Q & A with Antonio (Twin) Harris, District 5 candidate for Fort Worth City Council


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

Answer: I am a longtime entrepreneur, and lifetime proud product of Fort Worth’s Stop 6 Community where I attended Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, in which I served as Senior Class President. My involvements being reared here in Fort Worth through programs like The Young Life Christian Association, Dads of Dunbar, being part of the ribbon-cutting and commercial for the Fort Worth Water Garden, Mentoring countless youth, Parent School Volunteer, being a Meals On Wheels driver, Feeding the Homeless & Hungry, Creator of Park and Post, Community Walk and Talk intervention with gang members, proponent of the Afrocentric Curriculum passing into FWISD, Scared Straight Program and various groups afforded me to be the great citizen I am today. By popular demand and beyond many factors, the main reason I decided to run for City Council is simply because, I CARE. I care about the population growth, economic development, infrastructure, social welfare and the wellbeing of our citizens. I want to be in a decision-making position to ensure a sweet balance between The City of Fort Worth and its Citizens.

Q: Why should people vote for you? 

A: I’m most qualified for this position because of the investment Fort Worth has instilled within me through the many youth programs that were provided along with my experience, engagement, and influential relationship I currently have with its citizens. I am able to effectively manage conflict, build coalitions, and find common ground for the betterment of the whole. I can handle curveballs and navigate steadfastly through uncertainty and unpredictability with sound judgment.

Q: What are your strengths compared to your competitors?

A: I am actively engaged in the community, approachable, and possess inspiring insight. I am about balance, fairness, transparency, and being trustworthy throughout the whole process. 

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

A: I don’t believe in defunding, hoping that it doesn’t devalue the performance of the police. Although, I believe funding should be properly appropriated to programs such as classes to build police/citizen relationships, attending school ethical sensitivity training with both parties, and orientation classes with school students.

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

A: I support Black Lives Matter Movement, and whatever movements, groups or people striving to dissolve inequality, injustice, and the unfair treatment of others. Although I have grave concerns about the word black, due to my belief that the word is used as a divisor.

Q: Would you support more transparency by the city government? Why or why not? 

A: Yes of course I support transparency, because it builds trust in the relationship between the City of Fort Worth and its citizens. It makes citizens more comfortable and feel better, when involved with the affairs and environment of the city.

Q: The city is constantly trying to provide more affordable housing, but it faces an uphill battle. How will you address the housing situation? Will you look at it from a property tax issue, a development issue or a resource issue?  Will you vote for higher taxes so the city can build more affordable housing?  

A: Simply build affordable housing citizens can afford by educating them on how to become homeowners through loan programs. How dare we drive property taxes when there’s a claim of non-affordable housing, who is developing non-affordable housing. Maybe we should evaluate the cost of land, cost of building, and average wage of citizens. It seems to me that we are creating a debt to the citizens in the name of non-affordable housing.

Q: How will you address homelessness? Do you think the city should be providing more services to the homeless? 

A: Deal with individual needs with a full swing of adequate resources, information and inspiration. There are more than enough services but unfortunately they are not dealing with individual needs of the homeless to ensure they get off the streets and into a home.

Q: Do you think crime is a problem in your city? If so, what changes would you fight to implement? 

A: Well of course every city has a problem with crime whether it’s 1 or 1000. Crime is usually the result of hardship, lack of employment or low wages. We seem to be focused more on the crime and less on the situation of the so-called criminal. Wouldn’t you say excessive force is a crime? Racial profiling,  falsely accussing, stop and search, unlawful detaining, wrong home invasion, evidence cover up/withheld, wrongful convictions are crimes that we tend to overlook, yet we target someone in mere survival mode trying to feed their families. 

Q: City workers get a number of employment benefits not offered to every citizen. Do you think this is fair? How do we make this more equitable so that all citizens can benefit from what their tax dollars are essentially paying for?

A: In all fairness, if one is paid for not working, the other should be treated the same, especially if  they both share the same investment in taxes, it’s in my opinion not fair. Time off with or without pay should be the medium for both parties. Taxpayers seek benefits for the whole, and should be treated equally. 

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

A: First we must admit that the quality of the student has gone down due to the quality of staff going down. We are responsible for the behavior, learning and success of each individual student. The school house should be run just as such. And we are the teachers, leaders, parents, mentors, inspirators and heads of that household. The staff must do their part and play their position if our school system will continue surviving. Teacher/student ratio should be addressed. I advocate trades in before drop out, ensuring that our students have a trade of their liking keeps them interested in learning, and if they drop out they have skills and or trades to fall forward on. We must tap into the individual needs of each student that they may learn at their pace and find their best learning ability. Get the police out of their halls so that they may concentrate on their lessons without the pressures of being watched like followed store shoppers. 

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: How do we measure anything that is intangible as systemic racism, especially when we don’t know the depths of its existence. Unfortunately, racism is all inclusive in every facet of our lives from the faces of identification (name, ssn, zip code) on applications Schools, businesses, and government, meaning more than we can imagine. We ignore more racism than we take notice, for the sake of peace and tranquility. In an attempt to solve systemic racism we must begin with admittance, apologies, along with the changing of legislative laws, policies and procedures, in hopes that they would change the mindset and behavior of us all. That we may for once live in harmony as the human race as one. 

Q: What regulations do you think the city should cut?  Which regulations do you think the city should add?

A: Towing in poor neighborhood apartments with a costly consequence should be cut. 

 Police body cameras must be activated and released to proper boards is a policy the city should add immediately. 

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

A: $250 million should be cut from the fattest and most wasteful portion of our budget.

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

A: We should introduce or create adequate resources, utilize available resources – educate them, help them solve concerns and issues. Reinstill hope, dreams, goals, a plan to achieve. 

Q: What would be your first 3 priorities if elected to city council? 

A; Build relationships with predecessors and constituencies in order to make a smooth transition. Review and revise plans and opportunities and refer them to citizens. 

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