Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

City Representative, District 8

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    Richard "Rich" Wright

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    Nicholas Anthony Vasquez

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    Greg Baine

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    Cissy Lizarraga

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    Dylan Corbett

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Biographical Information

What should be the primary role of a City Representative?

What are your plans or priorities for future economic development?

How would you describe your commitment to governmental transparency?

Some people in our community say that we have traffic problems. What do you think? How would you mitigate those concerns or change the situation?

If you could change one thing in our zoning code, what would it be and why?

If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?

What is the primary issue of concern that motivated you to enter the race for Councilman?

If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

Campaign Phone (915) 820-1628
Education/Degrees BA in Economics, UTEP
Professional Experience I worked as an Economist, and spent most of my professional career working as a marketing professional, some for my own small businesses.
A City Representative should represent the residents, taxpayers, and voters in his district, while also protecting the City as a whole. A representative should not favor his campaign donors at the expense of any other group of stakeholders. A representative should not trade the long-term good of the city for short-term political gain.
Any entrepreneur looking to start a company or relocate will examine the quality of government in a prospective location. I'm afraid that's part of the reason that El Paso doesn't have more businesses moving here.

El Paso is in a hole, right now. The first requirement to achieving economic development is to stop the slide. El Paso has among the highest property tax rates in the country. El Paso has among the highest electric rates in the state. Since 2012, El Paso's population has only grown by one and a half percent, while the City's debt has risen by 230 percent. All of these factors combine to create an environment that is not friendly for business. The reckless spending is unsustainable. I have a degree in Economics and I've worked as an economist. For much of my adult life I've worked in marketing. I've owned and operated small businesses. City Government needs some business sense.
The current decision-making process is deeply flawed. City Council holds discussions behind closed doors and presents their decisions to the public as done deals. Their rationales for invoking Executive Session don't withstand scrutiny. To regain the faith and confidence of the community, City Council needs to limit Executive Sessions. I will separate the subjects of Executive Session from the catch-all excuse “Consultation with Attorney.”
Our traffic problems are temporary, and will ease when all that construction is finished. I'd ask El Pasoans to be patient, allow sufficient time to make your commute, and adjust your schedule, when possible, to avoid peak traffic times.
I don't have a problem with the current zoning code. If a problem exists, I'll look at it when someone calls it to my attention.
When you're in a hole, stop digging. We can't spend our way to prosperity. City Council's current policies benefits the wealthiest in our community, while everyone else has to tighten their belts. We have to stop our reckless spending. It's obscene to tax the poor to provide luxury amenities to the leisure class.

I will limit the issuance of Certificates of Obligation to pay for only the most necessary of basic city services.

I will eliminate tax incentives for companies that only compete with local companies for our limited disposable income.

I will postpone building the "arena" until our economic conditions improve.
I was motivated to join the race because the current crop of elected officials seem uninterested on open, honest, and transparent government. As a result of their decisions, El Pasoans are facing rising tax bills every year, and El Pasoans are excluded from the decision-making process.
El Paso is culturally unique, yet all the City's efforts are spent towards making El Paso like every other city in the country. With a million dollars I would promote the arts. El Paso hits above its weight class when it comes to art, and that's with little municipal support. The short path to economic development for El Paso lies in harnessing our creative talent and unleashing it on the world.
Campaign Phone (915) 274-1032
Education/Degrees Sociology/International Politics
Professional Experience Campaign staff
Community Involvement EPFOOD, Frontera Water Protectors, Interned with Congressman O'Rourke
To look and assist in providing services for everyone to benefit from such as providing high tier public transit, fixing our infrastructure, strengthening our Education and developing job opportunities. I would go on to say that assisting in reducing our Ecological footprint would be a new responsibility that Elected Representatives regardless of the political office they serve or run for should be a priority, given when you look at the evidence of what Climate Change presents. No more shortsighted policy making, we need vision and leadership willing to take charge.

No more reactive but proactive governance with true community input and involvement.

There is no We the People in the current form of representation that we have when you look at the thousands of El Pasoans who participated in civic involvement with the signing of the petitions for historical and open space.

