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Here are the candidates for Fort Worth City Council District 9 in May 6 election

April 23,2023


See full Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by Harrison Mantas here.

ELIZABETH BECK

Age: 40

Campaign website: Elizabethforfortworth.com

Best way for voters to reach you:
Email - info@elizabethforfortworth.com
Phone - 817-803-2690

Occupation: Attorney

Education: B.A. University of Texas at Arlington, M.A. in City and Regional Planning, and J.D. Texas A&M School of Law

Have you run for elected office before? (Please list previous offices sought, with years): Texas House District 97 - 2020, Fort Worth City Council District 9 - 2021

Please list the highlights of your civic involvement/activism in the city of Fort Worth: As your Councilwoman, I currently serve on the Regional Transportation Council, Visit Fort Worth and Near Southside Inc. Board of Directors. I have previously served as the president of my children’s parents club, vice-president of my homeowners association, and have served on committees and as chair for multiple organizations. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for Congregation Beth-El and the Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Fort Worth Community Board. I devote my spare time to getting women elected across the state through organizations like Annie’s List, and served as their Tarrant County Steering Committee Chair.

Have you ever been arrested, charged with a crime or otherwise been part of a criminal proceeding? If yes, please explain: No

Have you been involved in a civil lawsuit or bankruptcy proceeding? If yes, please explain: Michael Cody Torres v. City of Fort Worth et al. A protester was arrested by members of the FWPD and brought an action against myself and members of the FWPD.

Who are your top three campaign contributors?: Fort Worth Firefighters Committee for Responsible Govt, Paul Janiak, and Matthew Vruggink

Why are you seeking this office?: I ran for City Council to ensure Fort Worth continues to provide the opportunity to succeed for future generations that it provided me. That means we need safe neighborhoods, a strong economy with good paying jobs, access to quality schools and higher education opportunities, and housing residents can afford. I’m proud of the work I have done in my first term to ensure Fort Worth remains on the right track and I am seeking a second term to continue the fight for the residents of District 9 at City Hall and ensure Fort Worth remains a place we all are proud to call home. There is work left to be done and I like to roll up my sleeves.

What are the biggest challenges facing the city of Fort Worth?: How we manage explosive growth while keeping our communities safe while improving education, lowering property taxes, providing safe reliable infrastructure, and providing housing options residents can afford–all without losing the character of our community or displacing our current residents. Fort Worth is a world class city but first and foremost it is our home. We need leaders that understand the diverse challenges that come with becoming one of America’s largest cities and provide vision and direction to address those challenges.

If elected, what would your top 3 policy priorities be?:
1. Ensure that Fort Worth has the reliable infrastructure required to address growth, keep residents safe and maintain our quality of life.
2. Provide smart solutions to address the increasing homeless population in our community.
3. Ensure the City is smart with your tax dollars so that we are providing efficient, reliable and cost-effective solutions for our community.

How will you measure your success as council member?: My success is measured by the accomplishments of the district I have the honor of representing. Downtown currently has $3.2B worth of investments in the pipeline, we are bringing a top tier university to Fort Worth, we have reduced the response time to maintenance requests, attracted new office and hotel developments in W7th, enhanced the community facilities in the district, and reduced the City’s crime rate by 13%.

Why should voters choose you over your opponents?: During my first term as your Councilwoman I employed my skills as a sergeant in the Army, a city planner, lawyer, and mom to be an effective advocate for the residents of District 9. I have shown I have the ability to think broadly at the policy level, the experience applying that policy framework to on-the-ground applications, and the courage to lead from the front on the toughest issues facing our city. I am a proven fighter for District 9 neighborhoods and shown that no problem is “too big” to tackle in order to improve the lives of our residents. From fighting to combat homelessness, ensuring the City is addressing our infrastructure needs, to championing economic growth in the district I have shown that you can count on me to get the job done.

How will you reduce the city’s reliance on residential property taxes?: I will continue to support new developments in the district that will attract businesses and visitors to the city to diversify the tax base and increase sales tax revenue so that we can continue to lower the property tax rate for our residents. During my first term I have actively worked to champion initiatives like the expansion of Texas A&M’s Fort Worth campus expected to bring $350M in investment both public and private dollars to Fort Worth, championing the extension of the Near Southside TIF to continue economic growth for the next decade, supporting our city’s entrepreneurial initiatives and the recent changes revamping the Chamber of Commerce economic development initiatives. We must work with County and State leadership to hold the Tarrant Appraisal District accountable and ensure that valuations of both residential and commercial properties are fair and equitable so that homeowners are not shouldering the burden financing our city services.

What’s your plan to lower property taxes and not just the tax rate?: I have a 100% voting record of reducing our City’s tax rate. To reduce the property tax burden in our city while still providing the amenities, opportunities and services we have to look to other sources of revenue. To do that, we must attract additional sales tax dollars from non-residents so we can shift the burden from homeowners. Focusing on how to draw visitors into Fort Worth for tourism and entertainment is one of those strategies–which is why I support the expansion of our convention center. Supporting small businesses with local, regional or even global reach will benefit our city by drawing additional dollars into our community.

How should Fort Worth manage its explosive growth?: Fort Worth is one of the fastest growing metropolitan regions in the nation–gaining approximately 20,000 people annually. We must ensure that the city is keeping pace with this growth by providing adequate infrastructure to accommodate that growth and keep our residents safe. We need forward thinking leaders to ensure we grow in a way that is smart and preserves our strong sense of community. We have to prioritize a high quality of life for our residents and ensure we have the housing, infrastructure and educational opportunities to ensure Fort Worth remains a great place to live, work, and play.

What (if anything) should the city do to make it easier for locally-owned small businesses to flourish in Fort Worth?: I will continue the work we have started to support our locally-owned businesses. On Council, I have voted to support entrepreneurial initiatives and funding for organizations that foster and support small businesses. It’s also important that we ensure the City itself does not create roadblocks which is why I have worked to improve the permitting process to reduce the time and cost associated with delays.

Alliance Texas has seen huge economic growth in its 30+ year existence. How can Fort Worth replicate that success in other parts of the city?: Fort Worth has replicated that success–the revitalization efforts in both Downtown and the Near Southside are two great examples in District 9. I will continue to work with business leaders to find creative ways to spur development or redevelopment through supporting local business organizations seeking to improve and support their community like Downtown Fort Worth, Inc., Near Southside, Inc., and the Cultural District Alliance, and implement smart economic development tools to encourage growth such as TIF districts and smart zoning.

What’s the appropriate balance between Fort Worth’s rapid growth and its culture as the “largest small town in America?”: What makes Fort Worth feel like a small town is our vibrant neighborhoods that foster a strong sense of community. We must ensure that as we grow and redevelop we are creating and preserving vibrant communities by building and supporting the municipal amenities and spaces that draw our communities together.

What should Fort Worth do to prevent a repeat of the infrastructure problems north of Loop 820 as the city continues to add residents in areas west and southwest of the loop?: We must ensure we are evaluating the true impact of new development and what services will need to be provided to the new residents before they get there, and not 20 years after the fact. Residents should not be forced to subsidize the profits of developers by funding these services through the budget or bond process. This is why I supported raising the transportation impact fee so that developers and not residents are covering the cost of the new growth.

What needs to be done in the wake of the Aaron Dean trial to improve community-police relations?: It’s important that City leaders ensure that we are fostering an environment where our community views the members of the Fort Worth Police Department as partners in making our community a safe place to live. That is accomplished by increasing transparency so that our residents feel informed, continuing programs like “Be the Change” to ensure our police department is reflective of the residents it serves, and by providing opportunities for our community and police to develop stronger relationships.

How would you assess the performance of city manager David Cooke?: The City Council provides David Cooke with a collective assessment of his performance during his annual review. I believe it would be inappropriate to provide an individual analysis or violate any conversations during Council’s executive session. I have enjoyed working with David Cooke and appreciate his service to our City.

