What's one burning issue that's prompted you to run for this position:
Increasing consolidation of power downtown in the City Council, away from neighborhoods and the public. We must reverse this to solve our other important problems.
Since 2003, the city has increased the amount of taxes it levies on property by 8 percent annually. Do you favor continuing this policy, or do you favor a lower or higher amount of property tax increase? What specific increase would you support, and what budget adjustments would you make in light of your choice?
We must not continue to raise property taxes by 8% each year, or the 11.3% proposed for the coming year. No one I know has received an 8% pay raise recently. We should stick to the inflation rate, or even less to make up for past increases. Overall, the city must be as frugal and careful as many families are forced to be. We should scrutinize the police budget, by far the largest single portion of the discretionary budget, for better priorities (for example, fewer arrests that don't lead to charges). The CPED budget should be cut, particularly development subsidies.
With state aid declining and property taxes rising, should the city diversify the taxes and fees through which it derives income? If so, how?
Yes, we need more ways for the city to raise money with everyone paying their fair share based on ability, rather than relying almost exclusively on regressive property taxes. Unfortunately, the state severely restricts the ways that the city can raise money. The system is broken; the bargain used to be that the state would aid the cities with the money from income taxes, etc. We need an aggressive approach to negotiating with the state for more equitable sharing of resources. More fees are not the answer. Most fees are more regressive than property taxes. They are already too high.
The council is considering how to use the property taxes from its older development districts. This tax increment by law may only be used to pay for Target Center debt and for neighborhood revitalization, or alternately, the tax base in these districts can be returned to the general tax base. What percentage would you allocate to each of these three purposes?
In general, I support greatly restricting our use of TIF (tax increment financing). But when the unfortunate and unpopular changes were made to the NRP program, the city made a commitment to the neighborhoods and the general public to provide stable funding through the recertification of these older TIF districts. That promise should be kept. The city should have never taken on debt for the Target Center. This is a reasonable way to pay down that debt. I support the original plan to recertify the old TIF districts, using 50% for NRP and 50% for Target Center debt.
Council members may collect up to $400 monthly as a car allowance. Would you do so or collect a lesser monthly allowance (how much?) or collect only per-mile payments for actual miles driven? Explain your choice.
I would not collect any car allowance. The Council salary is more than enough to cover costs, and my car expenses are very low (1991 Toyota Corolla). I would be as frugal with the City's money (your money) as I am with my own.
What are three specific things that you'd like to accomplish in your ward by the end of your four-year term?a) Stabilize neighborhoods by greatly reducing foreclosures, evictions, and demolitions. Any density increase should come from preserving and renovating existing housing.
b) Fill empty storefronts by reducing city burdens upon small businesses.
c) Encourage green initiatives by residents in energy efficiency and production, gardening, conservation, composting, and the like.
What's one specific city-wide accomplishment you'd like to make happen by the end of your term?
Better control over policies and priorities of the police department, and greater accountability for problem officers. Reduce effects of racism, and reduce huge lawsuit payouts.