This November, we as a city are faced with a important task. Deciding who gets to represent what this City is.
First foremost would be to abandon the current speculation plan that the City is on through going back to the conversation of the Quality of Life Bonds. Have them place back on the ballot and then voted on, after that is done I would initiate another Quality of Life Bond proposal that is center focused on improving the quality of life for all residents through cleaning up our environment in El Paso while looking to develop our job opportunities here locally. I would propose a partnership with the City of El Paso and UTEP to construct a recycling facility that deals with all common recyclable materials and non-ferrous, precious metals and electronic waste. I would also propose a food composting program that would turn our food scraps into 3 revenue sources for public services such as fire, police, parks & rec among other departments thus helping reduce the burden many El Pasoans face for paying for these public services.
We are the only campaign here setting the bar for governmental transparency by mandating legislation for all City of El Paso owned buildings to be audio wired and for all meetings with my office to be held within these facilities. I would instruct and direct for me and my staff to be available to help guide and assist with the filing of a PIA or any other equivalent form. I think with the way we find our city ignoring common fiscal restraint, we are needing ways to make Government transparent and functional for everyone.
We need Elected Leaders who can assist on the development of Complete Neighborhoods and street decongestants. Complete Neighborhoods are where one can get most of life’s needs through walking rather than driving. We also would need to stop focusing heavily on making our streets into this hierarchical road network where we are funneling all traffic through these designated streets instead of separating and creating other streets to reach point A to point B easier.
Change City of El Paso from a single use zoning to a form based zoning

We currently rely primarily on single use zoning that segregates uses, the single use zoning as currently employed tends to encourage low density, single use sprawl. It gives us a low return on investment re property taxes. Infill, mixed use, and higher density urban style development is more sustainable and provides a more resilient tax base.
First, place the MPC and other quality of life bond projects back on the ballot. There is no legality from holding it to be placed on the ballot. I think we as a community need another chance to decide if we can support these types of projects, especially with evidence from scholars who testified under federal oath to our stadium losing an estimated $500,000. Second would be to not support any projects that do not align with what City Government should be providing which is the basic necessities Education, Public Infrastructure and Public Transit. Third would be to look for innovative ways to supply a form of revenue while providing improvement towards El Pasoans life. One being an implementation of a Recycling facility.
It started with the MPC or Arena debacle, the most logical solution that appeases all parties is to place the project back on the ballot for us as voters to decide. I’ve met with past and current council and each with the exception of representative Annello would not support such a thing due to legality, which is quite concerning because back in February 2017 the city hired legal counsel which stated two ways to overcome the contract, one being to place it back on the ballot for voters to decide. So there’s this disconnect of doing what’s best for El Paso and deciding what’s best for El Paso. The lack of leadership to make difficult decisions based on data and facts, only to apply shortsighted policy legislation is what is preventing our City of El Paso from progressing to what it should be, the Star of the West. This is why I’m running and will continue to serve the people of El Paso. The actions of now effect the future of our Children. We are experiencing a Fiscal Crisis Bubble.
First thing is first, I would relay this information not only to my constituents but everyone in El Paso so that my office could hold public forums, not meetings but forums to where we as a community can best decide what to utilize the funds for. To lead requires not I but We.

