Election Q&A: Candidates for Plano City Council Place 2

Learn more about the candidates running for Plano City Council Place 2 ahead of the May 1 election. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Learn more about the candidates running for Plano City Council Place 2 ahead of the May 1 election. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

Learn more about the candidates running for Plano City Council Place 2 ahead of the May 1 election. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

Learn more about the candidates running for Plano City Council Place 2 ahead of the May 1 election.

Editor’s note: An asterisk(*) indicates the candidate is an incumbent. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name.


DALLAS-FORT WORTH



Plano City Council Place 2










Steve Lavine



Occupation: community volunteer, retired marketing research entrepreneur








Why are you running for Plano City Council?




SL: I’m a successful entrepreneur and 38-year resident of Plano. After selling my businesses, I’ve dedicated my time to serving the community of Plano. Now, I’m asking for the privilege to serve on City Council. I grew up in a town that went through similar growth and growing pains as Plano. I watched it tackle maturity head on and come out better and more prosperous. I want to help do the same for Plano, the wonderful city that we all love. I have no future political ambitions. As your City Council representative, I will work for you. I will make sure that every penny you pay in taxes is spent carefully and wisely.




What are your qualifications for seeking this office?




SL: I’m a graduate and former chairman of Leadership Plano and attended Plano Citizens Academy. I’ve served more than seven years on the Plano Library Advisory Board, including chairman for three years, and the Plano Parks and Recreation Planning Board. Over the past four years, I’ve attended—online or in person—virtually every City Council meeting.




If elected, what would be your top priorities?




SL: Our roads, aging infrastructure and smart redevelopment are top priorities, as noted below. Additionally, I prioritize:

Keeping Plano Safe: I fully support our police and firefighters and the excellent job they have done keeping our city among the safest in Texas and in the nation. Since peaking in 2003, Plano’s crime rate has dropped to its lowest in many years. We must continue to invest in our police and fire departments to keep their equipment up to date and to retain the experienced personnel who keep our city one of the safest in America.

Keeping Plano Smart: I’m concerned about outside influences from extreme political groups pushing our City Council to make decisions that are not in Plano’s best interests. We need people on council who are practical and focused on Plano’s interests, not the demands of outside political groups.

Keeping Plano Healthy: A healthy city is a prosperous city. The health and welfare of all Plano residents will be my No. 1 goal. I believe we can stay safe and prosper. I support smart public health measures that ensure the health and safety of all Plano residents and the people who work in or visit Plano. I am committed to working to help Plano come out of this pandemic stronger than ever.




As Plano continues to grow and age, what do you see as the city’s top transportation and infrastructure-related concerns? How do you plan to address them?




SL: We need to tackle our city’s maturity head-on. As your City Council representative, I will fight to ensure that we continue investing in our roads, libraries, recreation centers and our neighborhoods. I’ll make sure we keep up with the needs of our aging infrastructure. We can keep our tax rates the lowest in North Texas without sacrificing timely maintenance projects. Shortchanging Plano now will cost homeowners later and hamper the city’s ability to keep up with renewal.




What do you see as the city's top issues related to housing and commercial real estate development? How do you plan to address them?




SL: I’ve fought for quality, compatible development in and around my own neighborhood—with great success—and I’m prepared to fight for all of Plano. Our traffic is a nightmare, largely due to motorists passing through Plano. We need to deal with the demand for homes in Plano to help reduce our traffic nightmare. With space for single-family homes severely limited, we can support the development of middle housing, such as townhomes, condominiums and senior-oriented homes, for those interested in moving here or downsizing. I will weigh each new development on its own merits with Plano neighborhoods’ best interests at heart.


What else do you want voters to know about you?




SL: I’m a solutions-oriented person. I know how to make things happen and to achieve consensus. I can devote myself full-time to council with no motivation other than to serve and no financial interests other than Plano’s best future. I’d like to use my business experience to help build a strong and prosperous future for Plano. Visit my website, www.steve4plano.com!











