Despite tremendous economic growth and development throughout our city, Southeast Dallas continues to be left behind. Many of us are tired of watching our community suffer from years of neglect and lack of the opportunities available in other parts of town. I will fight to make sure the city plays a more active role in bringing quality development to District 5. I will work to bring a small business incubator to Southeast Dallas to promote community-oriented businesses that can provide jobs and facilitate collaboration with investors. I will push City Hall to focus on developing a community master plan for Southeast Dallas to identify optimal development sites and determine where to best place a deck park over 175.
We need to work strategically with mobility providers like DART. Improved public transportation goes hand-in-hand with new development. Around the country, cities with successful transit systems like Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta and even some of our suburbs, have worked to develop areas around transit stations by creating higher density residential and retail centers. In Dallas, and especially in District 5, our focus should be on developing a community master plan, which includes transit-oriented development around major hubs along the existing Green Line. If we want to expand transportation options down Buckner Blvd. or Jim Miller to I-30, we need to focus planned development along those major routes.
The Dallas Police Department currently has about 3000 sworn officers, a significant drop from the number of officers in the department in recent years, and we continue to lose experienced officers to the suburbs and other cities. Unfortunately, efforts to recruit new officers are falling short of their goals, even though starting pay has increased from $45,000 to $60,000. We must find ways to attract educated and well-trained officers, without lowering our hiring standards. I propose further collaboration with DISD and the Dallas County Community College District to develop a strong pipeline of homegrown officers with an intimate understanding of the communities they’d be policing. This educational pipeline would help meet our public safety needs and provide another career opportunity for the children in District 5. Additionally, having more young recruits would improve and strengthen the pension system, creating more security for our officers in the future. We should also consider other perks, such as take-home patrol cars and more opportunities for our officers to spend time with their families.
Southeast Dallas has more than its fair share of low-income housing. If our community plans to keep and attract people with disposable income, we need a diverse housing stock that appeals to mid- and upper-income earners. In 2018, the City Council passed its first ever Comprehensive Housing Policy designed to encourage new housing in historically neglected parts of the city. Based on this policy, our community is designated as an Emerging Market Area, ripe for development, but in need of basic improvements in order to attract that development. Although there is little vacant land in District 5, I will work to create more residential zoning and ensure that we finally receive the desperately needed improvements to infrastructure, code enforcement, and crime.
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