Saturday, March 6, 2021

Taking Out of Context CoR Candidates For Place 4

Community Impact Richardson asked the candidates running for Richardson's Place 4 City Council seat several questions. I want to highlight a few words of their answers that most caught my attention. Excerpts, by their nature, take words out of context. No attempt is being made to twist the meaning of the full answers. Read the full answers at Community Impact Richardson and judge for yourself.

Joe Corcoran: "If you’ve tuned into City Council work-sessions, you’ll notice that the ability to dig deep and ask good questions is a critical skill for any city councilman."

It's practically a lost art. Corcoran's experience in corporate compliance and auditing for a Fortune 500 company sound like exactly what we need on City Council. What we don't need is another council member with a "go along to get along" philosophy.

Joe Corcoran: "We must look at different ways get ahead of aging infrastructure. We set aside tax revenue and issue debt to repair streets already in poor condition. I’d like to take a triage approach as well and give city staff the flexibility to make fast and lasting repairs to potholes as they spring up."

That answer started out so strong and then just kind of fell in a pothole (literally?). To fix potholes, Richardson needs to do something different than focusing on potholes. The reason potholes are a problem is that the city has too many miles of pavement for its tax base. And catering to cars every time we refurbish a street, an intersection, a zone (see what we're doing on Main Street — adding through lanes, adding turn lanes) just makes our future problem worse. We need city councils (plural — this needs a fifty year vision) to evolve Richardson into being a sustainable city that can support its growth forever. We don't need a two-year city council who sees the biggest issue is filling potholes.

Kyle Kepner: "I put the citizens of Richardson first in all zoning cases—for example: Owens Farm zoning."

The property is zoned industrial. The owner presented a plan for industrial use that just might have addressed some of the anticipated complaints from the neighbors. But let's face it: the proposal was still for industrial warehousing. Who needs more of that there? The City Council, with Kyle Kepner in the majority, rejected it. But the property owner isn't giving up. He doesn't have to. Remember the property is already zoned industrial. He just needs to find another industrial proposal, this time one that conforms to the existing zoning. According to Community Impact Richardson, the owner says he "has been 'inundated' with interest from industrial developers who will meet the minimum standards of the existing zoning. 'We are likely to go in that direction since it will not require another public hearing,' he said." I can't see the neighbors being happy with a development that they have no input in, but it looks like that's the way this land is headed. Sometimes leadership comes not in following what the crowd demands, but in getting everyone involved in finding a win-win solution.

Kyle Kepner: "I also own a small business in Richardson. Unfortunately, my status as an elected official precluded me from getting any grants, except..."

Advice to all candidates: spend your precious few words with the public telling us what you're going to do for citizens, not lamenting the fact that your elected position is keeping you from getting grants.

Kyle Kepner: "After the death of George Floyd, there were eight policies that Richardson citizens were interested in, and I’m proud to say that Richardson Police Department already had all policies of concern implemented."

I watched the City Council meeting where Chief Spivey gave the report that Kepner is so proud of. My reaction was not quite as glowing as Kepner's was.

In two-and-a-half hours with Chief Spivey, no one uttered the words "Black Lives Matter." Maybe they all felt that was all taken care of two weeks earlier, when the City Council approved a statement condemning racism. Still, no one identified any specific areas for improvement in Richardson. No one called for change. No one put any money behind the sentiment.
Source: The Wheel.

Advice to candidates: the city should never rest on its laurels (especially self-awarded laurels). Continuous improvement demands specific proposals for improvement if you expect citizens to support you for two more years.

Previously, we took out of context CoR candidates for Place 6.

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

Joe Corcoran posted this comment on Facebook: "Thank you for the feedback, Mark. You are absolutely right, the principles of "New Urbanism" are the long term solution. Last year I read "The Geography of Nowhere" by James Kunstler and "Suburban Nation" by Andres Duany to get an understanding of how we got to this point and how to move forward. For what it's worth, my campaign website advocates for many of the design concepts that you have mentioned in your recent blog posts!"