As they say, all politics is local. Unfortunately, voters and media rarely pay attention to local elections for a variety of reasons. This year, I asked each candidate running for election in Shoreacres if they would like to participate in an “interview” so that citizens would know more about who is running.
Three Four of the six took advantage of the opportunity. Paul Croas is running for the position of Alderman.
Paul grew up as a foster child in California. Rather than use this as a crutch or excuse, he told me that his time in foster homes is what drives him to succeed. After graduating from high school in San Diego, he enlisted in the army when he was just 17 years old. He ended up in the famous 82nd Airborne Division and had two tours of combat, in Operation Just Cause in Panama and in Operation Desert Shield in Iraq, serving his country for a total of six and a half years. He has three children, one from a previous marriage and two with his wife Terri. He and Terri were married in 2000 and they moved to Shoreacres in February 2013.
Paul joined the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in November, 1992. He has served in many capacities as a deputy, including Detention Officer, Patrol Officer, K9 Handler, Narcotics Deputy, as a member of the Gang Suppression Unit, as a Sergeant Task Force Officer, an Administrative Sergeant, and in his current role as Patrol Sergeant. His duties have included dealing with the FBI as a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
This is Paul’s first run for political office but he has volunteered in helping several political campaigns before, both Republicans and Democrats. He considers himself to be a conservative independent and cares more about issues than party.
Issues for Shoreacres
Paul has been a vocal participant in Shoreacres City Council meetings ever since he moved here. One of his primary concerns is that the city administrator has too much power and is in charge of too many of the functions of the city. Paul says that there needs to be “separation of powers” and that the Police Chief needs to report directly to the Mayor, not the city administrator. He notes that the city has no procedure, ordinance, or policy where citizens can complain about a city employee other than speaking before council. He wants to institute a formal process so that a citizen can file a grievance and get a formal report back on the outcome of the investigation.
As for the budget, Paul wants a balanced budget with no deficit spending. He wants to institute a “comp” based system for employees rather than pay overtime and points to the Sheriff’s Office’s policies in regards to this. Paul also told me that there is no reason to replace city vehicles every two years and that he would push a policy based upon mileage and condition, resulting in a substantial savings.
Paul also supports the city becoming a “gold status” city in regards to Open Government (see Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle). He thinks that the city website needs to be upgraded and that Public Information Access requests from citizens should not be looked upon as a bad thing but rather a way for citizens to find out more about their government. He notes that spending $17,500 for an interim police chief was a huge mistake by the current council and was the cause of many of the PIA’s that the council is trying to restrict.
One of the interesting things that Paul told me was that he thinks that the city could have an Animal Control / Code Enforcement Officer that does not have to be certified Police Officer. One of the things the city has needed forever is someone to enforce both our Animal Control ordinances and our Code. Very interesting idea.
Paul really went off when talking about Nuisance Abatement and how the city is not using resources that are available. He’s talking cleaning ditches, mowing, mosquitos, etc. He wants to tap into outside help that is available at little or low cost, or perhaps taking advantage of various grants that can help the city.
Paul also noted the contention between the current council and citizens that go to meetings. He thinks that answering citizen complaints is better than ignoring them or causing an adversarial relationship. He thinks that we need to look at the current City Attorney’s contract and see if there is an alternative that would better represent the city and the citizens without charging large fees to talk to the mayor or council.
Paul’s motto is that he is someone that “Gets things done” rather than someone that sits around wishing things were different. I would urge you to contact Paul directly as he has many, many more ideas for the city than I can recap here.
Early Voting starts Monday, 4/28 and ends Tuesday, 5/6 at City Hall. Complete information on the city website by clicking here.