Promises made, promises kept
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The Tribune Newspapers has offered the editorial space to both candidates for Houston City Council-District E. Imcumbent Mike Sullivan’s opinion appears today; challenger Wayne Garrison’s will appear next Wednesday, Oct. 7. Let me start by thanking the The Tribune Newspapers for offering my opponent and me some of their valuable space to share some thoughts about the upcoming Houston City Council race here in District E. And while I am at it, let me also start by thanking you, the hard-working citizens of District E, for the honor you have given me to represent you at City Hall. If you are interested in knowing how I have tried to serve you, I could start by emphasizing that I first went to City Hall to keep my word, to do exactly in office what you elected me to do two years ago. Promises were made, and those promises have been kept. For example, I promised I would focus on public safety – a top concern for all of us. So far, I have added three uniformed HPD officers to the Kingwood substation and brought a seven-man rapid response. or “TAC” team. into Kingwood to help us combat criminal “hot spots” and trends, as soon as they emerge – and before they become entrenched problems. Moreover, because we have saved $50,000 in surplus funds from my own council office, I have been able to direct that those unspent dollars be used to purchase needed equipment for fire trucks and life-saving equipment for ambulances in our council district. Like many, I remain deeply concerned about staffing levels at the Houston Police Department, and if you give me another two years at City Hall, I promise to continue working to address that critical issue. On transportation and mobility, I have delivered real results by bringing in Mobility Response Teams (MRTs) to facilitate the flow of traffic in and around Kingwood High School, resulting in decreased commute times. Four full-time MRTs will be assigned to Kingwood this fall. At the same time, we have upgraded all local traffic signals to safer LED lights, and will soon build dedicated right-turn lanes at major intersections and lengthen left-turn holding bays to hold more cars. When it comes to the City budget, I am a fiscal conservative, but also have fought hard to ensure that more of your tax dollars come back into your community. Since being sworn in January 2008, in fact, we began design and construction of a 30,000-square-foot library in Kingwood that will open this December. We are also designing a community center for Kingwood, and construction begins in the Fall of 2010; widening North Park Drive. from West Lake Houston Parkway to Mills Branch; and building much-needed sidewalks throughout Kingwood to protect our children. I could go on, but the point is: I am working every day to make sure more of your tax dollars are used to provide you and your family with essential services you expect from your city. At the same time, I have also asserted myself as a clear voice for financial responsibility at City Hall. Just recently, for example, I voted against the City budget because it spent more tax dollars than the City took in; it cut police overtime and police cadet classes; and it contained what I honestly felt were misplaced priorities. I also took the lead in defeating the City’s plan to use your tax dollars to pay the credit debt for first-time home buyers. But where your interests are at stake, I have reached out to the Mayor and other regional officials to fix problems and get things done. With Mayor White’s support, to cite one example, I have worked closely with the Lake Houston Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone to fund projects specifically for Kingwood. I have also worked with State Senator Tommy Williams to pass a new state law that helps us do a better job of cleaning up our water. Most of all, I am most proud of the constituent services my staff and I provide to each of you. Even with one of the smallest staffs in City Hall, we respond to every e-mail message, phone call and service request. And unlike some politicians, I have also conducted – and enjoyed – 23 “town hall” meetings in my first term, including the first-ever “Regional Town Hall Meeting on Flooding” that featured representatives from federal, state, county and local government. There’s more, but as you can maybe tell it’s been a very busy two years – and we have a lot more work to do. As a fellow Kingwood resident, many of you know me. I am a problem-solver. I may not be flashy, but so far I believe I’ve been effective – and I would be honored to earn your support once again in this fall’s District E City Council election. – Mike Sullivan City Council Member, District E Look for Kathy Parks’ articles to follow, profiling both candidates for Houston Council seat, representing District E.