1. In light of the money-losing city purchase of the old Chimney Hill shopping center, what are your thoughts on the city’s purchase of the former Macy’s store in Post Oak Mall? (150 words)
It is easy to frame the issue in one dimension while not looking at a broader picture. The 2021 Comprehensive Plan identified five areas for redevelopment with Post Oak Mall being the highest priority by citizens and professionals. Macy’s was sold to a private buyer at a fire sale price with an exciting plan. Only when this private effort failed did the City get involved. The price paid by the City is well within an independent appraisal value ($6.4 to $11.4 million). In 2000 College Station paid $3.88 million for 388 acres for the Midtown business park. In 2021 the City sold 18.75 acres to COSTCO for $3.2 million. The remaining 28 acres of frontage property will likely bring twice that amount, with much more to sell. Well located properties in College Station will always bring a premium. Also think Bio Corridor ILA and Fujifilm Diosynth. We must stay strategic.
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2. Are people wishing to speak at city council meetings treated with respect and, more importantly, are they listened to by the council members? (150 words)
At College Station Council meetings people are listened to and treated with respect. We adhere to our Council Relations Policy which clarifies the Council’s role and advocates for respect, dialogue and transparency. Like all public bodies, I am sure we can do better in how we manage public meetings and discussions among Council members. If elected, I am committed to reviewing our operating procedures for Council meetings to make sure that we are efficient and transparent in everything we do. I have chaired both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Parks and Recreation Board and always have found a way to be sure that both citizens and members are heard and are treated fairly. My experience with Council meeting procedures and leadership in numerous local organizations are important indicators that I will be able to lead the Council successfully.
3. There has long been antagonism between neighborhoods and business in College Station. How do you ensure that both sides are treated fairly and responsibly? (150 words)
Fast growing cities will always have a diverse set of opinions on the way forward with regard to land use, regulations and ordinances. College Station is no different. The balance of market forces driving growth and the need for stability and security of existing investors, both home owners and businesses, requires careful analysis, listening and understanding. My experience as a Department Head at Texas A&M provided good training as there are many diverse views among faculty, staff and students all requiring dialogue and balance. Since joining the City Council I have been active in the BCS Chamber of Commerce. I regularly seek out opportunities to meet our local business leaders to better understand their business models, what works and what constraints they are facing. I served on the Dallas Federal Reserve Community and Business Advisory Committee. I have demonstrated an ability to listen and seek compromise where needed.
4. What education and experience did you bring to this council race? (100 words)
First and foremost I am an economist. In my research, teaching and outreach, I am familiar with budgets and financial documents. I examine the assumptions in business plans and their resilience if challenged by unforeseen events. I am a fiscal conservative, but also realize that in a fast growing city, we need to invest in the future and we need to attract and retain the best employees. I have a proven record of service and leadership across non-profit, civic and academic organizations spanning decades. I am the only candidate for Mayor who has demonstrated a commitment to the community.