By Angie Bado, TSB Publisher
The City of McKinney expects to issue somewhere between 2,000 to 2,500 new home permits this year, according to City Manager Jason Gray. With the continued rapid growth comes the task of managing the burden that it brings on the city’s infrastructure —water, transportation, traffic and road conditions, to name a few. Managing that growth, coupled with the need for increased economic development, are two of the issues that the candidates must grapple with as they work to convince voters to check one of their names on the ballot at the polls on Saturday.
Jeremiah Hammer, Randy Pogue and Martin Sanchez, are competing for the At-Large seat that will be vacated by David Brooks, who chose not to seek re-election. Hammer and two other candidates ran for the At-Large seat in 2011 and lost to Councilman Roger Harris. Sanchez and Pogue are political newcomers.
Councilman Don Day (District 1) and Councilman Travis Ussery (District 3) are running unopposed, both seeking second terms. Mayor Brian Loughmiller is also seeking a second term as mayor, and although his opponent, Derrick Johnson, announced March 19 that he dropped out of the race, Johnson did not file the official paperwork to do so and his name remains on the ballot.
TownSquareBuzz.com held a forum for the at-large candidates on April 3 (you can watch the videos by clicking here for part 1 and here for part 2) and the three weighed in on some important topics. Two of the three tout economic development as their top priority to address if elected.
Top priority if elected:
Hammer said that his top priority if elected would focus on “transparency.”
Hammer said, “Transparency, in terms of getting people to want to interact with our city. With so much growth going on, the amount of information that’s going past our council is unbelievable and as your representative getting that information out in terms of getting that information out to citizens, so that we communicate more openly.”
Pogue said that his top priority is economic development.
“Economic development would be my top priority, particularly in the commercial sector with regards to preserving commercial corridors that would better offset the current burden that we as homeowners have to pay. Transportation issues coincide with this,” Pogue said.
Sanchez also said that economic development would be his top priority.
“We have got to establish some overlay districts along all of our major corridors because as our city is growing We have got to establish the protection to maximize our future economic development,” Sanchez said. “Let’s push towards find the 200 to 400 acres of commercial retail activity where we can put a regional mall in an effective way.”
Possible conflicts on interest with regard to candidates vocation:
Pogue, who owns McKinney’s Pogue Engineering, said he doesn’t think his vocation would be a conflict of interest, but a “compliment of interest,” explaining that the city has engineers on staff.
“I’ve been invited by council, by the Chamber and by the Economic Development Corporation to sit in on numerous committees to give input on different issues with regard to issues with ordinances. We have done work for the city in the past,” Pogue said, “but as a councilmember I would be inelligible for that, so I’m giving up money to do this, but I believe in this city enough, and believe in what I’d doing enough, to vacate that position and do what I believe is best for us (the city) long term.”
Sanchez, who worked for the City of McKinney as a senior planner from 1997 to 2001, said he has been hired on a number of occasions to come back and facilitate concensus building. He also said that historically his company, Sanchez and Associates, has not done work for the City of McKinney.
Sanchez said, “We have taken the stance that we do not want to earn our living off of the City of McKinney, so from that perspective, we don’t really have a conflice of interest. We do process our projects on behalf of our clients at the City of McKinney, but my job as a planner and concensus builder into the future, is to build concensus.”
Hammer said, “My buisiness does not have any conflicts of interest whatsoever, in dealing with the City of McKinney.” Hammer started and runs a consulting company in McKinney, Sustainable Ventures.
For more information on the candidates, please see the video from the forum in our TSB Election Center.
Election Night on the Square
Election day will culminate with activites center on Kentucky Street in downtown McKinney, to the west of the McKinney Performing Arts Center. Live entertainment, an on site face painter, periodic election updates and announcements from the evenings emcee, Judge Paul Raleeh will set an atmosphere for good old fashioned family fun.
Tables and chairs will be set up within the designated area so that visitors to the square may purchase food from local restaurants and dine outside.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday. For voting locations, click here.