Raj For Houston | 713-320-0303 | raj@rajforhouston.com

P.O. Box 667342, Houston, TX 77006

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BUILDING ONE HOUSTON

Economic Opportunity

Houston’s economy has grown consistently since the 2008 recession, and we are the nation's 3rd wealthiest city. Nevertheless, nearly 20% of our communities are trapped in poverty, and Houston is the 15th most economically-unequal city in America. We must expand economic opportunity so all Houstonians have the chance to reach their potential and earn livable wages that provides for their families. This means we must: 

 

  1. Expand educational opportunity for all students. We should offer universal high-quality, affordable child-care and pre-K, encourage Houstonians to tutor students after school, and leverage Houston’s incredible business community to partner in providing workforce development opportunities for our low-income high school students. 

  2. End homelessness in Houston. We should build supportive housing for our homeless population, incentivize landlords to house low-income Houstonians, and expand access to legal representation for tenants facing eviction.

  3. Provide affordable housing for all Houstonians. We should partner with nonprofit housing developers like Avenue CDC to ensure housing remains affordable and pilot community land trusts to help protect communities from gentrification. 

  4. Create high-paying jobs in every community. We should provide tax incentives to encourage economic development in our high-poverty neighborhoods, provide incentives for Houston’s small-business and startups to succeed, use the procurement process to ensure anyone hired by the city earns a livable wage, and support innovation by partnering with organizations like Station Houston, The Cannon, and Impact Hub.

 

Quality of Life

Houston is a city of opportunity and success. Houston is the most diverse city in the nation,  is home to championship winning sports teams, world-renowned, award-winning restaurants, and a vibrant cultural scene that is reflective of, and driven by, our diversity. As amazing as Houston is, we are still a highly segregated city with disparate qualities of life.  Despite these wonderful aspects of Houston, our Quality of Life is not where it can and should be. For example, each year Houstonians spend a total of two full days stuck in traffic, and over the past five years, over 4,000 Houstonian cyclists or pedestrians are injured or killed. Furthermore, because of environmental toxins, some low-income communities of color are 22% more likely to get cancer than wealthy communities. We must improve the Quality of Life so all Houstonians have a city that works for them. This means we must: 

 

  1. Expand public transit options. We must work with METRO to increase bus services particularly in underserved areas; expand the light rail to Hobby Airport; develop the Bus Rapid Transit line along Post Oak; and pass a robust bond package to fund future expansions to reduce travel times.   

  2. Embrace Vision Zero so Houston has 0 pedestrian or cyclist deaths. We must improve sidewalks, increase lighting and signage at cross streets, and partner with organizations like LINK Houston to design solutions for our most dangerous intersections. 

  3. Eliminate environmental injustice. Enforce existing ordinances on pollutant-emitting plants and develop new regulations to ensure these plants are not concentrated in neighborhoods of color; work with companies to improve safeguards at their plants; and increase accountability for companies that violate environmental ordinances.

 

Flood Mitigation

 

Houston’s affordability has drawn millions to our city, and we have developed from a small town nearly 200 years ago into the nation’s 4th largest city. However, this rapid development and replacement of green space and natural reservoirs with concrete buildings has also exacerbated flooding. This loss of green spaces coupled with the effects of climate change has led to devastating flooding. Just in the past five years, we have experienced three 500-year floods--Tax Day, Memorial Day, and Hurricane Harvey. Harvey alone caused over $125 billion in damage and destroyed nearly 150,000 homes. While we cannot prevent all future flooding, we can build a more resilient city by focusing on sustainable growth, regional detention, intelligent design using permeable surfaces, and regulation that appropriately balances the needs of residents and developers. We must: 

 

  1. Prioritize sustainable development. We should expand green spaces and parks to improve floodwater detention and retention, require sellers to share the latest information on a property’s flood risk, enforce existing building ordinances, and develop a regional flood mitigation plan by collaborating with partners like the Harris County Flood Control District, the State of the Texas, and the Army Corps of Engineers. 

  2. Stop excessive floodwater runoff. We should advocate for and support the Army Corps of Engineers in building a 3rd reservoir; develop a system of pumps and tunnels to store and transport water to the Gulf, and improve street drainage by unclogging and cleaning Houston’s drains. 

  3. Implement Public Education and Citizen-Led Initiatives. We should improve Alert Houston to ensure all Houstonians receive alerts through text message, email, phone call, and social media, about flooding and dangerous driving conditions; launch a campaign to educate Houstonians on steps households can take to improve floodwater detention, and expand the “Adopt-A-Drain” program. 

  4. Encourage the use of renewable energy. Require all new City vehicles be either hybrid or electric vehicles, provide a Green Bank that sustainably funds for residential retrofits or solar panel installations, and procure clean energy for all City of Houston facilities alongside other cities.  

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