Texpatriate’s Questions for C.O. Bradford

Editorial note: This is the tenth in our series of electronic interviews with City Council, City Controller and Mayoral candidates. We have sent 10 questions based on seven different templates: (1) incumbent City Council, (2) challenger City Council, (3) open seat City Council, (4) challenger Controller, (5) incumbent Controller, (6) challenger Mayoral and (7) incumbent Mayoral. The following are verbatim copies of the questions sent out and the answers received.

https://i1.wp.com/offthekuff.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/bradbradford.jpg

C.O. Bradford, Candidate for the Houston City Council at-large Position #4

Texpatriate: What is your name?
CB: C.O. “Brad” Bradford

T: What is the position you currently hold?
CB: Houston City Council, At Large Position 4

T: What number term are you seeking?
CB: Third

T: What is your political affiliation? We understand that City Council elections are nonpartisan, but this is a point many voters find important. If you are not comfortable currently identifying with a political party, what was the last Political Party’s primary election you voted in (a matter of public record)?
CB: Democrat

T: What was one ordinance you authored that has now become law? If none, what is an ordinance you have introduced?
CB: Fiscal Year 2014 Amendments

Line Number

Amendment Number

Amendment

Council Member

 

4.01

As of February 21, 2013, the Houston Police Department documented nearly 20,000 gang members in the Houston area. This represents a 33% increase in documented gang memberships in just the last three (3) years. Recognizing that summer jobs and after-school programs are effective crime prevention strategies, this Amendment addresses a real need to do something different because too many youth are still being detained, arrested and victimized. This Amendment requires the Administration to identify not less than $3,000,000.00 to fund a Summer Jobs Program for Houston’s Youth. The Program shall commence as soon as practical after approval of the FY2014 Budget, however, it shall commence no later than thirty (30) days after the Budget is approved. The Program shall continue until the allocation of funds has been depleted.

Funding Option: Funding for such program is available and permissible under the Housing Department’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) guidelines, FY2014 revenues $21,805,465.00.

(“Public Services” 16% = $3,600,000.00)

Alternate Funding Option: General Fund No. 1000/General Government 9900 / Commitment Item 520755 Contingency, FY2014 assigned revenue $5,600,000.00.

Alternate Funding Option: General Fund No. 1000 / FY13 Ending Fund Balance-Unassigned $164,487,874.00.

 

Bradford (4)

 

4.02

Many of the City of Houston’s After-School Program Initiatives (14 of 18) are dependent on grant dollars as a funding source or have no designated funding source at all. The unpredictability of grant dollars as a funding source does not allow for planned, ongoing, structured-type activities that are needed to help protect youth from crime, general victimization, or other destructive activities. Parents, program planners and youth need a recurring, dependable funding source to leverage the full   benefits of out-of-school time activities. Also, a General Fund source would place the proper, and much needed, priority on After-School Programs as effective crime prevention strategies. This Amendment requires the Administration to identify $1,500,000.00 to fund the participation for fifty (50) youth at each of thirty (30) locations designated by respective District Council Members.

Funding Option: General Fund No. 1000, FY2014 projected revenues $2,196,579,253.00.

Alternate Funding Option: Police Department Asset Forfeiture Fund No. 2202/2203/2204/1000, FY2014 projected revenues $12,600,000.00.

Alternate Funding Option: Housing Department’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

 

Bradford (4)

 

4.03

The Office of Business Opportunity (OBO) has requested and is scheduled to receive an increase of two (2) FTEs (Full-Time Equivalents) to be funded via the General Fund. Much of OBO’s daily activity deals with contract compliance and vendor services related to the Department of Public Works and Engineering (PWE) activities. Therefore, the costs of funding these two positions are recoverable from the Combined Utility System (CUS). This Amendment requires the Administration to charge-back or “cross-bill” the CUS of the PWE Department and recover these costs.

Funding Option: CUS Fund No. 8300/8301/8305, FY2014 projected revenues $1,001,651,700.00.

