DISTRICT 5 CANDIDATES
Candidate List in Ballot Order
Question 1: What environmental goals would you actively pursue as a member of the Arlington City Council?
Land use + building practices are the biggest aspect to environmental improvement. To that end I propose to update our UDC and other regulatory policies with a specific emphasis on the best environmental practices.
In addition adaptive reuse and redevelopment of greyfield sites would reduce our overall environmental footprint. This is something a city can incentivize.
One of the policy platforms of my campaign is to leverage previous infrastructure outlays and future-proof our infrastructure footprint and maintenance liabilities. I am pitching this as an economic benefit to cities (which it would be) but it also would have an positive environmental impact.
Reducing our carbon footprint by encouraging ride sharing, increasing required trees for new development and implementing a requirement to move toward electric or at least natural gas vehicles (ngv) for the city fleet.
Question 2: The DFW Region has been reclassified from moderate to serious nonattainment for ozone (ground level smog). Please discuss your platform regarding improving Arlington’s and the region’s air quality and list specific policies and actions that you would work to implement.
The most effective air quality improvements are in changes in land use and development patterns that will reduce the need to travel long distances to jobs, shopping, entertainment etc. I also support emerging technologies such as ride-share. In general the more choices people have in transportation the better. In addition there is much we can do to reduce industrial contributions to poor air quality
One thing we can do is incentivize local or at least regional sourcing of food, materials and products to reduce long-distance "thousand mile salad" effects.
I would seek to change the city policy to require all city vehicles to become electric or at least natural gas by 2024. I would create a climate awareness campaign similar to the Mayors kindness initiative. I would initiate a city 4 x1 work week. This would be 4 days at the office and then 1 day working from home. Then promote this philosophy through the chamber of commerce and create a City maintained monitoring system to help volunteering businesses determine which day they may want to allow their workers to work from home to reduce the daily ozone emissions.
Question 3: Do you believe climate change is occurring and is exacerbated by human activities? If so, what should Arlington be doing to mitigate the impacts of climate change and to lower our contributions to the pollution that can lead to climate change. Please elaborate.
I believe human activity contributes to many environmental problems at all scales. It doesn't have to. If people had more choice in housing, transportation, products and services we could reduce our energy and other resource consumption … by a lot. With more options + education about why some choices are better than others I believe most people will want to do the most environmentally sustainable thing on every level from purchasing decisions to overall lifestyle
Too often people do not have a enough choice in their lifestyle or consumption habits and/or do not realize their choices are being arbitrarily limited by outdated regulations and social expectations.
In the worst case some of our laws and regulations actually compel or incentivize poor environmental practices. On the local level we can update our regulations to (at least) not compel poor environmental practices and ideally to incentivize more environmentally sustainable ones.
Yes!!!! Increasing community awareness of the reality and the dangers of climate change. City councils meeting should incorporate a preamble to each meeting on the dangers and shared responsibility to fix it. Changing all city vehicles to ngv with a policy that it would require a super majority to reverse this policy in the future. We should create an initiative to insulate non-insulated homes within the city to reduce the power requirements which is fueled mostly with carbon emissions fuel since only 2 of the 650 powerplants in Texas are nuclear.
Question 4: Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and 150 other U.S. cities have developed and are implementing environmental sustainability climate action plans. The primary goal of these plans is to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050, or before. Do you think that the City of Arlington should develop a comprehensive climate action plan?
Yes I think it would be a good idea to explore ALL OPTIONS whether net zero or other goals. In general I favor INCREMENTAL local option- expanding proposals that people can readily and PERSONALLY adopt over larger more national campaigns, but both have their place. Plus a City Council has more leeway and opportunity to make changes in local matters. There is a lot we can do at all scales, but I will focus on what we can do locally and incrementally that citizens can readily adopt and incorporate into their lifestyles if given the choice to do so.
Yes I do. Arlington has 400,000 residents and by 2025 that number will most likely be 500,000. I have physical seen the increase in the number of cars on our streets and witness the decrease in air quality. But climate is about more than local city politics, it is about our way of life as a humanity. Climate change will affect our global markets, eventually increase the cost of goods and alter the way we do business on a global scale and eventually on a local county, city and community level. To effect serious change we need a plan and we need people who take this stuff seriously.
