ELECTION EARLY VOTING BEGINS OCTOBER 13, 2020 THROUGHOUT CORPUS CHRISTI
To All Citizens of Corpus Christi,
The future of our community hinges upon crucial decisions being made at City Hall. While that is always true, the fact remains that we are on the cusp of something very special for our coastal community, and transparent leadership is more important now than ever. The growth and development of Corpus Christi is closely tied to the decisions we make today about water, infrastructure, and our approach to promoting public health and safety. The types of businesses we want to recruit, will not relocate here, if we do not have these basic and fundamental necessities as a focal point in our strategic growth plan. Our community needs a leadership team that can work together openly to solve these problems today, so that our grandchildren will have a safer and cleaner community to live in tomorrow. Together we can explore the cost/benefit of each major undertaking so that we make decisions based on facts and data that are in line with long term community goals. Representative government exists so that the needs of taxpayers are not ignored in favor of the wants of special interests. As a permanent resident of Corpus Christi who owns a home and business locally, my special interests are the taxpayers of Corpus Christi. As your councilman, I would work closely with residents, business owners, and local stakeholders to ensure that we maintain open communication about the communities NEEDS when making decisions. Our kids are depending on us to get this right, lets work together and make them proud. I am asking you to vote for our future, by voting for me. Have a blessed day!
Frank Arriaga Jr
"Representative government exists so that the needs of taxpayers are not ignored in favor of the wants of special interests.As a permanent resident of Corpus Christ, who owns a home and business locally, my special interests are the taxpayers of Corpus Christi."
The homeless community in Corpus Christi has grown over time. The issue is complex and requires coordination among city, county, state, and non profit entities if we are to be effective. The city government should do everything in its power to support local non profits who are taking care of the cities homeless population daily. They know how to do it best and investing in them would go much further than trying to take on a new government fun initiative. I believe that we should have programs that allow homeless people to work for the city by cleaning up trash, mowing parks, removing graffiti, etc... This would address two concerns at once by cleaning up our city and also helping to restore the quality of life for someone who needs an opportunity to work. We will not know how effective these programs are if we do not give them a fair shot. A proposal to create a program like this was voted against by the council recently... this was a missed opportunity. We can and should do more to help preserve the quality of life for all residents of Corpus Christi. At the county level they are working to implement a Discharge Planner/Coordinator for the jail. About 20% of the county's inmates are homeless and will return to the streets when released. Investing in these types of positions help us ensure that we can find help for people before sending them back on the streets. Connecting them with services to help with family re-unification, mental health, and addiction. We should do more of this so we can prevent recurring costs for re admitting the same people!
Our biggest infrastructure needs are: 1) Addressing the waste water system at the core of the EPA lawsuit against the city,
2) Residential road construction, and 3) Securing a good deal on a long term water supply solution. We must address our crumbling wastewater system. This is not a matter of "should we do this," we must. The EPA consent decree will cost us $1,136,000 over the next 60 days in fines and then up to $3,000 a day after that if we don't pay on time. The key to a good water solution for Corpus Christi lies in the ownership of water rights. Any solutions that simply call for purchasing water by the gallon are not good long term options for ratepayers. Road construction should continue to be a priority, with a focus on residential roads and increasing self sufficiency in the overall process. We should continue to build more of our own roads. I applaud the city for recent capital investments that allow us to do this and do it better than before with improved processes and maintenance. On the flip side of that is the fact that our street user fee money sat un appropriated for a year when we are all getting beat up on the roads everyday. That is irresponsible of our local government and indicative of opportunities to improve oversight and operations. The city manager has already addressed this issue and I have continued confidence in his ability to make personnel changes in line the the big picture vision and new culture of efficiency we are developing downtown.