Now, if I was the only one to decide due to some circumstantial wording or document, then I would utilize it with one of my economic growth projects. Either put the resources into the Recycling facility or, the management of Black Soldier Fly larvae for the composting of our food scraps to turn our waste into revenue sources for public services. I feel putting the $1 million into one of these projects would be beneficial to our community due to helping reduce our Ecological footprint as a city and assisting in developing our educational opportunities which the byproduct would be creating high skilled jobs here in El Paso which we need.
Campaign Phone (915) 275-4771
Twitter @GregBainefor8
Education/Degrees Bachelors, Political Science, Texas A&M University; Masters, Business and Management, Webster University; Masters, Strategic Studies, U.S. Army War College
Professional Experience 29 years active federal service as an Army Infantry Officer, culminating as a Colonel; 2 years as Senior Program Manager and Site Lead, Science Applications International Corporation; 4 months (current) as Director of Strategic Planning and Business Development, Sun City SmartTech
Community Involvement Chairman, Polaris District, Yucca Council, Boy Scouts of America; Board Member, Executive Board, Yucca Council, Boy Scouts of America; Board Member, El Paso County Sheriff's Posse; Parishioner and Choir Member, Saint George Christian Orthodox Church; Volunteer, El Paso STEM Foundation and 5-Star STEM Competition
To follow through on the needs of the 80,000+ constituents, to advocate on their behalf, and to display courage to do what is right through sound, policy-based decisions. CRs must engage businesses, local organizations, and address neighborhood concerns in a nonpartisan manner. I will develop a District Prioritized Action Plan that efficiently allocates resources to sustain a high quality of life and maintain a low cost of living. I will be a fiscal steward, critical of residential tax increases, who will collaborate with members of City Council and appropriate outside organizations. Private citizens bear approx 65% of the city’s tax burden. The D8 CR should advocate for: our downtown businesses, increasing the flow of people between two countries, and promoting economic development strategies that enhance tourism while magnifying our unique cultural assets. I am the only D8 candidate with 30+ yrs of leadership & management experience who can provide the decisive action citizens want.
City business incentive packages are not designed for local, small business owners, but are designed to attract larger companies. I will work with small businesses, City Economic Development, Borderplex Alliance and Chambers of Commerce to develop incentives that will enable small business to flourish. I would help small businesses take advantage of City incentives. EP is $2B debt in, Council continues to supplement the budget through non-voter approved Certificates of Obligation. I have supervised a $183M budget with no cost overruns or late projects. I will be fiscally conservative of our budget, rather than the tax & spend attitude of our Council. I will be critical of “must have” projects and will advocate for what our Voters have approved. City policy should help our local companies. Our regressive tax and utility rates unfairly burden lower income customers. City policy should balance the needs with the wants, prioritize and deliver key services without overly burdening citizens.
I have held a Secret Security Clearance for over 30 years, Top-Secret Security Clearance with access to Secure Compartmented Information (TS-SCI) for almost 20 years. In doing so, I have demonstrated my commitment to complete transparency. Over hundreds of hours of block walking, El Pasoans have shared with me their growing distrust of our City Council, local school board members, County Commissioners, and other public servants. Numerous investigations of corruption, prioritizing regional development in terms of pet projects that burden home owners, perceptions of self-servitude, and a lack of transparency have created the distrust of our elected officials. City Representatives should dedicate their service to increasing the public trust through the legitimacy of their deeds and actions, and through honest communication. As a CR, I will maintain open and effective communications regarding my actions and the consequences that City Council decisions can have on residents.
Strategic planning is key. Given my over 30+ years of leadership experience, I will establish improvement plans that are sustainable and efficient with our tax dollars. I would also communicate progress reports to our citizens, rather than ignore them or divert them to “watch the news,” as the D8 incumbent has done. I will coordinate our street improvements for efficiency and minimal impact during peak travel hours. I would find revenue sources other than the General Fund for the improvements.
El Paso last conducted a zoning map in the 1970’s. Unfortunately, it was done within the conditions at that time and without a realistic vision of what our City should become. I would analyze how a commercial zone abuts residential zones and adjust the zoning requirements to conform with neighborhood layouts. City Council should enforce our zoning requirements and not act as if it has unlimited authority to waive such requirements out of convenience or benefit to commercial enterprises.
1. Eliminate stovepipes of work by integrating the activity of the City’s Economic Development Department, Borderplex Alliance and Chambers of Commerce towards stimulating small business development among generational, women-owned, and transnational businesses that prioritize technology. 2. Stimulate the growth of regional and transnational tourism, given emphasis on border security, shifting international trade agreements, and our regional involvement in immigration. 3. Recruit company leaders to establish high skill & high wage jobs. City, Community and Business leaders must do what we can to stem the brain drain and harness the talent of our graduates. Create an El Paso where people want to live, work and play in our growing city.
I decided to run for District 8 City Representative because of ineffective fiscal stewardship, a general lack of responsibility and accountability, indecisive leadership and inadequate advocacy on City Council. Given my 30+ years of leadership experience in the Army and in business, large budget oversight, ability to make hard decisions, and broad experience in problem solving within diverse groups in the U.S. and abroad, I will make an immediate impact by giving our citizens the selfless service and decisive action they expect. The incumbent of this vital and complex District has raised our taxes, has failed to deliver public projects within budget and on time that had been funded with community support, and has failed to continue the momentum of downtown redevelopment. New job creation in the technology sector that once delivered an increase in the residential population, expanded downtown tourism, or incubated local businesses has not occurred at the rate that was prioritized.
The City’s budget is $750M, with over $2B in debt. El Paso has the second largest tax supported debt among large cities in the U.S. The D8 incumbent recently stated that she supports increasing the Multipurpose Center (arena) funding from $180M to $250M, a 39% increase, and this without voter approval! I support delivering what our voters approved, within budget and on time. Such a cost overrun should go back to our citizens for approval. We must find ways to reduce our debt and get our spending under control. I would assess the following ideas for a best plan for the $1 million grant: 1) adding the grant to our contingency fund; 2) investing the $1M into our parks, trails, and equipment, given years of neglect; and 3) given citizen demands to fix our roads, I would conduct a road assessment for prioritized repair. I will serve as an informed advocate for the citizens of District 8 through accountable, responsive and selfless leadership as a member of the City Council.