Question 5: Many peer-reviewed studies document public health and safety risks from living close to gas drilling. Arlington residents have become increasingly concerned about health impacts because of drilling and fracking-related pollution. How would you address this public health issue? Please elaborate.
It is my understanding local governments are restricted from addressing such issues in Texas. I don't agree with this. In general I support greater autonomy at the local level but this is a separate issue. In my capacity on P&Z I have focused on de-commissioning issues of gas wells, which is an area where city governments have some leeway in gas well oversight.
I agree and understand. I have had community discussions in East Arlington associated with this issue. I believe that changes can be made to the distance requirements for setting up and operating the fracking equipment. I also believe that independent air quality test should be conducted at least quarterly. Currently ExxonMobil operations only conduct their test biannually. Lastly since the Citizens of Arlington have been both benefited and adversely affected by Natural Gas drilling, I would setup a portal on the City webpage on the well head emission testing and results . That portal would also have the acceptable Federal limits. The information would be posted in non-technical jargon so as to be understandable to the average citizen.
Question 6: Single-use plastic bags and extruded polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) litter our city and are especially prevalent in and near our waterways, including the Trinity River. Do you support the reduction of single-use disposable plastic bags and extruded polystyrene foam (Styrofoam)? Please elaborate.
I would not outlaw either item but I support INCENTIVIZING other options. More public education into better options for containers is something I would support. I believe most people want to make better environmental decisions and will do so if they are given better options. There may be a way to incentivized businesses to provide more container options to consumers and I would be open to proposals like that. I would support a public education campaign aimed at informing people of personal measures they can take to reduce packaging waste.
I make it a point for example to bring my own take-out container or ask for a paper container or foil. Many people could do the same but may not have thought of rejecting, say a styrofoam container, and asking for something else. If enough people asked for alternatives, businesses would offer them and probably get rid of stryofoam containers as they are expensive for a business to furnish in the first place. Also you cannot reheat your food in styrofoam as you could with, for example, cardboard. They are just a poor choice all around but people are busy and often do not consider all of these things in total. Education + choice
Plastic bags are not necessarily a bad choice in all situations. Particularly if you reuse them for other things they can reduce overall consumption of plastic. Also there are hybrid products that contain some plastic but decompose much faster than plastic.
Education + choice
Yes, I support the reduction of single-use disposable plastic bags and extruded polystyrene foam. I have seen 1st hand the detrimental effect these articles have had. I like hiking and I grew up in rural Alabama where nature was an inherent part of who I am. I have lead community cleanup days in district 5 with a special emphasis on cleaning up Johnson Creek. The amount of trash, especially plastic trash bags and Styrofoam was disheartening. I would support leveraging the city influence with the grocery and convenience stores to support encouraging their customer in reusable plastic bags.
Question 7: Would you support an ordinance for a City-wide tree planting campaign to increase Arlington’s tree canopy? Trees would be planted on City and residential properties to mitigate the urban heat island effect.
Yes. I would support programs for free or reduced cost trees to homeowners and businesses. In addition a public education campaign into the issue of trees and reducing the urban heat island effect is needed. Most people are not aware of the connection between the two. I believe most people would do whatever they could to reduce excessive heat on their property and reduce their energy cost by passive cooling measures … such as from trees.
An education campaign about planting shade trees on the south and especially west side of buildings would be welcome information to most. In our TX heat, passive cooling reduces energy costs and is better overall in energy conservation than solar panels, which have their own limitations and downstream waste issues. Trees are relatively inexpensive to maintain, low tech and recyclable.
Trees also improve property values. Neighborhoods with a nice tree canopy are more desirable and homes in them sell at a higher price point. Plus they reduce erosion and help mitigate excessive storm water runoff.
In addition many business owners are not aware that trees can help their sales/ profits.
I support more trees being planted in parking lots to break up large expanses of paving that contribute so much to our heat island effect. This is something we could change in our UDC or offer incentives.
There are other passive measures we can consider in all areas of our built environment. In short, I have many ideas for environmental sustainability at the attainable local level that are beyond the scope of this questionnaire but are things we could do at the local level.
I AM MORE THAN HAPPY TO DISCUSS ALL THESE ISSUES FURTHER WITH ANY INTERESTED PARTIES.
Yes I would. Also those areas that have been designated as flood zones could be used to increase the amount of trees that we plant