By Joe Southern
All five candidates for Sugar Land mayor participated in a debate March 29 hosted by the speech/debate/English class at Harmony School of Science High School.
Students in teacher Amanda Trost’s class researched issues important to the candidates and met with several of them one-on-one. Five of them served as moderators. They gave each candidate time to introduce themselves and then asked a series of questions.
Appearing at the debate were mayoral candidates Myatt Hancock, Kyle Stanley, Sarwar Khan and incumbent councilmen Harish Jajoo and Joe Zimmerman.
Jajoo said he has three items of concern in his campaign. The first was taxes. “Property taxes have got to be reined in,” he said. The second was improving the quality of life in Sugar Land. The third was managing growth. “We need to make sure growth happens on our terms,” he said.
Zimmerman had a four-point plan that includes making Sugar Land one of the safest cities in America, improving infrastructure, having a responsible city government and an economic development plan. “This is a great place to live, work and play,” he said.
Hancock said he is concerned about the direction the city is going. He said property taxes are too high. He said there are too many apartments going in which increases density while lowering property value. He is also opposed to a proposition that would increase the number of signatures needed to get an issue on the ballot. “It takes away the rights of the citizens,” he said.
Stanley noted that he is the youngest of the candidates by far and that he has overcome Asperger’s syndrome to become successful in business. He also has a four-point agenda that includes encouraging quality development, making the city safe, developing the economic potential of the community and making government more open.
Khan said his primary focus was to bring a four-year university to Sugar Land. “Sugar land is a beautiful city but we do not have our own university where our children and go,” he said.
He noted that the University of Houston has a campus in Sugar Land but “we do not have a full-fledged university.”
Although many issues were discussed, the controversial topic of red light cameras came up. On that subject, Jajoo and Zimmerman support the cameras and Hancock, Stanley and Khan are opposed to them.