fbpx

Fort Worth mayoral candidate Daniel ‘DC’ Caldwell: ‘I am a seeker of consensus and common ground’

daniel.jpe

Fort Worth mayoral candidate Daniel “DC” Caldwell recently provided the following responses to a Dallas Express questionnaire:

Question: Can you give us a little bit of background on yourself and why did you decide to run for city council?

Answer: In summary, I am registered as an Engineer in Training and a certified teacher, and I graduated from law school and passed the Texas bar exam in 2019.

I am the youngest of eight children from a broken home in Michigan. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; I attended high school in Utah and Georgia, and I have lived in Texas for 17-plus years.

I decided to run for city council because I learned as an Eagle Scout to strive to serve and be involved as a citizen in the community, nation and world. Specifically, I believe serving on the council would be a worthy use of my education and personal aptitudes.

Q. Why should people vote for you?

A. I am honestly a seeker of consensus and common ground, as demonstrated by my recent record. In both 2018 and 2020 (virtually), I attended both the Texas state conventions of the Republican and Democratic parties, having been separately elected as a delegate to each of them. Some people claim to want to collaborate with those they disagree with, but their ‘bipartisan’ efforts are not credible in our polarized political landscape.

I want to bring back the kind of unity that Allan Shivers demonstrated when he was nominated as governor by both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Q. What are your strengths compared to your competitors?

A. I am a volunteer whose heart is in the right place because I do not want to be a career politician, because winning is not about me. Frankly, the $29,000/year salary is only $14/hr working full-time, and I make more than that when I drive for Uber or Lyft.

In military ROTC leadership development, I was taught that good leaders replace themselves in short order. Those who run for re-election instead of seeking a successor demonstrate that they were unwilling to fulfill this fundamental part of leadership roles and are pursuing office for their own benefit or ego.

Q. What do you think of the proposal to defund the police and would you support it?

A. The proposal to defund the police showed itself to be unpopular by the passage of the measure to renew the crime control and prevention district. I have applied to be a police officer or firefighter, and I would simply say that the police should not get significantly better salaries and benefits than the vast majority of other city employees.

Q. What do you think about the Black Lives Matter movement?

A. I have commented that the movement is one thing and the organization is another. The movement should not be focusing as much on the hundreds of people killed by police on the streets as on the thousands that die during incarceration or the million or more currently imprisoned without a jury trial. We should count the lives destroyed, which is orders of magnitude more than the deaths, and not just the handfuls that ended early.

As for the BLM organization(s), I have considered the backgrounds of some of the prominent BLM leaders and BLM financial relationships to conclude that BLM functions as a Democratic Party auxiliary that is promoted to raise campaign money and un-write parts of history they are ashamed of. 

Q. Dallas Express has learned that there’s a broad-based effort to enact a city charter amendment requiring substantially more transparency by city government. Would you support this measure?

A. I am interested in learning more about the measure and I do support transparency. However, whether I commit to a measure depends on the specific language of the measure because of the well-known cliche, the devil is in the details.

Q. The city is constantly trying to provide more affordable housing, but it faces an uphill battle. How will you address the housing situation? 

A. I believe the first step is to review the city zoning to allow residential occupancy where sleeping overnight is currently restricted, and increasing available housing supply by allowing people to rent or buy as potential housing properties that are currently commercial space.

Q. Will you look at it from a property tax issue, a development issue or a resource issue?  

A. I do not tend to look at lack of affordable housing as a property tax issue but primarily as a development and resource issue. As for development, there are parts of the city with limited mobility and access (thru roads) where more housing might be built if the city provided a simple two-lane bridge or road.

Q. Will you vote for higher taxes so the city can build more affordable housing? 

A. No, because that would directly make existing housing less affordable.

Q. How will you address homelessness? 

A. As for making housing more affordable to the large homeless population, I would suggest to formally allow the Parks & Recreation Department to designate campsites in some city parks for a nominal camping fee with plumbing for showers and electricity at a pavilion.

Q. Do you think the city should be providing more services to the homeless?

A. No, but I do think the city should make accessing its services more feasible. I observed that people had to wait in line for an hour or more to have access to use a bathroom outside the night shelter, resulting in people just peeing or defecating in the street. If the doors are going to close at 4-5 p.m., then there needs to be a toilet with plumbing that is still accessible after-hours outside the facilities that provide indigent services.