PAMELA BOGGESS

Age: 38

Campaign website: www.pamelaboggess.com

Best way for voters to reach you: Email at info@pamelaboggess.com

Occupation: Attorney

Education: J.D., Texas Tech University; B.A. University of Texas at Austin

Have you run for elected office before? (Please list previous offices sought, with years): Yes - District Judge, 2022 Primary

Please list the highlights of your civic involvement/activism in the city of Fort Worth: I am an active volunteer for the Junior League of Fort Worth and have been for over a decade. I have served in leadership roles within the organization and volunteered with community nonprofits. I served on the Board of Directors for the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra. I was on the Executive Committee for the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association. I’m active in the Parent Teacher Association and the Site-Based Decision Making Committee for our local elementary school. I am a member of the Texas Bar Foundation and Tarrant County Bar Association Foundation.

Have you ever been arrested, charged with a crime or otherwise been part of a criminal proceeding? If yes, please explain: No

Have you been involved in a civil lawsuit or bankruptcy proceeding? If yes, please explain: No

Who are your top three campaign contributors?: My campaign finances will be available when the 30-day report is submitted.

Why are you seeking this office?: I’m a former award-winning prosecutor, successful attorney, and proud mother of four.

As a prosecutor, I helped victims and their families through some of the hardest times in their lives to find justice, closure, and a path forward. I will focus on finding practical, actionable solutions to issues affecting us, not political grandstanding. I have spent a career making the hard decisions. That experience will serve me well.

On council, I will strengthen our neighborhoods by supporting first responders who keep our families safe, lowering our property tax burden, and supporting the small businesses that help make Fort Worth a vibrant and exciting place to live.

What are the biggest challenges facing the city of Fort Worth?: Growth, public safety, and infrastructure

If elected, what would your top 3 policy priorities be?: Lower crime, property tax relief and supporting local small business

How will you measure your success as council member?: High level of constituent services; being responsive to neighborhood and local business issues; lower crime and property tax relief.

Why should voters choose you over your opponents?: Fort Worth is a great place to live, work and raise a family. The work of the council is often mundane, but important to the quality of life of our families. When council members interject flashy partisan politics, it does nothing to solve problems and distracts from the real work of the people. I’ll restore civility to District 9 representation.

How will you reduce the city’s reliance on residential property taxes?: I support Mayor Parker’s efforts to boost tourism to Fort Worth, which supports our local businesses and brings revenue to the city. Ultimately, we need to grow the commercial tax base to take the property tax burden off residential homeowners.

What’s your plan to lower property taxes and not just the tax rate?: Every budget year, city staff and the council must consider demands for services and expected revenue. I think the rate could have been lowered more in the last budget cycle. Assuming property valuations continue to increase, I will likely advocate for lower rates in future cycles.

How should Fort Worth manage its explosive growth?: Fort Worth is fortunate to have growth. Reinvigorating our communities helps fight deterioration. Growth brings challenges we must address as we work to attract businesses that add to our quality of life. Businesses provide revenue to the city that covers city services.

What (if anything) should the city do to make it easier for locally-owned small businesses to flourish in Fort Worth?: It takes a large amount of financial and human capital to start and successfully run a local business. The city can increase those costs and cause delays through an over burdensome regulatory process. We need regulations to protect our neighborhoods and foster development that benefits the community, but the city can do better and lower barriers. Also, ensuring adequate, reliable infrastructure in place to support our businesses is important. If roads are constantly a mess, businesses suffer.

Alliance Texas has seen huge economic growth in its 30+ year existence. How can Fort Worth replicate that success in other parts of the city?: Alliance is a unique commercial development with access to air and rail transportation. I am not sure it can — or should — be replicated within Fort Worth. It is not the right kind of development for every part of the city. For District 9, smaller live, play and work developments that bring services to our neighborhoods makes more sense.

What’s the appropriate balance between Fort Worth’s rapid growth and its culture as the “largest small town in America?”: Preserving Fort Worth’s friendly, small-town culture is a challenge and must be front of mind is policy making. Finding the perfect balance is absolutely a problem without a clear sweet spot.

What should Fort Worth do to prevent a repeat of the infrastructure problems north of Loop 820 as the city continues to add residents in areas west and southwest of the loop?: The city can do a better job working with developers in high growth areas to build out infrastructure before it is a crisis. It’s important to involve community stakeholders, neighborhood leaders and council members in the search for solutions.

What needs to be done in the wake of the Aaron Dean trial to improve community-police relations?: A lot, and leadership plays a vital role. Negative rhetoric from city leadership sows seeds of distrust and animosity, which plummet morale within the department, fuel dangerous interactions on the streets and drive worthy applicants from a career in public safety. As an attorney, I have prosecuted and defended officers. I’ve seen the positive community impact that outstanding police investigations can bring. Public sentiment on domestic violence and sexual assault have changed significantly over the last decade. It is incumbent upon both police and city leadership to be part of positive change in the relationship between the community and police.

How would you assess the performance of city manager David Cooke?: I have not had the opportunity to work with Mr. Cooke directly. In a council — manager form of government, it is imperative that the City Manager is transparent and can offer advice to council without conflict.

JASON PENA

Age: 43

Campaign website: JasonForFtWorth.com

Best way for voters to reach you: Call me at 817-501-8041 — I would love to hear from you!

Occupation: Marketing

Education: Some college

Have you run for elected office before?

(Please list previous offices sought, with years): No

Please list the highlights of your civic involvement/activism in the city of Fort Worth:

Activism and Community Involvement

2019: Blood Drive and Parking Lot Pull Up (Organized a blood drive with Carter Blood Care to get type O blood out to the victims in El Paso)

2020: Back to School Backpack Giveaway (Mobilized local small businesses to join us in filling hundreds of backpacks with school supplies to give to children in the neighborhood.)

Civic Involvement

Meals on Wheels: 15yrs with my father and children

Hemphill No Se Vende: Volunteered in getting the word out to the community about important issues affecting them.

Countless times I rolled up my sleeves to clean up Ft. Worth - whether picking up trash or mowing a lawn when needed.

Have you ever been arrested, charged with a crime or otherwise been part of a criminal proceeding? If yes, please explain:

2003: Driving without Insurance: I was 23yrs and irresponsible, it was the second warning and so I was arrested, ironically now my wife owns an insurance agency.

2011: I pled guilty to a class C misdemeanor, I had to protect my 2 small children from man with a weapon. I called the police after I diffused the situation and had to plead guilty because I was on his property.

Have you been involved in a civil lawsuit or bankruptcy proceeding? If yes, please explain: Yes — filed suit in small claims court against lawn sprinkler company who did not complete work that was paid for and won.

Who are your top three campaign contributors?: Blue-collar workers have been my biggest contributers. Vaquero Home Builders, Grade A-Electric, Rangel Construction

Why are you seeking this office?: District 9 has been underserved. As a native to Fort Worth, I don’t recognize the city I grew up in; in some areas it looks like a 3rd world country. Crime has gotten worse, many of our roads are riddled with potholes and our taxes keep rising. I’m seeking office to keep this town a great place to raise a family. I’ve lived here all my life and have experience in finance and community service necessary to be an effective city council representative for district 9 and I believe I have what it takes to be the voice of the people. I am a local business owner; local homeowner and my children go to public school here and I have seen how my community has been forgotten.

What are the biggest challenges facing the city of Fort Worth?: There is a culture war going on, the city hasn’t been transparent with the community. Fort Worth still carries the scars of segregation and “Red Lining “and has chunks of the city that have been neglected and relatively isolated from the rest for decades.

If elected, what would your top 3 policy priorities be?:

1. I would vote to update the City Flooding Policy, most reports of flooding in Ft. Worth come from parts of town that are not included on the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s floodplain map.

2. Bring back public comment to City Council meetings, let the public speak on issues not on the agenda and give them at least 3 minutes on each issue.

