EL PASO, Texas - NAME: Michael Apodaca
OFFICE YOU SEEK: City Council District 2
OCCUPATION: Owner, M Wireless
EDUCATION: Austin HS, Class of 99, UTEP BA 2007
1) NUMBER-ONE CAMPAIGN FOCUS:
Our focus has been to restore conversation back to the community. Our message in our campaign is simple: by working together, we can find common solutions to our pressing problems so that we can continue to improve our quality of life, while being fiscally responsible at the same time. From this, there are four items that we will focus on to improve our quality of life:
Continue to improve our neighborhoods by working to expand our city parks, recreation centers, roads and sidewalks in order to make our district a more walkable community.
Work with our business community to evaluate current ordinances to improve city/business relations and make it easier for small business owners to open their doors in all areas of the district from Five Points to Dyer.
Find new ways to make our city government more efficient by eliminating duplication of services in order to save taxpayer money.
Improve public trust in City Hall and seek innovative ways to use new technologies to involve our community in city decisions and improve transparency.
2) WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM YOUR OPPONENTS?
What sets me out from my opponents are two items: next to growing up in this area my entire life, I have worked in the polticial arena from being a volunteer in grassroots camapigns, to advocating for policy changes at the local, state and federal level. With that, I have worked with numerous political leaders from the different so-called "factions" and I understand what each faction is advocating for. I will work to ensure to bring their ideas together to create a balance solution and continue to move our city forward.
Also, my personal story sets me apart. I grew up in a single parent household where my mom had to work a full time job and raise me alone. My mom was born and raised in not the most pleasant parts of town. She grew up having to work harder than anyone if she wanted to succeed and not live in the projects forever. She took up many jobs where the wages were not the best, but it was a living. When she had me, she made it a point to teach me what it meant to work hard to achieve your goals. I know there are many other children who are raised by single parents in my district and I can relate to them.
3) RELEVANT EXPERIENCE THAT QUALIFIES YOU FOR THE POSITION YOU SEEK:
What I bring to the table is years of experience with my work in the political field and in my own business. For the last twelve years, I have worked with candidate and issue campaigns which allowed me to build relationships with volunteers, voters, candidates and elected officials, trained voters on how to get involved in political process, and create coalitions to push for issues at the state and national level. With my business, I will bring to city council the knowledge on budgeting and ensuring that we stay within our means and how to better serve our constituents with the same methods we use at my store for customer service.
4) IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO REVOKE ONE ORDINANCE IN EL PASO IMMEDIATELY UPON TAKING OFFICE, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE?
I do not want a complete repeal of this ordinance, I want to go back to the drawing board with the sign ordinance that was amended in 2010. As a business owner, it has been very restrictive as to how we advertise for our business, especially with portable signs. I have shared my reccomendations with the City that portable signs, such as feather banners, should not be an issue as long as they are a safe distance from streets and not blocking sidewalks. No other city, and even "progressive" cities like Austin, have these types restrictions on portable signs. I want to revisit this ordinance and provide businesses a larger voice on this issue.
5) DESCRIBE A MOMENT THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE:
In 2002, I was a paid blockwalker for the Tony Sanchez for Govenor campaign. This was the first time I had been part of a campaign and I didn't know what to expect from going door to door. Within weeks it was fastinating that El Pasoans were very welcoming especially when strangers are at your door. During one of my walks, I ran into a middle age lady who told me her story and the issues she felt were important. She had just been released from her job, and her husband had passed away a year ago. She had now become a single parent with two young children. She told me it was hard to receive any help for her kids and to save money, she even admitted that she would purchase canned dog food and mix it in other items to save money as she cooked. After talking to her, I realized there are many other people like her not only in our community, but across the globe. While this started out only as a job, but I understood what it meant to elect the right people in to office, and I made it a point to assist and push for candidates and officals who will work towards improving our community.
6) IN WHAT WAYS IS EL PASO ON THE RIGHT TRACK, AND IN WHAT WAYS DOES IT NEED TO CHANGE COURSE?
I believe El Paso is in the right track with our vision of what we can be. I remember in the 80s and 90s that we sold our community as a great place but one that offered cheap labor. We as a community always sold ourselves. Since 2002, I've seen a change in our vision and have come to more of ourselves and push ourselves to break new barriers, and a sense of renewed pride that reinstates the fact that we can accomplish more. I agree with Mayor Cook that we have gone from the "probresito" to "si se puede" way of thinking.
With that, this group of leaders have also created a bubble between themselves and the people. When I walk each day, there is feelign that city council will do what it wants by whatever means, even if it means avoiding a larger community discussion. I believe we have to better our communitcations with the people of our city. I want to work to find new ways to increase the number of community meetings, continue to make our neighboords strong and even create a grassroots network of pepole who will push for changing our government and issues, and finally I want to use more social media and technology to move our message from the city to citizen so that a younger generation can be part of their city government.
- IF ELECTED, HOW WILL YOU BALANCE THE NEEDS OF FAMILY, YOUR CAREER AND YOUR OFFICE
It will be very simple. I will change ownership of my business to my family so they can take over the business, and since I do not have young children or married, I am only responsable for myself and our constitutents. It will be a very easy balance.
- WHEN AND WHY DID YOU COME TO EL PASO (IF APPLICABLE)?
I was born in El Paso and only moved out twice with a total of 4 years. A year in Albuquerque and 3 years in the San Antonio-Austin area.
9) PLEASE INDICATE WHETHER YOU HAVE A WEBSITE, TWITTER OR FACEBOOK ACCOUNT: