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The Mesquite News reached out to all candidates who filed for the Nov. 5 election to participate in this questionnaire. Candidates not featured in this section did not turn in their answers by the deadline given. 

Mayor

Bruce Archer

Name: Bruce Archer 

Place you’re seeking: Candidate for Mesquite Mayor 

Profession: Real Estate Agent

Number of years in the city: Lived in Mesquite for 41 years

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

Keeping residents safe is priority number one!  Mesquite an awesome police department and they work very hard for us.  However, like many older suburbs that are next to large urban cities, we have too many violent crimes and too many criminals coming into our community causing problems.  My vision is to expand a more intense but old fashioned style of community policing into our highest crime statistic neighborhoods, provide more traffic enforcement on our Dallas borders, and address speeding and illegal parking in neighborhoods more intensely.  I would like to make greater use of our Citizens Police Academy Alumni volunteers; they are a tremendous asset and resource.  I’ll work with each council member in their districts to help continue to recruit and develop crime watch volunteers.  If elected, I’ll meet weekly with the city manager and police chief to make sure we are constantly taking the fight to the criminals.  

What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Mesquite?

Mesquite needs at all times, a balanced housing stock.  For many years, we had a large inventory of older and lower valued single family homes and apartments.  Many residents moved out of Mesquite over the last 10-15 years due to not having any "move up" homes if you will that were available.  Many city resources have had to go into dealing with many code enforcement, building inspection, and crime challenges at a number of our apartment complexes and often tenants have had to live in less that desirable circumstances.  However, the tide is turning.  Not only have we been green lighting several thousand executive style single family developments, but we also enacted an apartment moratorium this year that allowed us needed time to put together some higher standards for future apartments that would be built in Mesquite.  I believe these new standards will provide for safer and cleaner living conditions for future apartment residents and a higher quality product that would be built.  

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

Keeping residents safe is priority number one!  Mesquite an awesome police department and they work very hard for us.  However, like many older suburbs that are next to large urban cities, we have too many violent crimes and too many criminals coming into our community causing problems.  My vision is to expand a more intense but old fashioned style of community policing into our highest crime statistic neighborhoods, provide more traffic enforcement on our Dallas borders, and address speeding and illegal parking in neighborhoods more intensely.  I would also like to make greater use of our Citizens Police Academy Alumni volunteers; they are a tremendous asset and resource.  I will work with each council member in their districts to help continue to recruit and develop crime watch volunteers.  If elected, I will meet weekly with the city manager and police chief to make sure we are constantly taking the fight to the criminals.  

What are your top priorities as a candidate?

1.  Mesquite becoming the safest city in America.

2.  Mesquite becoming the cleanest city in America.

3.  Mesquite becoming the most employed city in America.  

These goals will not be easy; in fact they will be quite difficult.  However, I am often inspired by President Kennedy's comments regarding what it would take to go to the Moon.  "We do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."  Moving Mesquite forward in these three areas will indeed prove challenging, but the are worthy of our best efforts.  With hard work and all of our citizens coming together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

Is the city spending money in the right places? What would you change, if anything?

I believe our city government is spending tax dollars in the right places.  However, with the Texas Legislature recently approving the appraisal cap legislation, our city budgets are getting tighter and that makes it incumbent upon current and future councils to really dig in when it comes to budget time each year.  There needs to not just be 1 or 2 meetings, but several days of council and staff going through the budget line by line and looking hard at all the major priorities.  However, if we stay focused on growing our local economy and we stay intensely focused on doing what it takes to keep bringing in new business, those new tax dollars will allow us to do what we need to do to keep providing great city services.

Stan Pickett

Name: Stan Pickett

Place you’re seeking: Mesquite Mayor

Profession: Retail Store Owner

Number of years in the city: 60

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

A Mayor must focus on more than one issue if we are going to improve the quality of life for families in every part of Mesquite. To do so, I’ve modeled my tenure as Mayor on the wise words of President Truman – “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

By taking an urgent, no-excuses approach; I’ve worked with many amazing residents who share my passion for Mesquite and have joined in on our collective effort to accomplish the following over the past four years:

• A record number of road repairs with many more on the way

• A growing economy with thousands of new jobs

• A reduction in our overall crime rate

• A more open and transparent City Hall

• Renewed neighborhood revitalization efforts

• Stronger code enforcement

• Continued Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast with our faith community

What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Mesquite?

