A West U. resident for 20 years, George Boehme says he decided to run for city council “to give something back to the community that has treated my family so well.” Boehme was the founder of the Examiner Newspaper Group, which began as the West University Examiner in 2001 and grew to include the Bellaire, Memorial and River Oaks Examiners, which were sold to Houston Community Newspapers in 2006. He now owns the Edloe Street Deli.
“My children go to school at West U. Elementary, my wife offices in West U. – our lives revolve around West U.,” said Boehme.
Boehme sees the top three issues facing the city as an upgrade in the city’s emergency services, the completion of the recent $13.8 million parks bond election within budget, and not increasing debt once current indebtedness is paid off.
He says that currently the city’s 911 and Direct Link systems are housed in a former broom closet without a dedicated air conditioning system or generator. According to Boehme, the system regularly overheats and floods and has to be rerouted.
“That’s not good service, and not very safe for our residents,” said Boehme, who added that fixing the problem would not be “particularly expensive” and needs to be done immediately.
“This is the blocking and tackling in government that may not be nearly as glorifying as some of the bigger ticket items, but it needs to be done immediately,” said Boehme.
He says he supported the recent $13.8 million parks bond, but feels that council needs to make sure that the projects do not come in over budget.
“In the past, the city has spent substantially more on bonds than the amount of bonds approved by voters,” said Boehme.
His third priority is one he says will not be accomplished in the next two years, but needs to be considered as the city’s debt is paid down.
“In the next 10 years, we will be paying off substantially all of our bonds, so if we keep doing the exact same spending as we do on operations – don’t reduce services at all – we will end up cutting the tax costs to residents in West U. by 50 percent, because we will essentially be paying off our mortgage,” said Boehme. “We need to resist the temptation to go replace the debt we will be retiring with new debt, and elected officials have never been particularly good at that.”