Duff Focuses on Ethics and a Growing Denton in Bid for District 3 Seat

When Kathleen Wazny decided not to re-run for City Council, Don Duff knew someone would have to run to continue representing Robson Ranch. 

Duff grew up in Fort Worth and attended the University of Texas at Arlington. He worked as an electrical engineer for 25 years before going into real estate. He opened his office in Robson Ranch in 2010.

He said he’s particularly concerned with Denton’s lack of a stronger ethics ordinance for City Council. Denton currently uses ethical guidelines set by the state of Texas, which are fairly broad.

“Someone on city council can be involved with something so long as no more than 10 percent of their income comes from it,” Duff said. “It may be legal, but it doesn’t pass the smell test.”

Duff said he and Wazny are friends, and he often consults her for advice and insight.

“I don’t want to give the impression that I’m just going to be a rubber stamp for her, I’m not. I’m going to make my own decisions, but she’s an invaluable source of information,” Duff said. “She got a lot of things done, but she had a lot of opposition and I’m sure I’m going to have a lot of opposition too.”

One of his main concerns is making it easier for businesses to open in Denton. He said right now, the process is too inefficient and frustrating.

“It takes too long to get a permit through, to get inspectors out. I’ve heard of people going to other cities because they don’t want to deal with the permitting and code enforcement [in Denton],” Duff said.

Amid talk of sanctuary cities and regulated bathrooms, Duff said he’s not interested in challenging state or federal laws. He said he thinks the council should only perform its role. For example, he said, Denton’s citywide fracking ban had been a mistake. In his opinion, the city should have focused on setting regulations instead.

He also said he’d want to reevaluate parts of the city budget. He said Stoke Coworking and Entrepreneur Center, which is partially funded by the city, is an example of an expense he’s not completely sold on. 

“I can tell you, there’s high school kids sharp enough. I absolutely know the college kids will do it. I’m not sure Stoke wouldn’t be a good way if it’s done right, but I kind of question paying somebody 65 grand a year to rent that thing over there.”

He said as Denton continues to grow, he thinks the council should prioritize existing neighborhoods over new housing aimed at students.

“My problem with it is that it’s close to homes, you’re going to end up with a lot of parking on the street and a tremendous amount of traffic,” Duff said. “I just don’t think that’s fair...There’s got to be a better way of doing it besides destroying neighborhoods.”