I am not a fan of the types of multi-family development that are being constructed in many of the fast growth parts of North Texas. These types of projects would add little to our community and burden our school district. The goal of our city should be instead to find more quality, affordable single-family projects so that young professionals, families and senior citizens can have a safe place to call home and expand roots in our city.

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

A Mayor must focus on more than one issue if we are going to improve the quality of life for families in every part of Mesquite. To do so, I’ve modeled my tenure as Mayor on the wise words of President Truman – “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

By taking an urgent, no-excuses approach; I’ve worked with many amazing residents who share my passion for Mesquite and have joined in on our collective effort to accomplish the following over the past four years:

• A record number of road repairs with many more on the way

• A growing economy with thousands of new jobs

• A reduction in our overall crime rate

• A more open and transparent City Hall

• Renewed neighborhood revitalization efforts

• Stronger code enforcement

• Continued Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast with our faith community

What are your top priorities as a candidate?

My top priorities remain the same as the day I took office four years ago – with a keen sense of urgency I will continue working closely with our citizens to make Mesquite the best place to live, grow a business, raise a family or enjoy retirement.

Our recent accomplishments as a city track closely with my priorities – an urgent focus on street repairs, continue working to make Mesquite safer with stronger police and fire services, a more efficient City Hall, stronger code enforcement and renewed neighborhood revitalization efforts.

Is the city spending money in the right places? What would you change, if anything?

When I was first elected Mayor in 2015, I encouraged our city staff to find cost savings and make City Hall more efficient and transparent. To the credit of the dedicated professionals who work for our city, they rolled up their sleeves and found innovative ways to make sure our limited tax dollars are spent on the services that help us strengthen neighborhoods in every part of our city.

Today Mesquite has a record number of road and streets projects underway, potholes are being filled at the fastest rate in our city’s history, our overall crime rate is dropping, and neighborhood revitalization efforts are helping communities in need. 

These successes are a direct result of both the hard work of our city staff and the countless residents who joined me in gathering input, advice and suggestions from families across our city. As I mentioned in my response to a previous question, our city thrives only with the collective efforts of our entire community.

Place 1

David Burris

Name:  David Burris

Place you’re seeking:  City Council - District One 

Profession: Retired 

Number of years in the city:  62

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

The most important issue going into 2020, the cap the state has put on raises property taxes.  We will have to be very diligent in looking for other avenues to raise money for our city budget.   I believe we are going to have to look for ways to attract new businesses that will generate sales tax revenue for the city and also look for new businesses that will bring revenue to the city.  We will have to be very smart in looking for things that we need other than things that we want. 

What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Mesquite? 

I believe there are certain areas of Mesquite that new updated multi-family developments will bring something to our city that we haven't had in the past. I believe our Southern region along the I-20 corridor is a prime area for this. 

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?  

The most important issue going into 2020, the cap the state has put on raises property taxes.  We will have to be very diligent in looking for other avenues to raise money for our city budget.   I believe we are going to have to look for ways to attract new businesses that will generate sales tax revenue for the city and also look for new businesses that will bring revenue to the city.  We will have to be very smart in looking for things that we need other than things that we want.  

What are your top priorities as a candidate? 

To educate the citizens in my district how not to become victims of property crime and become a victim of a personal crime.   I think that with town hall meetings with a police officer that can educate us on how to not become a victim of these crimes. 

Is the city spending money in the right places? What would you change, if anything? 

I think the most part they are.  But, going forward into 2020, we will have to be very diligent in stretching our dollars the best we can.  We will be on a tight budget for the next few years. 

Jenny Martinez

Name: Jenny Martinez

Place you’re seeking: Mesquite City Council District 1

Profession: Financial Educator

Number of years in the city: 1 yr 6 mos

What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Mesquite?

We are a growing diverse city, not only in ethnicity but economically as well. We need to provide quality diverse (houses, apartments, townhomes etc.) and safe living options for all citizens within our city. 

