Austin City Council candidate profiles: District 7

District 7 City Council member Leslie Pool is especially proud of the environmental changes she's helped make over the past 2 years  -- like bringing more solar power to the city and the signing of the community climate plan

"They wrote a big report and they had all kinds of elements of  how we can work on climate change and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions," Pool said.

If re-elected, the Council Member is hoping to fix funding problems for city parks.

"Find a way with public, private partnerships to expand the revenue that can come into our parks so that we can maintain them and acquire more land," she said.

Natalie Gauldin is Pool's opponent.  She says she grew up in District 7.

"I have a 3-year-old daughter.  And she is going to potentially be in the position that I'm in now where the people that I grew up with are no longer able afford to live in the very neighborhoods that they grew up in," Gauldin said.

One of the hot-button issues of the last 2 years: ridesharing.  Council Member Pool supported tougher rules for transportation network companies like fingerprint background checks for drivers.

"The TNC's really shouldn't have cared if the drivers were going to get fingerprinted because if they don't have any control over that element...and that's a piece that I never really got a good answer to," Pool said.

Gauldin felt like the ridesharing discussion was a waste of time.

"Especially knowing that nobody in the community was asking for changes.  We were pretty happy," she said. 

She says that's time that could have been spent working on the mobility bond which she will be voting "yes" to.  But Gauldin understands why voters may say "no."

"'I know you say you're going to do this but I think it's going to cost more than what you say' and I think that that's going to prevent a lot of people who do want improvements to mobility in Austin, they do want better infrastructure...but they're not sure that we're going to give them the bang for their buck and actually follow through on our promises and that's unfortunate," Gauldin said.

Pool also supports the mobility bond.

"We have more money in this mobility bond than we've ever dedicated to sidewalks and active transportation which would be urban trails for people who like to ride their bikes on weekends through the different parks or use those trails to commute," she said.

After what happened with ridesharing and Short Term Rental's, some in the Austin tech community felt council was over-regulating innovation.

"I support adding regulations when we know that it's going to improve the lives of the average Austinite.  However I think regulations should always be based off of data and I haven't seen this current council put a focus on that yet," Gauldin said.

"Well I don't think we're doing too much.  It's government's job to regulate what happens in the community for health and safety purposes primarily," Pool said.

Another big issue to Pool and Gauldin is the 75-acre mixed use project called The Grove that's actually in the neighboring District 10.
Gauldin says she's supportive of making the project successful.  She even started a group called 'Friends of the Grove.'
Council Member Pool says she doesn't support the project as it's currently construed.  She says the voice of the neighborhood has been ignored.  Pool also told FOX 7 in an e-mail today the developers want the city to subsidize traffic improvements and she believes the developer should pay for that.