The Amarillo Pioneer

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Hayden Pedigo - Amarillo City Council Place 1

The following are the unedited responses from Hayden Pedigo, candidate for Amarillo City Council Place 1. Pedigo is facing incumbent Elaine Hays and challengers Richard H. Herman and Jay U. Kirkman in the May 4th general election.

Hayden Pedigo


Hayden Pedigo.png

What is your educational background? Please list any degrees earned, and institutions attended. You may also list any professional certifications.

Homeschooled. After finishing high school I went to Amarillo College for a semester but left to start working full time in the banking industry.

What is your occupation?

Supervisor at the Santa Fe Federal Credit Union.

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?

I believe that should be voted on by the residents of Amarillo. Let them have their input on how their tax dollars are spent.

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 100% support rebuilding the Thompson Park pool. That pool is not only beneficial to the North Heights neighborhood but also beneficial to the entire city. I believe the pool already should have been in the city budget to rebuild, it shouldn't even have to be brought to a vote. This would be the type of thing most people would be ok paying for through our tax dollars.

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, The meeting should never have moved from the 5PM time and I believe the earlier meeting time is an active form of censorship. If the city council meeting is not accessible to the general public who work during the time the meeting takes places it's not serving the residents of this city.

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 believe the signatures of 5% of the registered voters in 120 days is somewhat restrictive. I believe it should be reduced to 1000 signatures and extend the period of time to get the signatures.

Do you believe more City Council oversight is needed for municipal departments? Why or why not?

Yes. The City Council should be hands-on managers of every city department. That is the only way the people can be put in charge of this city.

What should the future be for the Civic Center complex?

I think Before we consider renovating the Civic Center we need to take a look at what all of the other downtown "improvements" have done to our finances. How much money do we owe for these projects? How will we pay for them? Who has profited from them? These questions need to be answered before we can consider any new projects. We need a full, fair and open investigation into those questions before we can even think about spending more money.

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 topic of bigger musical acts going to Lubbock over Amarillo really starts with Lubbock having a larger venue to host the kind of shows that Amarillo can't sustain. We currently have the Civic Center which has needed renovations for years and The Globe News Center which is far too small to host someone like Garth Brooks. To get these kind of acts a bigger indoor venue would be the only way to get them here. The MPEV being outdoor will prove to be trickier booking acts especially with Amarillo's unpredictable weather. Like I said above, we shouldn't move forward with more renovations if we don't know financially where we are with all the downtown development.

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 would have voted "no" on raising fees for residents to get public info. Public information should move completely paperless and not charge fees to tax paying residents. Make it easier for everyone to obtain any public documents. We pay taxes for public libraries and you don't have to pay a fee for each book you rent, it should be a service provided through tax dollars that is not charged again upon request.

Would you support moving Amarillo's City Council election dates to November of even-numbered years? Please explain.

I would support moving the election date to November because it would help increase voter turnout.

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 think the arrest of Kip was a complete overreach of power and also gave the city a bad look in national news. Our current council has definitely allowed situations to reach boiling points because they won't address complaints and have thin skin.

How would you ensure all citizens have an equal chance to serve on a municipal board, regardless of their political connections?

Getting rid of the at-large election system would be the biggest step we could take to help give everyone a fair chance at running on the strength of their platform and not the amount of money they spend on their campaign.

Would you support establishing a "no-kill" animal shelter in Amarillo? Why or why not?

Yes, I would definitely be for a no-kill shelter in Amarillo. Also establishing a free/low cost spay and neuter program to lower the amount of pets without homes.

Do you support the City of Amarillo's curbside cart program? Why or why not?

I do not support the curbside cart program. I believe it was a massive decision made without the input of Amarillo residents and it's not a practical solution with our high winds and unpredictable weather. This situation circles back to the public perception that the council does not regard the input of the citizens they are supposed to be representing.

What should the City of Amarillo's role be in preventing homelessness in Amarillo? How do you plan to implement that role?

The council would see great improvement if they stopped viewing Amarillo's homeless population as just a cosmetic issue and start viewing it as the human issue it is. Larger cities such as Salt Lake City have taken very progressive measures to help the homeless with housing first programs that have done extremely well. Instead of just trying to keep moving the issue along and ignore it we could approach it head on looking for solutions other cities have used with positive results.

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.

This was not a wise purchase at all. Not only was the purchase a conflict of interest it was bought for more than it's appraised value. This is yet another example of political cronyism and corruption in this city. If I am elected to this council, I will spearhead an effort to expose and reveal this sort of behavior. We need a full and open investigation of all of these activities.

