Houston Voter Guide 2019: City Council District G candidates

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Incumbent Greg Travis faces two opponents in the Houston City Council District G race. Community Impact Newspaper contacted each candidate with questions about their campaign priorities for the district which covers parts of River Oaks, Uptown and West Houston.

All candidates after the incumbent are listed below in the order they will appear on the ballot.

Responses may have been edited for length.

Incumbent: Greg Travis

Website: www.gregtraviscampaign.com

Occupation/Experience: Houston City Council Member-District G, Board Member of Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), Civil Litigation Attorney, Former Officer in United States Air Force.

How should Houston balance dense, urban development and neighborhood preservation?
Without zoning, little can be done to preserve neighborhoods other than assist in the enforcement of deed restrictions as we do now through the planning and permitting process. Through those processes, we check the deed restrictions to make sure they are being followed. I do think we can better promote the various distinctive neighborhoods and I would do so through Council District Offices.

What types of infrastructure improvements would you advocate for in your district?
Due to our District, we’re limited in our options due to the density and value of our property. In-Line detention under our roadways is the most viable. I have been advocating for this infrastructure improvement along with sub-surface detention in our parks and ball fields. I’ve been advocating for road reconstruction. Most of my CDSF funds have gone into panel replacements, not pothole repairs.

What is the most pressing issue specific to your district?
(1) Infrastructure –drainage and roadways. (2) Public Safety –lack of police consistent presence. Depends on the area within the district as to which is first and which is second.

Tom Baker

Website: www.tombakerforhouston.com

Occupation/Experience: Long-time district G resident and business owner

How should Houston balance dense, urban development and neighborhood preservation?
By working with communities, to project and plan for growth while protecting historic neighborhoods

What types of infrastructure improvements would you advocate for in your district?
Prioritize flood control, improve city repair of roads, services, neighborhood parks and trails

What is the most pressing issue specific to your district?
Flood control, mishandled HISD resources and education issues, burdensome property taxes.

Crystal Pletka

Website: www.crystalpletka.com

Occupation/Experience: My name is Dr. Crystal Pletka and my website is www.crystalpletka.com. I am a PhD Geologist with a broad scientific background, as well as knowledge and experience with management, budgets, and written and verbal communication and reports.

How should Houston balance dense, urban development and neighborhood preservation?
Economic growth, development and neighborhood preservation don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Over time, Houston has organically developed its residential, commercial, and light industrial spaces. In some areas of the city they complement each other, but we have to acknowledge that in some places they are actively in competition and impacting the quality of life. Future development in District G needs to be mindful and weighed against impact on flooding, transportation, loss of green space, and collective impact on neighborhood quality of life. When we begin to develop with those things in mind, we can truly grow as a District.

What types of infrastructure improvements would you advocate for in your district?
The infrastructure needs and capital planning for District G need to complement the unique properties of the district. Our district encompasses three major east-west thoroughfares (I-10, Memorial, and Westheimer), has Buffalo Bayou running through the middle of it, is bounded on the west by Barker reservoir, has Houston’s largest urban green space (Memorial Park) on the east, and contains some of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods. Given this, I would advocate for flood mitigation, transportation, and responsible development infrastructure projects.

What is the most pressing issue specific to your district?
Given the unique properties of the district, flood mitigation needs to be our top priority. District G has been affected by upstream development that makes our district more prone to frequent flooding, in addition to the artificial flooding we saw during Harvey after the releases from Barker and Addicks reservoirs. The district needs to have formal, proactive representation at the table in both Harris County and the City of Houston when flood mitigation projects are developed, discussed, and awarded. As a council member, I will make sure we are represented and not left out these critical discussions.

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Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered health care and public education in Austin.
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