Why are you running for city council?
Districts in Pasadena are unique and the Mayor has started a plan to continue to attract families and businesses back to Pasadena, but it seems that we are becoming accustomed to not attaining projects specific to District G. Our homes and businesses were built in the 1960s-1990s, and having lived on Young Street in the 90s, Fairmont Parkway was the place to be. But now businesses and homes in District G need our help.
I am running to represent the residents of District G to “Secure Progress” meaning that we cannot continue to be the lowest on the project graph of the city’s improvement plan. Infrastructure Health needs to be maintained and improved to support the community needs. While the Mayor can focus on the big picture, a council member must know their district’s needs and communicate this to all departments and the council.
My goal is to "Secure Progress" for District G by making sure projects recommended get completed, first responders have the tools necessary to respond, prepare and mitigate for hazards, Infrastructure Health is maintained and that District G is part of the plan equally. I am prepared to represent District G from day one.
Each council district is comprised of thousands of people who live and work in Pasadena. What qualifications, job training and/or volunteer experiences prepare you to serve as the representative of your district?
My journey in life has always had Pasadena as the backdrop. From a young age, walking down Fairmont Parkway to work at the local Jack in the Box off Burke, or running in Crenshaw park to get ready to join the United States Marines after graduating from South Houston High School, Pasadena raised me. I have traveled all over the United States and one thing is certain, Texas is my home and Pasadena has my heart. My knowledge of municipal, safety, security, emergency management and laws are from my experience covering budgets, planning, zoning, economic development, and strategic planning. As a Marine, my character is to get the job done and to Secure Progress. As the Director of Safe and Secure Schools for Goose Creek CISD, my main purpose it to achieve a safe and secure environment for the 31 campuses of the district. As a previous elected council member of the City of Glen Rose, Texas, the city taught me the value of community identity and protecting values as well as preserving tradition. My full list of qualifications can be found on my LinkedIn account: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-j-marquez-jr-em .
What are your top three priorities in serving the city of Pasadena, and one thing you want to advocate for specifically on behalf of your district?
As I continue to talk to the residents of District G these priorities may shift, but so far, these are the top concerning priorities:
1. Public safety assessment in preparedness, mitigation, prevention, response, and recovery for District G. Do we have access to tools needed and can we leverage mobile applications like an anonymous reporting system and other systems to help support the first responder and our community? As an Emergency Management planner, having a good plan is always best.
2. Infrastructure Health. Each district is unique and has specific needs when it comes to streets, roads, and drainage. The strategies used in the Capital Improvement Plan are used to make sure each district is informed of plans and projects in their areas. Having worked in a nuclear power plant, it was important to know the capability of your equipment and any future plans for sustained maintenance. This is no different for a municipality.
3. Communication with the community. The message and direction from the city is good, but we need to hear and see directly what the city is doing for each district. Expanding the website to include district specific pages and newsletters will create information flow that will support a unified message.
Attracting new business and retaining existing businesses is vital to the success of a community. Business owners and industry partners large and small are faced with daily challenges - regulations, fees, permitting, workforce challenges and access to information and resources. What do you think needs to be done to support and grow existing businesses and to attract new businesses to choose Pasadena?
The city is primed to modernize its permit process and utility payment system. There are many different programs to support small businesses, but this can be daunting for some business owners. I have a small business certificate with a concentration in property management and even for me, it is difficult. Specifically, District G has struggled to maintain it’s commerce and business corridors as expanding new corridors are moving toward Sam Houston Toll Way. We should create and promote a Submittal Guide/Checklist similar to Pasadena’s Multi-Family Project Submittal Guide located in the Planning Department website. This can be a collaboration between the Pasadena Economic Development Corporation, Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, San Jacinto College’s Small Business Center and other tools and agencies that can help. Having a roadmap for a successful startup is key to projected growth and sustainment in the city.
Our city is mostly developed, and in order to grow, will have to begin to redevelop. How would you facilitate redevelopment? What tools (TIRZ, chapter 380 agreements, municipal bonds, livable community funding, management districts, grants) would you support to assist with redevelopment?
My focus would be District G and its existing redevelopment plan of our beautiful community. A Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) could support the City of Pasadena but we need to do our home work by benchmarking the various other zones in the area and see how it has helped. Chapter 380 agreements are effective and I have had experience at the economic development and city council side of the this contract between the business and the city (Glen Rose, Texas). A Chapter 380 agreement is great if oversight is effective and claw backs in the contract are enforced. Additionally, our current Charter and Ordinances must be reviewed for any restrictions. Also, businesses have tradition and values as well and they represent a community. If a business fails, it leaves a mark that can affect a community redevelopment, which, in turn, is important to District G and the City of Pasadena. I will always support redevelopment strategies, but businesses and programs should be properly vetted before being offered grants.
“Pasadena Loves Local” is an initiative focused on supporting local business and encouraging all citizens to choose local to benefit our community. In your opinion, what can be done to improve the quality of life in Pasadena so that it is a great place for people to choose Pasadena to live, work, play and shop?
“Pasadena Loves Local” has a great branding strategy and I am proud that it is here in Pasadena. The focus in some areas is about walkability and convenience. An example of this can be Fairmont Parkway and its walkability from Shaver to Sam Houston Parkway. It is good to have some sidewalks but it would be great to have sidewalks on both sides of the street. This could connect community to businesses. In other cities across Texas, changes are being made in the way we do sidewalks from an owner responsibility to a city responsibility with way-finding of services (i.e. city service/attraction signage). Another strategy is including city owned micro parks in older master-planned communities. We have a template in the northern part of the city where a park area could be as big as a block. This could be replicated in District G and other areas of the city using older lots along connecting corridors. My goal is to support the Comprehensive Plan and other plans to make Pasadena a place to live, work, shop and have family fun year-round, especially in District G. Let’s make Pasadena a place to talk about. If you would like more information, please check out www.marquezforpasadena.org.