Houston Runoff Voter Guide 2019: City Council At-Large Position 4 candidates Anthony Dolcefino and Letitia Plummer

Anthony Dolcefino and Letitia Plummer
Anthony Dolcefino (left) and Letitia Plummer compete for Houston City Council At-Large Position 4. It is open because current Council Member Amanda Edwards is not seeking re-election and is running for US Senate instead.

Anthony Dolcefino (left) and Letitia Plummer compete for Houston City Council At-Large Position 4. It is open because current Council Member Amanda Edwards is not seeking re-election and is running for US Senate instead.

With the exit of Amanda Edwards at the end of her term, the race for City Council At-Large Position 4 was wide open. Letitia Plummer and Anthoy Dolcefino face off in the runoff. Community Impact Newspaper invited candidates to provide the responses below to help voters weigh their options. Responses may have been edited for length.

Early voting takes place Nov. 27 and Dec. 2-10. Election day is Dec. 14.

Anthony Dolcefino

Occupation/experience: I am an investigative researcher at a media consulting firm. My job involves fighting City Hall for the release of public records, something they are notoriously secretive about. In these investigations, I am able to bring cases of corruption and mismanagement of tax dollars to the public’s attention. I previously worked in the Texas House of Representatives, gaining first-hand experience at the state’s legislative process. While attending the University of Texas at Austin, I was an outspoken political activist and hope to bring that fire to council as a watchdog for transparency and accountability to taxpayers.

Website: www.anthonydolcefino.com


What issues do you want to be a lead advocate on?

I will be a watchdog against corruption at City Hall. I will fight for bold ethics reforms, such as the creation of an independent inspector general, a ban on political contributions from contractors who do business with the city, and the release of a publicly-accessible, line-item list of every dollar and contract the city spends money on. These policies will allow for an end to pay-to-play practices and a restoration of the taxpayer right-to-know. I am also the boldest advocate in this race for Houston’s first responders, and will prioritize the immediate implementation of fair pay towards our firefighters.

What role will you play in improving Houston's budgeting and fiscal planning?

I am a proponent of a full-scale audit of every city department to account for the millions in wasted tax dollars each year. I will also fight for 100% of our drainage fee (not the current 50%) to be allocated towards its intended purpose: drainage projects. Through a combination of zero-based budgeting, line-item budget transparency, and an independent audit of City Hall, we can unlock millions in tax revenue that can be used to implement fair pay for our firefighters, prepare our bayous and drainage infrastructure for the next storm, and deliver on our mayor’s failed promise to fix potholes.

What is your take on improving mobility in the city?

There are simple fixes that politicians always talk about but never deliver on, such as the synchronization of lights. Fixing potholes and fast-tracking street construction (prioritizing major thoroughfares) will improve traffic flow. The current investments in transit do not increase mobility for the vast majority of Houstonians, with METRO spending billions in light-rail projects that few people ride. We have invested significantly in inner-city mobility, but finding innovative solutions for commuters is the real key to reducing traffic congestion. METRO should get honest with taxpayers about the ineffectiveness of their $3.5 billion MetroNext plan on the ballot this November.

Letitia Plummer

Occupation/experience: The diversity that Houston offers is familiar since I am the daughter of an immigrant mother (Yemen/Persian) and was raised in a culturally diverse household. This experience has prepared me to understand diversity and inclusion. My father is African American and obtained his Dental Degree from Harvard spending his career focused on serving the underserved community in healthcare. I have spent the last 20 years as a small business owner practicing in the public and private sectors of healthcare. My overall knowledge of creating access to a community healthcare, managing employees, balancing budgets and community service involvement has prepared me to represent Houstonians from an equitable perspective.

Website: www.plummerforhouston.com

What issues do you want to be a lead advocate on?

1. Equal access to compete communities (fair housing, economic development, eliminating food deserts, healthcare facilities, fire/police etc..) regardless of socio-economic or racial demographics.

2. Increased awareness, funding and education of health department programs that support the uninsured population.

3. Fair and equitable dissemination of Harvey relief funds to communities that are not thriving irrespective of property tax value or tax debt.

4. Transparency of funds that have been “earmarked” for specific needs ie. Drainage tax, garbage fees, infrastructure bonds etc., yet they are used for other unrelated projects.

5. Transportation supporting MetroNext, building a more innovative Houston with rail, road/bridges and the elimination of traffic.

What role will you play in improving Houston's budgeting and fiscal planning?

To improve Houston’s budget, we must amend the revenue cap ,monitor “ear-marked” dollars, hire a 3rd auditor and implement budget transparency. The revenue cap and poor spending inhibits the budget and expenditures. “Ear-marked” funds must be utilized for authorized projects voted on by our resident. A 3rd party auditor will allow the city to be evaluated independently. This management of funds will allow our residents to have confidence in how their tax dollars are being spent.

What is your take on improving mobility in the city?

Move away from the freeway system, create additional walkable spaces, Metro and Metro Rail should be free during business hours and freeways should be built in preparation for rail conversion. There should be a tax incentive for people that purchase eco-friendly cars and we need more park and ride access.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.