Jim Tolbert, El Paso City Council District 2 candidate
Name: Jim Tolbert
District 2 Representative on City Council
Occupation: Print Broker/Independent Sales Rep for Promotional Products
Education: B.S.Ed., 1975, Texas Tech Univ.; M.Div., 1983, Episcopal Seminary of the SW, Austin, TX
Family: Divorced with two adult children who live in Houston.
1) NUMBER-ONE CAMPAIGN FOCUS:
For District 2 I will make sure that the Quality of Life Bond money for this District is spent as targeted and as soon as possible. Street repairs, code compliance, business development (which includes supporting established local businesses and bringing in new businesses) will all be projects that I will focus on while working with and strengtheningour neighborhood associations and upgrading our existing infrastructure and bringing better green infrastructure to the area.
For El Paso the number one issue is water conservation and solutions must be sought aggressivelyand universally while working with the PSB/EPWU and other regional stakeholders. We must do more withgreen infrastructure/low impact development. At the same time, El Paso needs to get more aggressivein developing solar energy capabilities and more localized means of generating energy.
2) WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM YOUR OPPONENTS?
I am not agenda-driven but solution driven. I am positive about El Paso and our future. I knowhow to bring people together and find solutions that are not mere compromises but comprehensive approaches that are win-win-win and are arrived at while respecting the opinions and values of all persons involved. For the last seven years I have been very active in neighborhood and city activities.I know people. I know where to go. I know how to get things done. In fact, my entire professional life either as a priest, salesperson or community activist has been based on well-honed communication, organizational managementand relationship skills. To put it simply: I’ve been around the block just a few more times.
3) RELEVANT EXPERIENCE THAT QUALIFIES YOU FOR THE POSITION YOU SEEK:
Since 2007 I have served on the Board of the Newman Park Neighborhood Association which I helped to begin. I have been Secretary and President. I have done the community e-letter andweb site (blog). As a prominent board member I have been involved with several City departments. I have served the City on the Building and Standards Commission and am currently co-chair of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Open Space Advisory Board. As a citizen activist I led a successful petition drive to preserve land in the El Paso NW in its natural state and then worked with all stakeholders to arrive at a new Master Plan that is win-win-win for all–conservationists,developers, city planners, PSB and so forth. I am including my resume and you can see other relevant experiences from my activitiesin the past.
4) IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO REVOKE ONE ORDINANCE IN EL PASO IMMEDIATELY UPON TAKING OFFICE, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE?
I would repeal, rewrite, or changeChapter 20.20 of the Municipal Code: http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=16180It regulates demolitions and modifications within historic districts and it needs to be repealed and simultaneouslyreplaced with a better written and stronger ordinance. As things stands, there are too many conflicts of interest within the city government (per the current code) and too little protection for historic buildings. Just look at how easy it was to demolishtwo Trost buildings within the Downtown Historic District, on two important squares.
5) DESCRIBE A MOMENT THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE:
In 1984 I was ordained a Priest in the Episcopal Church. Although I subsequently chose to enter the secular life, I am still bound by my oaths to care for others, to treat all persons reverently and to seek the truth and live according to that truth as I might find it. I am especiallyto be mindful of those who are powerless, marginalized, who are on the fringes of our society . . . for the sick and the suffering. I approach all relationships and tasks with these “callings”in mind.
6) IN WHAT WAYS IS EL PASO ON THE RIGHT TRACK, AND IN WHAT WAYS DOES IT NEED TO CHANGE COURSE?
One of the main reasons why I wanted to run is so that El Paso can continue ona progressive path: downtown re-development, preservation of open space, smart growth/smart code, etc. I am excited about Plan El Paso, a Master Plan developed by the participation of many citizens and other stakeholders over a long period of time. However, El Paso must become more proactive in using and promoting the use of alternative forms of energy such as solar. El Paso must get out front in promoting a regional plan for water conservation –not just with EPWU but as a City. We must do more with rainwater management with green infrastructure/low impact development. We must be open to the new, innovative ideas in permaculture, community gardens and local energy independence.
El Paso must be more responsive to citizens groups such as those that want to promote heritage tourism and preserve our precious historical treasures especially those downtown. We must listen to conservation groups and realize the huge potential we have for ecotourism.
City departments must communicate better among themselves. When one department can help another meet their goals, they should do so. We all need to learn to be more proactive when it comes to beautifying our city and keeping it beautiful.
No project nor policy should be adopted unless there has been more than adequate vetting with the public and involvement with the public for planning and policy-making.
Any project –particularly transportation projects –must be done with respect to our
environment, ecosystem, ecosystem services and must never be done at the expense of our most marginalized citizens or their neighborhoods.
7) IF ELECTED, HOW WILL YOU BALANCE THE NEEDS OF FAMILY, YOUR CAREER AND YOUR OFFICE? I see no significant balancing act that I will have to perform. Both of my children are adults. For the past six years I have managed my business without taking on any significant new clientele and I don’t need to do sonor do I plan to do so. I do hope to find more time to do things for my church and will schedule my time so not to distract from my duties as a City Representative.
8) WHEN AND WHY DID YOU COME TO EL PASO (IF APPLICABLE)?
I was born and raised in El Paso in this neighborhood and even in this house as a matter of fact. I returned to El Paso in 2006 so that I could assist my mother (who was 92 at the time) and allow her to stay in her home rather than move to foster care. My sales business allowed me the opportunity to do so. My son was just graduating from UW and I had just put my daughter into college in California. I was able to keep my Mom in her home until just three months before she passed away this last September when she was 98. I have loved being home because I love my city and my neighborhood.
9) PLEASE INDICATE WHETHER YOU HAVE A WEBSITE, TWITTER OR FACEBOOK ACCOUNT:
Twitter as elpasonaturally: