Dear Arlington Resident, My name is Ashton Stauffer and I’m running for Mayor of Arlington, Tx. For decades our city leaders have put themselves, large corporations, and owners of sports franchises ahead of the people of Arlington. If elected, I will put Arlington Citizens First!... I will be a champion of Locally Owned Business, fight against Illegal Immigration, and reduce our property taxes to the Effective Tax Rate.
Mayor Jeff Williams’ Top 3 Priorities are:
1) For Arlington to be kind and learn from other cultures
2) Champion Education
3) Public Transportation
see the video at www.voteashton.com
In this letter I will cut through the campaign rhetoric and present the facts in black and white.
In so doing, I hope to earn your vote so the people of Arlington will finally have a mayor who will put Arlington Citizens First.
So, let’s begin.
I used to be a 911 operator and jailer alongside Chief Bill Waybourn, who is now Sheriff of Tarrant County. During that time I deported illegal immigrants out of our community and over to ICE. And now the opposite is happening, Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson, with the approval of Mayor Williams, signed his name to a letter opposing Senate Bill 4 the ‘Texas Against Sanctuary Cities’ Bill. Now that SB4 is the law, they refuse to adhere to it, thereby, making Arlington a defacto sanctuary city. So why would Mayor Williams provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants and put their interest ahead of the safety and prosperity of our own citizens?
Mayor Williams is the former Chairman of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is an outspoken advocate for amnesty and open borders.
- Washington Times: US Chamber Demands Amnesty For 1 Million Migrants 6/7/18
This is because big business thrives on cheap labor. The reason Arlington has become a sanctuary city under the leadership of Jeff Williams is because he is a status-quo chamber republican who uses his position of power to guarantee cheap labor for large corporations like home builder D.R. Horton. Thereby, putting the interest of big business and illegal immigrants ahead of the safety and prosperity our own citizens.
Mayor Williams says he created 6,000 new jobs since becoming mayor but very few of those jobs have actually gone to the citizens of Arlington. Furthermore, many, if not all, of our City of Arlington construction contracts have gone to companies that hire illegal immigrants. Let me ask you a serious question, how do you feel about your tax dollars going to pay the salaries of those living here illegally while so many of our own citizens are out of work?
So that’s the problem, what’s the solution? First, require our police department to adhere to SB4 the Texas Against Sanctuary Cities Law and second, implement E-verify for all city contracts. And that is exactly what I will do if elected mayor.
Mayor Williams says he lowered the property tax rate which, in fact, he did. But here's the rest of the story: Tarrant Appraisal District has consistently raised the value of our properties so, even though the "Tax Rate" goes down, the amount we actually pay goes up. If I tried telling customers in my business that I was lowering prices and then started charging them more, I don't think they'd continue to buy the product. Well, we shouldn't buy it either. The city took in almost $8,000,000.00 more in property tax revenue from current properties and an additional $4,000,000.00 from newly built properties. Jeff Williams ineffectively lowered the property tax rate and it's costing us more.
The solution is simple and easy: lower our property taxes to the effective tax rate. Other cities have done this successfully and we can, too. This way even if TAD appraises your property at a higher value, your taxes will remain the same as the year before.
Effective Tax Rate: The rate at which property taxes remain the same amount as the previous year.
Jeff Williams is the Commissioner of the North Texas High Speed Rail Commission and, as such, he is working to bring high speed rail not only to Arlington but to all of North Texas. He calls it a, “Vital service” and claims that it is 100% privately funded. But the hidden truth is that the loans will be government backed and when the project fails, which it will, we the taxpayers will be left holding the bill for more than $15 billion dollars. There are only two profitable high speed rails in the world, one in France and one in Japan. The only reason they show a profit is because of a low build cost of $3 million per mile and a high ridership of more than 170 million riders last year alone.
The build cost for Mayor William’s project is $62.5 million per mile with a projected ridership of only 5 million by year 2026. We recently witnessed the dismal failure of high speed rail in California, yet, Mayor Williams is embarrassingly determined to bring it to Arlington and all of DFW. Furthermore, Mayor Williams has stated that after he brings high speed rail to Arlington that he will then bring public transportation to Arlington, too. The city council has already been in discussions with the leaders of DART.
