It is early voting time in Denton. Do you have any clue which candidate you're going to vote for? Do you know which district you live in? Do you know where to vote? Do you even know what you're having for dinner? Don't worry. It will all be okay. Let's get through it together.
As far as how to vote, there are two websites that already exist for this exact purpose. Better yet, they're both even called the same damned thing. Go check out VoteDenton.com or VoteDenton.org and find out information on where and when you can go vote. This week, you can vote early at the Civic Center and the Denton County Elections Administration Building off of 288.
We’ve asked each candidate to respond to two items as we head to the polls for early voting. You can see our two requests below:
1. A response to the "Keep Denton Gritty" letter of endorsements that was released yesterday including any key points that you may agree/disagree with and why.
2. A brief rundown of the main issues of your campaign (i.e. what is important about this election and or Denton in 2015 to you).
The responses below were copied and pasted exactly as they responded. Today, we're covering District 2. The candidates are Keely Briggs and John Ryan.
Keely G. Briggs
1. Quite honestly I am not hung up on it. People and organizations can think what they want and endorse who they want. Keep Denton Gritty never asked for my opinion and hasn’t reached out so there isn’t too much for me to comment on. I have been friends and acquaintances with several business owners and employees in the downtown area for a very, very long time. They know who I am and they know I support them.
2. Protecting our local control and respecting our citizens' choice for a ban on hydraulic fracturing within our city limits. In light of the State's counteraction to our hydraulic fracturing ban it is clear that we also need a much stronger drilling ordinance.
Getting our transportation infrastructure improved for both pedestrians and vehicles. It is important to have a walkable community.
Targeted economic development into currently underserved neighborhoods which lack basic services such as neighborhood markets, banks, and basic retail. There is a huge opportunity for us come up with creative economic development solutions that will improve quality of life, increase the value of our neighborhoods, and provide opportunities for local business owners and entrepreneurs. We put so much focus on the big economic development efforts - and for good reason. But we overlook the big impact of the smaller economic development opportunities.
1. The letter written by a member of the public group Keep Denton Gritty has since been taken down so I only comment on the postings of the group members when it was posted since I never read the letter. According to the posting on their Facebook page it was an extremely rough draft which was posted in error. Comments from the drafter of the letter state they added several “issues” to the letter as a filler to be vetted and changed by key group members before it was consider to be made public, in short it was one person’s rant and not a group idea. It is obvious from the comments the letter was never vetted, was posted by someone other than the drafter and does not reflect the opinions of the group. Multiple apologizes are listed. Almost all groups are formed with a single cause but as they come together realize they have multiple issues in common. This group was formed in reaction to the city council’s public hearing on a proposed smoking ban, two weeks later the ban was passed. Their common issue is the loss of choice. Their very first post explains the name by showing the definition of the word gritty – “showing courage and resolve”, for classic movie fans think of “True Grit”.
In January when the council discussed the expansion of the smoking I stated I was against the idea of adding bars to list of places where smoking is banned. There has been a natural trend for bars to go non-smoking and I feel the owners should have the right to cater to their customers wants for or against a legal activity. Adults should have the ability to make adult decisions and no one needs to go into a bar, it is a choice. Banning a legal activity does not stop that activity it simply moves it somewhere else. My February town hall meeting topic was the proposed smoking ban and I stated my opinion again. I have held strong to my beliefs and when it came time for the vote I voted no. This would explain why the two councilmembers who voted against the ban where listed in the letter.
2. Replacing an aging infrastructure needs to be a priority, just a few years ago the city was only budgeting $2,500,000 when there was a need for $10,000,000 a year to even on the conditions of the roads. The current budget year is the first time we are actually going to excide the $10M and gain ground on many years of neglect.
Protecting and preserving our neighborhoods and historic assets is key to keeping Denton vibrant and unique. I am on a subcommittee that is updating our preservation plan which was written in 1980. We have a number of neighborhoods in District 2 that are eligible for and some looking at becoming historic districts.
Economic development is very important to Denton as we are expected to double in size by 2030. It is important to find ways to increase the number of high paying jobs especially in the areas of tech, medical and aviation.
So there you have it, District 2 Dentonites! Hopefully, if you haven't paid much attention to the ongoing forums, interviews, and the like that have been a part of this extremely important election so far, maybe now you have somewhat of an idea of which candidate to vote for. Go run over to the polls, early vote, and get that sweet sticker while you still can! You can early vote tomorrow (Saturday) from 7am - 7pm at the Denton County Voting Administration Building off of Loop 288.