3. When elected I will see what others I would like to see prioritized.

How will you measure your success as council member?: That would be determined by the people I serve at the end of each year. My desire is to bring the community, city officials and law enforcement together.

Why should voters choose you over your opponents?: Voters should choose me because I represent the common man, I decided to run out of necessity and not out of political aspirations. I am an outsider willing to be the voice of the voiceless. I represent the forgotten people of this once great district; I plan on reducing crime and cleaning up our streets. I’m going to make people proud to live in this district again. We’re going to reduce taxes on the hardworking families. A vote for me is a middle finger to the establishment who got us here.

How will you reduce the city’s reliance on residential property taxes?: I would first need to look at how well residential taxes achieve various policy goals, after careful analysis we could design a better tax system.

What’s your plan to lower property taxes and not just the tax rate?: I would vote against wasteful spending. It’s a delicate process that takes many advisors and working with city staffers who have been here before me. I don’t know everything but I’m teachable...

How should Fort Worth manage its explosive growth?: City resources need to go towards existing, established neighborhoods and not just to new developments. Should any developer want to build in Fort Worth, the benefit to the city and it’s citizens need to be greater than the benefit to the builder. Zoning department would be heavily involved in determining whether a development is feasible (traffic & access to utilities/emergency services).

What (if anything) should the city do to make it easier for locally-owned small businesses to flourish in Fort Worth?: Set aside space for Local Businesses in new developments in Fort Worth, adopt a Business Diversity Ordinance this can ensure that independent, neighborhood-serving businesses don’t get crowded out by big corporate chains. Give preference to local businesses in purchasing, the city should establish a preference for locally owned businesses in city purchasing and include clear definitions and goal setting.

Alliance Texas has seen huge economic growth in its 30+ year existence. How can Fort Worth replicate that success in other parts of the city?: I don’t necessarily believe we need to replicate Alliance, that might not be the will of the people of district 9. Alliance didn’t have any corporate or personal tax levied against the businesses and it had fewer land -use restrictions meaning lower operational costs for businesses and a lower cost of living for employees.

What’s the appropriate balance between Fort Worth’s rapid growth and its culture as the “largest small town in America?”: First attract high paying job-creating companies that attempts to grow jobs which will keep all those new residents employed within the city’s limits. Fort Worth bread and butter has always been Blue-collar jobs, it’s now the time to create jobs in finance, banking and IT and Tech for those new White-Collor residents while also considering the culture of the residents. We have to limit the growth.

What should Fort Worth do to prevent a repeat of the infrastructure problems north of Loop 820 as the city continues to add residents in areas west and southwest of the loop?: When a development is planned, the developer should be responsible and required by the city to complete a Access Survey, determining which size roadway & access ramps are needed for the volume of traffic the development will receive. Road construction should be completed prior to a certificate of occupancy being granted by the city. You can prevent that by adding additional U-turns, bypass lanes, frontage roads and ramps in the areas where problems were identified.

What needs to be done in the wake of the Aaron Dean trial to improve community-police relations?: Law enforcement can give more to the community by attending community events, keep civilians in the loop instead of parking outside and not announce themselves when they respond to suspicious activities, hold bad police accountable, share body camera footage of misconduct, endorse regular civilians (outsiders) from the community that can bring unity between police and the community. We need to have more open dialogs with people in the community and the police who serve them. Spark conversations tat needs to take place now and later when something bad happens. We as a community also need to hold our brothers and sisters accountable, we have to respect authority. How would you assess the performance of city manager David Cooke?: Questionable.

CHRIS REED

Age: 36

Campaign website: https://bit.ly/chris-district-9

Best way for voters to reach you: Email

Occupation: Software developer

Education: BA in Rhetoric and Writing from the University of Texas at Austin

Have you run for elected office before? (Please list previous offices sought, with years): No

Please list the highlights of your civic involvement/activism in the city of Fort Worth: I moved here in 2020 from up north so when Uri hit, I was ready for the cold and spent the better part of a week helping neighbors fix their own burst pipes. That summer I organized to improve the plan for Forest Park Pool. Unless councilmembers open up their backyard pools to the public, we have two pools this summer for our nearly one million neighbors. Dallas has nine, Tulsa five, El Paso fifteen and with twelve open all year.

Info about the pool’s operations was hard to find. Our city agenda management software, the same one that most large U.S. cities use, is clunky and difficult to navigate. I built an agenda-browsing tool called legigram.com to explore recent agendas and their many attachments. It now covers 25 cities it gets thousands of visits a month. Simple improvements to technology and communication can help bring more oversight and participation to our city government.

Have you ever been arrested, charged with a crime or otherwise been part of a criminal proceeding? If yes, please explain: No

Have you been involved in a civil lawsuit or bankruptcy proceeding? If yes, please explain: No

Who are your top three campaign contributors?: Me, myself, and I. I have not taken and for now I do not seek any financial contributions. If you read what I say, please just think about it and talk about it, whether or not you are in District 9. Even if you are not going to vote for me or support my campaign, you can fill out the survey on my website and let me know what you would like to see for our city’s future.

Why are you seeking this office?: To better articulate and make good on our city’s enormous promise. Our county has the most space to grow of any of the urban counties in Texas, and how we handle that growth will determine the quality of life for our future selves, children, and neighbors. I want to improve our civic literacy and engagement so that we can more effectively address our challenges together. And I want to help cast a better vision for our future.

What are the biggest challenges facing the city of Fort Worth?: Civic engagement is number one. “Good” voter turnout in this election would be 15%. Voting is just table stakes. We need to educate ourselves on local issues. We need more sane, smart people at the table to help keep the lights on. Our city is bigger, younger, and more diverse than ever, but our dominant political culture remains anchored in good old boy networking and pat politicking. We need better communication, more translations. We need to know more of what goes on both within and far beyond 820 so let’s benchmark our services against other cities and make historical data more readily accessible. There are some easy wins – our district newsletter emails, those should have a stable web address so we can discuss them more effectively. With a stronger shared vision we improve our work with peer cities, our vendors, and our regional partners like the schools, hospitals, universities, transit and water authorities, the feds and the state.

If elected, what would your top 3 policy priorities be?: At the top, implementing programs and land use that provide us the best quality of life far into the future. Our transit needs an overhaul even if its just a matter of improving signage and communication. Some cities require big residential developments to include a playground open to the public. Not a big line item but a great amenity that otherwise would not be there.

Likewise, I will prioritize policies that connect self-sustaining channels of growth like after-school and summer programs for kids with adults and teens, job training that connects our high schools, universities, and employers with a labor force with the right skills to support the hospitals, trades, and high skill industries.

Finally, I will support data-driven and evidence-based policies that improve the interfaces to our core services across our local government. By requiring benchmarks for our services internally and to peers, we can prove and improve our level of service

How will you measure your success as council member?: After I look at all those benchmarks I was talking about, I will ask my neighbor Pat, who grew up here. She’s about twice my age, has seen the city through some monumental changes, and I figure she will be as candid of a critic as anyone.

Why should voters choose you over your opponents?: I am uniquely prepared to position our core district for the best and healthiest growth for our diverse residents old and young, businesses big and small. I am a proud Texan with a hard-nosed commitment to the principles of self-determination, but I also love this city with a perspective informed by the experiences of living in nine other cities – seven of them outside Texas, four of them experiencing explosive growth. With my background in running a tech-based, collaborative small business, I can help our city become the best place to live and work while better protecting us against the multiplying threats latent in always-on services and loose toothed vendor data agreements.

How will you reduce the city’s reliance on residential property taxes?: Our sprawl is expensive, whether you look at it as a city working to improve roads or as a would-be driver saving up for a car but struggling to get groceries or to the doctor.

As I understand it, Fort Worth is not more reliant on residential property tax than other cities in Texas. But we are behind on jobs. By encouraging the right mix of complementary businesses and amenities for residents and tourists, connecting job training for our hospitals, trades, and high skill industries, and getting more bang for our buck by involving more of us in civic planning and oversight, we can improve other revenue streams.

