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Meet the candidates for Argyle's mayor race

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Argyle residents will go to the polls this Saturday, May 14, and make their choice for one of three mayoral candidates in what has become a contentious race.

Incumbent Mayor Greg Landrum is facing challenges from long-time council member and commercial real estate agent Dona Schroetke and local business owner Matt Smith.

Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. this Saturday.  Click here to locate your polling place.

The following is a profile of each candidate based on questions submitted by The Cross Timbers Gazette:

Greg Landrum (I)

Age
:  54

Birthplace:  Tucson, AZ

Marital status:  Married 33 years and have two grown boys that graduated from Argyle schools and are now living in the area.

Education:  Electrical Engineering Technology from DeVry Institute of Technology in Phoenix.  Business Administration at Arizona State

Professional work experience:  Business Development Manager at JMJ Associates, a global strategic management consulting firm that assists organizations and project teams in creating Incident and Injury-Free environments and cultures, creating world-class organizational performance and developing extraordinary leaders.  I was responsible for increasing JMJ’s impact through growth and diversification, leading the effort for New Client Attraction in the Americas and around the world.  Started career with Integrated Circuit Engineering, a consulting firm in Scottsdale Arizona, in 1978.  As the emerging semiconductor industry grew I became a content expert in factory design and construction working with GTE Microcircuits and almost 20 years with Intel Corporation.  At Intel, I worked in various organizations from automation; manufacturing, supervising production activities; and in construction as a project/program manager constructing Intel’s largest (over $1B each) production facilities and campuses worldwide.

Previous public service:  Since moving to Argyle in 1996 I have been very active in our community.  I was on the founding board of the Argyle Education Foundation, a leader of the Argyle Fellowship of Christian Athletes and held various roles in youth sports including Argyle Booster Club President.  I have served as the Mayor of Argyle for the past four years where I have used my planning and leadership skills to the benefit of the town.

Have you ever been arrested?  No

Have you ever been convicted of, pled no contest to, or placed in a diversion program for a crime, other than parking or minor traffic offenses?  No

Have you ever been the subject of a restraining order? No

Have you ever been penalized, fined or cited by the IRS? No

Have you ever lost a lawsuit? No

What is the main reason that you want to be Mayor?

The office of Mayor is a volunteer position that allows me to give back to the community that has given me and my wife a superb environment to raise our family.  Many call it our rural lifestyle which I’ve learned that has its own meaning for each of us.  To me it is not only the aesthetic beauty of our open spaces and ranches, but the real beauty of Argyle is doing life in community with each other.   My goal as Mayor is to protect that lifestyle for as long as possible while also protecting the property rights and values for our citizens.

What, in your opinion, is the most important issue that that the town is confronting and how do you plan to deal with it?

The issue of drilling in our town.  The issue is one of property rights pertaining to both minerals and surface rights.  Our responsibility as government is to protect the health and safety of our citizens while protecting these property rights.   Our goal is to be best in class regarding our ordinances.  As a small town without the benefit of being under a home rule charter, we are limited in what we can do to further control drilling and pipelines.  Therefore we need to push as hard as we can to that limit but not cross over which could result in a lawsuit that we could not afford.

Secondly, we need to continue to control development to meet or exceed our Comprehensive Land Use Plan.  This plan maintains our rural lifestyle while generating the revenue to support the expected level of service to our citizens.   Today we are prepared for the future due to the council’s actions under my leadership.  We need that leadership to continue.

Are you concerned about natural gas drilling in Argyle and do you think that the town’s current drilling ordinances sufficiently protect residents?

I’ve been concerned about this since taking office and the council has taken the appropriate action to protect our citizens under the law.  But we are not done, we need to stay vigilant to keep improving our ordinances and hold the developers accountable.  We also need to keep the State agencies accountable to do their jobs as well.

What, if anything, would you do to make Argyle more attractive to businesses?

I think our Land Use Plan makes us more attractive by providing a well thought out concept for the town.   When businesses recognize that you have a plan and that you will stick to it, it gives them more confidence to make an investment.   We need rooftops to prime the business pump.   The new regional sewer installation to the corner of I35W and FM 407 is under construction now.  Completion of this project will start to generate more rooftops if the economy recovers as expected.

