Voters Guide: Elections in Fort Worth

Posted Monday, Apr. 28, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Fort Worth

Margot Garza

Office Sought: City Council, District 9

Age: 43

Occupation and/or main source of income: Director of Student Support Services, TRiO Programs, College of Education, Texas Christian University

City: Fort Worth

Campaign phone number: (817) 939-5113

Campaign contact person other than yourself: Dora O. Tovar, campaign communications (817)680-7671

Your campaign email address: teamgarza9@gmail.com

Website: https://www.facebook.com/margot.garza.716?fref=ts

Education background, including all degrees: 2001 Master of Liberal Arts emphasis in National and Global Issues, Texas Christian University; 1995 Bachelor of Arts in Social Science, Texas Wesleyan University

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: I believe that local politics allow the greatest level of access to for citizens to be able to affect the change they want to see. My father was an activist and he taught me the vital role of community involvement. As a result of this I am committed to engaging the community as I believe this is the best way to understand their needs and effectively represent them. These are just some of the organizations I have served: Texas Association of Student Special Services Programs, Finance Co-Chair, 2003 - 2004; Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Development, 2004; DFW Alliance-on TRiO Programs, 2003 - Present; Junior Women’s Club, Member, 2002 - 2003; Youth at Risk Task Force District 90-TX House of Representatives, Lon Burnam, Committee Member, 2000 –2003; Panther Boys and Girls Club, Executive Board Member, 1998 - 2013; Latino Young Professionals, 2011; Steer Fort Worth, 2012; Texas Latina List, 2013; Emerging Leadership Institute, Co-Chair SWASAP 2014

Explain how your background, skills and experience make you the best qualified candidate for this office.

My experience with TCU’s TRiO program, which serves underrepresented and disadvantaged students, has given me valuable insight into the inner-workings of education and has helped to shape my view that education is an investment not an expense. My time as the Finance Co-Chair for the Texas Association of Student Special Services Programs and treasurer of the Southwest Association of Student Assistance Programs helped develop my budgetary skills and abilities which are vital to maintain a healthy financial standing for Ft. Worth. Finally, my graduate degree focused on national and global issues and will enable me to attract national and global business to Fort Worth.

Outline the three most critical problems facing the public office you are seeking and the solutions you propose to address them.

I believe transportation is a critical issue that will remain at the top of the city’s agenda. As council member, I will serve as a strong advocate for the preservation of neighborhoods. I believe the impact of some projects currently being executed such as the North Tarrant Expressway and those such as TexRail require additional input and review.

Jobs: The city has given some undeserving or underperforming companies tax abatements. This practice must stop. Some of those arrangements require review, renegotiation, and/or possible assessment of fines for noncompliance. Education is important to Fort Worth’s success and I am confident that my role at TCU will be a valuable asset on the council. Fort Worth has the opportunity to focus on higher tech jobs such as those at new Google facility; as well as attract more of these types of companies to Fort Worth.

Greg Hughes

Office Sought: City Council, District 9

Age: 57

Occupation and/or main source of income: Engineer - Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

City: Fort Worth

Campaign phone number: None Established

Campaign email address: greg@greg4district9.com

Website: www.facebook.com/GregHughesforDistict9

Education background, including all degrees: Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering, Tennessee Technological University, 1979; Master of Science Engineering, University of Michigan, 1987; Master of Business Administration, Texas Christian University, 1992

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Past Member of the Executive Committee, Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T), Board Secretary, Representative to the Regional Transportation Council, Past Chair of the University West Neighborhood Association, Founder of the University Neighborhood Alliance, Vice-President of Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area and co-chair of Prairie Fest, Chairman of the Fort Worth Prairie Park committee of the Great Plains Restoration Council, Founding member and first president of the Fort Worth Alliance for Responsible Development (FORWARD), Founding member of the Coalition for a Reformed Drilling Ordinance, Production Stage Manager for the Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival Guild

Explain how your background, skills and experience make you the best qualified candidate for this office:

Fort Worth is a complex environment with issues of public safety, education, transportation, finances and others. The City Council sets policy that shapes them all. It also is a city of neighborhoods, particularly in District 9, where people have worked to preserve and enhance their quality of life. I have been a neighborhood leader and have built coalitions. I have been a leader in transportation, the arts and the environment. My education provides me with skills in financial analysis and problem solving. The position of City Council representative will be an extension of my public service, not a new role.

Outline the three most critical problems facing the public office you are seeking and the solutions you propose to address them.

Education: Since the city government does not provide public education the role of a City Council member in public education is limited. My history of reaching across boundaries to get things done will extend into working with school board members, school officials and PTAs to find opportunities for improvement.

Public Safety: I support restoring and expanding code compliance staffing while looking for ways to enhance its effectiveness. I support the front-line providers of police, fire and public health services.

Quality of Life: I support good parks, wise development, the arts, timely trash pickup and quality streets and sidewalks.

Ed Lasater

Office Sought: City Council, District 9

Age: 44

Occupation and/or main source of income: I manage a local small business, Asset Deployment Inc.

City: Lifelong resident of Fort Worth

Campaign phone number: (817) 995-7590

Campaign contact person other than yourself: Ellie Lasater – 817 235 3056

Your campaign email address: info@edlasater.com

Website: www.edlasater.com

Education background, including all degrees: Graduate of local public schools – Arlington Heights H.S., Stripling Middle School, Carver Hamilton Elementary School, and North High Mount Elementary School, B.A. Tulane University; J.D. SMU School of Law

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Board of Directors, James L. West Alzheimer’s Center, Member, Applied Genetics Council of UNTHSC, Member, PUT OUR STUDENTS FIRST, a local citizens group formed to promote effective leadership on the Fort Worth ISD School Board, Neighborhood volunteer including Tillery Park playground construction and Lily B. Clayton annual cleanups

Explain how your background, skills and experience make you the best qualified candidate for this office.

I am a lifelong Fort Worth resident, proud husband, father, and graduate of local public schools. My experience as a Tarrant County assistant district attorney, small businessman, and community volunteer give me a unique perspective on the issues facing our district and how to solve them. As the next City Councilman for District 9, I promise to work hard, be responsive and deliver results for our community.

Outline the three most critical problems facing the public office you are seeking and the solutions you propose to address them.

Budget & Taxes: We must prioritize spending, live within our means, and work to build a balance in the general fund for the next downturn. I am against raising taxes.

Neighborhoods: Fort Worth is built upon great neighborhoods. We must protect and promote our neighborhoods with strong code enforcement, neighborhood policing and great schools.

Transportation: I support connecting downtown to DFW airport. More/wider highways will not solve all our transportation problems. We must be creative in designing and funding our transportation infrastructure. All options must be on the table.

Juan Rangel

Rangel did not respond.

Bernie Scheffler

Office Sought: City Council, District 9

Age: 35

Occupation and/or main source of income: Owner of Trinity Bicycles

City: Fort Worth

Campaign phone number: n/a

Campaign contact person other than yourself: n/a

Your campaign email address: votebernie@gmail.com

Website: www.berniescheffler.com

Education background, including all degrees: Attended Tarrant County College and University of Dallas

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Former editor-in-chief of the Tarrant County College Collegian; founder of the Fort Worth Cranksgiving, an annual bicycle-powered food drive; former chair of Fort Worth South, Inc. Young Advisory Board; former communications director for state Senator Wendy Davis; former legislative aide on local issues for state Senator Wendy Davis; co-chair of Fort Worth's first-ever “Better Block Project” in 2010; current district 9 appointee to the Fort Worth Parks & Community Services Advisory Board

Explain how your background, skills and experience make you the best qualified candidate for this office.

I've been fortunate enough to have worked with and learned from both of our previous District 9 council members, Wendy Davis and Joel Burns, on civic issues of all kinds. I have the experience and the network of relationships required to hit the ground running, and serve the families of District 9 actively and responsively.

