Current HOT Issues
I support PROP A. This is an opportunity to fill the gap for a venue that can host dirt events and other mid-size events because of the recent loss of the Coliseum. The apparent mismanagement by the city that led to this historic property needing major upgrades and costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, will not be the case with this project, because the County is not tied to the operation nor upkeep of the proposed facility.
The 2% HOT tax increase, plus the increase in taxes from car rentals will be placed into a fund that can only be used to pay down the bond. This bond is set up for 30 years, and has the high possibility of being paid off early. As we have seen for several years, the rapid growth of Lubbock continues to add hotel rooms which means funds will grow as the city does. Once the bond is paid down, the increase in HOT tax will go away. Any expansions after the initial arena is built will once again be up to a community vote.
There will be no property tax increase because of this venue. There will be increased revenue to County businesses from not only being able to continue hosting existing events, but being able to draw additional entertainment because of this new facility. I see this as a win-win for Lubbock County.
County Software Upgrade
I see the County software upgrade as a necessity due to the current systems software and hardware being seriously outdated. The current contract with Ki Corp ends in September of 2019. For the last 2-3 years, an IT committee, made up of several heads of County Departments has investigated the current set-up and has determined that the need to upgrade is paramount. Issues with software crashes and inability to do work efficiently are just some of the reasons that led to this decision. Ki Corp was invited to meetings and given the opportunity to make upgrades, neither of which they participated in, nor we willing or able to do.
While Ki Corp is still under contract in 2019, they are willing to help with the transition to Tyler Technologies. If additional time is needed, Ki Corp is also willing to enter into a 1-2 year transitional contract until the switch is completely made to the new system with Tyler Technologies. The cooperation of both companies should allow for a seamless switch during the transitional period.
Tyler Technologies will be able to provide updated software and hardware to meet the increasing needs of the County. There will be a significant cost up front, but there are some funds already earmarked for such expenses, and the remainder can be pulled from our significant savings, which are meant for situations like this, when a necessity needs to be paid for. With the increased efficiency, and reduction of down time, it is estimated that the cost of making this change can be recouped within 8-10 years.
I believe that there are certain areas of Lubbock that need to have more development. We need to work as a team with other community leaders to work towards the best solutions for each specific area.
We must provide affordable, single-family homes for families and lessen the number of homes turning into rental properties. Home ownership brings more accountability and self-esteem to the owner.
Landlords of low-income housing need to be accountable for keeping up with the properties and making them safe and respectable places to live. I also believe we need more beautification/clean-up projects in Lubbock.
I think that the bus routes in Lubbock need to be reviewed as far as where they go, and at what times. I believe we have citizens that need public transportation whose needs are not being properly met.
We have to attract businesses that provide livable wages for our citizens so they don’t have to work multiple jobs just to get by. We also need to provide jobs that are attractive and competitive so we can keep our Texas Tech graduates in Lubbock.
We must create jobs that provide for a decent living. If training is required for certain positions, we need to make free or affordable training available to fill these positions with good, qualified candidates.
I believe that Lubbock County needs to promote the issue of recycling more. I do not believe that there are many people that recycle because it is not promoted enough. We have to make it easier to recycle, so we can all do our part to protect the environment.
The ability to vote must be available to as many people as possible, by the least restrictive means possible. Voting rights should automatically be restored to ex-felons that have completed their sentence.
We must provide well-paying jobs to reduce the income gap. The wider the gap is, the greater number of social problems there are overall. If we close this gap it benefits all citizens, not just the poor.
Homelessness is a serious problem in Lubbock County, even though we have made strides in assistance. I would help to provide more affordable permanent housing, as this has proven to be the most effective long-term solution in reducing homelessness.
We should provide incentives to businesses that donate food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, to organizations that help provide food to the homeless and indigent. There is a ridiculous amount of wasted food that is perfectly good for consumption. If we design programs to make the process of donation easier, with less time and cost to the business, we could provide more resources to the indigent and homeless populations.
Drug addiction needs to be treated as a medical problem, not a criminal problem. Locking someone up for a drug related crime is not going to prevent the crime. We have to try and treat the addiction first and foremost.
Lubbock County is greatly affected by the crime that occurs in relation to the drug trade, and those addicted to those drugs. Specific attention must be focused on opioids and methamphetamine. We need to make sure our County and City Law Enforcement have the tools they need to be proactive in this fight.
Health care should be a universal right. It is not fair to allow care only for those that can afford it. Just because you don’t make as much money as the next person does not mean that you should be denied similar services.
Medicaid expansion is needed in order to prevent our County hospital (UMC) from having to foot the bill for indigent care all on their own. This would help reduce their burden and keep our local taxes low.
We need to make sure that we can provide an adequate amount of mental health beds for the needs of the community. Community Assisted Treatment also needs to be expanded in order to reduce costs and create better outcomes.
Beyond the obvious topic of racial equality, which we must strive for, there is also a need to work towards economic equality. Income inequality is the root of nearly all social ills that exist.
Racism will not be tolerated. Racism is based off of uneducated beliefs and must be properly dealt with to protect individual’s civil liberties. We must do our best to come together in unity as one.
I am an LGBTQIA community ally and supportive of their rights to equal opportunity in all areas of society. We cannot allow them to be marginalized, nor be or feel unsafe. ALL MEANS Y’ALL!
Diversity is a key to growth. If we are denying service or opportunities to people that are “different” than us, we will be losing business. We must increase diversity in our hiring practices.
Criminal Justice Reform
An important focus in criminal justice reform is rehabilitation and preventative measures that focus on the root causes of crime, rather than only the criminal action. This will also help reduce recidivism because the underlying reasons for criminal activity are being targeted, rather than the individual.
We need to be smart on crime. Evidence-based practices should be used to guide the actions of law enforcement agencies. We have research that provides us guidance on what works and what doesn’t, so we need to utilize that and adjust policies and procedures accordingly.
Community policing, if done right, can be a very effective crime prevention strategy. Getting down to the community level increases communication and trust between law enforcement and the community.
Public safety must be increased, as I believe the fear of crime has increased over the last few years. We must be proactive, and the citizens of Lubbock County can help by working with law enforcement.
The biggest educational issue that I believe needs to happen related to crime is helping citizens understand policies and procedures and the law. Many misperceptions happen simply due to lack of knowledge.
Body cameras are essential tools for law enforcement and for the community. It holds both sides accountable and gives additional information to help in any investigation that may need more substance.