Campaign Phone (915) 213-2876
Education/Degrees Bachelor of Science in Education, UTEP Masters of Education, UT-Austin
Professional Experience Council Representative, July 2018 to present Educator twenty-six years (Ret., EPISD) Brown, Alcantar & Brown, Inc. (to 1979)
Community Involvement UTEP Alumni Association El Paso Law School Initiative Sunset Heights Neighborhood Association El Paso County Historical Association Vegetarian Society of El Paso
The primary role of any elected official is to listen and act. Listening is one of the best ways to gain a true understanding of issues or concerns, especially as they relate to District 8. My office has regular meetings to ensure the community is being heard. Then we act, taking those suggestions and recommendations and integrating into solutions. As a former educator spanning a 26-year career, I learned firsthand the importance of listening, and I believe that is the single most important trait any elected official can have.
Completing the 2012 Quality of Life bond projects is vital to allowing our City to compete at a national level, and my office has regular meetings with the City Manager and community organizations to ensure projects are on track. The timely completion of these projects will serve to attract outside investment and potential employers, much like the recent opening of TopGolf and Aloft Hotel. I recently re-instituted the Border Relations Committee, dormant for years. This committee, led by Dr. Kathleen Staudt, will serve as a foundation for ensuring our trade and commerce efforts remain vibrant. More than anything, I believe that education is the strongest path to economic development and success.
I believe that all City council members should be both accessible and open to the public regarding the decisions we make for El Paso. I publish a monthly newsletter to supplement the information they get through other media outlets. My office has regular district community meetings where we discuss upcoming projects and events. These meetings are a positive and convenient way to interact with our constituents and neighborhoods.
El Paso is seeing tremendous growth in many areas, and street repairs and improvements are a priority. City Council has made several key decisions to improve our roadways, freeway’s and streets to lessen damages to our vehicles and improve commutes. I drive our streets daily, and I know these improvements can be painful, regardless of who is responsible for construction and repair functions. To that end I have placed items on the Council agenda to make sure the community is kept abreast.
Zoning must be faster, easier, and more economical. By separating the approval of the rezoning and the approval of the site plan into two separate processes, applicants will be able to move at their own pace and avoid unnecessary costs and effort. This is one of the many improvements my office looks to implement that will have a positive impact on all zoning applicants before the City.
First, we must continue to attract new commercial businesses and grow our small businesses so that we can reduce our dependency on homeowners to carry the tax burden. One way to do this is by making sure our Quality of Life projects are completed on time. Second, our projects must be better planned, taking into consideration a variety of factors that should allow the City to prepare and forecast accurately. Third, I will expand my community outreach efforts and better mesh community observations and suggestions with our ongoing efforts to run departments more efficiently.
My situation is unique. I ran in a special election only last year to serve out the rest of former Rep. Niland's unexpired term. However, I am not new to civic service. My family and I have been a part of this community for generations and have deep roots in District 8. My father, Joe Alcantar, Sr., was a successful customs broker in the region, and one of the founding directors of the Continental National Bank. The Joe Alcantar Jr. SkyGarden, atop the Plaza Theater, is named after my brother Joey who is on his second term as Chair of the Community Foundation. This, with my last election, is my opportunity to step up to the plate and serve my community. I am proud of the projects we have accomplished, and we have much more to finish.
District 8 - my district - runs along the US-Mexico Border, from the wealthiest neighborhoods in El Paso, to some of the poorest in the country. The Opportunity Center, the Rescue Mission, Project Vida, La Fe, and most other organizations that work with the homeless and disadvantaged, are in District 8. I would use the majority of a $1 million grant to improve the infrastructure of these organizations to enhance their longevity in the community. I would dedicate a smaller portion of the grant to fund legal services for organizations such as Familias Unidas del Chamizal, who are struggling to maintain their neighborhood amidst challenges from influx of commercial traffic through their neighborhoods.
Twitter @DylanCorbett23
Education/Degrees Catholic University of America and Pontifical Gregorian University
Professional Experience I am presently the director of a border research, education and advocacy institute. I have worked to promote economic opportunity and comprehensive immigration reform in the borderland and in Washington, DC.
Community Involvement I am the director of a local community organization and the father of a young family in El Paso's Sunset Heights. I have spent my career working for those of the margins here in the borderland, as an advocate in Washington, DC. and around the world.
A City Representative's first responsibility is to lead. Leadership is listening to district residents and bringing their needs, aspirations and hopes to bear on the votes of City Council, how our community determines funding priorities, and how our city provides for the common good of all El Pasoans.
Real development builds on our unique heritage as a border community and respects the diversity, hard work, history and dreams of our residents. By leveraging what makes us unique, like our access to solar energy and our unique identity as an international border community, El Paso can lead in creating a sustainable economy that works for all. Rather than chasing cheap deals and short term gains, we can invest in sustainable development that protects our natural resources and open space. We need to protect the small businesses that make El Paso a thriving community while at the same time attracting outside investment that will bring living wage and sustainable jobs to our residents. We can guarantee living wages for city contractors and ensure the benefits working families need. And we can leverage our unique El Paso assets, like the many historic and heritage sites in District 8, to create a city where our children, tourists and new residents will study, play, work, stay and thrive.
Transparency needs to be a non-negotiable for public servants. City representatives should be public servants who put the common good and needs of everyday El Pasoans first. We need more democracy and more vigorous debate on city council, where we have seen over and over again that decisions are often made in backrooms, without community consultation, and often steamrolling over public input and petitions.

