Ridgmar Neighborhood Association

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Dist 7 Candidates Q&As

Dist 7 candidates Q&As on local issues important to Ridgmar

 

District 7 City Council Candidates Jon Perry and Dennis Shingleton have already stated their positions on the numerous important issues concerning Fort Worth. Here are five questions and the candidate’s answers concerning issues Ridgmar residents have expressed concern about during the past year.

 

Contact the candidates at:

Jon Perry: jon.perry@dfwcard.com

Dennis Shingleton: dennis_shingleton@sbcglobal.net

 

 

Larry Patterson

 

1. What will you do to help us reduce the potential of hazardous emissions in Ridgmar? In July, Chesapeake will begin drilling the first of 12 wells at their Ridgmar site located on the southeast corner of I30 and Ridgmar Boulevard. This site is less than a half mile from three schools and even closer to our homes in Ridgmar. On several occasions, the RNA met with CHK to request that they use low emission technology (similar to that used at the DFW sites) which reduces emissions more than 90%. To date, they state they are not going to do so.

Jon Perry

I have been very vocal in this campaign that the 600-foot residential and 1200-foot school setback provisions should be enforced. Waivers to those setback provisions are the rule rather than the exception. Fort Worth is a test bed for urban drilling. Therefore, we must use extreme care and caution anytime we drill.

 

In my web article, Air Quality and Urban Gas Drilling, http://jonperry.biz/fort-worth/air-quality/, I am very concerned that the City Council continues to issue waivers. Originally, drilling was isolated to industrial zones only. Today, there is not a zoning code where drilling is not authorized. 

 

It would be my position on the Fort Worth City Council that these top three priorities be implemented as a very minimum:

1. Zero emissions from the gas wells. Emissions would be monitored remotely by the operators and at their expense.

2.      Use thermal imaging (infrared) camera systems, which help spot leaks in tanks, pipelines and facilities to improve safety.

3.      All Air Quality analysts and consultants should be independent third parties that are not part of the gas drilling industry to reduce any conflict of interest.

 

We cannot take chances in safety and must do everything to protect our families and children.

 

Dennis Shingleton

The Gas Drilling initiatives in North Texas are an economic engine that is here to stay for the foreseeable future. However, nothing is more important to our community and neighborhoods than safety.  The gas drilling process needs careful oversight and cooperation from the drilling companies to ensure that it is environmentally safe. If the City’s Ordinance needs modification to address these emissions, we should do that.  It is my understanding that low emission technology uses City electrical sources to drive the drilling process versus petroleum fueled generators.  Resolution of these issues is best accomplished in neighborhood discussions rather than in open forum at council meetings.  I will take a leadership role on the Council to resolve this important issue and any other issues that affect the primary issue of our city – the safety of our citizens.

 

 

2. What will you do to insure the Ridglea Branch Library remains open and is not privatized? Despite the fact that the Ridglea Branch Library is not in district 7 (it’s in District 3), it is the only Library Branch on the west side and it is extremely important to Ridgmar Residents that it remain status quo.

Jon Perry

 

Since Benjamin Franklin, the public library system has been an important and vital resource to our communities. According to the American Library Association—the 2010 State of America's Libraries—“Americans have turned to their libraries in larger numbers in recent years. Americans turn to their libraries to find information about future employment or educational opportunities during a recession.”

 

The city’s primary purpose is to provide services (water, sewer, police, fire, emergency, etc) not economic development. With a failed annexation plan that requires these vital services to often-outlying areas, we have stretched ourselves thin.  It is my strong belief that we need to focus on keeping vital services like the libraries and repairing our infrastructure, not on adding additional sub-divisions where their services will be stretched and impaired as well.

 

Libraries continue to be a vital resource for the unemployed, disadvantaged and in-depth resources for research in education.  For many, the library is the only location where a citizen has access to a computer and the Internet.

 

With its growth over the past decade, it is my belief the city has enough money to keep libraries open. We must analyze and understand where we are currently spending money and what we are spending it on, as well as a prioritization on important services like the libraries.  Please see my article on the city’s Budget Deficit at http://jonperry.biz/fort-worth/transparency-fiscal-responsibility-quality-of-life/.

 

Dennis Shingleton

 

I believe that cities by definition must have libraries, parks and recreation facilities. Certainly, we are in the midst of unprecedented budgetary constraints that are driving the considerations of cutting city services. Public /private initiatives at times ease the burden upon the city, but privatization of libraries (vs. recreational facilities) has not been productive nor efficient in other cities. I would be strongly opposed to closing the Ridgmar Library or any public library and certainly would need to be convinced that privatization would be in the City’s best interest.

