Thursday, April 10, 2008

Nelda Blair 2008 Interview for Township Director Woodlands Texas

Candidate Written Interview

1. What specifically do you personally expect to get out of being on the Township Board?

If I had to say it in one word, it would be “unity”. I was raised in Montgomery County, and I love my home. I want to see it grow and prosper and develop in harmony, and I hope to be an effective contributor to that exciting future! (It’s certainly not for the big bucks…..)

2. What are the primary resident values that you will use to prioritize your decision making for the villages?

See question #3.

3. What are the primary commercial values you will use to prioritize your decision making for the business community?

As to questions 2 and 3: In my view, the whole idea of The Woodlands is not “Residents vs. Businesses”; and it is not “Township vs. Associations”. It is that each of us is a part of all of it. Whether we have given support in our religious congregations, in village groups, with our schools or the college, on professional boards or in other volunteer activities, we want balance and harmony between all the parts of our community. That is what makes The Woodlands so unique and successful in the first place: the harmony of nature and people, living and working (and of course, playing.) Those values apply to both residential and business, for everyone.

4. Do you believe that resident issues or commercial interests are going to be your biggest challenge?

Resident issues and commercial interests are both vital to the continued success of our community, and they rely on each other for sustenance. Without our beautiful living areas, highly maintained property standards and contented residents, we lose the attributes of our master-planned neighborhoods. Without our varied leisure and recreation, world headquarters, and office areas, we lose our ability to attract upper level companies and fund our residential amenities. Each sustains the other. The Woodlands is full of anecdotal stories about folks who visited and loved the area for its residential features, then moved their global companies here for the business climate. That’s what it’s all about!

5. What is your position on the future government of The Woodlands? For example, do you support incorporation?

My understanding is that never before in Texas has an area of almost 90,000 people been released from potential annexation to govern itself. So, as we determine how our transition will work best for all of us, we will also determine how we want to define ourselves. It is us, the residents, who will decide in the future if we want to incorporate, by popular vote. Incorporation will give us powers and abilities that we don’t have as an improvement district (which is what The Woodlands Township is now), but it will also obligate us to provide our own services. The first opportunity we have to make that decision is in 2014. In the meantime, we should look around, evaluate our community, and determine if incorporation is what we want. And if we do, then we go for it!

6. What is your view of the relationship between the associations and the Township during and after transition?

I have said since Day One that this transition is really akin to a “merger”. We are taking 3 homeowner associations, a fire department, a recreation organization, a management company, and a special purpose district, and combining them all into one entity. As I mentioned above, this is a first for Texas, and we are learning as we go. But, the Transition Teams for all entities have worked long and hard to make this growing stage as enjoyable and invisible as possible for all inhabitants of our community. To a person, I think all community leaders involved will say they want to work together, as partners. That is what truly makes a successful merger.

7. What is your vision of maintenance services for the community in the transition and afterwards?

The level of maintenance will not change, or will improve with growth. Maintenance duties will gradually transfer from the Community Associations to the Township, but by unanimous agreement, the quality will endure. It is our greatest hope that residents will not even notice the governance changeover in their neighborhoods.

8. What is your vision of the associations’ role in the future of The Woodlands?

Honestly, that is totally up to the folks on the Boards of The Woodlands Community Association, The Woodlands Association, and The Woodlands Commercial Owners Association. The concept approved by the voters is that the Township will gradually come to oversee financing and provision of community services, and that an ad valorem tax will replace property assessments for funding. So, there should be no need for assessments or provision of services by these Community Associations in the future. The Village Associations, however, are another matter, and are a very important layer of leadership between the Township and the residents as a whole.

9. What changes would you like to see from our fire department over the next two years?

The only “changes” I foresee are improvements. The current makeup of The Woodlands Fire Department is one of an outstanding organization, but our area’s predicted growth will present challenges. TWFD will be expected to excel at its role, because it is a very important part of the overall public safety structure that helps shape our outstanding community.

10. What are your ideas and vision for the tax structure for residents and businesses here?

Exactly what the voters approved in November: We will pay an ad valorem or property tax that will gradually replace, dollar for dollar, our current community association property assessments. An additional benefit is that such a tax is generally deductible from federal income taxes, whereas the community association assessments are not. In addition, that tax rate will be less than the current community association assessment rates, as it will be supplemented by a sales tax payable by all people who buy in The Woodlands Township.

11. What is your position on the parks, trees and amenities provided throughout The Woodlands? Also please add any relative comments on the development of the Village of Creekside Park?

Vital. Our claim-to-fame, these are the main things that distinguish us from other communities around the country. In survey after survey, year after year, what is the Number 1 thing residents, tourists and business people alike say they admire about our area? Not the shopping, not the homes, not the office space, nor the Pavilion, nor the Waterway nor Lake Woodlands. It’s the TREES. (We’re “The Woodlands”, get it?) These are our signature. As a resident of the Village of Grogan’s Mill, I love the parks, trees and amenities all over The Woodlands. We have to be diligent in keeping those up to standards as we experience growth, as they help keep our property values up and our quality of life high. The Village of Creekside Park is no different, and will be one of our flagship areas of The Woodlands.

12. If you have any additional statements you believe residents or storeowners should hear reflecting your personal commitment to their welfare, please try to enumerate in 50 words or less. : I invite all of our residents and business people to visit this web site. Click on “Message from Nelda” to hear my vision for our community in my own words. Review “Nelda’s Resume’” to see where I’ve been and the educational background that fits me for this position on The Woodlands Township Board, (or if you have severe insomnia),click on “Nelda is a Leader” and “Nelda Supports Our Community” for the stuff I truly love to do, the important and deserving endeavors in our area.

Here’s the wrap up: .I believe I have proven myself as an effective leader on the Board of The Town Center Improvement District, now The Woodlands Township, for the past several years. I want to stay there. So, I ask that you vote for me on Saturday, May 10th!

Candidate verbal interview

1. Living Balance: Your resume testifies to your many talents, accomplishments and capability. How do you manage to balance your life and focus your work with such a seemingly overwhelming agenda?

I like to involve myself. God gave me an incredible amount of energy since the day I was born. To help me through all of my activities, I have a great support system in people and some special others.

2. Personality: You are the lady always in the red dress. You present yourself as semi-tough, aggressive, directly to the point, considerate and part of the team. How do you see yourself in this respect?

Well(laugh), red is my favorite color. All of this is a natural thing with me. I am a Texan through and through - strong, honest, but direct person. I am a natural leader, the kind who involves everyone at the level they want to be involved and in the capacity they have to involve themselves.

3. Management Style: Given the opportunity to delegate or do it yourself, what approach do you prefer when it comes to managing a crisis or important situation?

I very strongly believe in team players. The more duties given to people, the more they can handle and the better the team player. There are times I do a lot of my own work, sometimes out of necessity, but I believe everyone needs a participative role in whatever comes around.

4. Transition: Using the analogy of a corporate merger, do you think we are short on skills or experience having to do with mergers, to complete the job effectively?

No, but this IS the first time for this to happen in the whole state. I have the right to feel our way through some of this. We have many very smart people here, and I have a lot of confidence in them.

Campaign Website: Go to Nelda's web site/

Campaign Email: Send email to Nelda's campaign mailbox

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Content approved for publication by Nelda Blair

1 comment:

ISO 9000 said...

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ISO 9000