Q&A: Get to know the candidates running for Sugar Land City Council District 2

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As early voting and the May 4 Election Day approaches, learn more about the candidates running for Sugar Land City Council.

Naushad Kermally

Occupation: Executive vice president at Prime Communications

Years in Sugar Land: Nine years

Phone number: 713-303-4410

Website: www.kermallyforsugarland.com

1. What would you do to help accelerate the redevelopment of Imperial Market?

While minimizing risk to the city, the Imperial Market is a magnet that must be pursued. To make it happen, I would, in coordination with the mayor, City Council and, equally important, with city staff and the economic development team, reach out to investors, as well as national and international tenants, with whom I have built relationships with over decades.

2. What are your thoughts on the reburial of the human remains discovered on Fort Bend ISD’s construction site in Sugar Land?

Sugar Land … is known throughout the world, the country and the region for our respect for human dignity, honor for those of different cultures and circumstances, and our appreciation for the diversity that makes us strong. We must work with local interest organizations, as well as families and government at every level, to lift up those impacted emotionally and otherwise. The history of what happened there should forever be preserved … for Sugar Land’s future. We must also remember that we are accountable to the taxpayers at the city, county, school and state level and must consider what the future of that property means for educating students in FBISD.

3. What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Sugar Land? Would you add more apartments or do you feel the city has enough?

Families with roots going back to the “Original 300” and those that have moved from across the country and everywhere on earth are those that primarily want their own home and not multifamily apartments. I do believe in free market laisses-faire. My role as a district representative City Council member is to listen to those in the neighborhoods in my district. My neighbors throughout District 2 have made it clear they do not support multifamily growth developments in Sugar Land.

4. How would you work to ensure Sugar Land’s economic development stays diverse as some portions of the city are redeveloped and the remaining undeveloped land becomes limited?

I am a successful executive vice president and builder and know from my own life lessons the importance of diversity, both in economic development and growth. My family and I will continue to invest our time and resources as members of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council to benefit Sugar Land. Additionally, I will further use my personal contacts to promote the opportunities that present themselves in our great city.

5. If elected, what challenge will be your top priority, and why?

Sugar Land is a growing, dynamic and excellence driven economic engine. We have traditions that reach back hundreds of years and a defined future focus. My top priority will be customer service to the Sugar Land citizens that elected me and to listen them in every area of my district. I will know the families, businesses and taxpayers in every subdivision and with respect will represent them as individuals to keep taxes, fines and fees low with services that reflect District 2 and exceed the expectations of those that voted to put me in office.

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Nabila Mansoor

Occupation: Attorney and community organizer

Years in Sugar Land: 16 years

Phone number: 832-387-4529

Website: www.nabilaforsugarland.com

1. What would you do to help accelerate the redevelopment of Imperial Market?

The redevelopment of Imperial Market will mark an important milestone for the city. Sugar Land has a lot to look forward to with another retail, commercial, residential and entertainment destination in the Imperial Market. Unfortunately, the project has been hampered with delays and mismanagement. When on City Council, I will put together a task force to provide recommendations to the city addressing areas of concern and where we can improve, with financial transparency and fiscal responsibility as top priorities.

2. What are your thoughts on the reburial of the human remains discovered on Fort Bend ISD’s construction site in Sugar Land?

This was a moment that put our city in the national spotlight, and I commend the officials who stepped up and pushed Fort Bend ISD to make the hard, and ultimately, the right decision. I was one of the few individuals running for office that publicly spoke out in favor of memorializing the site where the remains were found. Such a memorial can serve to honor the dead, remind us of our shared history, and help heal and build bridges of understanding between our communities. To the extent the city’s involvement is necessary to effectuate the plan to put a cemetery and memorial at the site, I would advocate for the city to partner with the necessary entities.

3. What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Sugar Land? Would you add more apartments or do you feel the city has enough?

It is important to find the right balance on this matter and listen to the community and people’s needs. With the city tapped out of remaining land, we want to ensure folks have access to options when choosing to live in Sugar Land. At the same time, I want to safeguard what gives Sugar Land its character. We shouldn’t be introducing noise pollution and traffic congestion. Any new developments would need to be done so intelligently with guarantees that put existing residents in mind. With respect to the specific multifamily development proposed at one time for the southwest intersection of University Boulevard and [Hwy.] 59, I would oppose multifamily development in that area.

