November 2020 election: League City City Council candidate Q&A



LEAGUE CITY



City Council Position 4










John P. Bowen




Occupation: Retired Network Engineer


Experience: Worked for Harford County Government (Maryland) as Equipment Operator and Roads and Bridges Crew Member and consulted as Network Engineer for local governments and education systems






What can League City do to help local businesses affected by COVID-19?



JB: Covid has been hard on everyone and especially on business as they not only had to deal with it personally, they had to navigate the issues of keeping their employees and customers safe. League City efforts to support local business must provide a clear and unified, single source, message by gathering all best practice directives from Federal State and Local Health officials. These best practices must be uniform and applied evenly across all businesses. By doing this it gives all business as fair and even a playing field to work from, it is not any governments position to pick and choose winners. Immediate and direct action should be explored as a combination effort with the chamber to advertise all our businesses as open and ready for business. Notifying our citizens and surrounding areas that we are back to business could go a long way to helping some stay in business.



Flooding is a major concern among residents. What more can the city do to alleviate these concerns?



JB: With the implementation of the 1/4% sales tax and the projects approved with the bond issue the city must do everything in it's power to ensure these projects are completed as quickly as possible. All the projects were contracted with an incentive for early completion and penalty for late completion contracts. The greatest thing we can do is be better at adding and upgrading drainage in a strong ongoing method so as to not fall behind. Allowing projects and upgrades to fall behind puts areas of the city at risk, adds to debt and removes opportunities to do work in the most cost and time effective ways. The absolute best approach is to foresee these issues and add the upgrades in conjunction; but where available in advance of their need like the southwest water treatment facility.



Traffic congestion is a problem in League City. What should the city do to address this?



JB: Traffic is a major issue in League City. Two items that could help with congestion are: 1. More involvement in the planning phase of state projects. We have all seen projects put in where simple right hand turn lanes are overlooked and added after the fact with additional disruption and cost by not accomplishing them with the initial project. It even happens on city run projects with an example being at Calder and 96.2. Is our timing as it relates to projects that could be done in advance of others to facilitate other traffic patterns or delayed to allow for egress on existing roads. Having the ability to bypass some of the construction areas will often help with congestion.



What do you bring to the table that your opponents do not?



JB: There are a few things that I bring to the table that separate me from my colleagues. Number 1 is time. Being retired I can commit the time necessary to be involved well beyond just the biweekly meeting and workshops. I commit to attending the groups and committees that council members must be available for to ensure a good working relationship with surrounding jurisdictions and organizations. Number 2 is a proven passion to serve my community as evidenced in my years of attending council meetings, workshops, budget reviews and involvement with Galveston County Community Emergency Response Team as well as my volunteer efforts in League City during the response to Harvey. Number 3 is my work experience in identifying opportunities and problems, working with stakeholders to deliver the best solution for business and government organizations as an employee and a consultant.








Rachel McAdam




Occupation: Elementary School Principal


Experience: Public leadership for 12 years and HOA Board of Directors






What can League City do to help local businesses affected by COVID-19?



RM: Small businesses serve as vital anchors in League City and we must do our part to help them recover by promoting, supporting, and buying local. As councilwoman, I will advocate to set-up citywide competitions encouraging residents to eat and shop local. This will advertise local businesses and keep revenue in League City. We can also be a hub of information to our business community by creating a central, online source of resources and information. Information provided will include how businesses connect to state and federal resources and how to move their business online, creating a digital presence.



Flooding is a major concern among residents. What more can the city do to alleviate these concerns?



RM: Public safety is always my number one concern. After the devastation of Harvey, we know flooding must be addressed to keep our citizens safe. League City has identified 21 drainage projects and the citizens have funded the projects through a $73 million bond. Currently, the status of the drainage projects is: 12 - Under design, 5 - Grant eligible, 4 - Scheduled for design in 2021 - 2023, and 2 to begin this fall for the Bay Ridge Subdivision. As a councilwoman, I will work to increase communication, transparency, and accountability for our drainage projects to ensure these projects are completed in a timely manner.



Traffic congestion is a problem in League City. What should the city do to address this?



RM: As any resident in League City knows, traffic congestion is an everyday concern. League City has already identified 10 traffic/mobility projects, funded when citizens passed a bond in May of 2019. As of today, only one of the projects has begun. It is essential that these projects are completed in a timely manner. Additionally, the city must continue to survey the needs of our city and take a proactive approach when planning infrastructure to keep up with the rapid growth of our city. Signals throughout our city need to be synced and then audited on a scheduled, monthly basis.



What do you bring to the table that your opponents do not?



RM: I am a mother, educator, and a leader. I want to give back to the community by ensuring there is accountability, responsible growth, public safety, and servant leadership. I recognize the value of being a good steward of taxpayers’ money. As a school principal, I know how to do more with less and will approach the League City budget the same. As a public servant, I make unbiased decisions based on the information presented, which allows me to do what is best for all stakeholders. I know building relationships, and strong communication is key when representing League City.








Ange Mertens




Occupation: Flight Attendant/ Journalist


Experience: I have served on the Parks Board, I am the only candidate who has served in a city position. It has been vital to learning how the city works., how money is approved and allocated and how grants are sought out and applied for on every project. It has also been important to be a part of the big picture considering future growth and needs because many projects take years to design, plan, and fund before they come to fruition. I have spent years attending classes, workshops and seminars on flooding so that I am up on needs, planning and future goals on drainage and flood mitigation. I have attended 4 years of budget workshops so that I can understand how our money is allocated in the city and the city councils’ role in being a good steward of your money.






What can League City do to help local businesses affected by COVID-19?



AM: I think that one way we can help local businesses is to implore residents to be more conscious of using local businesses. With a population near 110,000 we could do a lot to help keep our businesses alive by not going outside of Our city to eat, shop or use services. Within this great community we can find almost everything we need. If League city is your “home” then during this tough time shop at “home”, eat at “home”, think Local. I would also like to have a Job Fair to help those who have lost their jobs or businesses due to COVID, with counsels and job training opportunities. It could even be virtual. We need to invest in our people.



Flooding is a major concern among residents. What more can the city do to alleviate these concerns?



AM: After standing in chest deep water in my neighborhood during hurricane Harvey I know I have a shared desire to never live through that devastation again. We need to work with state, county and other local officials to facilitate plans that work together to keep waterways from flooding along our shared paths. We need to continually clean out the creeks and bayous, deepen portions and have continuing maintenance of overgrowth. Neighborhood drains need to be maintained and flow freely. We need to continually monitor the building codes like the required raising of new construction 2 feet higher, and requiring builders to prove their flood mitigation protocols for no ill effects to surrounding areas, in fact they need to make sure the areas are safer than before they built.



Traffic congestion is a problem in League City. What should the city do to address this?



AM: 14 years ago I went to a meeting about the building of the new clear Spring high school where my daughter would be the first class to attend all four years. A part of the meeting talked about a bridge that would go across Palomino and allow the students on that side of the creek and the buses to get through. That bridge is still not built and has now turned into a bridge to go across Landing Boulevard. This is one example of how studies are done, grants are applied for, public opinion changes votes and nothing gets done. We have to make sure that City Council is a group of people with the integrity to stick by their word and the promises that are made AND GET THINGS DONE! There are many roads “in the works” we just need to make sure and keep them on track. .



What do you bring to the table that your opponents do not?



AM: I served on the Parks Board to get an insight to the inner workings of the city. I Have been involved in hundreds of city activities civic, community, and charity events throughout my 19 years in League City. I have attended council meetings, workshops, drainage classes, and have been through disasters in the city and have been in trenches working to fixing them. I am a candidate that is a voice for the people, I feel like it’s very important to talk to as many people as possible and find out what your true needs are And be an advocate to get those things done. I have a great talent for calmly being able to listen to both sides, investigate and learn and come to the best conclusion. We do Not need to have a council that fights again! I can fight for what’s right without getting into a fight!








Shawn Byars




Occupation: Engineer (Mechanical/Manufacturing)


Experience: Project Engineering, Project Management, Campaign Consultant






What can League City do to help local businesses affected by COVID-19?



SB: The City has already been working to help local businesses. The turnaround task force, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, has helped local businesses by centralizing information and access to resources. Local leaders and business owners are working together during these trying times and the City is using its influence in the community to make that happen.



Flooding is a major concern among residents. What more can the city do to alleviate these concerns?



SB: With the implementation of the 1/4% sales tax and the projects approved with the bond issue the city must do everything in it's power to ensure these projects are completed as quickly as possible. All the projects were contracted with an incentive for early completion and penalty for late completion contracts. Several studies have been completed and funds have been allocated for drainage projects that will help mitigate future disasters. Council must ensure that city staff has the manpower and resources needed to execute these projects in a timely and cost-effective manner. The City also needs to ensure that existing ditches and waterways are maintained on a regular basis to maximize flood drainage.



Traffic congestion is a problem in League City. What should the city do to address this?



SB: TXDOT and the City have multiple projects lined up over the next several years to alleviate our traffic congestion. As with the other projects covered in the Capitol Improvement Plan (CIP), Council must ensure that city staff has the manpower and resources they need. As the city grows new needs will arise that will require proper planning and sound decision making.



What do you bring to the table that your opponents do not?



SB: I have worked in engineering and manufacturing for most of my adult life so I understand the challenges associated with large projects. I would bring a positive, well-reasoned and thoughtful decision making process to Council. For new issues I would bring innovative ideas and practical, cost effective solutions, just like I have done over my career.



City Council Position 5















Wes Chorn




Occupation: Owner of Senior Benefit Advisors and Chorn Equities


Experience: I've been self-employed the majority of my life, dealing with profit and loss statements, balancing budgets, managing employees, etc. I understand owning a small business is a lot smaller than the budget of a city of 110,000 people but it is still running a profitable business. I've been to multiple budget meetings and multiple council meetings over the last 10 years. I've spoke at the council when I didn't agree with decisions they were making and I have spoke when I agreed with what they were doing. I'm running for City Council to bring my business knowledge to share with the other members. So I can help the city with the best of my ability.






What can League City do to help local businesses affected by COVID-19?



WC: Covid19 has slowed traffic in many restaurants and stores. We all need to shop and eat local at local establishments as much as possible and generously tip when we are able.



Flooding is a major concern among residents. What more can the city do to alleviate these concerns?



WC: Money is in the Budget to combat local flooding. There are multiple area projects that have begun, we should now start seeing the construction side of it.



Traffic congestion is a problem in League City. What should the city do to address this?



WC: As more people move to the city the more traffic we will have. Money is in the budget to assist with reducing traffic congestion. League City is growing,we need to be prepared and ready for our future.



What do you bring to the table that your opponents do not?



WC: I have been self employed, and run my own businesses for most of my life. This requires planning, budgeting, and daily management all qualities that I have that are useful for being on League City council.








Justin A. Hicks




Occupation: Program and Project Manager


Experience: Private Sector 12 + years in Maritime, Oil and Gas as an Engineer, Project Manager, and Instructor, United States Air Force 13 years






What can League City do to help local businesses affected by COVID-19?



JH: Business owners that are affected by the shutdowns know better than the council or mayor, we need a dedicated open forum for them at every meeting until it's resolved. 100% open business as long as there is a mask, that includes bars, restaurants, salons gyms etc. Put a pin in all unnecessary spending until COVID is over, investigate if some cash pots could be reallocated to provide low/no interest support to keep them going. Stop calling anything non-essential. Every business is essential! We need to preserve what we have before frivolously spending $1M on kayak ramps (for example).



Flooding is a major concern among residents. What more can the city do to alleviate these concerns?



JH: All contractors must be heavily vetted and correctly selected the first time. The city needs to end the practice of starting and stopping projects, this creates wasteful spending and prolongs results. Everywhere possible, local contractors and workers should be selected. The city must keep transparent Gantt charts, updated at a minimum, weekly. Any awarded contractor should be held accountable for bad performance, the city taxpayers should not be responsible for the cost of a missed target, deadline or bad engineering. Vulnerable neighborhoods could be afforded temporary and deploy-able dam solutions in tandem with the pumps.



Traffic congestion is a problem in League City. What should the city do to address this?



JH: According to the City project charts, we are behind on 3 of 5 projects (all stoplights). The city is either not updating the project charts, or not following up on project milestones. We need to make sure that the project manager positions, coming open soon will be filled with the right people. Additionally, in the future I would suggest to implement more traffic circles vs. stoplights. Traffic circles keep traffic moving safely while not stopping flow. I do not believe that stop lights along 96 are the best solution.



What do you bring to the table that your opponents do not?



JH: I am a problem solver, I have the ability to think outside the box, I am able to reach solutions even with very difficult personalities. I am unique from my opponents in that I work exclusively with large projects and budgets in the private sector, I'm responsible for meeting deadlines, staying under budget and reporting to stakeholders. None of the other candidates are beholden to stakeholders, which is exactly like being responsible to tax payers! I am endorsed by no public official, am beholden to no special interest and owe no favors.








Fred Rogers




Occupation: U.S. Navy, retired; realtor


Experience: For the last 10 years, I served as the Chief Recruiter (City Manager Equivalent) of the nation’s largest Navy Recruiting areas. In this role, I provided leadership to numerous Department Heads, oversaw budget workshops, and developed short and long-term goals. To ensure that I remained an effective leader, I pursued and obtained an MBA in Strategic Leadership and a BS in Human Resource Management.






What can League City do to help local businesses affected by COVID-19?



FR: It’s vital that city government partner with our local Chamber of Commerce to educate and assist our business owners on the numerous COVID-19 financial relief programs that’s available through our Federal (Small Business Administration) and State run agencies. In addition, city government should use the various media platforms to encourage our 110K+ citizens to shop locally.



Flooding is a major concern among residents. What more can the city do to alleviate these concerns?



FR: We start by providing a quarterly milestone update via the various media platforms (print, social, visual, audio) on the already approved and in the works, 21 flood protections and drainage improvement projects. Frustration and anxiety builds from lack of open and honest communication. In addition, work with our City Manager and Public Works Department Head to standup a dedicated Tactical Response Crew (TRC) to address some of the smaller drainage issues around the city.



Traffic congestion is a problem in League City. What should the city do to address this?



FR: We start by providing a quarterly milestone update via the various media platforms (print, social, visual, audio) on the already approved and in the works, 10 streets, roadways, and mobility improvement projects. Frustration and anxiety builds from lack of open and honest communication. In addition, make sure project timelines stay on track.



What do you bring to the table that your opponents do not?



FR: Leadership, Experience, Formal Education, Strategic Thinking, Conflict Resolver, Broader Prospective, Unbiased, Synergy Builder and more importantly the “Time” to weigh the facts, examine the data, and have those important discussions with our city’s leadership team on the issues that affect the lives, property, and well-being of the citizens of League City, TX.



By Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper.

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