By George Slaughter
Ray Boothe, an insurance executive, is seeking his first full term on the Katy City Council. He was appointed as a Ward A council member last year when Chuck Brawner resigned to run for mayor. Boothe was elected in a special election to serve the remainder of the unexpired term. He is facing Janet Corte, a retired IT consultant, who is making her first bid for elected office.
For polling times and places, including absentee voting information, see the city’s election page.
1. Why do you want this job?
My interest began with an issue involving my street and the frustration resulting from that event. My neighbors Gary Jones and Eddie Lopez urged me to participate in the political process. They invited me to attend various city meetings and become involved. I was eventually appointed to the city planning and zoning board by Mayor Fabol Hughes. After nearly two years, the mayor approached me about Chuck Brawner’s position on city council. After prayerful consideration with my wife, I accepted the appointment for city council member of Ward A. I have lived in Katy since 1991. My wife, Shari, and I own a home as well as commercial property in Katy that houses our family business. I want to fight for a conservative and moral value system that I believe is slipping away.
2. If elected, what would your top three priorities be, and why?
Flooding. Obviously, we must continue to put pressure on state and national governments to assist in building the reservoir to the north. Second, we must do all we can locally to get the water out of our neighborhoods and moving downstream without damaging our neighbors to the south. The bond issue will help address that component. Third, we need to re-evaluate development and building standards going forward. If those need to be changed, then discussions need to be started. I do not think we can wait until all the studies are completed years from now. Fourth, I think we need to change the building code to require more pier and beam construction as Katy begins to tear down old homes for new construction. Fifth, we need to watch how we elevate properties with fill dirt for new construction. This has caused problems for citizens by cutting them off from the natural flow of the land. We need to look at some of the things Bellaire has incorporated in their area.
The second priority is to change the customer relationship issues at the city. The biggest complaint I get as a councilmember is how citizens are treated by employees of certain departments. How in the world does Chick-Fil-A get their employees, making $10 an hour to say my pleasure to serve you but the city cannot get some of their employees to treat our citizens with the same respect? The first thing that needs to be done is to send customer service surveys after service calls. If a specific employee continues to have a bad attitude, then you can address this employee and solve two problems. One, you have a record of which employee is underperforming and two, you have a case already built for removing the employee. I would then eliminate across the board raises and go to a merit raise system. The city needs to reward excellent work with incentives. Not returning calls or treating citizens with disrespect should not be tolerated.
Finally, I believe in having the best and most professional police and fire that we can afford. I believe in a strong military and on a local level that translates into a strong police and fire. A strong police force, like a strong military, acts as a deterrent.
3. Would you encourage citizens to vote for or against the bond proposal, and why?
For. In the old days, if your neighbor’s barn burned down, the community got together and had a barn raising. In my mind this is similar. Everyone will contribute in a small way to assist in our neighbor’s drainage improvement to hopefully prevent future flooding.
4. Is Katy handling growth properly? If yes, why? If no, how would you, if elected, change that?
In most cases, yes. I believe the administration has worked very hard to be strategic about growth. The City has annexed areas where commercial can be located with minimal disturbance to residential areas. They are to be commended for that work because these businesses strengthen the City’s financial position. Unfortunately, some things were done many years ago that cannot be reversed. For example, gas stations in the middle of town. I would have preferred all stations on the edge of town or major road ways.
5. Is there anything else about your candidacy that Covering Katy readers should know?
If you read the above items, you may be asking yourself, how can Ray say he is a true conservative? Here is my answer. We all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, when your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness imposes on my right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, then we have a problem. If I flood my neighbor’s yard because I have built my land higher to drain more quickly, then we may have a problem. If the gas station is pressure washing at midnight or if trash pickup is at 4 in the morning, then we may have a problem. When we live in a close community, there are some sacrifices that are made for the betterment of everyone. However, the trade-off for me is a good relationship with neighbors and having pie at the local diner with my friends. Some freedoms are worth the sacrifice for me. For others, maybe not. Please know, I will fight for your right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and believe that a limited government is the best government.