A Look At May 1 Elections In North Texas - 04/18/21 - Segment 1
JACK FINK: Hello I'm CBS11 Political Reporter Jack Fink and this is To The Point. On Monday, early voting starts in the May 1st election. Many cities and school districts have candidates running for office. In Fort Worth, Arlington, and Plano, there will be a new mayor, as leaders there have decided not run for reelection or can't because of term limits. Today we're going to focus on Fort Worth, where 10 people are on the ballot to succeed Mayor Betsy Price. After 10 years as mayor, she decided against running for reelection. We're going to hear from four of the candidates identified in polling as among the contenders to be Fort Worth's 45th mayor. We get to the point with them as I asked about their priorities for the city.
BRIAN BYRD: There are a number of things that I talk about a lot, but we need to continue to support our police officers because public safety is the number one issue for our city council. Economic development and education are next, and they go hand in hand so much. We-- we're doing well on economic development here in Fort Worth but we can do a lot. Our tax base is inverted which means that our residential property tax base is 60%, residential-- commercial's 40%.
You know when I was growing up in Fort Worth, it was the other way around. But the way it is now, it makes it very expensive for us homeowners to pay all the bills that need to be paid. And we need a mayor who's been an entrepreneur, who recognizes the things that work right. So we're doing some things that work. We're doing some excellent work in our Chambers of Commerce. We've done some excellent works with our economic development partner in the city of Fort Worth. With visit Fort Worth, what Bob Jamison is doing over there.
But we also need to-- we also need to recognize what's going on, for example, at the UNT Health Science Center with Dr. Michael Williams. He has an incubator there and they birthed a number of great companies out of that. Well that's the only incubator I know of in the city for-- a city our size needs nine incubators. And the mayor can have a big role in this, right. Because the mayor has a voice and the mayor can draw attention to this particularly as somebody who's been in the business world.
MATTIE PARKER: I think we have to start with the bedrock of any healthy city, which is safe neighborhoods, safe community. Jack, you know better than anybody as a journalist and across North Texas, what we've seen in crime rates across the United States, specifically in DFW. We've seen a double in our homicide rate in Fort Worth, and we have to take that seriously and be intentional. There was a time not too long ago when Fort Worth was known as the murder capital of the United States because our crime rate was so high. And that actually created the need under Mayor Granger to create CCPD. And so Fort Worth needs to rally behind our police officers, our community members to ensure that we put a damper on crime and take it seriously, especially violent crime in Fort Worth.
Along those same lines, and that-- let me be clear, that strongly needs a strong support for our police officers. I understand that across the country we are reeling and understanding what it means to tackle police community relations. But let me just be clear. Defending our police department is absolutely not the answer. And our voters in Fort Worth mind you just voted in CCPD for another 10 years. So what do we do with the allocation of taxpayer dollars that are funding our police departments and frankly, our fire department, which are partners in public safety to ensure they are policing what works for Fort Worth? And we're working through that obviously led by Chief Neil Noakes.
But safe neighborhoods is not just about public safety. It's also about strong neighborhoods, open space, parks, solid streets, all the things-- street lighting, all the things that make a neighborhood safe, but also respect the fabric of that city.
DEBORAH PEOPLES: Our residents are concerned about jobs. They want good paying jobs and not just any job. They want good paying jobs to come here. Our residents are concerned about public safety. They want three things from our public servants. We want to be safe in our homes. You know, my brother was a policeman and I want to be safe when I call the police. We want our police department to be transparent and we want them to be accountable. And then we want them to be in the community. So we care about public safety.
We care about transportation. Jack, world class cities have world class transportation systems. We cannot only depend on the city bus as our only way to get residents from point A to point B. We've got to look at creative solutions like light rail. And so, those are just some of the top things.
But the other thing, it's about people in this city. Many of them feel disconnected. People in many neighborhoods don't feel like their voices are being heard. And one of the things that I would do is work like I've done in my whole life to bring people of all and backgrounds together.
ANN ZADEH: Our city, we constantly talk about how quickly the city is growing. And that has shown to be a challenge and a lot of the time we say, Oh, we're just growing very fast. We're growing very fast. And there's been a lot of reaction to that, instead of proactive planning, getting back to my background and expertise in planning. And so I think one of my priorities is to be more thoughtful in planning for the growth that is occurring and not just reacting to it.
So I've been successful in that, leading district nine. A lot of the growth has occurred in the urban core of the city. And so managing the ability to take care of our aging infrastructure, have new development that fits into existing development, adaptive reuse of areas that have not-- have had their challenges over the years as they've aged, bringing great jobs to our city is another focus, really, really supporting the entrepreneurs and small businesses that exist in this city and supporting them in the way that we-- we've done a good job of trying to attract people from other places to come here and bring those jobs.
But just definitely in this last storm that we all weathered, seeing what that has done to our aging infrastructure and making sure that we focus on that and bring good jobs. And just uphold the quality of life that we have in this city as this growth continues to occur.
JACK FINK: My complete interviews with the candidates can be found online at cbsdfw.com, click on politics. From Fort Worth to a special election to fill an empty seat in Congress. If you thought 10 candidates running for office was a lot, wait until you hear how many people are running for the Sixth congressional district here in North Texas. We sort it out for you next on To The Point.