By Ruth Ferguson
Editor’s note: Early voting starts April 30, the Garland City Council Elections are May 12.
Speaking by phone last week, BJ Williams stated he was running for office as a result of his commitment to community service for most of his 40 plus years in Garland. A retired human resources manager, one of his stated key priorities is the ability to be a consensus builder in an effort to get things done for the benefit of Garland residents.
“I want to move Garland to the other level. It is not enough to brag about being labeled an all American City,” according to Williams. He also stated that he believes he is the best-qualified candidate in the race, touting his achievements, which include serving as the Chairman of the Planning Commission.
He has been persistent in his attempt to learn more about the needs and concerns of District 4 constituents.
“I have knocked on every door in my district,” Williams shared, which includes about 2,000 households in the district.
The issues of concern to the voters include: public safety, neighborhood revitalization in South Garland as the houses in the area are aging, they want more information about opportunities to revitalize their property.
Statewide and national candidates are able to speak loftily about big idea issues. Local city council elections focus on the basics, they want to know what the city will do to address an aging infrastructure, the sewer system, and water supply. Also, code compliance is mentioned as issues of concerns.
Williams has served on several civic boards and committees. They include eight years on the Garland Plan Commission; chairing the City of Garland Charter Review Committee; the Garland Housing Standards Board; the
Steering Committee Envisioning Garland; and as a Citizen’s Legislative Advisory Committee for Texas State Rep. Angie Chin Button. He is also a graduate of the Leadership Garland program and Garland Citizen’s Fire Academy. Williams was also a member of the Garland Police Department Oral Interview Panel.
According to his website Williams has received endorsements from six former city council members including Reuben Avelar and Annie Dickson. Other endorsements include ministers from several of the churches in the community and the Garland Firefighters Association.
To learn more about Williams’ campaign, visit www.ABetterGarland.org for more information
Paul Hoffman is a Dallas County native and has lived in Garland’s District 4 for the last 33 years. Speaking by phone on April 17 Hoffman said, “I have been involved in community service all my life.” His father is a former district judge and his mother volunteered in numerous community organizations, including the Baylor Medical Board.
Hoffman currently serves on the City of Garland Plan Commission and was a director of the North Texas Municipal Water District board. He also currently serves on State Representative Angie Chen Button’s Water and Natural Resources advisory committee.
When asked why he is running Hoffman responded, “When our current councilman termed out, he asked me to run and I picked up the mantle.” He has received endorsements from State Senator Bob Deuell and former Garland Mayor Bob Day, as well as a local realtor organization.
Hoffman touted that he is, “The most qualified, the most experienced, and greatest number of endorsements from elected officials. I am able to work with people in Austin and Washington for the citizens of Garland. And I will bring my business and technology experience to help control costs and yet bring a higher quality life, growth and services to the South Garland area, the city as a whole and the region.”
When asked about community feedback received during the campaign he indicated it has been fairly positive.
“Unfortunately Garlandites are pretty pleased with how their city is running. They would love to see quality fixing of the potholes and sidewalks made more even. Also code enforcement more evenly handled and applied,” is another concern he has heard.
For more information about his campaign visit http://www.hoffman4garland.com/.
The third candidate is Neil Sheffield, a resident of Garland for 16 years who is very concerned about his neighborhood. He lives in apartments located at Broadway and I-30.
“They are turning into a slum, that receives no police response after 3 a.m.,” according to Sheffield during the NAACP’s Political Forum last month.
During the forum Sheffield acknowledged that he was unlikely to win but said the citizens of District 4 would be well served by either of his opponents who he described as fine men. He is very clear that is primary goal in running for office and if elected is to address the problems within his direct neighborhood.
Sheffield would like to see increased police visibility and improve the look of the neighborhood.
To learn more about Sheffield’s campaign visit http://www.neilsheffield.us/page1.html.