On Sept 29th, 22 the Peoria Independent posted a second article to give residents another opportunity to learn more about the Mesquite District candidates. Here’s my full response to the questionnaire.
–How do you view the state of public safety in Peoria and what can you do to help?
The most important role of government, at any level, is ensuring the safety of its citizens. The statistics I’ve seen show that our police department’s officer-to-resident ratio is significantly below those of AZ cities of similar size and demographics; as are our officers’ salaries. Once appropriately adjusted then full staffing must be maintained. When an organization is unable to retain its employees the cost of recruitment and retraining is an unnecessary diversion of the budget not to mention the threat to public safety. We must make public safety – police, fire, EMTs – a number one priority over the current agenda of parks and trails.
–What is your plan to attract businesses and jobs to Peoria, while at the same time allow for smart growth?
The City can attract such development by making the process as efficient, time and cost effective as possible for the industries that settle in Peoria. Peoria needs economic development bringing in industries which create viable job and career opportunities for our citizens; especially that will entice our young adults home to start their careers. We need to plan with a vision for the future not just what any developer wants today – with a design and balance between residential and industrial. This will drive revenue to the city and while this will not eliminate the tax burden on our citizens it will at least help carry it.
–The city and public school districts are separate, but how can the city get creative and help districts that are running out of bond funds?
While I am always willing to explore and discuss innovate ideas, I am not convinced the city should get “creative” and “help” districts that have lost the trust of their voters and are therefore unable to pass bonds. Many of the same taxpayers who voted to reject the school district bond, and some who don’t live in the district that it benefits, will be forced to pay for the high school via city revenues, taxes or bonds. If it can be proven legal, ethical and of some advantage to ALL as City of Peoria, not PUSD, taxpayers then it may be worth pursuing.
–What can you do to be fiscally responsible during a volatile economy?
Fiscal responsibility is not solely a subject of a “volatile economy.” It is the duty of every elected official to always be fiscally responsible to the citizens from whom they collect tax money. However, during such an economy I believe that, just as our citizens must “tighten their belts,” likewise the city should find ways to trim its spending or at the very least not increase the tax burden on its taxpayers. I’ve been around enough government budgets to know there is always plenty of waste to be trimmed regardless of the economic times.
–During this time of extreme drought, what can you do to ensure residents have water in the future?
As I look around my own HOA, which seems to be the norm rather than the exception around the valley, I see so much waste of water with ridiculous numbers of plants and trees mandated on every lot. We should start by reining in the outright waste of water caused by such arbitrary and capricious directives.
Peoria is a member of the AZ Municipal Water User Association created in 1969 by 3 valley mayors to advocate, protect and ensure laws and regulations pertaining to water for their cities. Currently only one mayor serves on the association. If AMWUA is planning, negotiating and voting on water rights and issues, it is my opinion that our mayor must represent Peoria.
–How important is it to protect against a pandemic and its spread? How important is public health to you?
Of course public AND individuals’ health is important. During the pandemic the city passed along and/or implement the recommendations, effective or ineffective, that are mandated by the county, state and federal government health departments. However, to quote American theoretical physicist Richard Feynman: “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.” During the pandemic it seemed we had too many answers we weren’t allowed to question. I believe in government accountability and answerability to citizens not vice versa, especially in matters of public and individuals’ health.