Apartments can be a great addition to a community if they are well managed and maintained, but apartments with bad and absent management can wreak havoc. We need to close loopholes that are allowing several years between inspections of properties and enforce with zero tolerance already on the books ordinances for habitual violators. Of course as with any new development there are appropriate locations and inappropriate and those should be looked at on a case by case basis.

We have residents that depend on affordable housing for their families, if we are refusing to provide it where do they go? Are we saying we only want citizens in a particular tax bracket to live our city? No, that can’t be who we are. 

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

Our city is facing a challenge with the fixing of our roads taking so long that by the time they are done it will be time to fix them again. Not having the correct strategy has been causing us time and a lot of money. Businesses do not want to be part of something that is still in the works with no deadline that will affect paying customers access to them. Putting together the right strategy with our future in mind will alleviate a lot of the expenses taking place due to the time it's taking to get the job done.

What are your top priorities as a candidate?

As a candidate and citizen of Mesquite public safety, economic development and code enforcement are a priority in keeping our city looking beautiful, safe and smooth.  We need to encourage programs within our police department that will strengthen the relationship with different communities within our city.  Neighborhood policing is a must.  Having neighborhood police get to know people and civic organizations will build trust and reduce fear.  In regards to our economic development we have to be bold and creative in our approach.  We need to make sure we are doing everything we can, using whatever incentives we can to bring in more businesses so we don't have to keep asking hard-working families to cover the bill.  Also, we need to hold accountable those who aren't taking care of their properties. Closing the current loopholes that allow them to go years without inspection.  Everyone deserves a clean and safe place to live.

Is the city spending money in the right places? What would you change, if anything?

Mesquite is headed in the right direction in some ways, we’ve seen a recent increase in economic development and crime stats show a decrease in crime. If we want to continue to attract big businesses to Mesquite we need to look at our city and what we have to offer their employees and their families should they move here. Are we providing them the best options as far as infrastructure and family friendly activities. Right now I think that answer would be no. We need to attract more businesses that offer experiences for families so they aren’t having to leave the city to have a night out with the family.

Place 2

Kenny Green

Name: Kenny Green

Place you’re seeking: District 2

Profession: Liability Claims Adjuster

Number of years in the city: Total of 8 years; almost 3 years in District 2

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

Our financial situation. Every need and concern our residents voice have some costs associated with them. We are doing good to fund the essential services we have. With the property tax set to hit the city budget in FY2021, we have to focus on increasing the tax base. I will be working hard to talk to businesses and developers about our city and get them to the table. I will make sure we thank and help our existing businesses, so we retain them. I think half the effort of adding to the tax base is having elected officials who are engaged and willing to go to the table alongside our economic development staff and fight for our city to be in the discussion for great projects that our residents want and need.

What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Mesquite?

We have to improve our existing multifamily offerings. Most of the current properties in our city needs some TLC and we have to make sure we are staying on top of any issues that make the properties unsafe or unsightly. I think the reason why people in Mesquite are so against apartments has a lot to do with the apartments they have had to look at in their neighborhoods for decades. The newer, more modern apartments have a unique feel and vibe to them, but many in Mesquite have not experienced them since they aren’t in Mesquite. I would only support an apartment type development in our city near downtown and it would need to be high end apartments or condos with a retail component built in. I think most our focus on multifamily needs to go into efforts to improve the current stock and bring them up to standard.

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

Our financial situation. Every need and concern our residents voice have some costs associated with them. We are doing good to fund the essential services we have. With the property tax set to hit the city budget in FY2021, we have to focus on increasing the tax base. I will be working hard to talk to businesses and developers about our city and get them to the table. I will make sure we thank and help our existing businesses, so we retain them. I think half the effort of adding to the tax base is having elected officials who are engaged and willing to go to the table alongside our economic development staff and fight for our city to be in the discussion for great projects that our residents want and need. I think if we do not aggressively pursue development, it will not come knocking on its own. I am committed to helping generate interest in Mesquite and revamping our image in the business and development community. We need to make things super friendly for businesses to open shop in Mesquite. We have made huge strides, but there is room for improvement.

What are your top priorities as a candidate?