What’s your plan to lower property taxes and not just the tax rate?: Look, we all know the city needs money to operate and the property tax is the primary component of the city’s $2.3 billion budget. The majority of our property tax bill goes to entities other than the city, including to schools. With bipartisan support for $16.5 billion in property tax relief just passed in the Texas Senate, much of this is out of City Council’s hands. Even so, by helping those other entities improve their own efficiency and reduce their tax rates, we could theoretically reduce our property tax burden without touching our rate.

How should Fort Worth manage its explosive growth?: We should be picking up good ideas and lessons learned from our sister cities nationally and abroad. We need to empower our neighborhood associations and our business districts to help us tune our growth, and better connect our businesses, amenities, institutions, residents and visitors. And we need stronger messages to make those connections.

What (if anything) should the city do to make it easier for locally-owned small businesses to flourish in Fort Worth?: We could improve permitting, connect better transit to our corridors to increase foot traffic, and prioritize responsibly dense development. Incentivizing excellence in the trades with educational and competitive initiatives could help draw talent here from across the metroplex and the nation. We need to support working families with more after school activities and daycare support.

Alliance Texas has seen huge economic growth in its 30+ year existence. How can Fort Worth replicate that success in other parts of the city?: Our region is central to the country’s logistics, defense, tech, and finance sectors – not to mention renewables and oil and gas. So let’s position ourselves to lead in those sectors by attracting top tier talent and fortifying it through education. District 9 today looks almost nothing like what Alliance looked like 30 years ago. Models for enormous economic growth look different in the here and now. Our district has tourism, “eds and meds,” and real estate, all with room to run. Our river trail system has the potential to open a new wave of centralized growth. And we have the busiest commercial freight interchange in the country in our district. All of these, in turn, rest on complicated and expensive informational and technological infrastructure. And as a developer who has pitched a billionaire or two, I have as much of a shot as any candidate to help our city start its next success story as that infrastructure evolves.

What’s the appropriate balance between Fort Worth’s rapid growth and its culture as the “largest small town in America?”: Fort Worth remains the Texanmost city with a reputation for friendliness and a healthy hybrid high-low culture that grins calmy in the face of rapid change. The task for future development is empowering communities, civil society, and neighborhood associations to ensure that all of our residents are getting the support and services that we need, want, pay for, and deserve as our gateway to the west goes global.

What should Fort Worth do to prevent a repeat of the infrastructure problems north of Loop 820 as the city continues to add residents in areas west and southwest of the loop?: We have a number of hazardous roads and highway interchanges that are dangerous enough for the folks who know them, not to mention newcomers. So if we see the construction permits coming in, sidewalks and street lighting need to get scheduled and that flood map needs to get double or triple checked – especially if the site is, say, the new city hall.

What needs to be done in the wake of the Aaron Dean trial to improve community-police relations?: Whereas in most Texas cities it would go to transit funding, half a cent of our sales tax goes to our police department’s Crime Control and Prevention Fund. I should think they could find something uplifting to support in the community with that fund and thereby help rebuild community trust and police morale after the tragedy of Atatiana Jefferson’s death. Morale, more so than funding, affects their performance and recruiting, and community trust goes hand in hand with morale.

How would you assess the performance of city manager David Cooke?: I appreciate his humor and humility when he describes himself as a glorified bean counter, not to mention his patient demeanor when he explains for the umpteenth time his mandate to grow the city and keep it financially afloat. Given that he is indeed our city’s highest paid employee at something north of $360k a year, I wish we had a better sense of his vision for our future.

The first time I met David Cooke, I did not know who he was. But I noticed he and his wife were sharply dressed when they were standing next to me at Forest Park Pool to hear Parks Director Zavala and Councilwoman Beck talk about the city’s since-improved plans for the pool. I had brought poster-making supplies and pizza to share so folks could share what they know about the pool, what they’d like to see happen with it, and thereby advance the discussion. I asked him and his wife if they’d like any pizza or to write a sign. They demurred and wrote nothing.