Alternate Funding Option: Dedicated Drainage & Street Renewal Fund (DDSRF) Fund No. 2310/2000, FY2014 projected revenues $176,907,700.00.

 

 

Bradford (4)

 

4.04

This Amendment provides additional property tax relief for qualified older homeowners and assists them in keeping their homes. Currently, Harris County offers a $160,000.00 over-65 homestead exemption. However, the City of Houston offers a $70,862.00 exemption. This Amendment would “freeze” or place a ceiling at this year’s (2013) appraisals of homes appraised between $70,862.00 and $160,000.00 for those homeowners over 65 years of age, effective January 1, 2014. However, in the future if the appraised value reaches $160,000.00, the exemption shall not apply to any value exceeding $160,000.00. Eligible homeowners’ savings would range from $0 to approximately $569.00 annually.

Funding Option: Not Applicable

 

Bradford (4)

 

4.05

This Amendment provides additional property tax relief for qualified older homeowners and assists them in keeping their homes. Currently, Harris County offers a $160,000.00 over-65 homestead exemption. However, the City of Houston offers a $70,862.00 exemption. This Amendment would raise the City of Houston exemption to $160,000.00 for those homeowners over 65 years of age, effective January 1, 2014.

Funding Option: Not Applicable

 

Bradford (4)

 

4.06

This Amendment provides additional property tax relief for qualified older homeowners and assists them in keeping their homes. Currently, Harris County offers a $160,000.00 over-65 homestead exemption. However, the City of Houston offers a $70,862.00 exemption. This Amendment would raise the City of Houston exemption to $80,000.00 for those homeowners over 65 years of age, effective January 1, 2014. Eligible homeowners’ savings would range from $0 to approximately $58.00 annually.

Funding Option: Not Applicable

 

Bradford (4)

 

4.07

The General Fund FY2014 ending fund balance shall be maintained at the preferred 7.5% level (of total operating expenditures, excluding debt service). Any accrued reserves exceeding the 7.5% level shall be allocated to increase the City’s Rainy Day Fund above the assigned $20,000,000.00 or allocated to assist in funding a Summer Jobs Program for Houston’s Youth.

Funding Option: Not Applicable

 

 

 

Bradford (4)

 

 

 

4.08

 

Super Neighborhood Councils represent geographically designated areas where residents, civic organizations, institutions and businesses work together to identify, plan, and set priorities to address the needs and concerns of their community. They form organizational structures, draft by-laws, and they are officially recognized by the Mayor and Council Members. To accomplish their objectives, Super Neighborhood representatives need information and statistical data that is organized, easily accessible, and geographically specific. To the extent existing City of Houston personnel and resources are available and adequate, this amendment requires the initiation of a process within 30 days after approval of the FY2014 Budget by the Police, Fire, Public Works and Engineering, Solid Waste Management, Parks and Recreation, Houston Emergency Center, Administration and Regulatory Affairs departments to utilize technology to sort information and statistical data via Super Neighborhood boundaries and make it available.

This amendment only proffers the use of existing City personnel and resources; therefore no additional funding source needs to be identified.

Funding Option: Not Applicable

 

 

 

Bradford (4)

Line Number

Amendment Number

Amendment

Council Member

 

4.01

During a March 11, 2010 Public Safety Committee meeting, HPD personnel reported that the number of documented gang members increased during calendar year 2009 by 42% when compared to 2008. Also, reported gang crimes for the same period increased by 7%. Recognizing that youth summer and after-school programs are effective crime prevention strategies, this amendment requires that a full-time position of Youth Programs Coordinator be established within 30 days after approval of the FY2011 Budget. The Program Coordinator will identify, coordinate, help organize, implement and expand existing City of Houston administered and/or funded summer and after-school programs as well as private, religious and non-profit organizations’ youth programs as permitted, with emphasis on crime prevention strategies. Also, coordinate information between private, religious, non-profit schools and police regarding truancy violations.

