Employee uses his position to fight the push to bring more small businesses to the city.
HALTOM CITY, TX, February 17, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — Few doubt that the southern and central parts of Haltom City are in decline. Even Jayson Steele, the Haltom City employee fighting change, admits that those parts of the city have been “in decline for decades.”
Ron Sturgeon, successful business person who started his first business in Haltom City 50 years ago, recently initiated a campaign to Make Haltom City Thrive Again. Sturgeon states that he wants his legacy to be that he helped change Haltom City into the most business-friendly city in Tarrant County because bringing small businesses back is the most certain path to reviving South and Central Haltom City.
Sturgeon raised his family in Haltom City, living in a mobile home for many years before going on to start and operate many successful businesses. He continues to maintain his offices in the city where he employs 18. He recently was a finalist in Fort Worth Magazine’s Entrepreneur of Excellence competition and has received many awards for his success and leadership in business development and real estate.
Sturgeon says luring the small businesses back to Haltom City is not rocket science, and it’s not even hard to do, but we must get started. He says that with the proper plan, “We can make a major dent in the southern and central corridors’ decline within five years, and, with that accomplishment, start to attract restaurants and larger businesses that have left back to Haltom City. Since the corridors are declining, we must build them by adding one small business at a time.”
The major corridors in the older part of the city have recently lost four major businesses: Kroger, CVS, Big Lots and Fire Cup Coffee.
Mr. Steele was formerly a Southlake police officer before being dismissed for untruthfulness and deception. He later became a fireman in Haltom City before creating a new position for himself, (including an approximate $30,000 raise) within the city as Community Health Specialist, a position that reports directly to the city manager.
Jayson Steele is a vocal critic of anyone who wants to change any of the rules that would allow more businesses to come to Haltom City. He is quick to call them names, stalk them on Facebook and deride them in any manner he can. Some posters on Facebook have said that Jayson even called places of employment trying to get people he disagreed with dismissed.
Sturgeon has talked to several candidates willing to help with his campaign, but all are afraid of the tactics employed by Jayson Steele in previous years’ city elections. Using his position within the city, he obtained private water billing records from the city secretary under the open records act, and then, in violation of state law, posted them on Facebook in an effort to discredit a candidate he disagreed with. Lizzy Beyou, a Haltom City resident, even changed to her pen name on Facebook to avoid his harassment after he called her friends’ places of employment.
“Those interested in change want to focus on positive energy, making the city better, and revitalizing the decrepit corridors, but don’t want to serve with the constant negative energy from Mr. Steele,” said Sturgeon.
Mr. Steele recently pointed out on Facebook that his first amendment rights allow him to say whatever he wants about anyone and anything. Others on Facebook are quick to point out that they believe he is just a bully and to also point out that they don’t understand how such behavior from a high-level city official can be appropriate or add to the debate about revitalizing the older parts of Haltom City.
Sturgeon maintains the current leadership in the city has failed to recognize that a plan for revitalization is needed, so none has been prepared. Current leadership has worked on bringing businesses to the north side of the city, the newest side, which is developing nicely, but Sturgeon’s contention is that the south and central portions of the city could be worked on at the same time.
His website, makehaltomcitythriveagain.com, lists a written set of proposals that would cost the city virtually nothing and that could make Haltom City more competitive to attract businesses than the surrounding cities. As it stands now, many businesses just choose to go to the surrounding cities where they can get a certificate of occupancy without the red tape public hearings and hassles that are the norm in Haltom City.
Sturgeon further maintains that Haltom City will have to make the city more attractive than the other cities with a better value offering, reducing the barrier to entry even lower than those in other cities, or the businesses simply will continue to go elsewhere.
About Haltom City
Haltom City is a diverse, majority working-class city located between Dallas and Fort Worth in Tarrant County, TX. Haltom City is minutes from both the DFW Airport and Downtown Fort Worth with direct access to major highways including I-820 and SH-121. Due to an outdated and restrictive use matrix that discourages new business and deters growth, several areas of Haltom City have seen a decline in small businesses which provided goods and services and were a significant source of jobs, including the once-thriving automotive industry. However, Haltom City can reverse this trend and should prioritize development of inner-city land and vacant buildings, particularly in the major corridors close to the city’s center. The city is financially healthy with a capable manager and staff who would like to see diverse business development occur and need the support of the City Council to make it happen.
About Make Haltom City Thrive Again
The Make Haltom City Thrive Again website offers information and resources about its purpose and goals. For more on Sturgeon’s personal ideas and background, check out his book Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities and watch the videos on his Facebook page. Ron is also the founder of the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) which represents existing business interests in Haltom City and promotes growth of diverse businesses as well. HUBA is not a political action committee and does not endorse candidates. If/when Ron endorses candidates, he will do so on his own with the Make Haltom City Thrive Again organization.
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