Priority 1 is economic development. We have got to increase and diversify our tax base in the city. We have many needs and not enough money to take care of them. When the property tax cap hits in FY2021, we estimate a $2.5 to $6 million budget shortfall. We have to close that gap to ensure city services are not cut. I will address it by working with city staff and my fellow councilmembers to visit and chat with businesses and developers to get them to look at Mesquite as a viable option.

Priority 2 is to create a long-term vision plan for Mesquite that involves the stakeholders, business community, development community, high school and college kids and other young professionals. We have to ask them what they want to see and what would draw them to choose Mesquite to live and raise their families in. The reason we have many of the current issues is due to a lack of long-term vision by previous city management and elected officials. I will help lead discussion and encourage people to come be involved in the process.

Priority 3 would be to address the homeless issue we have in our city. We have to work together with the school district and local nonprofits to find a solution to provide a stable environment for these kids and families. We have over 700 homeless kids identified in our school district and that’s sad. It will take a group effort, but we owe it to these people to help give them a hand up. I will be a champion of making sure we have these discussions. It’s time to stop putting it on the backburner.

Is the city spending money in the right places? What would you change, if anything?

I think we have to take a good long look at the budget and see if there is any fat that can be trimmed. I think we will rely on departments heads to continue to look for opportunities to consolidate tasks and make the staff more efficient. I think we are constantly going to be looking at this until the tax base shifts from being so residential dependent. I think we can take a look at the process by which we budget and perhaps start looking at one department per month instead of cramming the preliminary proposals into a few weeks near the end of the budget process. I would like to see quarterly budget updates provided to the city council so they can be as up to date on the expenditures and needs of each department well before decisions must be made. I think this would also allow for greater input opportunities for the public to ask questions and give input about the use of their money. 

Dorothy Patterson

Dorothy Patterson   

Mesquite City Council Place 2

Hairstylist/ Public Speaker/ Author

21 years

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

The lack of sales tax dollars needed to help the economic development of Mesquite. I will address it by putting together a plan of action that will make Mesquite appeal to potential Developers, Corporations and Small Business owners. My plan will consist of ordinances that will set standard/s that will require modernization of outdated existing structures to be updated, parking lots, corridors and overhead signage are well lit.

What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Mesquite?

Currently, I believe before anymore multi-family units are built Mesquite must make sure all the older complexes are code compliant and aesthetically appealing.

Then have a land surveyor, inspector and developer see if more developments will help or harm Mesquite’s vision for the present or future growth.

Once done and approved by all three I would harbor no issues with multifamily developments. I would be insistent that the upcoming properties are comparable to thriving surrounding cities and do not consist of more than three bedrooms within a single unit. Each complex would have a limit requirement on how many one, two or three bedroom units can be built and must be necessary for the betterment of Mesquite.

These recommendations/requirements must be done before I would agree with building more multifamily developments.

What are your top priorities as a candidate?

My top priorities as a candidate are to get a complete understanding of the city budget. Once, I am completely abreast of the balanced budget (from a council members perspective). I will then ask the necessary questions to see where money can be found or what do we as cohesive team need to do generate revenue to ensure that my first priority is met which is safety for Mesquite residence. Meaning money must be put in the budget to ensure that all dispatchers and first responders pay reflects the importance of their jobs. Next would be improvements of existing buildings. Getting these buildings improved would make it easier to persuade interested developers, corporations and small business owners to Mesquite. Next, streets in both areas highly traveled and inner city streets. I truly believe these top priorities will significantly give Mesquite opportunity to increase its economic development, which will generate revenue needed to meet other needs within the city.

Is the city spending money in the right places?

As a citizen not understanding the budget from the outer perspective I would prematurely say no.  I cannot honestly give a true assessment until I completely understand the dynamics of what is already in place. There are contracts already signed and sealed therefore, for me as a new city council member to say what changes I make would be a speculation and judging a situation that I fully do not understand from where I am currently. I refuse to sound like a new politician who makes judgments on things without knowing or completely understanding the full spectrum things. I will not say what changes I will make until I am positive the can be made.  NO EMPTY PROMISES CHANGE FROM THIS CANDIDATE. 

