Arlington

Meet the candidates for Arlington City Council District 5

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Here is a short lesson in how to use the electronic voting machines used in the Tarrant County early voting locations. A former election administrator explains the system. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison)
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Here is a short lesson in how to use the electronic voting machines used in the Tarrant County early voting locations. A former election administrator explains the system. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison)

Four candidates are vying for a two-year term. District 5 covers a large part of central Arlington, including downtown and the University of Texas at Arlington. Incumbent Lana Wolff could not seek re-election due to term limits.

Kennedy Jones

Occupation Pastor, engineer, business owner

Age 58

Website www.kennedyjones.org

Best way for voters to reach you? Facebook

Public offices held/sought City Council for the City of Arlington / District 5

What organizations are you affiliated with? Arlington Ministerial Association, NAACP, National Air Traffic Controller Association

What are the most important issues in Arlington and your district? Business development, Code Compliance, Affordable Childcare and Affordable housing

The City Council has grappled with short-term rentals for the last two years. Do you prefer allowing them throughout the city, banning them outright or allowing them in select areas like the Entertainment District? I believe in developing policy to allow them throughout the city in a manner that would maintain the integrity and cohesiveness of the neighborhood. I believe that the residents of the neighborhood should have a say in a case by case basis about a short term rental within a certain proximity of their home.

Kennedy Jones
Kennedy Jones is running for the Arlington City Council District 5 seat. Handout Kennedy Jones

Do you support keeping term limits in place, or would you want them altered or eliminated? I wholeheartedly support keeping term limits in place but as with all public policy it is incumbent upon those elected to work toward a more perfect union and a more perfect set of term limits. We should never let good enough be the enemy of greatness. We have the chance to frame the best set of term limits in the nation if we take our time, do our research and listen to the voters. A great man once said “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Does Arlington still need mass transit, or do you believe that Via and autonomous vehicle pilot projects are filling the need? I believe Arlington is now ready to take a good hard look at a mass transit system that first and foremost is the safest in the nation. Secondly it needs to be a transit system that reflects Arlington artistic and progressive character. Mass transit will inevitably come to Arlington; the real question is whether we will define it or whether it will us?

Are Arlington neighborhoods being represented by the City Council? Does it have the right approach to attracting jobs and businesses? How do you feel about the approach the city has taken to keeping the Texas Rangers, renovating the convention center to include a new esports stadium, and the efforts to re-purpose Globe Life Park? The most effective use of the citizens’ tax dollars is the most critical function of city council. I’m a business man with an engineering/manufacturing company. And just like any farmer or business owner will tell you, “if you don’t purchase the seeding the next year’s crop will be sparse.” If you don’t do the R&D the manufacturing will dry up, and if we don’t do the “right” balance of business incentive with fiscal responsibility companies will not relocate here to Arlington. So, I believe in business investment to attract new companies, just wisely.

Celia Morgan

Occupation Paralegal

Age 33

Website celiaforarlington.com

Best way for voters to reach you celiaforarlington@gmail.com

Public offices held/sought None

What organizations are you affiliated with? Texas Young Democrats, President (current)

What are the most important issues in Arlington and your district? Access to affordable housing, quality jobs, and transportation issues. Arlington has been the largest metropolitan city without transportation for years, and nothing effective has been done to solve this. Housing prices have climbed consistently for several years, and most of the residents of Arlington work outside of the city. We build billion-dollar stadiums, shopping centers and new mixed complexes but have done very little to bring high skill, living wage jobs and careers to the city.

Celia Morgan
Celia Morgan is running for the Arlington City Council District 5 seat. Handout Celia Morgan

The City Council has grappled with short-term rentals for the last two years. Do you prefer allowing them throughout the city, banning them outright or allowing them in select areas like the Entertainment District? Short Term Rental operations in the city are a consequence of failed city planning. I am in favor of the “Option 1” proposal, which would create a formal process for registration, complaints, and measurable information on the operations of STRs in Arlington. I don’t believe a blanket ban, or even a ban in certain districts is a good long term solution. If “Option 1” were adopted, the city could also take action to draw in more hotel options, and explore ways that we can respect the private property rights of homeowners, while maintaining the community and prosperity of our neighborhoods.

Do you support keeping term limits in place, or would you want them altered or eliminated? A majority of voters in Arlington have already voiced their opinion on Term Limits, in an election with the highest turnout in nearly two decades in Texas — I support their decision as it stands. The “Term Limits” committee may bring further amendments or proposals to the voters if it is necessary to do so in the future, but those proposals should be on a ballot where the highest possible voter turnout is anticipated to ensure maximized input.

Does Arlington still need mass transit or do you believe that Via and autonomous vehicle pilot projects are filling the need? Arlington has put itself in last place for comprehensive transportation solutions. We have waited too long to avoid a big, longterm project. Commuter rail opportunities have sprung up in North Texas rapidly — taking visitors and residents across Dallas-Fort Worth, all while missing the heart of the Metroplex in Arlington. Arlington needs a multi-stop commuter rail option that will connect from DFW Airport and extend through our Entertainment District, to UT-Arlington, to our shopping and dining in the Arlington Highlands, and out to TCC’s Southeast Campus. This is our best bet to not just relieve traffic but to boost tourism.

Are Arlington neighborhoods being represented by the City Council? Does it have the right approach to attracting jobs and businesses? How do you feel about the approach the city has taken to keeping the Texas Rangers, renovating the convention center to include a new esports stadium, and the efforts to re-purpose Globe Life Park? Arlington has spent the last decade investing in sports, entertainment and big business development, but many community projects have been put on hold in the process. Seniors have been without a community center, passed by a voter referendum in 2016, and was delayed until 2024. Bond elections in Arlington have been overwhelmingly supported by the voters to invest in roads, schools, libraries, parks, and our first responders — but those projects are not executed to the standard for which the voters have supported them. As leaders in Arlington, we must deliver on our promises to our residents, every time.

Ignacio T. Nunez

Occupation Retired obstetrician/gynecologist, former chief of staff & chair of board of trustees at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital.

Age 66

Website DrIgnacioNunez.com

Best way for voters to reach you? ignacionunez22@gmail.com

Public offices held/sought Planning and Zoning Commissioner, Arlington (held)

What organizations are you affiliated with? Tarrant County Medical Society, Knights of Columbus, Chair College of Science Advisory Board University of Texas Arlington, Trustee Texas Health Resources Strategy Committee, Fielder Park Neighborhood association, Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce & The Latino Business Group.

What are the most important issues in Arlington and your district? The protection and enhancement of the neighborhoods and the property owners and renters who live in my district. This means continued support for police, fire, roads and basic needs. In addition, support of code enforcement to promote maintenance of homes. Better communication and transparency with our citizens and small businesses. Improve the navigation of our website, use email and improve social media to announce meetings, town halls, and improve engagement. Make it easier to start and help small businesses.

Ignacio Nunez
Igancio Nunez is running for the Arlington City Council District 5 seat. Handout Ignacio Nunez

The City Council has grappled with short-term rentals for the last two years. Do you prefer allowing them throughout the city, banning them outright or allowing them in select areas like the Entertainment District? Balancing the rights of property owners and those home owners whose neighborhoods are being adversely affected is a Gordian Knot that will unfortunately take a Judicial system to make a decision. Both sides and the middle have been unable to reach a compromise. I will vote for plan 2B shrinking the entertainment district and allowing STRs to continue inside the boundaries and terminate the operation of others outside the district within 6 months, with some exceptions, knowing that an injunction will follow. To do nothing however is not a choice. I hope for a compromise solution.

Do you support keeping term limits in place, or would you want them altered or eliminated? I believe in term limits but campaigned against those that were adopted as too restrictive. Our citizens want term limits. Term limits allow for new blood, new ideas, new people for a job that pays $200 a month. We should have 3-year terms, three terms, and then off council for at least one year or run for mayor instead. Presently it is 6 years total and you can never run for council again for the rest of your life. Let’s ask the citizens what they think of the lifetime ban and let the citizens decide who has done a good job or not.