In addition, my experience running a business has given me the ability to balance creativity and long-term vision with pragmatic decision-making, which are skills that will serve District 9 well in a city council member.

Outline the three most critical problems facing the public office you are seeking and the solutions you propose to address them.

City Hall is at a crossroads. Fort Worth's population is steadily marching toward the million mark, but much of the organization inside city hall was designed for a city of 400,000. It is critical that Fort Worth modernize its government and provide better customer service, starting with an open data policy, lest we be left behind by other cities.

Other priorities include the protection of the fabric and history of our central-city neighborhoods, and working toward a true multi-modal transportation system, so that Fort Worth can retain its high quality of life as it grows.

Ann Zadeh

Office Sought: City Council, District 9

Age: 47

Occupation and/or main source of income: Community Volunteer / Homemaker

City: Fort Worth

Campaign phone number: N/A

Campaign contact person other than yourself: Travis Parmer 817 689-2573

Your campaign email address: annzadeh@gmail.com

Website: www.annzadeh.com

Education background, including all degrees: Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from University of Texas at Arlington- 1992; Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, Policy and Planning from University of California, Santa Cruz. - 1990

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: I was appointed to the Fort Worth Zoning Commission by Mayor Mike Moncrief in October 2008 and was reappointed in 2010. Mayor Betsey Price reappointed me for my third and final term expiring in 2013. I was elected by my peers as chair of the commission for my final year of service. In addition I served on the Design Review Commission 2007-2008. I have been active in my neighborhood association of Bluebonnet Hills as the newsletter editor, coordinating social events, and assisting the board over many years. I recently worked with Steer Fort Worth on the Better Block Bluebonnet Circle. Our association, after a number of years of inactivity, has recently been revitalized and I participated, with a dedicated group of fellow residents, to make that happen. I am an active member of The American Planning Association (APA), the Texas Chapter APA, the local Midwest Section whose mission it is to advocate the profession of planning, providing expertise and processes that empower citizens to be engaged in the development and sustainability of Great Communities in Texas.

Explain how your background, skills and experience make you the best qualified candidate for this office.

Strong record of public service at the neighborhood and local government level. My American Institute of Certified Planners certification as well as my Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning and a Bachelors in Environmental Studies, Policy and Planning. Six years on the Zoning Commission. Appointed by both Moncrief and Price. Chaired this commission 2012/13. I’ve interacted with numerous neighborhood associations and individual residents across the city and demonstrated dedication to neighborhood involvement and public participation overall. I am willing and prepared for the full time commitment and dedication it will take to represent District 9.

Outline the three most critical problems facing the public office you are seeking and the solutions you propose to address them.

Strong safe neighborhoods: Maintain and improve strong neighborhoods where people want to live and work by assisting residents in accessing services and encouraging residents to be involved. Actively supporting and cooperating with leaders in education and transportation.

Growth: Make thoughtful decisions about growth and development to ensure continued quality of life. Encourage public input. Listen to/consider different viewpoints and alternative solutions. Thoughtful, reasoned, transparent decision making to ensure Fort Worth is a place people want to live, work and invest.

Transportation: Develop and implement a comprehensive transportation plan that provides safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access to all users.

Fort Worth ballot issues

Proposition 1: Transportation and infrastructure, funded at $219.74 million, makes up about 75 percent of the total $292 million 2014 bond program.

Proposition 2: Parks and community services is funded at $31.44 million

Proposition 3: Libraries are funded at $12.65 million

Proposition 4: New fire stations are funded at $9.28 million

Proposition 5: Municipal court renovations are funded at $1.53 million

Proposition 6: Facility-related expenses are funded at $15.08 million

Proposition 7: Animal care and control facilities are funded at $2.35 million

Crime Control and Prevention District tax renewal: The half-cent sales tax for crime prevention must be renewed by voters every five years.

Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984 chirst@star-telegram.com

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