 

This position may be assigned to any centralized office within the City government as determined by the Administration. The funding for such a position is available and permissible under the Housing Department’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) guidelines.

Bradford (4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Line Number

Amendment Number

Amendment

Council Member

 

4.02

Super Neighborhood Councils represent geographically designated areas where residents, civic organizations, institutions and businesses work together to identify, plan, and set priorities to address the needs and concerns of their community. They form organizational structures, draft by-laws, and they are officially recognized by the Mayor and Council Members. To accomplish their objectives, Super Neighborhood representatives need information and statistical data that is organized, easily accessible, and geographically specific. To the extent existing City of Houston personnel and resources are available and adequate, this amendment requires the initiation of a process within 30 days after approval of the FY2011 Budget by the Police, Fire, Public Works and Engineering, Solid Waste Management, Parks and Recreation, Houston Emergency Center, Administration and Regulatory Affairs departments to utilize technology to sort information and statistical data via Super Neighborhood boundaries and make it available.

 

This amendment only proffers the use of existing City personnel and resources; therefore no additional funding source needs to be identified.

Bradford (4)

Pennington (12)

Line Number

Amendment Number

Amendment

Council Member

 

4.03

As a part of the budget process each independently elected official including the Mayor, Council Members, and Controller’s office are allocated an approved budget. Council Members are allocated an equal pro rata share of funds for the fiscal year. Often times, conditions and spending priorities vary throughout the year; therefore some Members completely exhaust their budgeted amount, while others due to certain variables may have “year-end excess funds.” To continue to allow some Council Member discretion and independence in managing their respective “approved” budgets, as well as encourage and provide an additional modest incentive to spend funds in a frugal manner, seek opportunities throughout the year to save, and allocate any excess or un-spent funds to core service activities, this amendment requires the Administration to identify not less than five (5) City of Houston core service activities or related goods that any Council Member’s office having residual or year-end excess general funds may be transferred to as specified by the respective Council Member.

 

This amendment does not require the expenditure of any additional funds; therefore no funding source needs to be identified.

Bradford (4)

Rodriguez (14)

Adams (9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Line Number

Amendment Number

Amendment

Council Member

 

4.04

To determine what are adequate and necessary staffing levels required to accomplish the stated objectives of the Houston Police Department and the Houston Fire Department, an independent work demands analysis for each department shall be conducted by an individual, entity, or organization that is separate and apart from the City of Houston. The police department’s analysis shall also address the issue of one-officer and two-officer units, as needed in the field to promote the safe and efficient delivery of police services. The process to initiate the analyses shall commence within 60 days after approval of the FY2011 Budget.

 

The funds allocated for each analysis shall be limited to not more than $200,000.00 and the source of funding will be the appropriate percentage of the Houston Police Department’s Asset Forfeiture $7,200,000.00 Fund No. 2202/2203/2204/1000, FY2011 projected revenue and Houston Fire Department’s Permits and Revenues $6,052,020.00 Fund No. 1000/1200/1200020004, FY2011 projected revenue.

 

Bradford (4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Line Number

Amendment Number

Amendment

Council Member

 

4.05

All General Fund positions (FTEs) in any City Department that have been vacant or unfilled for the entire six month-period beginning January 1, 2010 thru June 30, 2010, shall be eliminated. No later than July 31, 2010, the Administration shall submit to City Council Members a roster of all such positions having been eliminated and the projected savings. If it is later determined that reinstating any of these eliminated positions is necessary, the respective Department Director shall present such justification in writing, along with the costs including benefits, to the Administration for ultimate approval. At least quarterly or every 3 months, the Administration shall submit a report to City Council Members with a roster listing any and all such positions that have been approved for reinstatement.

 

This amendment does not require the expenditure of any additional funds; therefore no funding source needs to be identified.

