Good morning! Before you leave the keyboard drop a line to Cindy or Alice and tell them you want to enter the Civic Clubs soup cook off. Don’t put it off until the last minute because the last minute is this Wednesday.
Soup / Gumbo Cook Off Update --- NO ENTRY FEES!
The Civic Club realized that all those soup / gumbo cooks will be buying ingredients and sharing with their neighbors -- they shouldn't have to pay for the privilege. PLEASE submit your favorite concoctions, or two or three! Cook Off- Saturday, March 10.
Entry forms are in the ISLANDER (ignore the entry fees) or call Cindy Walbe 281-538-5311 or Alice Westmoreland 713-449-8582.
Brownies in baggies needed for desserts delivered by noon, Saturday. Soup tasting starts at noon - $5.00 per person
Thanks to all who helped with the Voter Registration and an even bigger thanks to all who came out. I hope you got a chance to meet and talk to the candidates who showed up. If you didn’t drop by you missed talking to Councilman Richard Sowrey. Any conversation with him and you’ll know why so many folks voted for him last time. Thank you sir for your service. Bryan Hoerner, Carlo Ianni, Charles Russell and Jeff Terrell were also there just for you.
This from candidate Amanda
1. Why are you running for this office?
I am running for city council for a variety of reasons, but most of all, I hate what has happened to us over the past two years. I want to help our city move forward. I want to bring back a sense of trust to council. I want the citizens to feel confident that their council is working on their behalf, and doing what is in the best interest of Clear Lake Shores.
2. What city committees have you served on in the past and when?
3. Tell us about your education and any degrees you hold.
I grew up in The Woodlands, and graduated from McCullough High School. I then went to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree. I hold a master’s degree from the University of Houston.
4. Do you have any professional designations, i.e. CPA, RN, etc.?
I do not.
5. What is your work experience?
After I graduated from college, I went straight to work for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at its headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. From there, I became an assistant sports information director at Rice University. After five years at Rice, I went to work for (then) Houston mayor Bill White as an event coordinator in his office of special events. Since September of 2007 I have worked at San Jacinto College. I was hired as the assistant director of communications, was promoted to director of communications, and then to my current position of director of communications and publications. I serve as one of the College spokespersons in crisis and media situations, and oversee a staff that manages the College website, social media, public relations, and all graphic design.
6. Describe your most important personal characteristics or traits as they relate to the office you seek.
I’m not quick to make a judgment. I research the topic so I can make an educated and informed decision, and I use common sense. I’m not afraid to state my opinion or disagree with something or someone. I’m willing to listen to all sides of an issue, regardless of my personal opinion or how I feel.
7. Please describe one to three accomplishments or contributions of which you are most proud. These examples should illustrate skills and capabilities you think apply to the office you are seeking. These accomplishments may have occurred at any time during your personal, professional or public life.
One of the things I am most proud of is earning my master’s degree. I was working full time at the time, traveling every other week, and still managed to graduate cum laude. During the two years I was in graduate school, I had to sacrifice a lot, including a personal life at times, but I remained dedicated to earning that degree so that I could position myself for my future. It took a lot of hard work and sacrifice, and that is exactly what is ahead for whoever is elected to council.
8. Please describe the duties of the office you seek, in your own words. Which are the most important duties and why?
First and foremost, the most important duty of a member of city council is fiscal responsibility. Council is responsible for being good stewards of its taxpayer’s money. This includes identifying areas in the city budget that can be trimmed, recommending and adopting processes, procedures and cost-saving measures to ensure city employees (including council members) are spending public funds appropriately, and being accountable.
City council members should also be an advocate for our city to bring in new businesses and residents. City council should support and assist its committees, which are comprised of citizens who volunteer their time, to help them, and in turn the city, achieve their stated goals.
Finally, a city council member should listen to his or her residents. After all, city council represents the residents. I know it’s impossible to please everyone, but city council has a duty to seek input from those it represents.
9. What are the City’s strengths? What are its weaknesses?
Clear Lake Shores has great “bones.” What I mean by that is that we have amazing people who are passionate about so many things, including this city. Our people care, and that shows in everything we do – from city and civic club events, to city council meetings, to helping neighbors in need, and everything in between. We have a solid history of growth – starting out as a small fishing village, and growing into what we are today and where we’ll be in the future. We’re positioned in a great spot on the coast that has potential for growth with the right support.
One of the city’s weaknesses has become more evident over the last couple of years, in that we have lost focus on where we are going. We’ve plateaued in our growth, and although we’re a small city, situated in between several other small to mid-size cities, there is still some room to grow, but that support needs to come from city leaders and residents. Another weakness that I have witnessed over the past couple of years is the communication between council and its residents. As I mentioned above, council members represent the residents, and the residents are entitled to hear from their council and be able to talk to their representatives.
