My name is Deborah Morris, and I have lived in Garland for the last 35 years. After retiring from a lengthy writing career that involved constant travel and public speaking, I had no intention to ever again become involved in public affairs.
Times change. For me, that happened three years ago when this city, and especially my district in the very heart of the city, experienced great distress due to the actions of a (then) citizen-deaf Council majority. The situation reawakened my fierce and protective love for Garland and its people.
I believed we could do better. I ran for City Council in 2018 to restore a strong voice to District 2 residents, and was elected that May. In the two years since, I have worked closely with individuals, neighborhoods, businesses and organizations in the district to learn their needs and challenges. I’ve listened to their frustrations, analyzed what could realistically be done in each case, and often been able to work with them to find practical solutions.
Some problems had simmered in the district for years, like the sharp conflict between a large church and the small neighborhood next door that complained of noise and over-parking of their streets. I called a neighborhood meeting, invited the church leaders to participate, and led negotiations that resulted in the church agreeing to reduce the number of their outdoor events, the neighborhood blessing several outdoor events important to the church, and our city transportation department installing “No Parking” signs on specific streets as agreed by both the neighborhood and the church.
The relationship between the church and the neighborhood is now a mutually supportive partnership.
Other problems have been more widespread, like the barrage of “celebratory gunfire” the district has endured each July 4th and New Year’s Eve. My first July 4th on Council I received calls, texts and email complaints until well into the wee hours… and when I drove the district in the middle of the madness I understood why. The illegal fireworks were everywhere, but the gunshots were shocking. It sounded like a war zone!
I led an initiative to tackle this longstanding problem, including suggesting a dedicated holiday task force (first used on New Year’s Eve 2018/2019), then suggesting the use of warning signs before holidays to announce the consequences of celebratory gunfire. The new sign program was piloted in District 2 over the 4th of July last year, and was so successful that it was expanded citywide this New Year’s Eve. Although we’re still a long way from “Mission Accomplished”, numerous neighborhoods throughout District 2 have reported great improvement.
I also led the initiative to take a more proactive approach in addressing the growing homeless population in Garland by coordinating City services with the many nonprofits which provide emergency resources, while at the same time supporting GPD’s enforcement of our laws to protect our residents and businesses. Our balanced approach has attracted the attention of neighboring cities who have followed our lead in initiating similar programs.
Problems will always exist. I look for solutions. That’s part of what I love about this job! Not every problem can be fixed, of course, but most situations can at least be improved if we work together.
I respectfully ask for your vote on May 2nd so I can continue my work here in District 2.
At your service,
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Copyright © 2018 Deborah Morris