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ELECTION 2020: Corpus Christi City Council Dist. 1

Early voting: Locations, sample ballots and ID information
Posted at 10:27 PM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 11:25:17-04

Here are candidates running for Corpus Christi City Council Dist. 1 in this year's election. They are ordered by official ballot order that was determined by random draw by city officials. Empty bios can and will be filled when the answers to our questionnaires are sent back to us by the candidate. Minor edits have been made for clarity.

RACHEL ANN CABALLERO

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What is your age?

(Not sure relevance.) 44

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

Small business owner of bookkeeping/light accounting business; NO

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

I have 20 years business-management and light-accounting experience. I've been involved in local and national politics my whole life. From politicking to attending city council meetings.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

100% yes.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

I think on the first day of office, I will not be in a position to immediately address problems but more of a learning capacity. First day and all.

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

Infrastructure, government overreach, and maintenence to areas of town that have been ignored for decades.

What is local government doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

They are working on notifying citizens about projects. This needs to be expanded into actually allowing citizens to BE involved.

ELI MCKAY

Eli McKay Eli McKay city council dist. 1-2.jpg

What is your age?

36

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

I have been in Retail Management for over 15 years and am currently managing Oakley at La Palmera.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

I am a driven, natural leader, and have used this gift in organizations, political campaigns, and personal life. Most of my life, I have worked multiple jobs to stay busy and ahead, financially. Balancing a busy schedule has honed my time-management and multitasking skills. It has always been a priority of mine to be successful in every endeavor I take on. I am ready to represent the people of District 1 and be a dedicated public servant that will be a voice for the people, not special-interest groups.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

One of my best skills is listening, and I plan to listen to my constituents. I learn fast, and adapt quickly to change, which is vital for a councilperson. I am a homeowner in the district, and have deeply invested in the area. I will help create workable solutions to problems within the city and identify the things worth preserving.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

The number-one concern expressed to me by the people of District 1 is the need to create a plan to reduce homelessness. District 1 is home to many existing shelters and programs that provide aid to citizens in need. We need to continue to partner with, and support, those programs, but we need innovative solutions. The city’s Homeless and Housing Division can expand to lead the way. Affordable-housing projects would create jobs and incentivize vacant land use. We must also focus on developing the workforce opportunities for homeless and low-income community members by creating new opportunities. We have many workable solutions in place if we can hybridize those programs for public and private cooperation.

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

Our city is a destination for anyone who loves the outdoors; we must advocate for the environment. I want to help conserve our natural resources, not destroy them. We need to protect our bays to preserve our way of life. I will help develop and support green ordinances for our city. We need to incentivize reducing the use of plastic bags and Styrofoam cups to keep our city clean, and our storm drains clear. We also need to make sure our parks and recreation employees are professionally trained, adequately equipped and appropriately compensated. I will seek new ideas from the community for better use of our public spaces.

What is local government doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

The city has done a relatively good job of communicating projects and using social media and online access to provide the community with information throughout the pandemic and upcoming projects. The city’s website has many features that can grow to ensure better transparency and community involvement with the decision-making processes. The public must have their voices heard, and the council’s actions and business must be more transparent and better communicated. We can expand the way we have public comment, and conduct more business in public, instead of behind closed doors.

NEELY BALKO

(no photo provided yet)

What is your age?

I am 33 years old.

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

I am an attorney. I opened my own law firm about one year ago but have been practicing law almost 8 years.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

I have been in a customer service and client based industry for almost 8 years. I make a living by listening to people and trying to come up with solutions to their problems. It is my job to advocate for their position, while often trying to reach an agreement with a side in opposition to my client. I feel like this experience allows me to objectively review all of the data and feel comfortable delivering information, whether good or bad. I have lived in and worked in the majority of District 1 throughout my life and am very familiar with the area, the people there, where we’ve been, and where we need to go.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

I was born and raised in the area and have watched it change and grow over my lifetime. Growing up and having a family involved in farming and agriculture, I learned that there is no substitute for hard work (and a little luck). I don't mind putting in the work because I know, at the end of the day, it's the only way the job will get done. I know the citizens of Corpus Christi work hard and I want to work hard for them.

Going away for about seven years really made me appreciate Corpus Christi for what it is. I want to help continue that growth in a positive direction. Something that has really driven me to get more involved in my community is starting a family of my own. I know that the decisions I would make as an elected official will directly impact not only my future, but my children's as well. I want to make sound decisions for the future of the city, with a big picture, long term plan in mind.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

The first thing I would address would be to actively engage with the community and determine what they are passionate about. I believe that, as an elected representative, the projects and problems that are important to the community should be my number one priority.

I do believe that getting a firm handle on things such as the desalination project, Northwest Boulevard development, and the North Beach canal will be my first priorities. These are big projects that the community has a great interest in and I think it is important to move swiftly on them while being transparent to the citizens of Corpus Christi about why certain decisions are being made or not made.

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

I would like to see a plan for development and infrastructure in the Calallen area. I believe there is going to be a lot of population growth in that part of the city and want to be sure we are getting ahead of it and preparing for it.

I would like to make progress on North Beach as well. I think it is a project just waiting on the first domino to fall, so to speak, and that could lead to a lot of development for the area.

Another important long term project would be to keep up the momentum we have in the Downtown area and continue to develop that area and support the small and local businesses that have really given Downtown a great makeover in the last few years.

What is local government doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

I think local government has done a great job recently increasing community involvement and outreach. One thing COVID 19 has taught a lot of us is ways to reach out to others without having to be physically present. I think this presents a great opportunity to extend more opportunities to the citizens of Corpus Christi to get involved virtually in city government, as it isn't always easy to make it to City Hall for in person comments, meetings, etc.

BILLY LERMA

Billy Lerma 1.JPG

What is your age?

I’m 63 years old

What is/was your profession? Are you now retired?

Retired from the U.S. Postal Service as station manager from the Stonewall (Annaville) Post Office.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

(I've served) on the Tuloso-Midway School Board as a trustee for over 25 years. In those 25 years, I have worked with residential development and industry. In developing industry, we have worked in giving industry tax abatement and Chapter 313 tax breaks. I have helped in passing 3 school bonds over $50 million, without increasing taxes to the Tuloso-Midway community. As a station manager with the U.S. Postal Service, my duties were to work with clerk/letter-carrier unions, marketing new programs to increase revenue, budget cost, and oversee Stonewall station's 40 employees. Serving my country in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1976-1982 has given me strong leadership skills to be able to accomplish any task or issue at hand.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

By giving me the leadership skills and confidence to accomplish any task or issue at hand.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

I would address that the council needs to bring a vision and set goals and work as a unified team to accomplish goals that were set.

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

Streets and upgrading our drainage issues.

What is the City of Corpus Christi doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

Continue in bringing in new growth and new developments.