• September 18, 2020

Matta looking to district one seat - Odessa American: City Of Odessa

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Matta looking to district one seat

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Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 6:00 am

Mark Matta, 44, is running for the city council district one seat, he said, because he wants to bring better representation to the whole district.

“I think there needs to be better representation. All the citizens are paying the same tax rate,” he said in an interview.

“Being that I lived on both sides of that district, I’ve lived on the south part of district one and the north part of district one, I see that there can be some improvements. It wasn’t very long ago that in the south side, there were still residential streets that were dirt roads. I’ve always felt there was no excuse for that.”

Matta graduated from Odessa High School, attended Odessa College and Texas Tech where he earned a degree in business management.

He is currently the an account manager at 4-STAR Hose and Supply, an independent industrial hose specialist for oil and gas, and in his free time coaches a local soccer club, and is a board member of the Odessa Soccer Association.

He also said he has served on the Odessa Barrio Lions Club, Mission Messiah, and is active at Odessa Bible Church.

Matta said that he wants to bring his experience as a manager and as a volunteer to city council and be someone who listens to those in need.

He spoke about canvassing the district one neighborhood to get his candidate signatures.

“I would visit with people in that district,” he said, “and so many of them invite me in (their homes) and we’d sit down and talk and they would just tell me what they’re wanting and I just don’t think they’ve had that for the longest time,” he said.

Matta spoke on the district one and said that there are multiple sides to why money is being spent in the downtown area.

“I’ve got a lot of different points of view on that. Some are saying, ‘we are spending way too much. We just need to forget about it and just put that money directly into other projects that just need to be prioritized over downtown’, but I also see the other side too where I’ve read books about city growth. One of the main things that they do to grow a city is to revitalize their downtown,” he added.

“One of the main positives about revitalizing downtown is that it brings in small businesses and I think that is an important part of revitalizing the economy.”

He also spoke on how the city should loosen regulations for small businesses because those are the businesses that perpetuate pride in the city of Odessa.

While ODC’s mission is to diversify the local economy, Matta spoke about how the economy has been impacted by the pandemic and how ODC’s mission has expanded from its original purpose saying that, “There’s times when we do have to stray off of our path that we’re designed to go to help out those people that need that help,” he said.

Matta said that unification is one of his goals as a councilman and he wants there to be more education for minority businesses in Odessa and that it was a good thing that the Hispanic and Black chambers are being included in ODC’s mission of educating local small businesses and helping them receive coronavirus funds.

“For economic diversification, for the economy to grow, let’s streamline or lets ease up some of the restrictions or some of the regulations that people need to do to open up a business,” he said adding that so many times an error on a document could excuse them from potential grants or loans.

Matta spoke on the Odessa Development Corporation’s ‘The Permian Fuels America’ campaign and said that he’s been through booms and busts.

“It’s good to see that the oil industry here is giving back to the community basically,” he said regarding Kirk Edwards’ involvement in the ‘Permian Fuels America’ campaign.

“Our main source of income for just about everybody here is the oil industry,” he said.

Matta also spoke about unifying different local entities for a stronger Odessa.

“We have a city council, we have the school board, we have the county commissioners. Sometimes it just all seems to be competing against each other. It’d be great if we could get those three to work together to bring some effective change. There’s no need for us to work against each other. We can work hand in hand and that’s something I’ve done with my job here. Of course, there’s different personalities in every organization,” he said.

He spoke on the water bill and said that it’s archaic.

“Even during the average water billing, it just seems to come out different every time. It just needs to be updated for sure,” he said.

Fiscal responsibility is another aspect that Matta said he hopes to bring to council and that the city has accrued a lot of debt and that he hopes to keep water, sewer and tax rates down.

“I think so many leaders just see it as it’s just a half a cent and then they have this other half a cent and this other half a cent or a quarter of a cent and all that seems to add up,” he said.

He said that there has to be ways to improve the city without a tax hike.

He said that there should be some improvements made including walking trails and community gardens in the city and that he looked forward to working with Odessa Arts to help beautify the city.

He also spoke about the importance of transparency saying that he disagreed with early meetings such as the 10 a.m. city council work sessions because it made it harder on citizens to stay informed.

“Let’s make those meetings where people are more available to show up to them,” he said adding that the more information regarding bond issues and tax hikes should be readily available to citizens, which could help establish trust between Odessans and elected officials.

Matta said that while he was against the COVID-19 mask mandate, he does respect it, supports it and wears one.

“I think the right way the Governor should have done it is called a special session in the legislature and being such a hot topic, it would have garnered the support from all the other legislators,” he said.

Matta also said that while he backs the blue and supports law enforcement, he understands that a majority of minorities live in district one and he was proud of the citizens of Odessa during the Black Lives Matter protest in Odessa and that it exemplified what a protest should be.

“I think I would of gone out there if I had to and support the district because definitely I’d say a large percentage of the people in that protest were probably district one citizens…If there were to be a Trump rally or something like that, I’d also be there supporting them.”

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