The following are the unedited responses from Jay U. Kirkman III, candidate for Amarillo City Council Place 1. Kirkman is facing incumbent Elaine Hays and challengers Richard Herman, and Hayden Pedigo in the May 4th general election.
Jay U. Kirkman III
What is your educational background? Please list any degrees earned, and institutions attended. You may also list any professional certifications.
I am a graduate of West Texas A&M in Public Administration. My graduate Master's work continued at WT in Public Administration. My Ph.D work was in International Law at Texas Tech University.
What is your occupation?
What is your age?
How many years have you lived in Amarillo?
Would you support raising taxes to pay for basic infrastructure improvements? Why or why not?
No, we have sufficient bonds and capital improvement funds to direct infrastructure improvement.
Do you support repairing or rebuilding the Thompson Park pool, and if so, how do you plan to pay for the project? If not, why?
Absolutely yes, there is funds in the city budget to construct a new pool.
Do you support the current City Council's decision to change the regular meeting times to 1PM? If so, why? If not, what would be a better time to hold the meetings?
No,I don't support the new time. They should be held after 5pm so working citizens can attend.
Do you believe current petitioning requirements are too strict for citizens looking to place an item on the ballot? If so, what would be a better threshold?
The threshold should reflect the views and opinions of the citizens. There is a reasonable threshold to allow citizens to petition for change.
Do you believe more City Council oversight is needed for municipal departments? Why or why not?
The Council should allow the City Manager and Department Leaders to provide oversights. Unless there are issues, then the Council should have more oversight.
What should the future be for the Civic Center complex?
We have to modernize it to continue to compete for convention and trade shows against other competing cities.
Since 2017, major musical acts like Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, Metallica, Thomas Rhett, and Chris Young have played concerts in Lubbock. Meanwhile, multiple artists have passed Amarillo to perform at venues in other cities. How can Amarillo attract major concerts, such as these, as well as conventions, and other major events?
These concerts are booked in major university centers like Texas Tech. It's based on population stats which we have little control over.
In 2017, the Amarillo City Council voted to increase fees for citizens seeking to obtain public information. Would you have supported this vote? If you were a member of the Council at the time of the vote, how did you vote on this item and why?
No I don't support charging for public information.
Would you support moving Amarillo's City Council election dates to November of even-numbered years? Please explain.
No, the ballot in November is already too crowded. Spring elections are good. Let's voters understand the issues better.
The Amarillo City Council made national headlines in 2018, when a citizen was arrested after clapping in a public meeting. What are your thoughts on this incident, and do you believe the ensuing events were an overreach of the City Council's authority?
1st amendment rights should always be honored. There was a better way to handle the situation.
How would you ensure all citizens have an equal chance to serve on a municipal board, regardless of their political connections?
They should apply and let the council know of their respective interest. It's a political choice of the Council so they pick who they want. Not alot you can do about it.
Would you support establishing a "no-kill" animal shelter in Amarillo? Why or why not?
Absolutely, we need a fully funded facility and staff shelter to be a no kill facility.
Do you support the City of Amarillo's curbside cart program? Why or why not?
Yes, it reduces the use in unintended manners.
What should the City of Amarillo's role be in preventing homelessness in Amarillo? How do you plan to implement that role?
The City should partner with private and church groups to improve services. The old St Anthony hospital is a great location to have a great homeless complex.
The City Council recently voted to purchase a warehouse on Johnson Street for storage of Civic Center items. The purchase attracted controversy due to an alleged conflict of interest in the deal. Do you believe this purchase was a wise investment by the City of Amarillo? Please explain.
No, it was a bad purchase because of the inflated purchase price.
Would you support reforming the Amarillo municipal court?
No, it seems to be working.
In what cases would you support the issue of certificates of obligation to incur debt for municipal projects? Please explain.
Only for major city project works.
Should any future municipally owned parking garages be constructed in the vicinity of City Hall and the Civic Center? Why or why not?
No got plenty.
How would you ensure public meetings allow maximum public engagement? Please explain.
Public notice on TV and newspapers. Have meetings in different parts of the city.
In your view, if a tax bill for a single piece of property increases from the previous year, while the tax rate remains the same, does this constitute a tax increase? Please explain.
Yes, the properties are valued at a higher value rate.
In 2017, the City Council discussed cutting budgets for three libraries in Amarillo, while leaving the budget intact for the Downtown Library and the Southwest Library. Would you support cutting the budget for the local library system to allocate those funds for other projects? Please explain.
No our city library system should receive a top priority for adults and children.
In 2018, the Amarillo City Council voted to add more red light cameras to Amarillo streets. At a time when Governor Abbott is pledging to ban the use of the cameras in the state, do you believe this contract was a wise investment? Why or why not?
I am absolutely opposed to red light camera big brother.
Do you believe the City of Amarillo has neglected certain areas of Amarillo? Please explain.
Yes, there has been so much emphasis on downtown area that the entire city has suffered.
How would you propose attracting new business to Amarillo, if elected?
You have to allow the Amarillo Economic Development Corp to take the lead.
Would you support the establishment of single-member districts for Amarillo City Council elections? Please explain.
Yes, at large is out dated and unfair.
In 2017, several current members of the Amarillo City Council promised to increase civility and "change the tone" at City Hall. Do you believe City Council meetings are more civil today than prior to this City Council's time in office? Please explain.
This Council has made it more difficult to access them and to provide feedback to them. They don't like people who don't agree with them.
What letter grade would you give the Amarillo City Council for its job performance over the past two years? Please explain.
What letter grade would you give city manager Jared Miller for his job performance over the past two years? Please explain.
Don't know what he has been reponsible vs city council members.
Are you supported by Amarillo Matters or any other special interest groups? *
Why should voters choose you on election day?
Putting Amarillo 1st Real Choice not part of a slate.