How would you improve communication between town officials and residents?

We have tried many things.  We have held several open meetings for the public while developing the Comprehensive Land Use Plan but very few showed up.  We of course have a website and we have done newsletters in the past.   We even have a Facebook page, but all of these have had limited success.   We have had great success with direct contact regarding construction activities handing out notifications and holding neighborhood meetings.  For the most part Town Hall and its activities are “out of sight out of mind” until there is an issue.  I will continue to endeavor to find what works for the community and encourage people to get involved because there are a lot of really good things happening in Argyle.

Please add anything else here that you would like to say.

I had hoped that this election would not be a contentious one.  I have run my campaign with that in mind and will continue to do so.  Unfortunately, one of my opponents has decided to take a path of tossing unfounded accusations at the current council and myself, which has prompted a response from others regarding his background and lack of involvement in the community.   I think this demonstrates the character, or lack thereof, of this candidate.  Not what I would like to see as the leader of our community.

It has been my honor to be the Mayor of Argyle for the last four years.   I am proud of how the town has progressed in those years despite the difficult economic times and the difficult issues we faced when I first took office.   I wish to continue to represent Argyle and lead the Town Council to continue on the plan that we have established protecting the Town we all Love.


Dona Schroetke

Age
:   58

Birthplace:   Los Angeles, CA

Marital status:  Married

Education:  Riverside City College

Professional work experience: Commercial Realtor 2006 – present.  Currently working for Axis Realty Group in Denton

Previous public service:  I’ve been on the Argyle Town Council for a total of 9 yrs. (2000-2006, re-elected 2008 to present).  I was on the founding boards of the Economic Development Corp.(2004 -2006) and Keep Argyle Beautiful.(2006)  I’m currently on the advisory board of the Economic Development Corp. and the board of the Argyle Bluegrass Festival/Arts & Parks Foundation.(2004 – present)

Have you ever been arrested? No

Have you ever been convicted of, pled no contest to, or placed in a diversion program for a crime, other than parking or minor traffic offenses?  No

Have you ever been the subject of a restraining order?  No

Have you ever been penalized, fined or cited by the IRS?  No

Have you ever lost a lawsuit?  No

What is the main reason that you want to be Mayor?

At this point in time, we need a full time mayor who is adamant about keeping our citizens informed.  We need someone who will engage our various community organizations, including our school district, in crafting solutions to the issues confronting our town.

What, in your opinion, is the most important issue that that the town is confronting and how do you plan to deal with it?

The most important issue confronting us at this time is positioning our town to capture commercial development at 35W and FM 407 when the sewer gets there.  We need to get our Thoroughfare Plan done as soon as possible so we can design more corners in our commercial areas and have better traffic flow through town.  Without a healthy commercial tax base everything else we hope to accomplish in our community is just wishful thinking.  Nobody, me included, wants our property taxes raised to pay for the things we have envisioned in our Comprehensive Plan.

Are you concerned about natural gas drilling in Argyle and do you think that the town’s current drilling ordinances sufficiently protect residents?

I know our drilling ordinance is one of the strictest in the area.  We are updating it as new information becomes available.  On a local level we can only do so much, we need to apply pressure at the state level if we want to really affect change that would further protect people and property inside and outside our town limits.

What, if anything, would you do to make Argyle more attractive to businesses?

I am a member of the Chamber of Commerce and on the Economic Development Corp. advisory board.  These two entities, our town manager and town planner need to get together and discuss how best to help our existing businesses and attract new business to our community.  I think a Q&A page as well as a condensed version of our development regulations that pertain to just office/retail on their respective websites would be helpful.  Businesses and prospective businesses look at these websites for information and help.  Let’s give them the tools they need to build their business or locate a new business to our community.

How would you improve communication between town officials and residents?

This town needs a 21st century website full of timely information that allows residents to interact with their staff and town representatives.  I would record our planning & zoning and council meetings so those who can’t attend in person could watch at their discretion.  I would also write articles for the local newspapers to keep folks apprised of issues affecting our town.

Please add anything else here that you would like to say.

