Election Q&A: Pearland City Council Position 3

Pearland City Council Position 3

Lewis Barnes

Occupation: N/A
Experience: N/A
Contact: N/A

Candidate chose not to respond to questionnaire.

Alex Kamkar
N/A
Occupation: Self-employed
Experience: 10 Years in finance and Master Planned Community development
Contact: 281-643-8543 www.alexkamkar.com

Why did you choose to run for the position?

AK: I have two toddlers Maxwell and Matteo. I want the City to have a bright future for them and all our children. The city faces major hurdles that need serious people to be involved.

With a limited budget, what do you think should be the city's priorities?

AK: Drainage and public safety. The storms are more powerful in the gulf; we spend $6 million a year on drainage. It's too little. We must resource the Thin Blue line with more cars from Houston.

What area do you think Pearland leadership needs to focus more on, if any?

AK: Being more accountable to the residents. They've been routinely dismissed and ignored, and now the tax burden is pushing long-time residents out of their homes.

How has COVID-19 affected the priorities for the city?

AK: COVID has been devastating for small businesses and Pearland families. We must work hard to attract small businesses and be fiscally sound.

Orlando Bruzual
Occupation: College Professor; Texas Government, American Government and Spanish
Experience: Banker, College Professor and Political Activist
Contact: 713-454-3752 www.bruzualforcitycouncil.com

Why did you choose to run for the position?

OB: I moved to Pearland about seven years ago. I value the sense of security, and diverse population Pearland has to offer. I have seen the growth within the years since I have lived here, and I see how prosperous this city is. I decided to run for city council because, although the city is growing, I believe that there is a lack of transparency from the local government with the community. There are current issues being discussed; budget expenses, water bill, etc., that are not taking into consideration what the people of Pearland want and what is best for the city. If not prioritized or managed properly, it could take a toll on not only the people, but the city. I have always been involved in politics, and I believe this would be a great opportunity to be the voice for the people and help to be part of the solution.

With a limited budget, what do you think should be the city's priorities?

OB: We are currently facing a global crisis that one did not expect. Many have been laid off or hours are significantly decreasing, small businesses are closing down, the price for oil has decrease and it has taken a toll on the economy. I believe that during these difficult times it is essential to re-evaluate what the priorities for the city are, what are the needs of the people and redirect the budget in accordance to this. In my opinion, public safety, salaries and wages and infrastructure are some of the priorities for the city in order to promote economic prosperity.

What area do you think Pearland leadership needs to focus more on, if any?

OB: There are a few areas in which the Pearland leadership needs to focus. I stated in my previous response that we are in a time of crisis, not only because the COVID-19, but the price of oil went down. Instead of focusing on the fiscal budget, they should redirect their attention on the issues that the city is currently facing and needs solutions. Figure out a reasonable resolution for the water bill issue, re-organize the budget to focus on current necessities, promote incentives for businesses, lower house taxes, incorporating a pay freeze, focus on finishing the current projects before planning or starting on future projects.

How has COVID-19 affected the priorities for the city?

OB: COVID-19 not only has been affecting the entire country, but this virus has infiltrated our local government. This virus not only is killing people, but it is killing the economy. Some businesses in Pearland are not producing nearly half of what they use to make and there is a possibility that some of them will close down before the end of the year. Individuals have been laid off. This will affect the economy and the tax revenue that the city collects. By 2021, there will be a chance that we see much less money being made in the city. The priorities have now shifted from what projects should we build, to focusing on the needs of people who are facing repercussions of this pandemic. The priorities should focus on preventing businesses from closing down, preventing houses from going into foreclosure, and providing jobs to people who have been laid off.

Jai Daggett
N/A
Occupation: Business owner
Experience: Pearland resident, serves on two boards for nonprofits and is a chairman for a charter school.
Contact: 713-444-7932 www.jaidaggett.org

Why did you choose to run for the position?

JD: After consulting with my family and lots of prayer, I decided that it was time for me to stop waiting for someone else to do the things that I felt needed to be done for my community. It was time for me to carry my share of the burden for my children. If I want the world to be different, then what do I need to do to initiate the change. City council is where I see that opportunity. As I have gone through this process, I have grown to want to represent my community more and more.

With a limited budget, what do you think should be the city's priorities?

JD: I think the priorities for the city need to be driven by the cities needs for growth and maintenance with the opportunity for any emergent consideration, as necessary. Projects should always be driven by the most need, especially in an environment with limited resources. We are in unprecedented times and our resources should be managed as such.

What area do you think Pearland leadership needs to focus more on, if any?

JD: Oversight is a big deal and we are currently running at a sprinters pace to adjust to the current pandemic. When the consequences of our fast and loose actions come home to roost, the citizens will be the ones left holding the bag. It is not about being fair, but it is about accountability and we need to hold the people who implement the policies accountable.

How has COVID-19 affected the priorities for the city?

JQ: COVID-19 should not have changed the priorities of the city, but it definitely highlighted some deficiencies. We were met with medical, school and small business deficiencies. We should have been better prepared, but we were not. The city's priorities are to protect the citizens, be accountable to the citizens, transparent with the citizens, and provide opportunity for business development. COVID-19 may have made that more difficult, but it should not have changed our priorities.

Candidate responses have been edited for length and clarity.

This article comes from our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers.