Fort Worth

Meet the candidates for Fort Worth mayor

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price faces a crowded field of challengers for the first time since she won office in 2011.

This race, possibly more than other nonpartisan local elections, has been drawn along party lines. Price, a longtime Republican, faces Deborah Peoples, the chair of the Tarrant County Democratic Party who has campaign support from a national progressive group.

Price wants to continue here work for at least another term with a focus on business growth and early childhood education. Peoples says it’s time for new leadership in Fort Worth and believes she can engage a wide range of communities. Newcomer Mike Haynes, a write-in candidate, sees transportation as a major hurdle for residents. James McBride, another candidate, did not return a questionnaire.

Mike Haynes

Occupation: Professional and College Graduate

Age: 30

Website: None provided

Best way for voters to reach you: mikehaynes.mh@gmail.com

Public offices held/sought: Mayor

What organizations are you affiliated with? Vice President of non profit organization Enactus 2 time CEO award for A&B Group, 33 time elite award winner for EAN HOLDINGS, 2015 regional champion and crusader for life award winner Dallas Christian alumni and business graduate

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Mike Haynes

What is the biggest issue facing Fort Worth and/or your district specifically? How would you address it?

We lack transportation and jobs and good quality residents to make the community better. New courses that teach the importance of higher education will create more qualified candidates for jobs and entrepreneurial behaviors. Efficient transportation that creates a healthier city, such as vehicles that run on electric power. Businesses that utilize solar energy. Great retirement plans, salary increases. More nonprofit organizations for homeless youths. Patching the relationship between police and residents and attacking the flood crisis by finding ways to purify water. That’s why I’m running for mayor. I have been a part of those needs and have experienced them.

Do you support a civilian review board of the Fort Worth Police Department? If so, how should that board be structured and what powers should it have?

I do support a civil review board. I believe this is the way to bring attention to the race and culture task force. This would be a great way of cutting back on crimes by seeing if the crime was worthy in the first place, creating a safer community for residents as well as a safer job for police officers. It would make it much easier for our community to grow and attract new businesses and attract qualified police officers for the future. A peace of mind is the ultimate goal and I believe it can be achieved this way.

Property taxes continue to rise in Texas, and one solution put forward in the legislature would cap local governments’ property tax growth at 2.5 percent a year. If the cap had been in place last year, Fort Worth would have needed to trim $21.1 million from this year’s budget. Does Fort Worth need to reevaluate how much it relies on property taxes? Are there alternative funding sources?

Yes Fort Worth needs to reevaluate how it relies on property taxes. and we can find solutions together on funding so the right decision will not be forced on one particular source such as municipal funding or sales tax.

Last September and October saw widespread urban and flash flooding. Should the city prioritize improving the stormwater system? What role should the city play in ensuring developers provide adequate stormwater infrastructure during all phases of construction?

Yes the city should prioritize using the storm water system because if properly managed we can adapt ways to purify this water and and also drain in areas where it is needed creating a sustainable environment without the worry of flooding and having to cutback on the usage of water. Allowing residents to maximize of the utility of summer and other family occasions. Also partnering with others city to influence the Trinity River project.

Fort Worth continues to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. But that growth hasn’t come without some headaches for residents including increased traffic, urban flooding, concerns about the historical integrity of neighborhoods. As the city looks at attracting more business, how can the city grow responsibly? Is the developer-friendly approach sustainable? Should the city apply greater scrutiny to projects?

With realistic ideas with outcomes that we can see and keep track of that create increases within each community. Increases that will make a difference and continue for years to come. Create more employment to cut back on crime as well as decreasing unemployment. School programs and internships on the high school level to encourage more students to be engaged in seeking higher education levels. More public schools and affordable housing that add a new fantastic look to each district. Programs that ensure guaranteed employment after education. When preparation meets opportunity you’ll find success.

The completion of TEXRail has spurred interest in public transit, including from the city’s economic development department in the form of commuter-oriented tax breaks. Should the city devote more attention to public transportation? If so, how?

Yes the city should devote more attention to public transportation by investing more in it, creating more forms of transportation such as subways and adopting the bird scooters allowing residents unlimited options for transportation. Creating these options plus more opens up more opportunities for jobs and creates open employment for those positions. We need more transportation that expands past city limits, giving individuals more avenues for careers and visitation of city sites. By putting focus on these areas we can help those with suspended licenses, DUI’s etc. to still be able to commute safely without committing more moving violations.

United Fort Worth has become a vocal group at city meetings. Have you met with their members or have you been endorsed by them? Do you believe the council needs to better engage with groups like United Fort Worth, and how can that be done?

I have not met with any of their members but I would love to set up a meeting with them. I think what they are doing is amazing and that they’re making a huge change in our community. This needs more attention and I believe this group needs more attention and should be engaged more by council and this can be done allowing them to have a representative to be a part of the council because all voices matter.

