Q&A: Two candidates running for Jersey Village City Council Place 2 this May

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Incumbent Greg Holden and candidate Merrilee Beazley are running for the Position 2 seat on the Jersey Village City Council in the May 4 election.

*Incumbent

Greg Holden*

Years lived in Jersey Village: I have been a resident of Jersey Village since 1996 and was a business owner in Jersey Village for more than 30 years.

Occupation: I am a business owner, having previously owned three childcare facilities for more than 30 years. In addition, I’ve been a Partner in Pinnacle Industries Ltd, since 2004 and, until a recent sale, a Partner in Pinnacle Tool & Supply Ltd. and Pinnacle Rentals Ltd.

Education: I graduated with a business degree from Texas A&M University in 1984.

713-740-4300
713-829-5252

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the city of Jersey Village right now?

Jersey Village is faced with unique challenges and opportunities. At the forefront are flood mitigation and public safety. I’m proud that our city took the early initiative to develop a long term flood mitigation strategy in response to traumatic flood events that have impacted our community. As part of that strategy, Jersey Village must move forward with a water retaining golf course berm project that will work in tandem with improved street drainage in the Wall Street corridor. The city has received $3.9 million in Federal grants to elevate targeted homes that are vulnerable to flooding during major rain events. We will continue to pursue home elevation grants over the next several years as well as continuing to work with Harris County Flood Control to deepen and widen White Oak Bayou through Jersey Village.

Maintaining a high level of public safety remains a challenge as well. As a small town surrounded by a big city, we strive to maintain a small town atmosphere while dealing with the challenges of a large city neighbor and a highly populated unincorporated county. I will continue to support and advance public safety by providing our police and fire departments with the necessary personnel, up-to-date equipment, modern facilities and funding necessary to maintain the highest level of safety and security.

How do you think your experience can help you address those challenges as a member of the Council?

I have extensive leadership experience as a City Council member having been elected to City Council in 2001, serving 4 consecutive terms until 2009. In 2014 I was asked to apply and [was] appointed by City Council to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of a City Council member. I continue to serve in that position today. I also serve on the Crime Control and Prevention District Board and serve on the Jersey Village Police Training Advisory Board. I am a business owner having owned and operated three childcare facilities in and around Jersey Village for more than 30 years. In addition, I have been a partner in Pinnacle Industries Ltd, a distributor of commercial and industrial compressed air products since 2004. I was also a partner in Pinnacle Tool & Supply Ltd and Pinnacle Rentals Ltd from 2004 until the businesses were sold in 2015. I have a business degree from Texas A&M University, extensive business and strategic planning experience and understand the complexities of working within a governmental environment.

What would be your top priorities or agenda items if elected?

My top priorities, if re-elected, would be continuing flood mitigation efforts with the completion of the golf course berm, street drainage improvements, execution and continued pursuit of home elevation grants and to continue working with Harris County Flood Control and the Army Corp of Engineers to widen and deepen White Oak Bayou. I will continue to strongly support public safety initiatives by ensuring our police and fire departments have the most advanced equipment, training, top-notch facilities and adequate funding to ensure the highest level of safety and security for our residents.

I will continue to pursue economic development in Jersey Village. I am proud to have participated in the creation of the most ambitious project in our city’s history in the form of the 43-acre mixed-use, high density Village Center development on Jones Road. I will prioritize the continued collaborative efforts to design, build and complete this amazing development for the community. Village Center will attract a diverse, convenient and highly sought after group of retail, entertainment, hospitality and living options to Jersey Village.

Merrilee Beazley

Years lived in Jersey Village: Jersey Village resident for almost 40 years

Occupation: certified school teacher and a registered nurse. I have a business background. I also recently became an educational consultant.

Education: bachelor’s in elementary education and masters in education from the University of Texas at Austin, bachelor’s in nursing from Texas Women’s University, MBA from Our Lade of the Lake University

www.facebook.com/beazleymerrilee

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the City of Jersey Village right now?

Flooding. It is only a matter of time before Jersey Village is challenged by another major hurricane. Instead of using the [Federal Emergency Management Agency] dollars to elevate flooded houses, I would prefer seeing that money be spent on less costly techniques like flood proofing houses and utilizing moats to surround houses.

Safety. The city of Jersey Village may be exposing itself to many lawsuits. For example, at our golf course, a one-lane bridge designed for golf cars is regularly used by truck and car traffic. Insufficient action has been taken to reduce or eliminate this hazard to life and property. Additionally, seniors typically use the golf course and, while there is a defibrillator available, until recently a majority of the staff had not received the necessary training, along with CPR training.

How do you think your experience can help you address those challenges as a member of the Council?

The [Jersey Village] City Council must provide the vision and focus for Jersey Village. As a Health Care Professional of many decades, and having worked emergency preparedness and response, such as [Hurricane] Katrina, with various agencies in Houston, I am focused on leading [Jersey Village] into a safe and profitable future. Jersey Village has a full-time management staff to execute authorized and funded community projects. Where our city has been lacking is proper planning for predictable events, such as future flooding, where the potential risk of loss of life and property has not been properly addressed. I will bring that focus to the [Jersey Village] City Council.

What would be your top priorities or agenda items if elected?

In addition to the items listed above, trust and transparency are lacking on the city Council. Too many meetings are held in executive sessions without citizen input or discussion. This appears not just an oversight; it seems to be intentional. For example, the citizens were recently made aware that a legally binding, multi-decade agreement to develop a parcel of land which may have unmitigated water and hazardous substance pollution was signed. Why were the citizens not apprised of and allowed any kind of input to the decision?

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Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.
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