Our long term water supply is as much an economic driver as it is a fundamental necessity of any community. The reality is that we are approaching a point where we can only guarantee 75% of our water capacity should we experience a drought. This means water restrictions for you and negative impacts on businesses. Why would we subject ourselves to such uncertainty? Recently, we have seen a jobs influx here locally that we have not seen in decades. These skilled jobs bring much needed property and sales tax growth to our local economy. Simply put, good paying industrial jobs will not locate here if we do not have access to water for them to purchase from us for their operations. There are 2 options currently on the table for a long term water supply solution: 1) Desalination 2) Groundwater/Surface Water. I believe that groundwater is on the tail end of efficiency with the costs of extraction guaranteed to increase as more people tap in above us. Water quality will decrease along with the water table as ground water levels decrease from increased extraction. Desalination on the other hand is getting more cost effective as it becomes more popular and research is completed. Lots to study here! If it is possible to sell the desal waste, I would support it today. If we could dump the brine in the Gulf, I would strongly consider the deal but with provisions to ensure reinvestment into the fisheries and wildlife areas negatively impacted. There is so much to research here so that we work the best deal for whichever solution is adopted.
Corpus Christi should have emergency personnel to citizen ratios that are consistent with other cities of our size that have a lower violent crime instance. I DO NOT SUPPORT the "defunding" of our police or fire departments because public safety should never be compromised in such a way. We need better coverage in areas facing high crime and the plight of drug abuse resulting from mental health prevalence . Adequate staffing will lead to shorter response times and safer streets! That said, we must be aware that these crucial investments in our fire and police departments will require significant resources that will have to come from somewhere if we wish to avoid tax increases. Considering that police and fire budgets account for just over half of the operating budget available from the cities two largest revenue sources, property and sales taxes, we have to think hard about what city services will need to be cut to fund the growth if taxes are not an option. This is what people making these promises of increased public safety investments are not telling taxpayers. It costs about $1 million for every 3 officers we add to the force. I support the current plan to add 5 officers a year for the next few years. This will help us make up ground but also provide an opportunity to find the money in the existing budget. Meanwhile, we can anticipate the need to appropriate some of the property tax revenue from the cities newly annexed land as a funding source.
Strategic investments in our infrastructure will improve the quality of life for all citizens but also make us more attractive to companies looking to do business in Texas. This trend is supported by the current industrial and real estate development boom we all see locally and in markets across the state. We have to work closely with local universities and education institutions to ensure that they not only fill the needs of our local workforce, but also offer degree programs that will speak to new industries. New non-industrial companies will only look at our community as a potential home if we get serious about our infrastructure, quality of place, and green spaces. We cannot be as selective with potentially harmful heavy industry if we don't diversify our economy and create more balance in our local business mix. The GOOD NEWS is that we are currently the 8th ranked economic development region with over $52 billion in investments won locally over the past 10 years. This is huge for tax base growth as more job bring more property and sales taxes to fund things we need. Clean neighborhoods, residential roads, long term water, and immediate action on EPA lawsuit are big focus points for us to continue our momentum into the next growth phase of Corpus Christi, Texas, our beloved home.
Growing up the only options we had locally for employment that guaranteed you could earn or approach the "coveted six figure income," were related to the refineries, CCAD, Oil and Gas exploration, and professional careers like physicians, attorneys, and engineers. Then and today, you can find opportunities in sales that would also allow you to reach these earning milestones but very few if any existed outside of the stated big industries. We don't have a jobs problem, we have a job diversity problem. For some time we had a skills mismatch problem where we had lots of jobs but not enough qualified applicants locally. The universities and local trade schools adjusted to the market and things like the welding program and healthcare certification programs were born. WE HAVE TO INVEST AND PARTNER WITH OUR EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS TO MAKE INVESTMENTS THAT WILL ATTRACT NEW INDUSTRY THAT IS CLEANER AND GREENER. This includes helping to develop and market cutting edge research centers focused around emerging technologies. Ensuring that degree programs locally match the needs of companies in thriving communities will help us build a pool of workers who can fill high paying tech jobs. This will in turn make us more likely to get attention from companies who need to fill those types of roles. We have to do things differently than before if we want to diversify and change our employment options locally!
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