10. Do you think Clear Lake Shores is a well-run city? Why or why not?
Yes and no. Yes, because there are times when we shine, such as in the aftermath of Ike. Clear Lake Shores recovered more quickly than many of the surrounding cities, and that was because our city leaders had the foresight to put resources in place to help us immediately recover. Yes, because our city has been awarded the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle Gold Member award twice in recent years by the state of Texas for fiscal transparency and responsibility. Yes, because given everything that the staff has had to put up with over the past two years, they’ve hung in and done what they can under the circumstances.
No, because in recent years our city leaders have stalled our growth. They haven’t been able to see the big picture to get us to where we need to be. This has halted our sales tax revenue, and forced us to over-spend in some areas.
11. Where do you see Clear Lake Shores in five years and what role would you play to get it there?
I see Clear Lake Shores as still being the great place it is today, the “little slice of paradise” that we all love, only better. I see our city growing, with new businesses and opportunities coming in to the Town Center. I will support the EDC in its efforts so that we can move forward.
12. If elected, how would you handle a constituent's call to complain about a matter?
Listen, listen, listen. As I mentioned above, listening is one of the most important roles of a member of city council. I want to be able to understand the complaint / issue as best I can, and see it from all angles. I would research the nature of the complaint and most importantly, follow through with a response. I’ve emailed council members in the past and never received a response, and I know how frustrating and annoying that can be.
13. What issues would you like to see the council address?
I would like for the city to develop a strategic plan. If one is already in place, then revisit the plan to see if the goals and strategies remain relevant and attainable to the overall goal(s) of the city. There’s talk of doing this for the police department, so why not expand to include the city and all of its departments. This would help all parties to be on the same page in moving forward. I would like for council to conduct an ordinance review. I realize this is not an easy task – I have participated in a full policy review at work, and it takes time and effort – but it is something that will help us to move forward and to tell us if we have the appropriate rules and regulations in place for our community. Council also needs to help the city move forward with the development of the Town Center (are you seeing a theme here?).
14. Please list your top three to five priorities you will champion to move the city forward.
I. Re-building trust and confidence in city council.
II. Bringing a level of transparency back to city government.
III. Fully supporting the EDC in its efforts to bring new business to the city and develop Town Center.
15. Describe how you plan to implement your top three priorities. (50 words or less)
Listen to the residents and consider all opinions and angles. Encourage residents to be involved in their community and city planning by joining committees and talking to their council (easier said than done with current members, I know). Don’t hide behind the council table.
16. What would you like to change about the council?
Should this be alphabetical by last name or first?
I just want a council that wants Clear Lake Shores move forward. I want a council that’s not afraid to talk to its citizens, talk to each other, and talk to and work with the city staff. I want a council that is going to be open and honest, and be mindful of how it spends our money. We’re all in this together for the betterment of Clear Lake Shores, and refusing to talk to a resident, peer, or city employee is unacceptable.
17. What would you like to stay the same about the council?
If by “stay the same” you mean stalling progress, uselessly spending my tax dollars, and relentlessly going after employees and residents, then I don’t want anything to stay the same about council. We need a city council that is going to move past the last two years and get Clear Lake Shores back on the right track.
18. What in your view is the relationship between the Mayor and City Council? What is the main function of each, and where are certain responsibilities shared?
The mayor and city council need to work together and have respect for each other and their respective roles. It’s OK to disagree at times, but city council and the mayor need to have the same goal in mind. I see city council’s role as ensuring proper rules, ordinances, policies, and procedures are in place so that the city staff can effectively do their respective jobs. Council also serves as the voice of its residents. The mayor oversees the operations of the city and the enforcement of the rules, ordinances, policies, and procedures, and brings forward the most qualified persons for employment to meet the city’s mission and goals. Both council and the mayor should be fiscally responsible and good stewards of taxpayer money. Both entities should be on the same page about where the city is headed and how each of them can contribute to getting there.
19. How do you propose to create a positive working relationship?
Be available and honest.
20. Is there anything else you would like our residents to know about your candidacy?
Like all of you, I love Clear Lake Shores. Jay and I cannot imagine living anywhere else. As I said before, I know I’m not going to please everyone, but I will listen, be present, and be active. I’ll be out and about in the community over the next couple of months knocking on doors and meeting those of you I don’t already know.
Now that I’ve answered your questions (I know not all of them), I’d like to hear from you.
1. What are your top three issues for council?
2. What do you see as the role of city council?
I would like to hear your concerns and questions, so feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it out to the voter’s registration drive today, but a 10 year anniversary celebration in Port A was on the books months ago. (I hope it’s as pretty there today as it is here!)
I learned (it is possible) from Bryan’s bit to insert a space here. SO for some of you this is not and has nothing to do with Amanda’s questionnaire. She may or may not find it amusing but I didn’t post it for her. Or you. I post it because I find it amusing for whatever reason.
Laugh at your problems, everybody else does.