Friday, October 26, 2007

Peggy Hausman Response

First I would like to thank-you for your efforts in trying to get out candidate information to The Woodlands residents. As you are very aware, information sharing in The Woodlands is lacking. I appreciate the fact that you need information about all the candidates, their opinions, history, affiliations and future desires for our hometown. I am pleased to present my credentials to all outlets in hopes that the residents will get all the facts they need to make informed decisions. I am sending this to you, at your request, because I trust that there will be no editing or culling of my information.

  • Experience which qualifies you to lead the board in governing the village

    I have lived in The Woodlands since 1981 and have been involved in our community since my husband, Mitch and I arrived, raised two fine young boys, and became friends with some of the finest people and neighbors to be found anywhere. From when I first served on the Residential and Design committee for Panther Creek in the 80’s and 90’s, to my ongoing dedication to our Panther Creek Village Association, being appointed to the board of MUD #40, Sally K. Ride PTA President, The Woodlands High School board, working with the Montgomery County Food Bank and finally running for a seat on The Woodlands Community Association Board (WCA) and later being appointed by the WCA to where I still serve in representing our residents on The Town Center Improvement District (TCID) Board.

    In 1995, I was elected to the Community Association Board and in 1996 was elected by the board as their President. Being the first female President of the WCA, combined with my chosen career path as a stay-at-home Mom to raise our two sons, made me even more aware of developing changes in our community. I soon realized that we were entering a turbulent time in our community’s history. During my tenure the Mutual Benefit Agreement was breached, when George Mitchell sold 50% of his interest in The Woodlands to investors outside of his family. That triggered the residents’ right to renegotiate some of the terms of this historical agreement.

    I set out with the assistance of a great board and especially board member Scott Frezza to renegotiate three very key portions of the Mutual Benefit Agreement. The WCA board wanted to gain tighter standards in the Development Standards Criteria, remove developer majority control of the Woodlands Community Service Corporation and The Woodlands Fire Department. (After all it was resident money financing these entities; I personally could not understand why we did not have control.) Nine months later we signed the agreement and the WFD/WCSC boards became resident controlled and the Standards were tighter. I am honored to have been chosen as the first Residential President of the WCSC. Shortly after the signing we were on the search for a new General Manager and hired Mr. Steve Burkett. He was instrumental in bring order to the WCSC. The next Challenge on our plate was that the board did not want to continue to pay rent any longer, so over a three year period we negotiated the purchase of the building where the Woodlands Community Association (CATW) is currently housed. The WCA is the sole owner of the building which in turns leases space to our sister associations. During my term as President I spoke many times in Austin during the Kingwood hearings on unfair Annexation Legislations. I believed then, and I believe now, The State of Texas needed to give back citizenship rights to all residents so that they may truly become “The Masters of their own Destiny.” Laws needed to change. The gun was loaded and Houston had all the bullets. The first Governance committee was formed and met monthly out at Montgomery College, “The Regional Resource Counsel on Governance.” Only a handful of today’s “governance” players, sat on that committee. So to understand today, you must go back to the fights of the past and understand how and why governance was originally set up. History is a wonderful tool to help clarify the future.

    So I guess I would have to say my experience is that I have been in this fight from the beginning. I am truly the resident who has knowledge and understanding of all the parties involved at all levels. I have served on the Woodlands Community Association, The Woodlands Community Service Corporation, The Woodlands Fire Department, MUD #40, and The Town Center Improvement District boards. This is our community! We, the residents, need to have the final say in, the outcome of these issues. The choices must come from the people and be in the best interests of the people. We understand that the developer has a stake and has an agenda, but so do the residents. Each must work for the best interest of the community and compromise, where necessary, for the sake of the next generation.

  • What do you expect to gain personally from assuming this new role?

    I have been married 29 years to Mitch Hausman, who is employed by Southwest Wire Rope, Inc. with his office, located in Galena Park, Texas. He does not have direct dealings with the developer in any phase of his work. I have chosen to be a full-time at home mom and wife for the past 22 years. A job I still love. So with all that said what will I gain by serving on a newly reformatted TCID Board? I truly have a love of this community and a selfish desire to leave my hometown as a place that my sons will be proud to come home to and raise the next generation. I would hope that they would not have to fight the battles of who and what are we going to be in 10 years. I believe we need a central government chosen by the people, elected by the people and for the people. I want everyone, on any side of these issues, to live up full to the credo of The Woodlands, “A place families can live, work and play.” Our residents need one-stop shopping for services so that we can do away with the confusion of the ABC’s. We need to reach an understanding that smart development is in the best interests of both the residents, commercial businesses and developer. We need everyone to understand that even though you can legally build a four story building next to a residential neighborhood-you shouldn’t! Residents need to receive the same rights as the developer and the developer the same rights as the residents. I want to be a member of a board that can agree to disagree with varied interests and reach solutions through compromise, not power plays.

  • What do you expect to give to the community?

    I hope to bring my years of experience, knowledge and understanding of the voluminous number of agreements and the negotiations that led up to them. I want to connect the needs of the commercial and residential philosophies so this community can work in true harmony. On behalf of the residents, I want to finally obtain a sense of accountability for the entities that will be responsible.

  • Any issues you believe you should divulge to the public that may impair or help the community to make sound decision, given the time frame of your projected tenure position.

    Whether you are for or against Proposition number one and two, you must understand what they will and won’t solve. You will still not have control over building standards on new construction, road repairs, animal control; you will not be able to employ your own police department, and be given ordinance making authority. This will not change our school district and the MUD districts will not be folded into the mix. If one and two do not pass, we still have the problem of annexation looming over The Woodlands from Houston and Conroe. We still have time with Houston, but Conroe could come in at anytime. The Memorandum of Understanding that was just signed is a non-binding agreement that can still change. The likelihood of that happening in my opinion is small. The new township board will only have half of it board members elected by The Woodlands, populous the first two years. This is true. It is in my opinion that those currently seated on the interim TCID board, would act in the best interests of the residents. I know that this is not a popular statement, but in the 7 years that I have served on the board, I have seen them agree on many votes that would favor the best interests of the residents. Am I concerned? Yes and you should be as well. The devil is always in the details. As far as Proposition number 3, ad valorem property tax. If you feel one and two are a yes, then three is the instrument to do away with the community association assessments and turn over services to the new township. The checks and balances of these taxes lie in the hands of the residents. If your assessments do not drop and your property taxes go up, we must speak out immediately, through our elected representatives on the board, if not en masse. I promise you that I will be a strong voice for the residents in lowering assessments and taxes, as I have always been in the past. I promise to keep the residents informed to the best of my ability.

    Peggy Hausman

  • No comments: