West Texas Tribune Presents the Candidates Spano

West Texas Tribune Presents the Candidates Spano

By Floyd MillerIt is indeed a pleasure for the West Texas Tribune to present a discussion from the candidates in their own words. We hope that their responses to the questions will help you make an informed decision.Please study the candidates and then vote. Make your voice heard and make your “Dollar Count.” The individual that wins this election will earn $1.00 a year. The $1.00 they receive in no way communicates the importance of the job or the impact it could have on each of usAbilene businessman Bruce Kreitler has filed to run against Councilman Spano for the Place 2 seat. Early voting will take place April 28th-May 5th. Election dayis scheduled May 9th.Tell us a little about yourself example or anything that you consider to be important. I was born in New York City and moved to Abilene in 1981. I came here to work for an oil company. After the oil bust of the 1980s, I went to work as a janitor ‘{{more}}’for the General Dynamics company here in Abilene on the night shift until my wife and I opened Spano’s Italian Restaurant in 1989. We operated the restaurant until 2005. During that time we also purchased H& H Beverages, a small liquor and wine store next to the restaurant. We now have 2 stores and will open a third store sometime in May.We belong to Holy Family Catholic Church. I enjoy gardening, cooking and sometimes woodworking. I have served on several boards over the years, Chamber of commerce, Better Business Bureau, Abilene Business Council , Diamond Back golf tournament for the Noah project and Hendricks Hospice. I currently serve as the Chair of the Dyess AFB support committee of the Military Affairs Committee. I am also the Honorary Commander for the 7th Mission Support Group at Dyess AFB. I have also served on the Abilene Regional Airport Development Board.Why do you want to continue serving on the City Council ?I want to continue to serve on the City Council because I believe that Abilene needs to continue to grow so that everyone can have a chance to benefit from having a vibrant city. One of my immediate goals is to motivate our young citizens to get involved in helping this city grow. After all it is their future. However, those of us with the current responsibility of running the City must lay the groundwork for their future. We are making progress in several areas such as securing the future water source for water, and conserving and re using the water we have. We are being good stewards of our tax dollars. We have created a more business friendly environment, and are working on improving our quality of life. I want to continue working on those things and believe I have helped to accomplish what we have done. What do you see as the most pressing need for the City of Abilene and how would you solve it?First let me say that no one person on the Council can accomplish any one task alone. However that person needs to be a person who is respected and is able to work with others on the Council and staff in order to be able to convey their ideas and work toward getting things done. I am a good listener, I am accessible, and I get results. Aside from the obvious priority of securing water, I believe we need to continue to keep our city services and our first responders up to date with equipment and technology. I will continue to work on quality of life issues, small business issues, and neighborhood issues. I was in favor of increasing the amount for sidewalks in our neighborhoods and believe that is important for our neighborhoods. I have and will continue to support neighborhood initiatives, the forming of neighborhood association and the continued support of our police department in those efforts. The citizens of Abilene will have an opportunity to vote for or against issuing bonds to take care of some needs the City have? If it passes where would you spend the first dollar?Assuming some or all of the bonds pass, the money allocated for each bond must be used for that intended purpose and cannot be used on any other project. I would say the streets would be a priority along with some of the sidewalk projects for safe routes to schools and the public safety items. However the bonds that pass will not be sold all at one time. There are several reasons for this. The main reason being that we do not want to raise taxes for the bonds all at one time. Once we see which bonds are approved by the voters we will have a better idea about other priorities.It will also take some time to let contracts for those projects that require them. It will take several years to get to all the projects. At the same time we will be retiring older debt as we sell the current bonds. This will work to lessen the impact on the tax rate for the taxpayer. As we get further into the process the Council, working with one finance department and bond brokers, will set the priorities for the remainder of the bond schedule and bond sales. How do you believe that you have demonstrated that you would be fair to all of the citizens of Abilene? I will represent all the people of Abilene because I have done so during my entire time on the Council. I don’t only represent a small group of those who support me. To me it doesn’t matter where you live, who you are or what you ask, I am going to try to help where, when and if I can. I firmly believe that because I am elected by all the people I must be a representative of all. For example, I have met with citizens in every part of town for zoning ordinance, complaints about neighbors, animals and traffic. Several years ago we had a situation on North 6 street where the neighbors were concerned about a certain business coming into their neighborhood, we met in one persons home with all the neighbors and listened to what they had to say. Our decision was to support the neighborhood. Recently we had a situation on Buffalo Gap road. I personally met with the neighbors, listened to their concerns, and during the Council meeting made some suggestions that were favorable to the business and the neighbors. I have taken the initiative to use my position on the Metropolitan Planning Organization to bring to the forefront a dangerous situation on Clack Street. The area between two apartment complexes. Residence of two apartment complexes must walk on Clack Street roadway over Elm creek to get to the bus stop. Due to my bringing this to light, we have allocated $500,000 in the Capital improvements program for 2015 to build a pedestrian overpass so they would not have to walk on the roadway. This is the kind of representation I have given and that is why I deserve to be reelected.What makes you the best candidate for the Abilene City Council at this time? I believe that I am the best candidate for City Council because I am a good listener, I am accessible and able to see all sides of an argument. I have the respect of my fellow councilman and I know how to get things done for the benefit of all sides and I am fair. I have gained a great deal of experience and I am familiar with the issues both past and current and believe that my experience has and will serve the people of Abilene well.My experience as a small businessman enables me to understand both sides of an issue and I have on multiple occasions used that experience in my decisions. I pride myself on being able to put my personal feeling aside and make decisions based on the facts and in the best interest of the citizens of Abilene.If you could have dinner with anyone from the past or currently living, who would it be and why?The one person from my past I would like to have dinner with is my Dad. I lost my Dad when I was a young adult. He was a quiet man a hard worker with a good sense of humor and strong convictions. I often wonder what he would say about some of the decisions I have made in my life. I also wonder what he would say about me running for office and serving on the City Council because my dad never talked politics in our home. I would like to hear his opinion of the state of the world and our country.I would also like to talk to him about current social issues, you see, he was a firm believer of not depending on anyone but family to take care of family. He treated all with respect and expected respect in return. He was a member of the greatest generation and I would like to hear his opinion of those who would wish harm on our great country.What person living today from a different ethnic background than yourself do you most admire and why?I have a friend that was forced to leave her country in the Middle East in the early 1970s. She came to the United States knowing very little of our language and customs. I met her and her husband in the early 1980’s. I was always impressed with her independence and willingness to take on any challenge. From working in a restaurant to building a concrete pool at her home. There was no task she would shy away from.She is a good wife, mother and loyal friend. She would not hesitate to take it upon herself to help anyone who needed it without being asked. What I most admire about her is that she was never bitter about her situation and always had a positive and confident outlook with every situation.Please fill in the blank I am hopeful about the future of Abilene because_____________________I am hopeful about the future of Abilene because Abilene is a city with people who care about its future. People that are prepared to do what is necessary to lay the groundwork for what needs to be done just as those before us have done to keep Abilene moving forward. The people of Abilene are charitable and are willing to work together to make Abilene a place that would make people want to raise their children here.