I commit to engage with our residents so that we can make decision together and in the light of day.
In many parts of District 8, traffic is a problem. We need leadership to make sure that infrastructure improvements, like our roads and highways, are done in an equitable and coordinated way, and in a manner least disruptive to our residents. Sadly, many of our neighborhoods have never seen traffic calming measures. We also need twenty-first century solutions to reducing the commercial traffic that clogs our highways and pollutes our historic District 8 neighborhoods.
We've seen an explosion in growth, without sufficient attention to traffic patterns and impacts on our secondary roads. Downtown growth continues to encroach on the boundaries our historic neighborhoods. Some of our neighborhoods have been affected by easements and construction that have dangerously restructured traffic flows and created more inconveniences. We need a twenty-first century strategy for sustainable growth with increased input for our residents and neighborhood associations.
1. Top Golf cannot be the gold standard for economic development. Taxpayer dollars cannot chase after cheap deals and short-term gains. The public purse is a sacred trust. We need to act with the utmost prudence to attract sustainable investment.

2. We need to rein in spending and budget smart. Budget overruns on Quality of Life projects have become the order of the day. At the same time, budgeting for our core commitments, like our roads, is now being done outside the regular process. This is unacceptable.

3. We need accountable leadership. Some of our elected leaders have been corrupted not so much with money as by overly cozy relationships with developers eager to advance private agendas. This needs to end.
As a husband and father of a young family, I am concerned that our current political class is straitjacketed by a narrow vision of development, one that privileges short term gains over sustainability and political job security over the common good. I know we need to continue to move El Paso forward to build a community that we can be proud of and where our children can thrive and find opportunity. I know the many District 8 residents, community organizations, entrepreneurs, artists, working families and seniors who bring so much to our community and are brimming with imagination, hope and talent. Together, I know we can create an El Paso with a vibrant future for all our residents, one that celebrates and respects our unique border identity, and one grounded in old-fashioned principles of accountability and fairness.
Our young people are ready to lead and move El Paso forward. We need to invest in them, keep them here, and empower them to build El Paso's future. With $1 million dollars, imagine the possibility in creating a grassroots leadership incubator for our young adults to develop their skills and innovate new solutions for our economy, for the arts and culture, and for their own civic education and so become the economic, civic and political leaders of El Paso's tomorrow.