Houston Chronicle: Texas High-Speed Rail Destined For Failure 2/12/19
Dallas Morning News: Arlington Will Commit to Public Transportation Mayor Says 2/12/18
Because the cost is scheduled to increase exponentially over the next few years, if elected, I will end the VIA program. There is no such thing as a free ride, it’s the taxpayers who end up paying for it. The example Mayor Williams uses in his campaign is about a special needs teacher who uses VIA to get to and from work. It sounds nice until you learn that our teacher’s starting salary is over $53,000.00 and anyone earning that much money should be able to afford their own cost of transportation to and from work.
The taxpayers of Arlington shouldn’t be paying school taxes for a teachers salary plus have our city tax dollars used to pay for them a free ride. The free market has already provided a low cost form of transportation through Uber and Lyft. If elected, I will work to reduce the size and costs of government so that you can keep more of your money. Also, I will immediately cutoff discussions with DART in regards to them providing public transportation in Arlington.
Mayor Williams says he’s been a leader in public education for decades. Within that time, AISD has fallen from one of the best districts for public education to one that is ranked within the bottom 50% of all schools in Texas. Furthermore, the percentage of students achieving proficiency in math, reading, and language arts has dropped below the state average, AISD is in the bottom 50% of all schools in Texas for overall test scores with an average score of 69%, half of all students receive a free lunch, and the graduation rate is in the bottom 50% of the state.
In every measurable metric AISD is failing, yet, Jeff Williams lists his leadership in education as one of his great achievements. He has done one thing, he chaired the AISD bond committee which has a price tag of more than a billion dollars. When it comes to spending your money, he's an expert. By the way, now that all that money is spent, AISD is proposing another bond package even though the last one didn't help improve any of the metrics listed above. Spend a billion, get nothing, so let's spend a billion more. This is the governing philosophy of Jeff Williams and we must bring his era of leadership to an end.
If elected mayor, I will work with our school board and state representatives to get the politics of the federal government out of our classrooms. We need to eliminate teaching to the test. We need to focus less on social emotional learning and actually teach our children reading, writing, arithmetic, and our true American and Texas history. We must start empowering our teachers and trusting them to fulfill their calling. Hold them accountable, yes, but get the heavy weight of a multilayered institutional bureaucracy and large administrative staff off their backs. Let our teachers teach so our students can truly learn; not just be able to pass a test.
The Stadium Deal
Mayor Williams told us that the city would pay a maximum of $500,000,000.00 towards the new stadium, however, we are estimated to be on the hook for, at least, an additional $300,000,000.00. He gave away the tax revenue that we receive from parking and ticket sales to the Rangers who are now using it to pay off their portion of the debt. 10% on ticket sales and $3 for each vehicle parked. Simply put, we are paying, at least, 80% of the total cost of the stadium and as ticket prices go up, because we are losing out on the 10% ticket tax, we could actually be paying for the whole stadium ourselves.
- Dallas Morning News: Rangers Secure $600 Million Loan For New Ballpark
This is a poorly negotiated, one sided deal that gives a new billion dollar stadium to millionaire, out-of-town owners and takes away an important source of tax revenue for the city. Now, the Arlington citizens will have to cover the cost of that lost revenue.
If elected mayor, I will have our city attorneys go through this deal and, hopefully, find parts of it that can be renegotiated for the benefit of the Citizens of Arlington.
As a certified EMT and former volunteer firefighter, I have experience working in the field alongside our first responders. I’ve saved lives and I’ve held in my arms those who were passing from this life to the next. Our firefighters are first on the scene fighting to save our citizens and they’re the ones having to live with the emotional weight when their best efforts aren’t enough. After Arlington’s citizens opposed Mayor WIlliam’s efforts and instead backed our firefighters by voting for Proposition 2, he has, in fact, retaliated against them. How?
First, by giving our most veteran fire fighters only a few weeks to decide to either forfeit their saved vacation time or retire. Many of our most valuable firefighters, understandably, chose to retire and now we have a far less experienced department. Secondly, he revoked their right to meet and confer. It is as simple as it sounds, in order to maintain a good relationship with city leadership, our firefighters had the ability to meet with them to discuss important issues, but not anymore. Thirdly, he reduced the number of personnel per fire truck. The minimum safety standard required before entering a burning building is four men to a truck and he reduced the number to three men to a truck. This action has left our citizens and fire fighters far less safe than when he took office.
