The following are the unedited responses from Richard Herman, candidate for Amarillo City Council Place 1. Herman is facing incumbent Elaine Hays and challengers Jay U. Kirkman III and Hayden Pedigo in the May 4th general election.
What is your educational background? Please list any degrees earned, and institutions attended. You may also list any professional certifications.
Graduate of the US Army Advance Non Commissioned Officer Course, Graduate of the US Army Combat Engineer Course, Graduate of the US Army Master Gunner Course, Graduate of the Cavalry Scout Course, Graduate Sales Manager Course, Many College Hours with a focus on Law, and Business Administration.
What is your occupation?
US ARMY (Retired)/Individual Business Owner
What is your age?
How many years have you lived in Amarillo?
I've been back home for 16 years this time.
Would you support raising taxes to pay for basic infrastructure improvements? Why or why not?
Well this is a loaded question because were already at the maximum tax rate for a City by the State Law so I wouldn't be able to raise the taxes, but for the record I'm never in favor of raising taxes, and favor looking into balancing the budget.
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?
I absolutely support either repairing the current pool or building a new one, which I'm kind of biased on the subject because of fond memories of swimming there as a kid.
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?
First, I don't support the time change but having said that I think they have to many meetings. I believe one or maybe two meetings even if they ran longer would be better.
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?
I don't agree with the whole petition process and would prefer a single district method be put in place.
Do you believe more City Council oversight is needed for municipal departments? Why or why not?
I really don't like the word oversight because it implies to me that big brother is watching, and who would want to work in that environment? Not me for sure, and I'm pretty sure most of our dedicated City employees wouldn't want to work under a big brother atmosphere. I would prefer the City Council use more of a Team Lean Six Sigma approach which would allow everyone to be a part of making their departments better.
What should the future be for the Civic Center complex?
This is an outstanding question, and honestly there is not enough daylight to answer. I think we need to do something but it would require some major decisions to be made, and after our city has spent all the monies on this Ball Park I'm just not sure were in a financial posture to make the adjustments needed at this time.
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?
The first thing you have to do is take the City out of the entertainment industry because that's not a City Function just like Baseball. Put it back into the hands of the private sector, and I can assure you that great things will happen. I've promoted a lot of different types of events, and really do not care for any of our venues because there is way to much red tape which is what happens when you mix entertainment, and government.
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?
I have been on both ends of this and can honestly say it's a double edge sword. I never agree with raising fees unless it's a last resort, but I do know that for clerks to stop their primary functions to collect this information costs money. I'm more in favor of placing systems in place that is user friendly and people can obtain the Public Record themselves.
Would you support moving Amarillo's City Council election dates to November of even-numbered years? Please explain.
I don't agree with the whole way we hold our current city election and if it was up to me we would line it up with other elections, and go to a staggered term because when you replace everyone at the same time it creates problems.
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?
I believe the whole situation was handled wrong, and could have been avoided all together. Now having said that we all know stuff happens and sometimes we all make mistakes. It's how we handle them, and what corrective actions to improve that is most important.
How would you ensure all citizens have an equal chance to serve on a municipal board, regardless of their political connections?
Our current system does not favor the average person because they really can't afford to participate. We would have to change the whole system making our city a single district council, and create some type of pay plan. Not sure how that would all work out but I know you would have a more balanced representation of all the people in Amarillo.
Would you support establishing a "no-kill" animal shelter in Amarillo? Why or why not?
100 % in support of a "No-Kill" animal shelter, and it's because we all love our animals!
Do you support the City of Amarillo's curbside cart program? Why or why not?
This is another double edged sword because there are people out there that want, and need them, and there are people out there that don't want, and don't need them. All I'm going to say on this is when I'm elected there will be an in depth look into all of it.
What should the City of Amarillo's role be in preventing homelessness in Amarillo? How do you plan to implement that role?
I believe the way we were handling it all before this council took charge was moving in the right direction. So I would call Juliana and get her back on point moving us in the right direction.
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.
I don't think from an investment stand point it was good at all but if I was the one who sold the property to the city I would be pretty happy.
Would you support reforming the Amarillo municipal court?
This question reminds me of someone who salts & peppers their food before tasting it, because I'm always hearing all these folks going to change everything, and they haven't really figured out what's working and what's broke. This would be a good place to use the Team Lean Six approach.
In what cases would you support the issue of certificates of obligation to incur debt for municipal projects? Please explain.
This would depend on the amount because it seems certificates are designed to expedite small items, and emergencies and can be an abusive method of cutting voters out if not used correctly.
Should any future municipally owned parking garages be constructed in the vicinity of City Hall and the Civic Center? Why or why not?
We really should have let the folks that profit from downtown business have a role all of this.
How would you ensure public meetings allow maximum public engagement? Please explain.
I'm not a believer in holding meetings just to hold meetings so we should limit the number of meetings but allow them to go longer at a time more people can attend. I don't believe our current meetings accomplish much, and needs to be fixed.
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 it is an increase, and it's just a different way of collecting more.
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.
Seems like before we go cutting anything we would need to look at the usage, and then make decisions?
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 don't think we should have red light cameras at all because there are to many flaws in the system, and if people new the law they would understand their hard to enforce.
Do you believe the City of Amarillo has neglected certain areas of Amarillo? Please explain.
I believe there is some areas of Amarillo that could use the same love we have shown in others but like my grandma used to say if we go pointing fingers there is more pointing back at us.
How would you propose attracting new business to Amarillo, if elected?
It would depend on what types of business because before I go trying to attract something new we should see if we already have a business we could help expand, and grow. We shouldn't be trying to attract new businesses that put ours out of business. Now if it's a factory or something large with good paying jobs we could offer some incentives but these are a different type of business then we are currently attracting.
Would you support the establishment of single-member districts for Amarillo City Council elections? Please explain.
I believe in single member districts because it gives people someone to hold accountable and communicate with in their area because what's good for the southwestern side of Amarillo may not concern the folks on the northeastern.
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.
All I'm going to say is they changed the tone...
What letter grade would you give the Amarillo City Council for its job performance over the past two years? Please explain.
Once again I'm not going to assign a letter grade because it's been my experience when we cast stones our own glass house may get damaged.
What letter grade would you give city manager Jared Miller for his job performance over the past two years? Please explain.
I'm not going to give Mr. Miller a letter grade because he works for the city, and I don't know what type of leadership, and guidance he has received from those that are in charge.
Are you supported by Amarillo Matters or any other special interest groups?
I'm supported by my family, friends, and of course my dog Scout.
Why should voters choose you on election day?
Amarillo people are winners, and I can bring the right balance to our great city with a "Back to the basics" style of leadership which we need because we are the best city in the state.