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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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How the City Council election affects college students

Bob+Brick%2C+running+for+Place+1+seat.
Photo by Courtesy

Bob Brick, running for Place 1 seat.

As College Station municipal elections draw near, candidates weigh in on their motivation for running and how their stances relate to college students.
This year, three seats on the City Council are up for election. Bob Brick and Elianor-Azarak Vessali will run for Place 1, incumbent Linda Harvell and Dallas Shipp for Place 3 and John Nichols will run uncontested for Place 5.
Bob Brick, currently employed part-time at Texas A&M’s Institute of Quantum Science and Engineering as a research advisor, said he hopes to increase dialogue between College Station’s major institutions and the residents themselves on city growth and development.
“I would like to see a good discussion involving the residents, the students, the city administration, the developers and the university administration to get together and let’s have some effective dialogue,” Brick said. “I don’t know of having that kind of group come together in the past.”
As College Station continues to grow, Brick said the city might need to designate specific areas for student housing, something his campaign is looking into.
“There may be areas in which we could designate the appropriateness of high density housing fairly near the university in order to permit higher density housing than we now have available for students,” Brick said.
Elianor-Azarak Vessali, Brick’s opponent for Place 1 and the city’s Planning and Zoning Commissioner, said she hopes she can help the city more effectively financially plan for growth if elected.
Also a local real estate agent, Vessali said she is concerned by the idea of placing students in specially designated living areas.
“The solution is that we need to accept that we live in a college town, students will be our neighbors and we have to work together to create a positive neighborhood atmosphere,” Vessali said. “Working together is the key.”
As someone who rents to both students and permanent residents, Vessali said she believes it is important to treat students like any other residents.
“Are there bad student renters? Yes there are, just like there are bad non-student renters,” Vessali said. “So to lump all students together in negative characterization that claims they cannot properly live amongst the other residents in residential neighborhoods, I think is unfair.”
Councilwoman Linda Harvell, current owner of the online retail store Texas Trading Post, is running for re-election to her Place 3 City Council Seat. Harvell said she hopes to increase citizen input on development projects and also work to aid the police department.
While on the City Council, Harvell said she supported some student housing-related project proposals.
“In regards to student housing, or what they call multi-family homes, I have voted in support of those projects because I thought it was a good fit for where they were being placed,” Harvell said.
Harvell’s opponent, Dallas Shipp, said he primarily hopes to make College Station more business friendly so the city will not need to rely on raising property taxes for revenue.
Shipp said he believes increased business activity can help fund the understaffed police and fire departments, which are crucial to the safety of residents and college students.
“We’ve got to make sure this is a safe place for students to come and spend four or five years of the greatest years of their life, and know that they’re safe,” Shipp said. “That starts with fire and police.”
As for student housing, Shipp said he wants to ensure that students don’t need to commute long distances to reach campus.
“We’ve got to figure out more ways to keep the student housing close to campus, and I think you see some of these developments on University Drive, especially that are starting to go vertical,” Shipp said. “That’s going to have to be the new trend.”
Early voting begins on Oct. 23 and runs through Nov. 3, while Election Day is on Nov. 7. Students have to be registered to vote in Brazos County to cast a vote.

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  • Dallas Shipp, running for Place 3 seat.

    Photo by Courtesy
  • Elianor-Azarak Vessali, running for Place 1 seat.

    Photo by Courtesy
  • Linda Harvell, running for Place 3 seat.

    Photo by Courtesy
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