The Race for District 3: Paul Meltzer's "All In" Energy
A new tea premiered at Aura Coffee on April 1 called the “All In Blend.” The secret ingredient is a blend of energy and relaxation. Paul Meltzer asked the folks behind the counter to make him a blend before his event, Tea & Talk with Paul. The name reflects his campaign, “All In for Paul.”
“Do you want to try it?” said Meltzer.
The significance of the secret ingredient even parallels his platform.
“I bring the energy so the voters can relax,” said Meltzer.
Meltzer, a playful yet comforting character, Vice President of the Thin Line Board, UNT faculty spouse, actor in 30 episodes of Mystery at the Museum, and simply a man who wears many hats, is running for District 3.
Meltzer spent 30 years as a corporate executive with offices in Dallas, Manhattan, and Louisville, Kentucky, before settling down in Denton nine years ago.
“I came as soon as I could,” he said.
Meltzer retired at the age of 50, and his wife took a professorial position at UNT, which was what brought them to Denton.
“I make the dinner parties,” Meltzer said.
Meltzer said the quashed Denton vote to ban fracking sparked his interest in city council. Moreover, the $265 million gas plant that was approved didn't sit well with him either. Meltzer said decisions are not being made for the will of the people, and he feels someone needed to challenge this.
“Then I thought, oh, that’s what I’m supposed to do,” he said.
Meltzer, taking tips from Georgetown, said it would be worthwhile to explore using 100-percent renewable energy. Georgetown successfully implemented this and took zero debt into the plan, as opposed to Denton’s gas plant plan.
“I hope to heck we can back out of that,” Meltzer said.
Denton has the worst air quality in Texas due to several variables, such as natural gas development, emissions created by idling 18-wheelers, and polluting winds from other areas of the state. Meltzer said he wants to make sure we are more cautious about the choices we make and serve as a leader to achieve better air quality.
In District 3 specifically, Meltzer wants to address zoning issues. Meltzer said the explosion of student housing around UNT affects the area to the west that is crying out for redevelopment. This area is zoned for two stories, and he wants to lift this cap in order to allow 30 percent of the units to be set aside as affordable housing.
“We can develop a smart, vibrant urban area,” Meltzer said.
Smart growth is also big on Meltzer’s list. He said he wants Denton to be “more choosy” about what businesses are allowed.
“When someone wants to come to Denton, [we need to] ask what will they do that will build on what we value,” Meltzer said, “and reward that and make the quality of life better here.”
Meltzer listed examples such as businesses that set up downtown providing performance venues and ensuring a percentage of buildings are equipped to handle solar paneling.
When addressing homelessness, Meltzer advocates for a “Supportive Housing First” model that offers housing and monitors the homeless. He said studies have shown the community would save $5,000 a year per person using this model.
"It makes some people nuts because it involves giving something," Meltzer said.
Among his policies, Meltzer takes a four-step approach to fiscal discipline that involves placing metrics, asking where cuts can be made and where they will affect citizens least, performing audits on higher-salaried overheads, and evaluating job descriptions that justify a job.
Meltzer said infrastructure does not feel well-planned, and that he wants Denton to develop infrastructure with citizens' input.
Meltzer said inclusivity is important for acquiring the best ideas and said he strives to listen to citizens.
“You need to ultimately build a team,” he said. “Some of it is really as simple as asking.”
His answer for this is to include more open meetings and an electronic bulletin board that takes in the digital voices of the people.
Meltzer has many hopes for Denton. He said that throughout his many years of service, it has been the example his father set that has kept him involved and inspired.
“Our family contributed to making our community what our family needed,” Meltzer said. “I’m glad to have the opportunity to balance things out in my life to be more concentrated on being of service.”
Photo courtesy of Paul Meltzer's Campaign Website
Header Image Design by Christopher Rodgers