Place 3

Robert Miklos

Name: Robert Miklos

Place you’re seeking: City Council, District 3

Profession: Attorney

Number of years in the city: 12 years

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

Whether City Government will begin to listen to its citizens, and make road and alley repair an absolute priority, stop greenlighting apartments and other developments in areas where the traffic situation is already congested and the schools packed, get more police onto the streets, or will it continue what has been done in the past, where citizens concerns were ignored, lanes reduced, the Villas at Vanston pushed onto a neighborhood that couldn't take it, and roads not being fixed to stay fixed.

What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Mesquite?

We need to first focus on improving the conditions of the apartments we already have here.  I get calls constantly regarding apartments where the management company won't fix them, and people are suffering.  Then, we shouldn't approve any new apartments unless the traffic and the schools in the area can take the additional strain.  I was a strong supporter of the apartment moratorium.

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it? Road and alley repair.  We must fix the roads most in need of repair first, and fix them to last.  We need to inform the citizens ahead of time when a road will undergo repair, and let people know the start and stop dates to the best of our abilities. More money and attention and supervision must be focused on road and alley repair.

What are your top priorities as a candidate?

Getting out to our citizens, and asking them what their priorities are.  Then taking those concerns back to city hall and working hard to get those things done.

Is the city spending money in the right places? What would you change, if anything?

I don't think so.  We need to move as much money as possible to road and alley repair and first responders, while looking for savings in all departments. The basics matter. Taxes are too high, and they have to start coming down.

Jennifer Vidler

Name: Jennifer Vidler

Place you’re seeking: City Council Place 3

Profession: Hair Stylist

Number of years in the city: 30

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

The most important issue in the city is bringing the right kind of business investment to Mesquite. More jobs and higher business revenue will allow the city to invest in our future by focusing on roads and infrastructure repair.

What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Mesquite?

I am strongly opposed to the cookie-cutter multifamily projects that have been popping up across the metroplex. These projects would overwhelm our schools and add nothing to our community.  It is important to note that my opponent works for an apartment and hotel developer. This conflict may explain why he has done very little to rid our city of the crime ridden hotels near Town East Boulevard and Highway 80, despite his promise to do so when he was first elected.

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

I believe that we need ethics reform at City Hall. Mesquite is one of the few large cities that does not have ethics policies in place to punish elected officials who violate the public trust. I want to enact tough ethics reforms that reduce the influence of special interests, force Councilmembers to disclose conflicts of interests and enforce harsh penalties on dishonest politicians who use their position for financial gain.

What are your top priorities as a candidate?

My main priorities are making sure every neighborhood in every part of our city can thrive and prosper. As your Councilwoman, I will focus on improving our roads so we can more easily get to work or our doctors, strengthen our police and fire services, and use my business experience to attract new jobs and economic growth.

Is the city spending money in the right places? What would you change, if anything?

Mesquite is an aging city and more money must be allocated to rebuilding our infrastructure. We have taken steps in that direction in recent years, but more repairs and new roads are needed to keep up with the transportation demands of our city.

Place 4

Bryan Odom

Name: Bryan Odom

Place you’re seeking: Mesquite City Council District 4

Profession: Screen Print & Embroider Shop Owner

Number of years in the city: 50 years. I'm a live long resident

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it? 

Public Safety. I do not buy into Mesquite being in a 30 year crime low. We need to maintain a well trained, well motivated police force that has the tools they require to be proactive instead of reactive. We have an excellent police force, but they spend too much time having to run from call to call instead of being able to patrol and build relationships with the citizens on their beats. They need more time for true community policing which will go a long way in increasing public safety.

Our officers can't do it all, and we need to increase the number crime watch groups and add more animal control officers as well. We should not rely on our hard working police officers to handle "loose dog" calls on nights and weekends. Since our officers can't be everywhere, adding neighborhood watch groups would increase the number of eyes watching out for one another.

What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Mesquite?

Apartment have their place in a city the size of Mesquite. I have lived in apartments in Mesquite and I actually enjoyed apartment living until I had a family. I believe at this time Mesquite has enough apartment stock, and until the repairs on some of our major streets are completed we should not be looking into any apartment projects at this time. I'm not saying that we should never have more apartments. I think currently we have enough to provide those that need or want that dwelling style to have it. 