 

 

 

 

 

3. What will you do to insure that mail is not stolen from curbside Mailboxes in Ridgmar? For over a year, mail has continually been stolen from the curbside mailbox on Ridgmar Boulevard, as well as several other mailboxes in the surrounding area, including the outdoor mailboxes at the Cherry Lane Post Office. Discarded stolen mail is often found strewn in the streets and yards. It is never safe to post mail in any outdoor box, forcing residents to post mail at indoor Postal facilities. The police and Post Office resolved the problem by stating, "Just don't use the mailboxes." That is not reasonable.

Jon Perry

 

In Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation article, Fort Worth is No. 1 in thefts from blue outdoor postal collection boxes, he states, “Cowtown is the No. 1 city in America for thefts from blue outdoor postal collection boxes. Texas is the top state for such thefts.”

 

Postal inspector Lawrence C. Dukes said, “the crimes, which inspectors call volume mail thefts, are usually conducted by organized groups. In fiscal 2010, the Fort Worth regional office reported 195 arrests and 192 convictions related to mail theft and identity theft, which is often the result of a mailbox break-in.”

 

Dukes’ advice: “The safest method to mail letters is to bring your letters directly into the post office or hand them to your letter carrier. Postal customers should make every effort to mail letters before the posted collection times and avoid leaving mail in a collection box overnight or when the post office is closed.”

 

Since the mailboxes are property of the U.S. Postal service, I personally called the Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455.  I had specifically asked if the postal service any plan to deploy stronger, theft deterrent collection boxes. I was told, “Not at this time.”  I was also told to contact the local post office to see if they had any plans on strengthening their collection boxes.

 

I chose the post office on 1001 Altamesa as they had two collection box attacks in 2010.  Their number is 817-551-5809.  I was advised the Altamesa post office that they do not modify or deploy any collection boxes. From their perspective, all direction concerning the collection boxes comes from the Postal Inspectors.

 

As you can see, this would take the engagement of the Post Office at the federal level. As your councilman, I would be willing to put in the effort with the USPS, but I am not able to speak on their behalf or what they would ultimately be willing to do.

 

Download the 2010 U.S. Postal nationwide collection box thefts, obtained through Open Records at

 http://jonperry.biz/docs/mail.pdf

Dennis Shingleton

 

This is a recurring problem in many areas of Fort Worth. We must learn from their successes and failures in addressing the issue. Other areas have mobilized the citizens to be more vigilant about neighborhood strangers. That being said, it is incumbent upon our city police force in cooperation with the US Postal Service Security Units to find some resolution to this problem.  This is a public safety issue, plain and simple. Additionally, the Neighborhood Patrol Officer (and I realize that we do not have enough of them) can assist Code Blue Patrols in securing our streets. 

 

 

 

4. What will you do to insure Ridgmar Residents are continually informed and updated on important issues specific to both District 7 and Fort Worth in general?

Jon Perry

 

Currently voters can subscribe to my newsletter at http://jonperry.biz. Once elected, voters will have the option to subscribe to both a monthly newsletter updating them on the global issues effecting Fort Worth as well as subscribing to specific neighborhood alerts. Through email newsletters and social media (e.g. Facebook http://www.facebook.com/JonPerryCityCouncil) it will be my primary goal to restore faith and trust in our government through transparency and dialog. In this election, I have not used a high-powered consultant to guide me.  Rather, I have walked the streets of District 7, knocked on doors and have attended every association meeting I could find. It is you, the voters, who are my consultants.

 

Dennis Shingleton

I have campaigned from day 1 (early December) that one of my most important initiatives if elected would be access and communication with Fort Worth citizens. The neighborhood associations can expect me to attend their regular meetings (or special committee meetings if necessary) and they will have my home, cellular, and city office telephone numbers.  Communication with all residents of District 7 will be a priority.  Additionally, when I chaired “Let’s Talk Fort Worth”, I realized the value of periodic town hall meetings.  I would like to do these on a regular basis in regional areas throughout the district.   If elected, I will represent the interests of the neighborhoods – listening to those neighborhoods is the only way to be effective.

 

 

 

 

 

5. What will you do to facilitate neighborhoods having a stronger, interactive voice concerning issues affecting them?

Jon Perry

 

As stated above, dialog, my attendance at your neighbor meetings, communication through electronic newsletters, emails/phone calls to your association leaders and use of social media will help bridge the gap between your voice and the city council.

Dennis Shingleton

In addition to the comments described above, specific issues within the RNA would require participation, representation and leadership by me, other council members, specific city staff and most importantly members of the neighborhood association. Good Government works when the City and its residents are informed, engaged, participating, and understanding of the issues.  

 

 

 

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