Voters will decide two council positions

In News by Reporter News

Manvel voters will decide two council positions in the general election on Saturday, May 9. Early voting is available at any county voting location through May 5. A recently approved program will now allow voters to cast their ballot at any county voting location on Election Day as well.

Place 1 sees incumbent Adrian Gaspar challenged by Jerome Hudson who has served on numerous city committees and boards, including the Planning, Development, and Zoning Commission (PD&Z), Manvel Education Facilities Corporation, Capital Improvements Advisory Committee, Manvel’s Rental Appeals Board, and the Manvel Fair Housing Work Group. Hudson says he wants to bring business expertise and knowledge to city council that he has acquired from thirty-five years of community organizational service and involvement throughout the metro Houston area and thirty years as a business owner. He intends to push for continuous growth, development and prosperity within the city boundaries, and give extra attention to maintaining the semi-rural atmosphere that is a unique identity for Manvel’s current and future citizens. Hudson says he has a passion for serving the residents of Manvel and sees a need to address a myriad of community issues. “I truly want to see the community grow and develop. I want to make a difference!”

Gaspar, a 23-year veteran of the Houston Police Department, is seeking his second term on council. He expresses great passion on property rights, citizen’s freedoms, and the city not overextending and overstepping on people’s civil rights. He is running to be the voice of the citizens: “I want to act on behalf of the average citizen. I want to make it so that the city doesn’t infringe on a citizen’s rights in his or her own home. I want to make the city more open to businesses, in addition to expanding the city’s revenue so that our city can benefit and grow.” Gaspar believes his many years as a police officer has given him a talent in communicating with the public. “I am a people person, which means that I like talking to people and hearing their side of the issue. This will allow average citizens to have a voice in the way Manvel grows, and which policies and ordinances will be passed.”

He believes the greatest challenge for city council will be keeping density down and considers it important to not deviate from the city’s Comprehensive Plan, Drainage Plan, and zoning ordinances. He supports the currently proposed Thoroughfare Plan, saying the city needs to stick to it once it is passed. Gaspar strongly supports the Manvel Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and encourages citizens to support MEDC’s effort to regain the 1/4% sales tax allocation on the ballot. “MEDC projects will always benefit the citizens in the long run and it will help bring us a grocery store.”

Place 2 sees incumbent Maureen DelBello opposing Lorraine Hehn who expresses frustration at seeing the long hours citizens donate to the city being ignored and unappreciated. She sees the city having the prospect to be something amazing but believes important opportunities are slipping away; “This is the time when our city takes the shape it will have for the rest of this century. Development is here and like it or not our town is going to change as individuals sell their land to developers and those developers build housing and retail. Our town is facing major decisions, decisions like where shopping malls and roads will go, and the citizens deserve a council that has the time and interest to dig deep into these issues, not make snap decisions based on gut feelings. As a member of our town’s Planning, Development and Zoning Committee I see proposed development and hear our citizen’s voices.”

Hehn says she has attended most every city council meeting for the last three years. She is a member of the Planning, Development and Zoning Commission (PD&Z), served on the Charter Review Commission, and was a member of the committee to develop the current Comprehensive Plan, on which she asserts to have fought for better development and a better deal for our citizens. “Sadly, I have often found myself fighting not the developers but our own city government and in particular my opponent, who does not attend any of the PD&Z meetings nor did she attend any of the Comprehensive Plan meetings. Unlike my opponent I have the time to attend all important city meetings and I not only know the issues but I have often helped write the solutions to those problems.”

As Hehn sees things, Manvel does not have the luxury of having both long-term and short-term challenges. “The decisions we make now in the short-term will be with us for a very, very long time. Decisions like where shopping malls and roads will go, and if we are going to allow apartment complexes or small lots into our town. These are things that once they are done cannot be undone. Bad development will make us into another commuter subdivision of Houston; good development will make us into a great place to live, work, and play. Development should not adversely affect those that wish to continue living on large acreage lots, and if you do wish to sell a piece of your property, good development in a great community will protect your property value so you can get the most for your land.” She feels the job of city council “is to provide direction and the vision of where the town is going. Council gets their direction from contact with the people and I believe that this system has broken down. If elected I will make sure that the will of the people is brought to life in our city’s day to day business. I will be a friend of the citizens, not a friend to developers.”

She believes Manvel has all the “ingredients necessary to be the best town in Texas. We can have great schools, quality parks and trails, fantastic retail and restaurants – all without giving up our small town history and charm. As your City Council representative I look forward to this task and I know that together we can build something amazing.”

DelBello has been a Manvel resident for 22 years and says she loves the city. She wants to continue to be a council member “to help protect our current residents as well as the new residents moving in by making sure we have positive and controlled growth in our area. She previously served on council for two terms in 1999 when “we could barely fund any of our departments. We had to put a tight hold on our budget until the city could get on its feet. I have many years in accounting and can work well with others.” She has experienced the past struggles Manvel has gone through and hopes voters will re-elect her “off of my past history and loyalty to the city of Manvel. I have always tried to vote for what is best for the citizens and my family. I want my children to grow up in a city that they are proud to call home.”

DelBello believes the biggest challenge facing Manvel today and in the future is “making sure that we continue to grow at a slow pace and that we provide enough quality services to maintain a safe town for our residents. We cannot let developers get out of control. We have to make good sound decisions for our citizens. We have so many rules and regulations in place right now to protect our citizens and our town but sometimes I would prefer to sit down and really listen to the citizens and their concerns about where the city is going.”

She strongly supports the MEDC ballot proposition: “Manvel has a wonderful and committed MEDC in place at this time. I cannot say enough good things about this committee and how they have helped Manvel with projects to help our future. I hope everyone takes time to vote YES to allow the MEDC to regain its 1/4% tax allocation. Everyone needs to understand that this is not an additional tax but is a percent of the sales tax that is spent on items purchased in our area and the ETJ. The tax burden is shared by everyone, not just Manvel homeowners. Having this in place allows MEDC to help the City with projects that benefit economic growth and in return frees up budgeted monies for roads, drainage and police protection.”

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