Deborah Peoples

Occupation: Chair, Tarrant County Democratic Party; Retired from AT&T as a Vice-President

Age: 66

Website: peoples4mayor.com

Best way for voters to reach you: 214 226-6433, Facebook: Deborah Whitlock Peoples, Twitter: @shonadeb

Public offices held/sought: Tarrant County Democratic Chair, Elected 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018

What organizations are you affiliated with? Former Board Member: Fort Worth Sister Cities, American Red Cross, United Negro College Fund, Sickle Cell Disease Association, Black Women Lawyers of Tarrant County, Past President, Texas Woman’s University Black Alumni Association, Life member: NAACP

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Deborah Peoples

What is the biggest issue facing Fort Worth and/or your district specifically? How would you address it?

My Mother often asserted that “this isn’t your grandmother’s Fort Worth anymore.” As our city nears 1 million residents, we need a mayor who will restore faith in the office and have meaningful engagement with every neighborhood in Fort Worth. We need a Mayor who has demonstrated a clear ability to listen, learn, and execute and deliver on promises made. I have a proven record, both professionally and in the community to provide exactly that type of leadership. We need a proven consensus builder who offers residents a clear vision as we march toward the future.

Do you support a civilian review board of the Fort Worth Police Department? If so, how should that board be structured and what powers should it have?

As the sister of a police officer, I know the importance of a great police force. But I am also aware of incidents with police that have led to a level of distrust in parts of our community. To regain community trust and ensure transparency, I support a civilian review board. Moreover, it is imperative that this board reflect diverse citizens who bring diverse points of view. By ensuring a board aimed at transparency and fairness we can regain and strengthen the level of trust our growing city and our police deserve.

Property taxes continue to rise in Texas, and one solution put forward in the legislature would cap local governments’ property tax growth at 2.5 percent a year. If the cap had been in place last year, Fort Worth would have needed to trim $21.1 million from this year’s budget. Does Fort Worth need to reevaluate how much it relies on property taxes? Are there alternative funding sources?

First, I believe in local control but think our current leadership has followed the dangerous path of unchecked tax giveaways to corporations as the only mechanism to attract them. By doing this, we have created an economic crisis in our city where the burden of paying for services has drastically switched to home-owners. For any city to be successful, such disparity in the tax base is extremely problematic. Thus, we must rethink our strategy of how to attract new business and look at how we lure entertainment dollars to the city.

Last September and October saw widespread urban and flash flooding. Should the city prioritize improving the stormwater system? What role should the city play in ensuring developers provide adequate stormwater infrastructure during all phases of construction?

I was devastated to learn of lives lost in southeast Fort Worth due to flooding. This is unacceptable. Millions of dollars have already been set aside to address this on-going issue. Far too many city dollars have been used to study and re-study flooding. The city must move along in fulfilling its long-standing promise to our neighborhoods to deliver on this long-term problem. A storm-water taskforce was created many years ago after widespread flooding in Arlington Heights. We can’t continue to kick the can down the road on this issue when lives and property are at stake.

Fort Worth continues to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. But that growth hasn’t come without some headaches for residents including increased traffic, urban flooding, concerns about the historical integrity of neighborhoods. As the city looks at attracting more business, how can the city grow responsibly? Is the developer-friendly approach sustainable? Should the city apply greater scrutiny to projects?

I am a strong supporter of smart growth in every portion of our city. We must ensure that all stakeholders contribute equally. From our inner cities to outside the loop, it is incumbent upon city of Fort Worth leadership to develop a comprehensive housing plan with multiple housing options, to ensure business development and job opportunities, provide public transportation options and sustained infrastructure.

The completion of TEXRail has spurred interest in public transit, including from the city’s economic development department in the form of commuter-oriented tax breaks. Should the city devote more attention to public transportation? If so, how?

Transportation options are critical as our city grows. We are woefully behind when it comes to mass transportation. We cannot continue to rely mainly on roads. This is an issue facing everyone, from seniors to millennials. Residents should be offered choices, from buses to rail to rideshare and more. To fund this, we must work with other municipalities who are facing the same transportation dilemmas and with our state and federal elected officials. Moreover, we must educate the public about the fact that as the region expands, we must ensure quality public transit to ensure smart growth.

United Fort Worth has become a vocal group at city meetings. Have you met with their members or have you been endorsed by them? Do you believe the council needs to better engage with groups like United Fort Worth, and how can that be done?

I am very familiar with this citizen group and know that by attempting to silence and ignore them, the current leadership only strengthened their resolve. I think that demonstrates yet again that we currently have a local government which is not inclusive of ALL. Even if it is uncomfortable, as elected and appointed officials we have a duty to listen to all residents. Limiting the input of the public does not indicate a democracy that respects all but rather an arrogance which is incompatible with truly open government in the 21 st century.

