LIST OF ISSUES
Balance growth and development, even redevelopment while respecting the needs of current residents, so that they aren't priced out or have their cost of living increase significantly. I would utilize all economic tools available to every other community in the Houston area, like Tiers, Economic Empowerment Zones, Enterprise Zones and Management Districts to stimulate economic development in District B. As Councilmember, I would develop a plan to bring groceries stores to District B. But, until that occurs seek to have EVERY grocery store owner upgrade their buildings and grocery offerings. Establish partnerships with universities and colleges to establish community gardens, cooperative farmers markets and educational programs for the general public.
The growing cost of healthcare has placed a substantial burden on our community's finances. Many with illnesses often attempt to self-diagnose and self-medicate in order to avoid paying a $150 fee to see a doctor, only to be sent home with a prescription for antibiotics. These cases are not as extreme as those where people can't even afford over the counter drugs due to their financial situation and sometimes end up progressing into a worse state. The days of the elderly having to choose between groceries and life-saving medications have to end. As Councilmember, I will advocate for the financial disadvantaged at the state and federal level. I will pursue partnerships that will help to alleviate the pressures of high healthcare cost.
A major issue for any largely populated city like Houston is a high crime rate. We have to remain vigilant every day of our lives in order to lessen the chance of becoming a victim. Houston's police numbers are low by comparison. Houston has 5,170 officers serving a population of 2.4 million people, though Chicago being half the geographic size of Houston operates a force of 12,500 officers. As Councilmember, I will ensure that we fund initiatives that help curb violence, increase police presence, partner with programs that help reduce gang activity along with sex and human trafficking.
Houston continues to see a great deal of flooding. Hurricane Harvey showed us just where we are most vulnerable. I still see the images of high water, stalled cars, swollen bayous, people on rooftops, and families struggling to get to higher ground. These visions are haunting as they continue to be a reality for our city. As Councilmember, I will work diligently to find solutions to our flooding issues and push for the funding and collaborative assistance from the county, state, and federal government. I will request inspections all bayou and water ways for repairs and upgrades to ensure storm water are effectively transferred out of District B communities. We should determine the communities that were most exposed to flooding and damage, to then prioritize these areas for repair and reinforcement.
The city council should enact a $.75 monthly increase in resident's Solid Waste bill to fund a new initiative within the department to exclusively deal with illegal dumping. The funds would pay for salaries, trucks and technology that would have a new emphasis of halting and cleaning up after illegal dumping.
The city should also support as part of it legislative package to the state legislature bill proposals that would allow the state to define illegal dumping, set criminal penalties so the state can prosecute illegal dumpers through the act. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services or the Texas Department of Environmental Quality would have criminal investigators assigned to investigate open dumping. Anyone convicted of illegal dumping would be fined, ordered to clean up the site and given a jail sentence.
QUALITY OF LIFE
Houston is a great place to live, work and play but not for all. It is essential to provide beautification projects and quality of life investments by local governments can enhance the quality of life such as parks and greenspaces. As Councilmember, I will explore collaboration with Harris County, specifically Precinct One to increase the number of community centers within District B; Greenspoint, Northeast Houston, Acres Homes, Fifth Ward, Kashmere, Spring areas etc.
District B citizens work hard to pay for their homes and property. So, to have criminals prey on them is unconscionable, but it is too often a fact of life. While violent crime has waned, property crime is still rampant. As Councilmember, I would meet with the Police Chief to request the NE & North substations are fully staffed regarding manpower. I would request the Police Chief to attend a Houston Police Department Positive Interaction Program (PIP) meeting in District B to provide a report to residents at least twice a year and more if allowed. But, also request he meet with local community leaders to listen to concerns at least twice a year. I would also seek to offering incentives to those businesses that hire persons offering a second and third chance.
We all know that education is the key to success. That's why we need to invest more in providing the highest quality of education. We need to develop an after-school pilot program in partnership with HISD. We need to hold school district administrators accountable for their failing schools. We need to create more skilled training programs at the high school level to ensure that each child has a pathway to success after graduation. As Councilmember, I will use my voice to influence and push for better programs that stimulate our children's learning abilities and growth. I will not sit by quietly while those responsible for educating our children to continue to provide a lackluster form of guidance.
Quality housing in the Houston area comes with a hefty price tag. For many Houstonians, the price of quality housing is far outside of their budget. With the cost of quality housing being as high as it is, this forces many to move into communities that may present safety concerns for families. We have to build housing that is affordable and doesn't resemble that of which people are leaving behind. We need to increase the minimum wage, this would make it financially feasible for more to become homeowners. As Councilmember, I'd making providing Affordable Housing a priority and will partner with home buying and down payment assistance program facilitators.
District B should have multiple and affordable public transportation options to get to places where they live, work, worship, shop and play. As Councilmember, I will request the update and expansion of all public transportation in District B. I will work closely with Houston Metro to ensure the Northeast and East Houston are no longer represented regarding transportation infrastructure , services and funding.
I would request that Metro implement and maintain several quality of service measure, specifically:
1) Frequency of route (no 60 minute routes. 30 minutes or less.
2) Span of service (communities with hourly workers need continued service beyond standard 6am-9am or 3pm-7pm hours)
3) Accessibility (improved resources at stops - shelters; improved sidewalks at areas of Metro right of way[ reachable by walkers, disabled, etc.)
4)Reliably (bus service need to be on-time).
Houston is a wealthy city with many revenue streams. For anyone to say that we lack the ability to fund projects that would provide the city with a much-needed facelift would be incorrect. The problem lies in the city's spending and lack thereof. As Councilmember, I will maintain a balanced budget, stop wasteful spending, make sound investments for the future, and utilize technologies that will help lower the cost of doing business. I will ensure that transparency is our top priority in the day to day business of the city.
Houston is a great city to live, work and play. But, we simply need to repair our streets, bridges and sewage system. The potholes and rugged asphalt areas are damaging our resident's most important asset. We must also encourage businesses and homeowners to maintain a high aesthetic standard. As Councilmember, I will ensure that Houston becomes a city of "on the hill" possessing beauty and esteem. I will hold city departments accountable to do their part to design a city we've long envisioned and demand they review all opportunities to improve the infrastructure in all neighborhoods within District B. Any and all repairs must meet or exceed the standard of quality communities citywide. Improving ALL the roads and streets in all District B communities; especially, major roads and streets. I will work to request a full report from the Directors of Public Works on all the drainage and maintenance programs/services in District B quarterly.