If elected mayor I will restore the standard of 4 men to a truck, reinstate meet and confer, attempt to rehire some of our former firefighters, and work to rebuild the morale of our first responders.
Citizen Owned Business
A couple of years ago I met with Mayor Williams and City Manager Trey Yelverton to discuss the growing resentment from citizen business owners towards city leaders. Both the perception and reality: millions of dollars are doled out in incentive packages for large corporations and owners of sports franchises while, at the same time, the city keeps its heavy foot on the neck of the citizens. In that meeting I offered real solutions, such as, creating an office of business ambassador and updating or eliminating burdensome ordinances.
I even volunteered to donate my time to assist in the effort. Mayor Williams declined my offer and instead created an office of ombudsman which by definition is just someone to complain to. Business owners don’t need a government employee to chit chat with about their problems, they need a mayor who will provide leadership and viable solutions so they can get to work. A business ambassador serves as a go between to head off problems before they ever happen.
Let’s pause here so I can explain why this is so important. When I was opening Jambo’s, here in Arlington, I had three different inspectors tell me three different things about one small project. The first inspector told us we needed to put up some metal backing board, so we spent the money to comply. Then another inspector came out and told us it had been put up upside down, so we spent more money to have it redone. After we had, for a second time, put up backing board a third city inspector told us we had actually done it right the first time but still needed to have it redone again. This one incident cost our family several thousand dollars! Simply having an office of business ambassador would have saved us and the city in both time and money. Unfortunately, this attitude of careless indifference has become the norm in Arlington and not the exception.
Ironically, at the very top under the issues section on his campaign website, Jeff Williams says that he has created an office of business liaison. Which surprised me because just a short time ago he told me something very different. Interestingly, toward the end of the term limits campaign Mayor Williams requested a meeting with me and asked if I could help bring the two opposing sides of term limits together in compromise. To be clear, I wasn’t a leader of the term limits campaign, merely an advocate for them.
And the truth is, I’ve known Jeff Williams for a long time and I said to him, in that meeting, that if he were willing to compromise his position than perhaps I could broker an agreement. Unfortunately, he was either unwilling or unable to budge and, frankly, at that point it probably didn’t matter anyway. Nevertheless, it was in that meeting that he told me that he had created an office of ombudsman; not an office of business liaison.
I actually recorded the meeting and if the facts of this matter are disputed by his campaign, than, although reluctantly, I will have no choice but to release the recording. To be fair, in all the time I’ve known Jeff Williams he has been a person of honesty and integrity, even if, I disagree with him about important issues. So, I can only assume that someone on his campaign staff is stating this falsehood on his behalf. Either way, Jeff Williams is leading from behind on this issue. If elected, I will actually create an office of business ambassador and I will update or eliminate our code of ordinances to best serve our citizens.
I have known Jeff Williams and his family for close to twenty years; since I was in Junior High School. And I know that he is a good man and deserving of respect. He's just out of touch with the issues that our citizens care about. He has campaigned inside area mosques and said his number one priority, if re-elected, is for Arlington to be kind and learn from other cultures. In contrast, I believe when people move to Arlington from another country they should come here legally and assimilate into our culture. Let me assure you that, if elected, I will continue Jeff Williams legacy of pothole repair and bringing big business to Arlington, and, I will also take on the tough challenges of our generation. Namely, effectively lowering property taxes, championing locally owned businesses, fighting against illegal immigration, standing against sharia law, standing in support of our firefighters and first responders, and building a culture of citizen service at city hall. I will put Arlington Citizens First!
April 22 – 26 / Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
April 27 / Saturday 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
April 28 / Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
April 29 ‐ 30 / Monday ‐ Tuesday 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
•Bob Duncan Center 2800 South Center Street
•Elzie Odom Athletic Center 1601 NE Green Oaks Boulevard
•Center for Community Service Junior League of Arlington 4002 West Pioneer Parkway
•South Service Center 1100 SW Green Oaks Boulevard
•Tarrant County Sub-Courthouse in Arlington 700 E Abram Street
•Tarrant County College Southeast Campus 2100 Southeast Parkway