Public Safety is crucial to the overall welfare of the City so dealing with this issue is most important. Community safety is the responsibility of everyone! Therefore, it is necessary that Community Leaders, Schools, Law Enforcement, and the Faith-Based Community work together to educate, to bring awareness, and to develop watchful action plans to win over crime in every community. The concept of Community Policing makes for good public policy and good community relations and serves as a deterrent to the criminal element. Thus, I support the hiring of more Police Officers and coalition building with Community Business Leaders, Faith Leaders, Civic Clubs, and Super Neighborhoods Leader throughout our City.
Public Safety must also address the Homeless and Panhandling that our City faces. There are many reasons why homelessness and panhandling have increased in Houston. However, these issues are more complex than the surface reveals. Working together can make a difference. I endorse coalition-building with the Faith-based communities, Families, Harris County Mental Health and Rehabilitation (HCMHR), Homeless Coalition Services, First Responders, Substance Abuse, and Rehabilitation Centers. Some Coalition-building is working in our City; however, more is needed with the Faith-based community. It is crucial in order to win over hopelessness. I will support and adopt policies that urge those to connect with safe places that can aid and provide an alternative for living on the streets.
Let’s face it! Our City is flat, and our dated and poorly maintained infrastructure is easily overwhelmed by the substantial increased in waterfall making water runoff a problem. Houston's flooding is a whole issue involving the City, County, State and Corp of Engineers. These agencies work together in concert to manage the water runoff and control flooding for the Houston area. The City has the responsibility of getting the water runoff to the Bayou systems, which is controlled by the County, who then should get the water to the Gulf waters. Resiliency and protection by the City can start with the basics of proper maintenance by cleaning debris and unclogging the existing dated drainage systems. Repairing, replacing, and enlarging the underground conduits for water flow will help mitigate the water build-up allowing water to run off faster. New Home Builders should make every effort to ensure that proper drainage is engineered for correct water runoff to retention ponds to mitigate water overflow. The homeowner should become familiar with their communities' water tables and drainage runoff. Personal efforts can be made to alleviate flooding at the private home levels and on their properties. We must also educate service workers who often blow leaves, cut grass, etc. down the drains. The City should increase efforts to encourage every home and business owner to bag leaves and grass clippings and to carry Flood Insurance. Education is the key! I encourage Civic Clubs, HOA’s, Super Neighborhoods to participate in the “Adopt-A-Drain” Campaign throughout our City to help clear our drains of debris.
Our City streets, roads, sidewalks, electrical grids, water treatment facilities, etc. must have regular maintenance, repairs, and be upgraded. I support the needed infrastructure improvements and upgrades to ensure quality services for all Houstonians. In some areas of the City, streets are dated and so narrow that updates are a must. Money for Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) is allocated for some of these projects. However, the City processes are slow-moving.
Furthermore, drainage fee dollars for some of these projects were approved by the Voters in 2010. This money was scheduled to go online in 2012 as a dedicated revenue source to be used strictly for infrastructure improvements. Transparency must be practiced ensuring that our tax dollars are used for their designated purposes. Furthermore, I support a third-party financial audit of all City departments.
Although Community issues vary throughout the City of Houston, I have found these issues to be the most common concerns for Houstonians.