4. How would you work to ensure Sugar Land’s economic development stays diverse as some portions of the city are redeveloped and the remaining undeveloped land becomes limited?

We need to prioritize what benefits residents the most. A core tenant of my platform is continuing to build out the mini-medical center that is growing in District 2 to ensure access to high-quality health care services, particularly for our elderly population. We should emphasize spaces that highlight our cultural diversity, especially in the arts, as businesses, I will prioritize a target list of key employers to attract to the city, based on something unique to Sugar Land. Regarding employment, beyond maintaining existing the skillsets of Sugar Land residents.

5. If elected, what challenge will be your top priority, and why?

Sugar Land is in an exceptional position today, maintaining its suburban atmosphere while having access to big city amenities. How do we prepare the city for the next century so that we can continue to be a destination for people to live and raise families as well as for companies to establish their campuses? There is a delicate balance between positive growth and retaining what makes Sugar Land great. I want to ensure we don’t lose our skilled young people to brain drain, that small businesses continue to thrive, and that we prepare ourselves for the economy of the future.

David Gornet

Occupation: Civil engineer

Years in Sugar Land: 28 years

Phone number: 713-542-8524

Website: www.gornet.net

1. What would you do to help accelerate the redevelopment of Imperial Market?

The city has created a TIRZ [tax increment reinvestment zone] for the Imperial Market that utilizes the increased value of the properties to support the redevelopment. This is a private development project. Beyond the TIRZ, the city is limited in further activities to support the project. The Imperial Market project will benefit the city by addressing the increasing demand for retail, restaurant, entertainment, residential and commercial opportunities.  The best way the city can further accelerate the project is to continue communications with the development partners to encourage continued investment in the project.

2. What are your thoughts on the reburial of the human remains discovered on Fort Bend ISD’s construction site in Sugar Land?

The remains uncovered by FBISD are an important reminder of the past. Fort Bend County has authorized an agreement with FBISD to take control of the remains and create a resting site and memorial for them near where they were found. The county and FBISD are working through the legal and financial issues related to this. The city has previously offered assistance with the proper interment of the remains, though it was declined. I believe the city should continue to communicate with the parties and be willing to facilitate any issues that cannot be handled by the county or FBISD.

3. What are your thoughts on multifamily developments in Sugar Land? Would you add more apartments or do you feel the city has enough?

As a homeowner I feel the existing and approved multifamily projects should meet needs of the city. There is a place for multifamily housing to accommodate people who want to live in Sugar Land. Whether young adults, professionals on assignment in the area or seniors, multifamily housing is a tool available to bridge their diverse needs. Current projects appear to meet current demand. One additional project has already been approved through a master plan agreement as a part of a planned development.

4. How would you work to ensure Sugar Land’s economic development stays diverse as some portions of the city are redeveloped and the remaining undeveloped land becomes limited?

Sugar Land is a great place to live because of its diversity and the opportunity it has provided to entrepreneurs to invest and develop in our community. The city needs to be open to development and redevelopment concepts that will enhance the quality of life. By advancing our bike/ped mobility program we can encourage walking or bike riding to access the diversity of offerings that the city affords. And, just as Uber or Lyft have become mainstream, the city needs flexibility to be able to adapt our community in the future to new technology.

5. If elected, what challenge will be your top priority, and why?

Sugar Land has planned and addressed many issues before they became challenges. My top priority will be public safety. To me public safety is the cornerstone of our quality of life. Our police department works to keep us safe but needs our support and modern tools to effectively protect us. The fire department and EMS services likewise need modern equipment to best respond to the demands of our growing community. Public works—that designs and maintains our network of roads, bridges, sidewalks, drainage, water supply and water treatment facilities—provides an often unseen, though equally important, public safety function.

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Beth Marshall
Born and raised in Montgomery County, Beth Marshall graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in business. Originally hired as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in 2016, she became editor of the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition in October 2017.
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