Stopping Increased Taxes and Spending
I will never forget that it is your money that this Council uses for its projects. I will fight all needless spending, reject all deals and contracts that are bad for Irving, and oppose any unnecessary fee or tax increases.
Promoting Legitimate Economic Development
I support all good economic development, but not all development is good. The Council should do all it can to promote and attract new businesses that bring jobs and make Irving better, while protecting the community from projects that bring down the area, lower property values, or put an undue burden on city services and schools.
I support responsible development in South Irving and am committed to improving the quality of life, aesthetics and access to services in the southern sector of the City. Unfortunately, the Mayor’s only solution to this problem is to throw good money after bad. The McDougal project started out as a hopeful ray of sunlight for redeveloping the Heritage District but years of neglectful oversight, unmet deadlines, and millions of questionable purchases have damaged the public’s faith and trust in this development and the City’s management abilities.
If elected Mayor, I would immediately request an account of all monies spent and paid to this developer or any of his associated companies, a review of all properties purchased - their past and current valuations, an investigation into the business dealings with property owners and a restructuring of the contract to include penalties for missed deadlines.
While I want to see South Irving revitalized, I realize that any money we have trapped in a stalled project is money that cannot be used to balance our budgets, reduce taxes, or improve the quality of life for Irving citizens.
In all my 26 years in Irving, I have consistently heard the same thing from residents, business owners and employees - "Las Colinas has such potential but without a night life, it will never be successful." Construction of the Convention Center was a step in the right direction for development in that area. Unfortunately, an ill-conceived entertainment center plan that lacked funding, private support, and sustainability is not the answer. This project has gone from bad to worse costing more than $32 million with nothing to show for it.
I consistently voted against giving this developer any more money until he could account for his expenses and fulfill his end of the deal. Deadline after deadline has passed, and still this developer could not secure any funds for this project, yet the Mayor continued to support it. Millions have been misspent on erroneous “expenses” and "pre-development costs" without a single mound of dirt being turned, yet the current Mayor continues to vote to give away more money. Unable to account for the millions spent, the Mayor spent even more money on an “audit” which was so poorly executed that it gave oversight to the same people who approved the invalid reimbursements in the first place.
An entertainment project may be necessary for the long term success of the convention center, but not as it is currently conceived. If the private sector is turning their backs on this project, it behooves the City’s leadership to understand why before continuing to waste any more money.
Against special exceptions for city-owned facilities (the R-AB exemption)
I believe it is fundamentally wrong to create an unfair competitive advantage by allowing city-owned businesses to operate under a different law than they require from their private businesses - a law the city created and is responsible to enforce. I voted against this item then and stand behind my decision.
Citizens have the right to know how and why decisions are made, who are the interested and benefitting parties, how much of their tax dollars are being spent and on what information decisions are based. It is YOUR money, after all. A fact I never forgot during my six year tenure on city council.
Backdoor deals, good old boy systems and cronyism is no way to run a city or represent 220,000 people. I welcome citizen involvement in Council proceedings and business, and will listen and act on your concerns. I opposed the turning off of the TV cameras at the Citizen Forum by the Mayor and Council, and will always fight to have the Forum re-televised so citizens can have more access to knowledge about their elected representatives.
It has been my experience that there is no consistent policy to address council requests for information. At times, information requested by one councilman is shared with the council as a whole while, at other times, requests are shared with one or more but not all. I have seen this lead to disagreements on the Council when some are left in the dark on decisions that have obviously been made and discussed amongst some council members and staff outside of normally scheduled meetings.
We need to bring the work of the people back to the people.
Stopping Reckless Apartment Expansion
New developments like apartments may affect nearby schools, roads, property values, and the aesthetic feel of the area. All these factors should be considered, including most importantly the views of Irving citizens. The Council should not railroad re-zoning approvals through opposition, but rather try to resolve the apparent problems.
True Code Enforcement
The Council and city officials should do the utmost to ensure that no area of Irving falls into disrepair. Enforcing the rules on home and business appearance ensures that Irving remains a beautiful place to live and that property values continue on the rise.