Friday, April 15, 2016, by Richard Weber, Publisher of the Arlington Spectator
The two AISD Place 4 candidates were asked to answer this one question within a week:
The AISD’s rankings have slipped since the glory days when AISD schools were on the top of rankings. Many individuals feel apartments, especially in north Arlington, played a major role in that decline. Do you agree or disagree? Why? If you agree, are you willing to speak against even higher-density apartment that our city council keeps approving?
John Hibbs, incumbent, AISD Place 4
Single family homes should be the desired growth of city planners. Home ownership offers a stable environment for the majority of children. Arlington has number of Apartments with high vacancy rates which lead to low leasing rates. The lower rent fees collected often reflects itself in landlord hesitancy in reinvesting in the property. During my service, the AISD has opposed additional apartments being built within the district’s boundaries. This would include Arlington, Dalworthington Gardens, Grand Prairie, and Kennedale.
Luis Castillo, challenger, AISD Place 4
I agree that high density housing could be one of several factors that contribute to the decline. Many land use studies have identified high density housing as a cost driver for local government. In short, studies have shown that the tax revenue generated from apartment land use is insufficient to cover the costs associated with providing basic services. City and school district demand for services is population driven. A concentrated population in a given land space drives local government’s costs up.
Yes, I would speak against any further development of high density land use. I would rather support commercial development. The same Land Use Studies have identified that commercial land use is the way to go to maximize tax revenue. Commercial land use generates sales tax and property tax revenue. And the demand for services is a whole lot less than high density land use.
Richard Weber, publisher of the Arlington Spectator, is that rare citizen who devotes time to civic duty and involvement. For doing so, he receives little thanks. Most citizens have more important things on their minds—TV, football, enjoying their retirement, etc. Not Richard. You’ll find him at City Council afternoon and evening sessions, at school board meetings, publishing Arlington Spectator, and helming AARG (Arlington Alliance for Responsible Government). Richard is not welcome at Mayor Cluck’s City Hall, where every effort is made to muzzle Richard and any other citizen who believes taxpayers should have a voice in government. Richard’s selfless effort is one of the things that inspired us to begin publishing Opinion Arlington.