Betsy Price

Occupation: Mayor, City of Fort Worth

Age: 69

Website: www.betsypriceformayor.com

Best way for voters to reach you: www.betsypriceformayor.com

Public offices held/sought: Mayor, City of Fort Worth

What organizations are you affiliated with? City of Fort Worth

What is the biggest issue facing Fort Worth and/or your district specifically? How would you address it?

Fort Worth is now the 15th largest city in the nation and continues to be one of the fastest growing. People are moving here for the opportunity, the quality of life, and our culture of hospitality. However, with growth comes a unique set of challenges, including: continuing robust public safety, adequate transportation infrastructure, economic prosperity, ensuring quality education, access to health care as well as maintaining strong and safe neighborhoods. We are meeting these challenges head on by continuing to be a trustworthy and faithful steward of the taxpayers’ dollar — establishing innovative solutions, valuing healthy communities and quality public education.

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Betsy Price Glen E.Ellman

Do you support a civilian review board of the Fort Worth Police Department? If so, how should that board be structured and what powers should it have?

The City Council has unanimously accepted the 22 recommendations of the Race and Culture Task Force focusing on issues pertaining to: criminal justice, economic development, education, governance, health care, housing and transportation. The Civilian Review Board recommendation was just one of the strategies recommended by the Task Force. We certainly do not want a cookie cutter approach but want to find what works best for the citizens of our diverse city. We will begin the process by hiring a police monitor who will assist the Police Department and the citizens to begin structuring a board serving Fort Worth’s best interests.

Property taxes continue to rise in Texas, and one solution put forward in the legislature would cap local governments’ property tax growth at 2.5 percent a year. If the cap had been in place last year, Fort Worth would have needed to trim $21.1 million from this year’s budget. Does Fort Worth need to reevaluate how much it relies on property taxes? Are there alternative funding sources?

As former Tarrant County Tax Assessor, nobody better understands the burden faced by homeowners. Because Texas has no state income tax (we don’t want one), cities rely on property and sales tax to fund municipal services. To provide property tax relief, we voted to lower the tax rate by 7 cents (per $100 valuation) during the past three years. Currently, only 35% of our revenue comes from commercial — this should be 50%. We’re working to recruit new businesses — creating jobs and alleviating the tax burden on homeowners. We’ll continue doing everything we can to achieve property tax relief for homeowners.

Last September and October saw widespread urban and flash flooding. Should the city prioritize improving the stormwater system? What role should the city play in ensuring developers provide adequate stormwater infrastructure during all phases of construction?

In our office, we are constantly working on anything that will improve public safety and the wellbeing of our citizens, which includes our stormwater system. Based on recent events, I fully expect our next bond election, which will go before the voters for their consideration and approval, to include capital funding for the very important issue of stormwater improvement. We will continue to review our stormwater fees on an annual basis, both for developers and citizens. The city enforces stringent stormwater requirements with all of our developers in Fort Worth, and we will continue to do so into the future.

Fort Worth continues to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. But that growth hasn’t come without some headaches for residents including increased traffic, urban flooding, concerns about the historical integrity of neighborhoods. As the city looks at attracting more business, how can the city grow responsibly? Is the developer-friendly approach sustainable? Should the city apply greater scrutiny to projects?

Since 2000 we have added more than 350,000 citizens in Fort Worth and continue to have the highest growth rate of any major city in Texas. The City Council has made significant efforts to improve quality opportunities for citizens by eliminating bureaucratic roadblocks and creating rules that hold developers accountable to fulfill the commitments they make at the outset of each project. Most of us want to have all the amenities of a big city with a small town feel. We will continue to work with our developers to ensure we are true to our roots as we continue growing.

The completion of TEXRail has spurred interest in public transit, including from the city’s economic development department in the form of commuter-oriented tax breaks. Should the city devote more attention to public transportation? If so, how?

Innovation is a key approach to transportation, so we can help families spend more time together and less time stuck in traffic. TEXRail is one part of what we’re doing to build a robust transit system. The city has hired an Innovation and Mobility Officer and our Assistant City Manager is leading a transit working group to establish a framework for mobility objectives. Successful public transportation must take a regional approach and cannot focus on Fort Worth alone. Let’s continue providing our citizens with quality options like: increased roadway capacity, a practical public transit network, bike lanes and pedestrian walkways.

United Fort Worth has become a vocal group at city meetings. Have you met with their members or have you been endorsed by them? Do you believe the council needs to better engage with groups like United Fort Worth, and how can that be done?

There are lots of groups in the city who advocate for principles they believe in, and I’m willing to meet with each of them to participate in productive dialogue. This includes United Fort Worth, who we have met with. The voices of all citizens and groups should be heard. We strive to engage all citizens of Fort Worth – from walking and rolling town halls, Coffee with the Mayor, as well as Facebook Live and Twitter town halls. Good governance and leadership doesn’t happen behind a desk – you must be out and about—and I’m with the citizens every single day.

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