Q. Do you feel safe walking around City Hall at night? Should you?

A. Yes, I almost always feel far safer when I am not in a lane with fast-moving traffic.Yes, of course we should always take personal responsibility for our safety.

Q. Do you think crime is a problem in Fort Worth? If so, what changes would you fight to implement? 

A. Yes, as crime is a problem anywhere. There are 44 fire stations but only 11 police stations. Besides a central dispatch center, I would seek to ensure an office at each fire station is designated for police patrol operations, and conversely at each police station for fire department communication with police patrols.

Q. How can Fort Worth address its trash problem?

A. In September 2017, Fort Worth approved a 359-page, 20-year comprehensive waste management plan. I will have to study the document, review our progress over the past three years, continue to implement the plan’s best practices, and identify areas for further improvement. 

Q. City workers get a number of employment benefits not offered to every citizen. Do you think this is fair? 

A. No, of course not.

Q. How do we make this more equitable so that all citizens can benefit from what their tax dollars are essentially paying for?

A. The city budget indicates we have some 7,000-8,000 employees, more than 50% of whom do not live in Fort Worth, according to the city HR department. In an effort to bring at least a quarter billion dollars of payroll (currently subsidizing neighboring cities) back home, as it were, I would like to condition many benefits for city employees on residency in the city. I also don’t think any city employees should be making more money than the generous salary of the Governor of Texas, although this might only affect the highest-paid 1% of city employees.

Q. With all these corporate relocations to the Metroplex, why do you think so few people have relocated downtown?

A. Much of the property downtown is either already occupied or more expensive than similarly sized apartments slightly farther away. Unfortunately, ongoing lane closures, limited parking and rush-hour congestion are major deterrents.

Q. How do we encourage people to move downtown?

A. This is a question most appropriate for the landlords of the high density-zoned properties in and around downtown that have vacancies as to whether they would prefer residential or commercial tenants. I would expect completing current construction projects and increasing overnight or garage parking availability to help attract renters.

Q. How will you help the local school districts improve those schools that have struggled? 

A. First off, all the schools have struggled this past year. Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD), and the other districts, have primary responsibility for managing their facilities, and the city’s supporting role is largely limited to responding to needs and requests of schools and district administrators as they are called in, such as providing crossing guards and traffic signals for ensuring the safety of students going to and from schools.

Q. In order to solve a problem, it needs to be measured. So how do you measure systemic racism? How much is there? And what do you think the city’s role should be in solving it?

A. We historically measure racism by identifying disparities across demographics, such as arrest or conviction numbers, income/poverty and (un)employment gap, and admission/dropout rates.

I would like to see numbers compiled, but I am confident they are statistically significant.

The first, most obvious step to me when looking at a map of Fort Worth is redistricting so that the council districts are not gerrymandered into shapes that do not make sense simply to distort the representation of population groups by segregating voting blocks. 

The task force on race and culture also seems to recommend community outreach and engagement conversation meetings, inclusion and diversity training for officials and interested residents, and simply acknowledging that the problem of ongoing racism exists.

Q. What regulations do you think the city should cut?  

A. I believe the city should remove restrictions on modular homes.

Q. Which regulations do you think the city should add?

A. None come to mind, but I am open to suggestions, mostly as replacements for existing regulations.

Q. If you had to cut $250 million from the city budget, where would you cut it? 

A. I would try to save 10% of the city budget by canceling across the board pay raises and tenure-only pay raises and overtime pay, especially for those making more than the city’s average salary.

Instead, I would authorize hiring additional city employees at lower pay bands for newer employees.

Q. How are you going to help the poorest among us?

A. I want the city shelters to more closely copy the program I observed at San Antonio’s Haven for Hope when I was homeless about eight years ago.

I am going to return to the shelters in a position to be able to help them see where they can improve so that it should be more comfortable at the shelters than sleeping on the street, rather than the other way around, which is often the case. One step in the right direction would be to have more inexpensive, smaller shelters distributed across the city rather than a few large facilities adjacent to each other.

Q. What would be your first three priorities if elected?

A. The top priority is stewardship of the city resources, namely managing the city budget.

The second priority is responding to concerns, requests for assistance, and suggestions of constituents.

The third priority is review of existing and proposed ordinances and projects to identify areas for improvement.

Support our non-profit journalism

1 Comment

  1. DC Caldwell

    I said it then and again now, Thank you, and I appreciate the opportunity to answer your questions.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article