Photo courtesy of Barry Wernick for Dallas.

Barry Wernick is a mediator who grew up in Preston Hollow, attended Akiba Academy, St. Mark’s and later law school at SMU. After working across the country and the world for years, he decided to move back to Dallas, his home, get married and start a family.

But something happened over the years.

“This is not the place that I envisioned for my family. And things got to change. We can’t have more of the same. We need new leadership, someone who will make public safety a No. 1 priority,” Wernick says.

How to spend $10 million 

Though Wernick would use that money to hire more police officers and contribute to the pension fund of first responders, he’s more concerned with eliminating wasteful spending.

He wants to make sure neighbors — taxpayers — are getting a return on their investment.

“When you have economic development, you have safer neighborhoods and a stronger Dallas,” he says.

Thoughts on the city’s efficacy in responding to the pandemic and winter storm

During both the pandemic and the winter storm, Wernick says the city as a whole made sure to help each other.

“How did the city respond? The city did what I guess the city could only do. It doesn’t make a lot of the decisions. I think the city is a people. That’s what you have to look at,” he says.

Especially in the midst of the winter storm, neighbors were reaching out to each other and people they didn’t know, offering food, shelter and power.

Something the City Council has done right

Wernick praises Cara Mendelsohn, the City Council member for District 12, for her leadership, her ability to represent her constituents well and her actions to generate support for Dallas’ first responders.

Policing 

The city council candidate realizes he would need the support of several other members to make any decisions final about any topic, including policing and public safety, and he thinks his background as a mediator would help the council become united under common goals.

Wernick says he would not defund the police. Instead, he would increase funds to the budget, hire more officers, provide them with better training and increase their pay. He’d also like to fund a cyber crimes unit that could help combat street takeovers, the sex trade industry and human trafficking.

Another idea Wernick has, which was actually thought up by his wife, is to set up a program where high school graduates who are interested in joining the police department but aren’t yet old enough to do so receive scholarships to attend a local community college and earn an associate’s degree in criminal justice. After that, they would join the department and serve for a certain number of years.

Hidden gem in district 11

Dallas Midtown has the potential to be something amazing — an economic “boom town” that will breed safety across the area.

What he’s reading

Questionnaires from different groups and The Preston Hollow Advocate

Who inspires him

His mother, Diane Benjamin, raised her children as a single mother, worked to become a realtor and taught Wernick not to be a victim. Wernick is also inspired by his wife, Alissa, who showed incredible strength after the deaths of her mother and sister and reminds Wernick the importance of spending quality time with his family.


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