Would you support reforming the Amarillo municipal court?

Yes. The whole system needs to be overhauled and our current practice of jailing poor people for failing to pay fines should be abolished. Our city will never move forward with our current approach to criminal justice. We're way behind the times, and we need to make major changes.

In what cases would you support the issue of certificates of obligation to incur debt for municipal projects? Please explain.

Using "Certificates of Obligation" are a way for government to in-debt future generations without them even knowing about it. It is the worst example of closed-door government, and I am completely opposed to the practice. Let the people decide on all major spending.

Should any future municipally owned parking garages be constructed in the vicinity of City Hall and the Civic Center? Why or why not?

I'm only for the construction if the parking is free and the people vote for it.

How would you ensure public meetings allow maximum public engagement? Please explain.

Restore the meeting time to 5pm or even 6pm to allow working residents to attend the meeting, also air public comment. This two changes never should have happened at all. It is a form of censorship keeping the residents from the meetings and hiding what they are saying at the meetings. We need a much more open government than the one we have now."

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. There are lots of ways a bad government raises taxes. One of them is by re-appraising property, and another is by raising the cost of basic services. I am against all such measures- whenever a citizen is paying more to the government than they did before they have had their taxes raised. I am against all such increases unless the people decide it for themselves.

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.

It is never a good sign if we are cutting funding to public libraries. This again falls into the same category that the Thompson Park pool closing does. If we are stripping funding to libraries and closing community pools we are actively doing a disservice to the entire city.

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?

Not even remotely a wise investment. Red light cameras are not a safer option and the city having to pay a company out of Arizona to issue the tickets along with paying a collections agency to send notices out to anyone that isn't paying is a massive waste of money. We need to ditch the cameras.

Do you believe the City of Amarillo has neglected certain areas of Amarillo? Please explain.

Absolutely, a lot of our historic area have had to sustain themselves without the financial aid downtown has received. Amarillo is risking losing a lot of its historical value by forgetting about these areas.

How would you propose attracting new business to Amarillo, if elected?

Amarillo has a massive population of people under the age of 30 years old but currently there is a massive grey area for career opportunities for our younger demographic that live here and we lose a lot of creative minds to bigger cities. I want to work with the AEDC and the WT Enterprise Center to help find ways to cultivate younger business owners that want to get their start in Amarillo instead of moving somewhere else.

Would you support the establishment of single-member districts for Amarillo City Council elections? Please explain.

100% yes. With Amarillo sitting at about 200,000 residents who make up numerous unique cultures and backgrounds I don't think our city government can accurately represent all of those different needs. Also, with at large voting it has made it far easier for candidates to win on a financial basis utilizing heavy campaign advertising in certain areas of town along with the low voter turnout they rely on to win elections just on the input of one part of town.

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.

Not at all, if anything the tension and anger has only seemed to increase with residents already upset with our city government. I believe that is why meeting times were moved and they stopped airing public comment. It's easier for them to just ignore and hide the complaints than to directly address these reasonable frustrations.

What letter grade would you give the Amarillo City Council for its job performance over the past two years? Please explain.

I am giving a D to all council members because of the complete disregard for the input of Amarillo residents. It is their civic duty to listen to the concerns of the people they represent and not just assume what is best.

What letter grade would you give city manager Jared Miller for his job performance over the past two years? Please explain.

I am giving a D to all council members because of the complete disregard for the input of Amarillo residents. It is their civic duty to listen to the concerns of the people they represent and not just assume what is best.

Are you supported by Amarillo Matters or any other special interest groups?

I am a no donation candidate who is not receiving financial backing from any person or PAC. I want Amarillo to begin moving away from money based politics and my campaign could be the beginning of that.

Why should voters choose you on election day?

Amarillo voters should choose me because I am genuine in my desire to serve the whole population of Amarillo not just one class of people. This is a beautiful town that I love and I don't want to see the rich history and cultures washed away through relentless concrete development. I don't know what is best for all 200,000 residents of Amarillo but the answer to what they need lies in asking them! Being on city council means listening to the population to find progressive solutions to move the city forward, not assuming what's best without their input first and foremost. Amarillo is facing unique and daunting problems in the coming years. Climate change, water depletion, and the possible collapse of the rural counties we are tied to will present huge challenges. The kind of government we have now- an unrepresentative one that speaks only for elites- will not be able to handle these challenges. People like me- younger and with no links to the establishment- will.

Elaine Hays (Incumbent) - Amarillo City Council Place 1

Richard Herman - Amarillo City Council Place 1