We Can Transform Fort Worth, Together.
Housing > Harassment
Fort Worth has grown to become a major city — the 13th largest in the U.S. The city’s rapidly growing housing market is not meeting demands for affordability. Affordable housing is harder and harder to come by and wages aren’t rising to match.
Everyone deserves to be safe and housed. In Fort Worth, and across the country, there is more vacant housing than there are unhoused people at any given time. Homelessness is not an issue of scarcity — it’s about priorities. We have the resources to house everyone in Fort Worth.
There are 27,000+ vacant housing units in Fort Worth, while the county’s Homeless Coalition reports there are fewer than 7,000 people who experience homelessness in a given year in the city. New housing development projects are emerging across Fort Worth, but we have a surplus of housing units and a shortage of more than 23,000 affordable housing units. The housing market is contributing to homelessness in our community.
- Between 2011 and 2018, new housing costs rose 66% higher than household income
- Housing costs in District 2 rose an average of 115-200% in the last 10 years
- Almost half of all renters in Fort Worth are moderately to severely cost-burdened by their housing — where housing takes more than 30% of their income
We can’t police our way out of poverty. More than 1,500 citations are issued each year to people who were sleeping in their cars, sleeping outside, asking for help, or loitering to people who cannot and will not pay those citations. This is wasting precious community resources to punish people for poverty.
Unhoused folks do not compromise the safety of the city, they experience a lack of safety within the city. In this pandemic, many people have lost their jobs and may face losing their homes. We must understand houselessness as an economic condition that anyone is susceptible to — and respond in kind, with housing-first policies, increasing affordability in the city, and ending police harassment of unhoused people.
Growth > Gentrification
District 2 is growing rapidly and we need elected representatives who understand how rapid growth affects what and how much of everything we need. Fortunately, we live in a district that is rich in resources right here! We can anticipate this growth and support local contractors first in bidding for these opportunities while removing barriers to small businesses building the city we live in! We can allow for the type of growth District 2 needs to accommodate without relying on big-name developers from other cities, while also working to undo longstanding environmental oppression in District 2.
Fort Worth is ready for community-based solutions that allow for more robust usage of city-held land that is standing empty. Rampant over-zoning in District 2 restricts access to fresh foods and green spaces for hundreds of families. It holds us up at long train delays and interrupts our peace with loud noise at all hours, and it creates very little actual public transportation infrastructure to get where we need to go. We can fight for lowered zoning in our communities and increase our chances for spaces that will serve District 2 and Fort Worth for generations.
We don’t have to wait to positively impact community health and access to fresh food for future generations when we have representation that values the equitable distribution of resources.
District 2 has a long history of generating resources to meet our own needs. The City and other local systems should be investing in the work already happening in our community. Our district has many undocumented residents, working-class families, communities of color, disabled people, and people who know from experience that we can’t wait for anyone’s permission to make our communities safer and stronger together. To move toward community independence, we need to address the structural barriers of citizenship, poverty, systemic racism, and inaccessibility that prevent people from accessing critical support services and collective care.
Collaboration > Clout
Collaboration is more than just letting people know what is decided after it has been decided already. It’s more than so-called “public hearings” nestled as agenda items into regular Council agendas. We, the people of Fort Worth, also govern. We can work together to create a City Hall that is by us and for us. City Hall has the responsibility to immediately transform the way this city is governed. We don’t have to wait to create the space it takes to include the people of Fort Worth at the very beginning of our city strategy and fiscal planning.
Our city’s budget is a moral document. How and why we spend money matters and we deserve to have our collective AND individual voices heard before any ink dries. Prioritizing our self-determination, community needs, and collective health should take precedence over a process that is easy and fast. We can start now to work to trust each other and design a budget that changes everything. Inclusion can’t be an afterthought.
City Hall has a responsibility to protect the ability and resources it takes to organize effectively with our neighbors. We should expand the work of the Neighborhood Services Department to include the printing, postage, translation, and web infrastructure it takes to truly, responsibly, know that EVERYONE in District 2 can participate in more accessible decision making and planning processes. Ensuring that communities understand not only what resources there are, but how to access them is critical to any ethical community financial plan.
“Public hearings” are one of the best-kept secrets in Fort Worth. The current City Council almost always votes together and they have opted to limit civic engagement with multiple decisions to reduce speaker time and expose private residents to risk. The current Council voluntarily publishes the home addresses of any private resident who speaks during Public Presentations as part of the public record. Meanwhile, it is challenging to find transparent vote records, finance reports, and other information about our representatives. Private residents should not be more accountable than public officials, and it expands a power-over leadership dynamic that prevents us from truly collaborating. A City Council that actively listens, combined with a Fort Worth that feels reflected in the chamber gives us the potential to create and embrace solutions that really work for us.
Justice > Jails
Across the country and the world, communities are discovering new ways of resolving conflict, addressing violence, and healing harm. We can reimagine public safety in our community by reducing what we spend on policing, jails, and criminal justice and investing in community-based solutions that get to the root of violence and harm.
Realizing and undoing the ways that we ask jails and police to answer and account for poverty in District 2 is critical if we want to move towards a future that has the community resources to address conflict without punishment. We need to invest in community-led programming, without tying that funding to increased surveillance. Building trust in District 2 means that nothing about us, without us, is for us, and we CAN make city hall invest in solutions that keep us safe and provide much-needed funding to important youth and interventional programming right here in District 2. We deserve a City Hall that invests in lit streets, well-marked roads, and expanded rec center and library hours that all contribute to the reduction of violence in our community — without tying those improvements to backdoor contracts and police labor and funding.
Our state has the largest prison population of any state in the jailingest country on Earth. If Texas were a country, it would have the highest incarceration rate in the world. Black and Latinx children make up 80 percent of all referrals to juvenile services in Tarrant County and people of color face disproportionate rates of police violence, arrests, and questioning. Local law enforcement agencies have signed agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enforce federal immigration policies in our local jails through the 287g agreement.
Fort Worth spends nearly $1 million per day on policing. We stand with the Movement for Black Lives in calling for divestment from Fort Worth’s police budget and direct investment in community solutions for public safety. The safest communities don’t have more police, they have more resources. We need to invest in alternatives to policing that make our communities safer and stronger.
We need our youth in our communities, not in jails. We need our families together, not separated. We deserve access to conflict resolution resources that don’t involve handcuffs, guns, deportation, or state-sanctioned violence. We have the power to create a Fort Worth where we can be whole and trust ourselves to create solutions that meet District 2’s unique needs.
In the last few years, people of Fort Worth have been working to hold police more accountable following the murder of Atatiana Jefferson, the partnership with ICE from 287g, and the assault of the Craig family. The Council has done very little to respond to community demands for more police oversight.
When nearly all current members of the City Council have accepted campaign donations from the local Police Officers Association (POA), we have a right to question whether our representatives have a conflict of interest when it comes to policing:
- Carlos Flores (D2): $41,804
- Cary Moon (D4): $87,040
- Gina Bivens (D5): $85,044
- Jungus Jordan (D6): $34,107
- Dennis Shingleton (D7): $5,000
- Kelly Allen Gray (D8): $35,542
- Ann Zadeh (D9): $1,805
- Betsy Price (Mayor): $25,868
I signed the pledge from NoCashfromCops.org to refuse all campaign contributions from the Fraternal Order of Police. As we take a fresh look at how we manage our local resources, we need to ensure our representatives don’t face conflicts of interest in resourcing local law enforcement. We don’t need to police one another, we need to support each other.