It's politics week at WeDentonDoIt. We've been interviewing every person running for city council this year in numerical order by district. Yesterday we spoke with District 1 candidate Kevin Roden and learned quite a bit about tacos among other things. 

Today, we hear from District 2 candidates, Dalton Gregory (incumbent) and his opponent, Alfredo Sanchez. We asked them each the exact same questions, but received pretty different answers. If you live in district 2, or just want to know the types of people representing Denton, read on and get to know these fellas and email Alfredo Sanchez to see when you can stop by his house to try his wife's tacos. Don't know which district you live in? Check out VoteDenton.org to find out! 



What are the three most important issues facing the city today?

1.  Growth and planning for it through the 2030 comprehensive planning process.  Those plans guide city staff and elected officials efforts, policies, and budgeting.  Much of what we enjoy about Denton today is the direct result of previous plans.  So if you want to impact the future of Denton get involved in the Denton 2030 project.  Then elect councilmembers who will honor the plan.

2.  Growth and accommodating it with our infrastructure such as water, electrical service, road maintenance.  We own our electric company and demand grows every year, which means that the system needs to be expanded to carry the load.  We have recently put more emphasis on repairing our roads by increasing that part of the budget by over 50% but we are going to need a lot more just to maintain them at the current level.  Denton has a 50-year water plan but the drought of the last two years makes it clear that we must do more to conserve water.

3.  Growth as it impacts the culture of the city.  Denton feels unique, independent, and authentic.  While one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. it still has a small town atmosphere.  We don’t have to demonize big box retailers, but we must support our local businesses so that they can help help keep Denton authentic and independent.

What do you think are Denton's greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Our people are both our greatest strength and our greatest weakness.  We have a great group of folks who are active in Denton.  Through their work or volunteer efforts they have made Denton what it is today.  But too many folks are sitting on the sidelines.  They don’t get involved in things like the Denton 2030 planning process.  Too many don’t bother to get informed about local issues that have a direct impact on our quality of life or they only get involved when something impacts their particular neighborhood.  All of us working together can make Denton an even greater place to live, work, learn, and play.

What single thing makes your district awesome?

What makes my district awesome is that it is part of Denton.  Our charter calls for four single member districts to enhance the opportunity for the election of minorities to the council.  According to the council ethics policy all council members are to “decide what is best for the whole city.”  We don’t want to pit neighborhoods or districts against one another. 

But if you press me, then here is a partial list of what I love about district 2: the people, the neighborhoods, the parks, the schools, the north side of the historic downtown square, Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center, Water-Works Park, the natatorium, the Elm Fork Green Belt, the wide shoulders on Sherman Dr. north of the waterpark which makes for great road bike rides out into the countryside.

How do you see your possible councilman-ship positively affecting Denton?

Since past performance is the best predictor of future performance let me answer by listing some policies I have helped pass that make Denton a better place: 

Improve opportunities for citizens to be heard by the city,

The “safe passing ordinance” requires motorist to give room for bicyclists, pedestrians, stranded motorists, road crews, persons in wheel chairs, and other vulnerable road users. 

We approved a new Bike and Pedestrian Plan that will improve conditions for active transportation. 

We funded the plan and have started adding bike lanes. 

We now allow food trucks (mobile food units). 

We improved our gas well drilling ordinance to provide more protection for people, neighborhoods, and property values. 

We passed a more comprehensive smoking ban.

We approved construction for a new animal adoption center.

We added 26 acres to North Lakes Park

We have placed restrictions on predatory lenders.

We’ve increased the road repair budget by over 50% in the past four years.

In your opinion, what is the best taco in Denton?

How does an amateur politician answer this one?  For breakfast tacos I’d have to go with Mi Casita.  They are good by themselves but their salsa takes it to another level that can keep you smiling all day.  Frilly’s fish tacos are another favorite.  They are spicy, light, tasty, and oh so satisfying. 

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What are the three most important issues facing the city today?

1). Getting the 2030 Plan right.  The 2030 Plan is the blue print for Denton planning for the next 15 years.

2). It is important that we bring Denton’s diverse community into the City’s leadership.  Denton’s strength is with its diverse community.  I feel that leadership is concentrated among a few individuals.  These few individuals service on multiple boards and committees.  It is time to limit how many boards anyone person can serve on and give others an opportunity to be heard.  

3). Denton has a reputation as not being friendly to the business community.  Citizens and the business community should feel that they are invested in the community and not looked as a threat.

What do you think are Denton's greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Denton’s greatest strength is that there are two major universities located in this community.   There is also a Junior college just a few miles away.  This makes it relatively easy for residents to pursue a higher education.  Denton is a relatively small city with a large population of students this gives Denton a unique personality.

Denton’s greatest weakness is that city management has not realized what great resource Denton has with student young minds at the Universities.  Businesses need to partner more with the Universities to make the Universities more attractive to potential students..   

What single thing makes your district awesome?

It is very diverse.  The diversity of the neighborhoods makes my district awesome.   The district is very middle class.

How do you see your possible councilman-ship positively affecting Denton?

I do like to solve problems by thinking outside the box.  I think my contribution is that I will bring in new solutions to old problems.  I worked as a Wildlife Biologist for 26 years so I have a different prospective to solving problems. 

I believe a single new council member can have some effect on the overall policies adopted by council members.  What is exciting about this election is that there are several young candidates with new ideas.  I believe we could make a difference if we can bring more than one new councilman on board. 

In your opinion, what is the best taco in Denton?

My wife’s tacos.