As a homeowner in District 2 since 2008, I found (the Journal’s) endorsement of Ike Benton for City Council disappointing. While (he) has served admirably in days gone by, he, along with the rest of City Council, has grown stale in recent years. Dedicated, highly intelligent and working-class native son turned law school graduate Zack Quintero is an excellent candidate.
For years I have waited for leadership to make the case that we need police reform not just for public safety, but also for the safety of our officers. Quintero has called for policing reform while simultaneously garnering the endorsement of both the police and firefighters’ unions. His priorities are feasible and practical: Establishing a residential burglary unit in APD, creating a dedicated unit of first responders for mental health and homeless emergencies, offering rent control in empty buildings to local businesses, creating incentives to stem the young talent/brain drain, etc.
In the early days of ART, I called Benton’s office and was assured that he would not vote for it. He changed his mind. In the face of the (Richard) Berry administration and the APD crises, Benton and City Council were feckless. Berry even vetoed ballot measures. Yet, when Mayor (Tim) Keller rightly vetoed Top Golf they found previously unseen unity to override it 8-1. They gave $400,000 from our city’s general fund and $2.6 million in subsidies to an out-of-state company. I used to attend City Council meetings until it became clear, even to me, that it was pointless.
As a downtown animal-lover, I appreciate Benton’s sponsorship of the HEART Ordinance which garnered him many animal group endorsements. However, I can personally attest to the fact that it goes unenforced here – Benton’s own district – even when we provide video/photographic evidence. Quintero … also holds strong positions on animal welfare and has called for better enforcement.
… We need our long-suffering Downtown to thrive. We need someone with Quintero’s energy, fresh eyes, and ability to build bridges to revive City Council and District 2.