 

Bradford (4)

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Line Number

Amendment Number

Amendment

Council Member

 

4.06

Houston Police officers’ municipal court overtime pay is currently not subject to any control within the Houston Police Department. Therefore, the Chief of Police is bound by the discretion and practices of another city department when budgeting and managing the overtime account for HPD officers’ municipal court pay expenditures. The Chief of Police doesn’t determine which municipal court location an officer must report to, what time officers must report, how long they are required to stay, or if they must return at a later date when released. All of these variables impact HPD’s court costs and are within the purview and control of the Municipal Courts Judicial Department. To encourage greater oversight and promote accountability of municipal court overtime pay expenditures for police officers, this amendment requires the transfer of responsibility as well as  $5,600,000.00 (HPD’s FY2011 projected municipal court overtime expenditure) from the Houston Police Department’s court overtime pay budget  to either the Municipal Courts Administration or Municipal Courts Judicial Department, as determined by the Administration.

 

This amendment does not require the expenditure of any additional funds; therefore no funding source needs to be identified.

Bradford (4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Line Number

Amendment Number

Amendment

Council Member

 

4.07

The City of Houston Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee considers matters related to public safety and law enforcement. The Committee’s Chair, Vice Chair, and Members are appointed by the Mayor. Because public safety is a community responsibility, many of the variables impacting Houston residents’ general safety are out of the control of public safety departments within the City of Houston. Greater neighborhood and community input is needed to render informed, inclusive decisions and help to restore greater public trust in Houston’s safety service strategies, as well as the citizens’ complaint and review processes.

 

In order to promote greater community involvement, understanding, support, and trust in safety service activities, as well as the citizens’ complaint and review processes, this amendment permits each District Council Member to appoint one (1) citizen from each respective council district to serve as an Advisory Board Member of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. These members would serve in an advisory capacity only and be subject to re-appointment every two years. The first of such appointments shall commence immediately after the approval of the FY2011 Budget.

 

This amendment does not require the expenditure of any additional funds; therefore no funding source needs to be identified.

Bradford (4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Line Number

Amendment Number

Amendment

Council Member

 

4.08

The proposed FY2011 Budget is balanced in part by an anticipated $22 million savings via “efficiencies.” Whereas, all city services are important, core services must be maintained. These include, but are not limited to, basic sanitation services, infrastructure needs, and safety services. To reduce the City’s spending and not negatively impact the delivery of core service activities, City Department Directors shall engage in a discussion and analysis to collectively identify:

1.    What are core services;

2. Which departments contribute directly and/or indirectly to the delivery of core service activities; and

3. Activities deemed not to be a part of core services must be reduced or eliminated to a level which collectively accounts specifically for a quantifiable $22 million savings in personnel and/or activity cuts.

 

By the end of the first quarter of FY2011 (September 30, 2010), The Administration shall present to Council Members a report itemizing such savings.

 

This amendment does not require the expenditure of any additional funds; therefore no funding source needs to be identified.

Bradford (4)

T: Why do you deserve another term?
CB: I have chosen a career of public service and I am seeking re-election to the position I currently hold. I have a detailed understanding of the fiscal, operational and administrative issues confronting our City today.

T: What is an ordinance you would introduce in your next term?
CB:
An ordinance requiring that core services be identified and utilized as a priority funding obligation. Currently, the City spends millions of dollars on some good activities, but they should not have priority over core services such as water, garbage, infrastructure issues and safety services.

T: What has been the most rewarding experience in serving on the City Council?
CB:
Having the opportunity to take action in an effort to benefit the greater good of all.

T: Obviously, an officeholder strives to maintain a diverse core constituency and political base, but all candidates have interest groups they have been traditionally strong with and traditionally weak with, respectively. For you, what would be one example of each type of group?
CB:
I am elected citywide and currently holds very strong, broad-based support across the City of Houston.

T: What has been the most important thing you have learned in your campaign?
CB:
Citizens want candidates and officeholders who have principles, stand on those principles and represent the citizens’ interest!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s