Anthony Ricciardelli*



Occupation: attorney, Ricciardelli Law Firm








Why are you running for Plano City Council?




AR: I am running for reelection to continue my work on behalf of the people of Plano during this time of both challenge and opportunity. Plano is my hometown, and I love this community. My desire to give back and to make a positive impact spurred me to run in 2017 and is motivating me to run for re-election now. I want to continue to achieve the vision we, as a council, have set: “Plano is a global economic leader bonded by a shared sense of community where residents experience unparalleled quality of life.”




What are your qualifications for seeking this office?




AR: My experience currently serving on City Council enhances my ability to function effectively in this role if re-elected. In 2019, my colleagues on council elected me deputy mayor pro tem. In that capacity, I have helped lead our community through a pandemic, an economic roller coaster and now, a natural disaster (winter storm). In these challenging times, we need a critical mass of council members who are experienced and not just beginning the process of learning to be a council member.

I have long been active in nonprofits and ministries in and around our community. Moreover, my professional experience as an attorney gives me a valuable perspective to add to council. For six years in a row, I have been recognized as a “Rising Star” by Texas Super Lawyers. Finally, as a lifelong Planoite, I can draw on my knowledge of where we have been in guiding us to where we are going.




If elected, what would be your top priorities?




AR: Support police, fire and EMS: I am a staunch supporter of our excellent first responders. I will always provide the resources they need to keep us safe.

Keep Plano a thriving, suburban community: With our remaining land, Plano must focus on land uses that are consistent with the suburban character of the community that we all know and love, limiting high-density development. As a council member, I have advocated for a Plano with vibrant neighborhoods while continuing to recruit desirable employers and bring job growth to our city. I always take feedback from adjacent homeowners and property owners seriously when considering zoning.

Maintain excellent city services while minimizing the property tax burden on Plano families: During my service on City Council, I have taken a stand for fiscal responsibility. I successfully advocated for council to decrease the tax rate to what is known as the “effective tax rate” – something that had not been done in Plano in almost a decade. We have achieved this while maintaining excellent city services and even managing to hire additional city employees when needed.

Advocate for residents and small businesses as we recover from the pandemic and winter storm: I will continue to work diligently on behalf of Plano residents in these challenging times.




As Plano continues to grow and age, what do you see as the city’s top transportation and infrastructure-related concerns? How do you plan to address them?




AR: The population boom that Plano experienced in the 1970s and 1980s led to the construction of a great deal of our infrastructure in a relatively short period of time. As a result, much of our infrastructure—especially roads—is coming due for repair around the same time. Tackling this challenge requires creative thinking. We have already begun implementing innovative solutions, like overlays that cost-effectively extend the life of our roads and using technology to survey our streets’ condition to prioritize which are most in need of repair. We need to keep up with repairs as they are needed and before complete replacement becomes necessary, remembering that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure because replacing roads is much more expensive than repairing roads on a cost per lane-mile basis.




What do you see as the city's top issues related to housing and commercial real estate development? How do you plan to address them?




AR: It is important that new development in Plano be consistent with the suburban character of our city while also enhancing our standing as a business-friendly global economic leader. As a council, we have initiated a process that should yield a comprehensive plan for land use that will continue to harness Plano’s tremendous economic growth while controlling density.

As Plano’s population ages and an ever-increasing percentage of Plano residents reach the 65-plus demographic, it is important that we have senior housing options for seniors who want to downsize while staying in Plano.


What else do you want voters to know about you?




AR: I have maintained an open-door policy during my time on Council. You can call my cell at 972-345-8730 anytime.





By Liesbeth Powers
Liesbeth graduated from Baylor University with a degree in new media journalism in December 2018. She gained her newspaper experience as a staff writer and multimedia editor at her campus paper, The Baylor Lariat. Liesbeth joined the Community Impact team in August 2019, where she reports on all things Plano and Richardson, including Plano City Council and Dallas Area Rapid Transit.


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