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it? 

Public Safety. I do not buy into Mesquite being in a 30 year crime low. We need to maintain a well trained, well motivated police force that has the tools they require to be proactive instead of reactive. We have an excellent police force, but they spent too much time having to run from call to call instead of being able to patrol and build relationships with the citizens on their beats. They need more time for true community policing which will go a long way in increasing public safety.

Our officers can't do it all, and we need to increase the number crime watch groups and add more animal control officers as well. We should not rely on our hard working police officers to handle "loose dog" calls on nights and weekends. Since our officers can't be everywhere, adding neighborhood watch groups would increase the number of eyes watching out for one another. 

What are your top priorities as a candidate?

Public Safety will always be top priority, but our street repairs are a close second. 

I believe the process that the city is allowing for the $125M Real.Texas.Roads project is severely flawed, and will not last as long as promised which is a huge waste of money. We need to increase the communication done with these repairs and all street repairs in the city. Citizens want to know estimated timelines and delays. Citizens also would like to be informed when their street is going to be shut down because of repairs. They shouldn't have to find this out when they are coming home with a large bill of groceries that they may have to carry a long distance.

Is the city spending money in the right places?

With the new tax cap on the horizon, we need to be. In order to pay our first responders what they deserve to maintain them, we will need to tighten our belt at the city like the hard working residents have to when times are tough. That being said we also need to look into spending money on amenities that will attract families to Mesquite. Not just parks, but interactive parks that are more than just green space. We need to be looking into added walk-ability and bike-ability as our city grows more dense around the Town East and Downtown Square areas. Like it or not, getting from here to there in our city by other means than a motor vehicle will need to be a feature if younger families are to  move into our city.

Place 5

Henry Brown

Name: Henry Brown

Place you’re seeking: Mesquite City Council District 5

Profession: Work for Dallas Area Rapid Transit as a Bus Operator

Number of years in the city: 15 Years 

What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Mesquite?

Our community has met on this issue several times in the past at city hall to consider the feasibility of such an act. This initiative has pros and cons. The good part highlights the need to visit re-zoning, plats, site plans and permits sought with traffic management, code enforcement, slumlords and stress to our roads. Some of this is good for our city, because everyone deserves a decent moderate place to live, but if it’s an attempt to play hard ball with future developers or discourage future enterprises it’s bad. If it seeks to prohibit future residents that may be considered minorities from choosing our city to live; it’s bad. Our officials need to use all painstaking efforts to avoid what some may consider to be infringement of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 that prohibit discrimination in housing.

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

There are several issues; we have added nearly 1000 jobs to our city’s tax roll within the last year through various developments like Ashley Furniture Warehouse, Iron Horse and a few others. Our officials welcomed these companies in, but no one really horns in on the acquisition of jobs for our residents. If elected, I will talk percentage of jobs for our residents from the start. This will perhaps help our economy to grow and tax base to expand. If we can create opportunity and economic development for willing residents; it could reduce our crime rate, help ailing businesses, assist with the retention of good residents. I will also push for street repairs, more attraction for our young adults, and try to connect the dots on bringing mass transit into our city.

What are your top priorities as a candidate?

I will like to see job acquisition for our residents, a development of a small homeless shelter with a wrap around approach to address the needs of this population. I will like to also work with our police department of creating a better way to combat crime and perhaps seek ways to re-classify certain minor offenses.  I think we should create a Police Academy for Kids, like the academy in Plano, Texas.  In this proposed academy, local kids can both meet and greet with our officers and city officials on a regular basis.  I believe our officials need to foster a better relationship with MISD. As a councilman in D5, I will seek to create a Teen Court using youth as the judge and jury on a volunteer basis, having the punishment for infractions and policy violations being upheld by the school officials and parents. They will use the student handbook as their guide; afterward that child gets to have their record cleared. However, serious cases will be turned over to the police department.  I really believe this will stop some of these children for sliding down hill as an adult.   

Is the city spending money in the right places?

Yes, I believe so.

What would you change, if anything?

Though we have a budget of 275 million dollars for 2019/2020 cycle. I would love to see more money placed in community develop block grant, housing administration, and road construction.