Since I moved here 11 years ago, I’ve been helping Argyle get to where we are today.  I’ve served on just about every board and commission, some from inception so I know what their needs are to keep us all on track for a bright future.

Matthew Smith

Age:  36

Birthplace:  Argyle, TX

Marital status:  Single

Education:  140 hours towards a major in Political Science with minor in finance at Texas Tech University from 1993-1997.

Professional work experience: National Sales Manager, Golden Distributing and Coors Distributing Co. of Fort Worth from 1997-2009.  Owner, Smith Construction from 2009-present.

Previous public service:  Tarrant County Food Bank, Denton County Food Bank, Meals on Wheels/SPAN

Have you ever been arrested?   Yes.  There were four silly misdemeanor bar fights between 94-97. It was youthful indiscretion. I have no drug related or felony arrests.  I would be more to willing to discuss these with anyone on a one-on-one basis at matthewsmith2007@yahoo.com.  You can talk to my lawyer about any other questions.

Editor’s note: According to public records, Smith is facing a driving while intoxicated charge from January 28, 2011. A hearing is set for May 18.  He also paid a fine after being charged with 2nd Degree Disorderly Conduct (Smith explained as public urination off of a dock) in Newport, Oregon on Oct. 23, 2010.  The earlier bar fight charges include Assault/Bodily Injury, Assault-Family Violence, Criminal Mischief between $500 and $1,500 and Deadly Conduct.

Have you ever been convicted of, pled no contest to, or placed in a diversion program for a crime, other than parking or minor traffic offensesEditor’s note: According to public records, Smith was sentenced to Community Service and Probation for the above charges in the 1990’s.

Have you ever been the subject of a restraining order?  No

Have you ever been penalized, fined or cited by the IRS?  No

Have you ever lost a lawsuit?  No

What is the main reason that you want to be Mayor?

It all started in January.  The town wanted to take 30 feet in front of my Grandfather’s property to expand Frenchtown Road in exchange for nothing.  That got me starting to do some investigating into how the town does business.  I want to end the current corruption at town hall and have civil servants be held accountable for their votes and actions. Elected officials should not make money on their votes or positions. Current candidates have both profited from their votes and influences. If elected, I will not profit.

What, in your opinion, is the most important issue that that the town is confronting and how do you plan to deal with it?

Growth.  Our town is growing I am a strong proponent of the town’s comprehensive plan from 2009.  I’m not a big fan of amendments in the comprehensive plan to accommodate developers.  I will work with the community and get professional opinions from different sectors. Our growth needs to be strategic and well planned and adhere to original plan and refocus on 35 and 407 corridors. With the exception of the Gateway Business Park, I don’t see any progress being made and it is in our ETJ, not town limits.

Are you concerned about natural gas drilling in Argyle and do you think that the town’s current drilling ordinances sufficiently protect residents?

I am not a geologist or scientist.  I think the town should create a committee with experts and landowners to determine what measures, if any, need to be taken. A moratorium should be placed into effect until federal guidelines come out.  The only land that my family owns is the 10 acres of our homestead.

What, if anything, would you do to make Argyle more attractive to businesses?

Argyle is already very attractive to businesses.  Many businesses want to come to Argyle, but they have been denied though the town’s political process, like Sonic and QuikTrip.  The town needs to focus on the I -35W/407 corridor, not Hwy 377. Citizens in Old Town don’t want condos or mixed use commercial.   I want to renovate an historic house in Old Town and make it a small library and gathering spot for seniors.

How would you improve communication between town officials and residents?

Roberts Rule of Order needs to be followed and meeting agendas and minutes should be clearer.  We need a weekly newsletter or email to let people know what’s going on.  I am going to utilize our local media if I am elected to help get the word out to everyone.

Please add anything else here that you would like to say.

There is nothing in this for me.  I just want to clean the town up and make the citizens feel that they are making the decisions. My grandmother was the first councilmember out here. I have a love for this town and want to get people back involved so we can grow intelligently. The Mayor represents people but he is not the shot caller.  My job will be to voice concerns of every citizen, from the developer to the guy in the trailer park.  Everybody is a shareholder.

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