Candidate Profile: Ben Hall looks to improve crime, infrastructure
Former Houston City Attorney Ben Hall is one of several candidates on the Nov. 3 ballot for the 2015 Houston mayoral election.
He is leading his campaign “Moving Houston Forward” uses his background as a businessman, a city attorney and a lawyer to sweep Houstonians at the elections this year.
“Right now we (Houstonians) have a number of challenges that are preoccupying our energy and focus,” Hall said. “As the next (potential) mayor, we have to address those immediate concerns first in a way that prepares us for a better future for the city of Houston.”
One of Hall’s prepositions on flood water management is the SMART system. Storm Water Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) is a system Malaysia used to manage the waves, intense storms and immense floodwaters chronically plaguing its inhabitants.
“I am troubled that we are the fourth largest city of the United States but still have no flood policy,” Hall said. “SMART exploits the top surface to divert water underground, allowing floodwaters to have additional capacity as opposed of relying on the natural curvature of the bayou or river.”
Within the first 100 days, Hall wants to tackle three key issues: Houston’s fiscal instabilities, infrastructure shortfalls and crime. Here’s what he had to say on each of the issues:
Hall said that Houston’s financial issues are “a management problem as opposed to a revenue problem” stemmed back to Mayor Annise Parker’s terms.
His plan to fix this issue involves:
- Managing the revenue appropriately and reorganizing funding,
- Honoring past contracts for present and future employees
- Re-allocating funding to bring back tourist dollars and agreement revenues.
Hall said that the temporary fixes to the pothole dilemma on the roads cost taxpayers more money due to the continued need of maintenance.
Hall proposes using new technology like liquid asphalt will be “quicker, cheaper and more permanent and will prepare us for the future.”
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, Houston is among the top most dangerous cities.
“In regards to regulating policing, we need more police officers (for) our expanding city,” Hall said. “We need a mayor with a vision for the future and how we can diversify our law enforcement. There is so much focus on enforcing the law rather than deterring criminal activities.”
Hall said the increase in efficient technology in high-crime areas is needed to detect criminal activities.
One significant distinction from his competitors is his stance on HERO, an ordinance that focuses on equality and preventing discrimination whether it is based on the color of your skin, your age, your gender, your physical limitations or sexual orientation in the city of Houston.
Hall is the only major candidate to oppose the ordinance.
“My opposition is not because I want any types of discrimination against anyone. I brought more discrimination lawsuits and sued companies on behalf of people than any of the other candidates.” Hall said “It is written dangerously; it’s a very bad law.”
When Houstonians filed the petition to repeal this ordinance, the Texas Supreme Court declared Houstonians did not gain enough signatures.
“It will give protection to heterosexual predators that prey on individuals in private spaces – because of that, because the lawyers drafted (the ordinance) poorly and because the council and city mayor adopted it just for the political expediency, it is a bad ordinance,” Hall said. “We can go back to the table and draft it better and make it safer for the citizens.”
With the election just around the corner, Hall is putting in his final efforts in the campaign race, spreading the good word of his parents whom cultivated him into the person he is today and his campaign’s goal: “I’d rather be pulled by the future than pushed by the past”.