Sergio Garcia

Name: Sergio Garcia

Place you’re seeking: Mesquite City Council Place 5

Profession: Member/Guest service 

Number of years in the city: 27

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

It is how do we maintain and grow our prosperity while at the same time creating an environment of opportunities that our residents can take advantage of. The people of Mesquite are as talented and innovative as anyone else in the United States. It is up to our city's leaders to bring about and nurture conditions that will allow our citizens to successfully compete, be it in business, education, athleticism or any other numerous possible endeavors. This requires the challenges of economic growth, unemployment/underemployment, equality and being open-minded to new ideas be fought for on behalf of all of Mesquite's people.

What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Mesquite?

Multi-family housing in its many different forms has a place in any community as long as it is appropriate in the area of town it is to be located and the residents of the area are kept informed and are part of the process. I understand there are people who will never be OK with multi-family housing and nothing can ever be said or done to change that. If we are to be a prosperous, successful community we must allow different housing options. I believe there are more people who cannot afford to buy a single-family house than those who can. There are also people who may not want to buy a house. How can we deny people choices on how they want to live? We can plan and control how multi-family development occurs here in Mesquite as well as requiring improvement on existing multi-family properties.

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

It is how do we maintain and grow our prosperity while at the same time creating an environment of opportunities that our residents can take advantage of. The people of Mesquite are as talented and innovative as anyone else in the United States. It is up to our city's leaders to bring about and nurture conditions that will allow our citizens to successfully compete, be it in business, education, athleticism or any other numerous possible endeavors. This requires the challenges of economic growth, unemployment/underemployment, equality and being open-minded to new ideas be fought for on behalf of all of Mesquite's people.  

What are your top priorities as a candidate?

My top priorities are neighborhood improvement, action to reduce underemployment/unemployment and to improve the relationship between the city and residents.  

Is the city spending money in the right places? What would you change, if anything?

The city is doing a good job at spending what money it has at its disposal in addressing the needs of our residents. But of course there will be people who disagree strongly with that. Streets and crime prevention could use more money, but so could public transportation and our homeless issue. We need to have a budget that has us spending money that will have significant impact on increasing opportunity and well-being for the people of Mesquite.

Place 6

Dan Aleman

NAME : Daniel Aleman, Jr.

PLACE YOU'RE SEEKING : Mesquite City Council Place 6

PROFESSION : Church Pastor 

NUMBER OF YEARS IN THE CITY: 22 years

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it? 

Public safety continues to be at the top of my list and specifically I want the citizens of Mesquite to feel safe in their city and in their neighborhoods. Our most recent citizen's survey shows that we have work to do in this area. I want to continue supporting and encouraging the development of more CRIMEWATCH Groups and also encourage our groups to go to the next level through Neighborhood Vitality in establishing more neighborhood leaders, working together with our police department in being the extra set of eyes and ears in taking a stand against crime in our city. We will never be able to have a police officer on every street corner in our neighborhoods but as we take ownership, partnering with our police department and their data driven strategy, we can move in the right direction for our citizens to feel safer in their neighborhoods. 

What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Mesquite?

Just recently, we had an apartment moratorium in Mesquite, approved by the council, to stop, step back, and take a look at our multifamily housing in Mesquite. There was much to consider with the moratorium on multifamily housing including: policies, safety issues, service fees, inspection fees, alarm systems, and other items. On the topic of multifamily housing in Mesquite, every area of our city is different and as a councilman I want to hear the constituents and their concerns or their thoughts pro or con in regards to multifamily housing in their neighborhood, traffic issues, overcrowding in schools, their crime situation, or whatever their concern might be. We must continue to connect with the people and listen to them because they live in the immediate area of an existing multifamily housing complex or of one that is considering coming into their area. Once again, each area is different, and the prospect of multifamily housing must be considered individually. 

What are your top priorities as a candidate? 

PUBLIC SAFETY:  We must continue to be aggressive in our crime prevention techniques with our police department utilizing neighborhood CRIMEWATCH groups, more regular neighborhood meetings in difficult and challenging areas, residential surveillance cameras, and simply neighbors more proactive in watching out for their neighbor's. Together , taking ownership of our neighborhoods as citizens we can reach that place in our neighborhoods where our citizens feel safe. 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: In the last four years we have seen strong advancement with our economic development because of the state of our local economy. With that in mind, we have seen residential developments coming into our city including Bloomfield Homes at Hagin Hills and Ridge Ranch, home developments approved for Polo Ridge, Heartland , and Skymark ( in the southern region of Mesquite and along Trinity Pointe) , History Maker Townhomes (along Gus Thomasson at the former site of the 9 hole golf course) , and the Iron Horse Development which is in the immediate area of our iconic Rodeo Arena and Convention Center with restaurants and entertainment projects coming as well. We have seen an increase in job creation with the Ashley Furniture Distribution Center in the southeast part of our city along with other businesses (large and small) coming into our city. Because our local economy continues to show strength, there is more to come in the future and all of this helping to strengthen our local tax base. We must continue to be aggressive in a very competitive market, recruiting new businesses and in the retention of older businesses. Our City of Mesquite has much to offer. 

CODE ENFORCEMENT: 

With code enforcement, I'll use the word aggressive once again. Our T 25 program continues to work, representing a list of the most problematic properties both residential and commercial in the city of Mesquite several with reoccurring code violations and crime violations where the city is now saying "no more warnings!" Also the code ambassador program continues to work, utilizing volunteers to have more eyes and ears out on the streets. This plan can help tremendously in dealing with code enforcement issues in our city. One other note, I want to continue encouraging an efficient working city staff that is and will be customer service friendly in dealing with code violations and helping folks reach their solutions in an efficient manner .

IS THE CITY SPENDING MONEY IN THE RIGHT PLACES? WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE IF ANYTHING?

A significant portion of our proposed expenditures goes to our police and fire (a little over 50%) and rightfully so. These are the first responders of our city, who are always on the front lines ready to serve and protect our community. We must continue to work towards having our first responders (police, fire, dispatchers, and other civilian employees) fully staffed and well equipped; making sure that their pay rate remains competitive with our comparison cities. The remainder of our proposed expenditures, making up the budget, are well proportioned between public works, general government, our debt, and other areas that service our community. With the property tax cap that has just been passed by our last legislature, this tightens things up financially across the state. We must continue to use good stewardship in utilizing the funds available and continue to use sound judgment in keeping the programs that work successfully, making the changes where necessary and being efficient with our citizen's tax dollars. 

Christina Sowells

Name: Christina Sowells

Place you’re seeking: Council Member - District 6

Profession: Paralegal

Number of years in the city: 13

What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Mesquite?

I am not opposed to multi-family housing in our city. We are an economically diverse city and we need equally diverse housing options for families to choose from. I believe everyone should have a chance at a better life (improving their life and living situation). If affordable, multi-family housing will assist in this, why not? Multi-family housing also helps boost our economy. Not necessarily the revenue from the apartment complex, but by attracting new businesses to meet the demand of the growing neighborhood.

What is the most important issue facing the city and how would you address it?

It depends on who you ask. This is really too broad of a question for just a single answer. Some believe it's the animal shelter, some believe it's crime, others believe it's the streets and infrastructure, while others believe it's homelessness and food insecurities. No matter which issue it the "most important" they all need to be tackled head on. The city and its citizens need to actively create and execute a plan to handle each item listed above. Additionally, it's not something I could address on my own. I'm just one vote. These are all issues the council would need to work together to address.

What are your top priorities as a candidate?

To listen to and fight for issues that are important to the citizens of mesquite, to fight for improvement of my district, and overall, to do what is best for the city as a whole.

Is the city spending money in the right places? 

I am not familiar with all the aspects of the city's spending at this time. I would need to research more in order to provide an adequate response. Additionally, it is important to know that the city budget for 2020 has already been established by our current council members.

What would you change, if anything?

There is always room for improvement and the opportunities are limitless, however the city has to be receptive to change. We have to trust that our elected officials are listening to the needs of the people and knowing that whether or not we agree with their position on certain issues, they have our best interests at heart. Single member districts will give each district an opportunity to grow in ways never thought imaginable because we now have a more personalized approach to the issues that concern our particular district.

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