post.
What is the deal with TW? He owns several houses, so I guess he can pick and choose which one is his "residence, just like he did last time!!
He never did a thing for his district in the past. It was all about him.
In the 10 years of living in the district have yet to see or meet one council member from this district.

Debra Criss

The voters in district 1 know where TW lives, just as everyone does. It will be interesting to see who they choose.

Lisa Blair

GDN, when will you post video? I didn't get to stay for the whole forum.

Steve Fouga

I'm sure you've seen by now the video has been up several hours.

I've seen satellite imagery with better resolution. But we're lucky to have it. Thanks, GDN!

Linda Vaccaro

Is it possible to get a council person that isn't a real estate agent, builder, rental property owner or anyone that can gain monetarily from any back-door deals? Or any Good Ole' Boys that are only out for themselves? Or people who live in another district then the one they are running for? Just wondering!

Steve Fouga

LV1951, I agree with your sentiments. And I personally wonder why anyone would run against somebody who's already doing a good job.

For example, unless Bertini has a bundle of revolutionary ideas, or is over-the-top competent, I don't see how she can be better than the incumbent. I don't think it's possible. If she's been watching for the past 2 years, she must see that Ms Tarlton has done a great job.

So why would she run? Not because she feels a bad situation need correcting, but simply because she wants to be a council member. I admit this is pure speculation on my part, and maybe she really does have a plan to revolutionize District 5.


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