Does Arlington still need mass transit or do you believe that Via and autonomous vehicle pilot projects are filling the need? I believe that Via, which is expanding and profitable, works well for Arlington and can be tweaked to help low-income users. Autonomous vehicles are also a viable option as technology improves. This city has turned down buses on three occasions and I believe will turn it down again; $50 million a mile to add train tracks to run the 360 corridor to connect Arlington is too expensive. We are exploring a monorail system that could follow existing right of way. I am open to further exploration of additional ideas.

Are Arlington neighborhoods being represented by the City Council? Does it have the right approach to attracting jobs and businesses? How do you feel about the approach the city has taken to keeping the Texas Rangers, renovating the convention center to include a new esports stadium, and the efforts to re-purpose Globe Life Park? Term limits will improve neighborhood representation as new council members, fresh approaches, new focus and out-of-the-box thinking take office. The caveat is that it takes one to two years for new members to grasp the complexities of the job, and then are campaigning again 12 months later. I bring experience from the business world and compassion for all from my prior roles. I believe our council has the right approach to our entertainment district, whose lease and sales tax revenue keeps our city taxes down. Globe Life Park should be repurposed for education, business, residences, and other sports.

Andy Prior

Occupation Financial advisor

Age 40

Website www.andy4arlington.com

Best way for voters to reach you? andy@andy4arlington.com

Public offices held/sought None.

What organizations are you affiliated with? Citizens for a Better Arlington; WoodmenLife; USA Track & Field; Southwestern Track & Field Officials Association; Texas Track & Field Coaches Association; America’s Party; America’s Party of Texas; Texans for Homeschool Freedom; Texans for Voter Choice.

What are the most important issues in Arlington and your district? Prioritize spending on basic services; lower the tax burden on residents; reduce fees and permitting for small businesses.

The City Council has grappled with short-term rentals for the last two years. Do you prefer allowing them throughout the city, banning them outright or allowing them in select areas like the Entertainment District? We need to allow them throughout the city, because this is a property rights issue. The city has been collecting HOT taxes for several years, and finally the Texas Supreme Court has ruled against bans. Bad faith operators should be addressed via existing code compliance enforcement and if that is truly inadequate, then these rental situations require carefully crafted and fair regulations that protect both the property rights of owners as well as the livability of our neighborhoods, not blanket bans.

Andy Prior
Andy Prior is running for the Arlington City Council District 5 seat. Handout Andy Prior

Do you support keeping term limits in place, or would you want them altered or eliminated? Term limits as enacted by a vote of the citizens of Arlington ought to remain in force unchanged for a long enough period of time to determine whether they are effective. The fact that this election cycle has drawn the largest group of candidates in a very long time is definitely a positive sign for the future of Arlington.

Does Arlington still need mass transit or do you believe that Via and autonomous vehicle pilot projects are filling the need? Fundamental city services like street repairs are hundreds of millions of dollars behind, which is why I don’t support spending taxpayer money on experimental, R&D style programs. R&D is the private/academic domain and shouldn’t be subsidized with municipal tax revenues. We have a broken system in Handitran that is in desperate need of improvement and modernization. Let’s start with improving Handitran, so it finally meets the needs of seniors and residents with mobility challenges. Overpriced, taxpayer-funded transportation programs approved without a vote of the people, demonstrates a lack of leadership on the matter.

Are Arlington neighborhoods being represented by the City Council? Does it have the right approach to attracting jobs and businesses? How do you feel about the approach the city has taken to keeping the Texas Rangers, renovating the convention center to include a new esports stadium, and the efforts to re-purpose Globe Life Park? The passage of term limits last November indicates that many people in Arlington generally don’t feel represented by the City Council and the largest field of candidates ever is the result. When there are small-business fees in Arlington that are more than triple the equivalent Fort Worth fees, we are chasing away small businesses. Additionally, tax abatements for select companies have increased the property tax burden on home owners and renters, forcing people on limited incomes to question their ability to remain in Arlington. As a life-long Rangers fan, I disagree with City Council’s handling of the Rangers.

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