Each Friday we have a chance to see, in 250 words, how all nine candidates line up. Here's my week four answer.
Earlier this year, the council approved the leasing of a city property to BrightNight? Did the council make the right decision? Discuss that decision as well as issues that have been raised with regards to transparency and process.
The closed-door Bright Night negotiations led to a subpar outcome, but I am far more concerned with the process than the outcome. Doing business in private means that five Council members, who are not necessarily experienced with leasing land or knowledgeable about clean energy, are making less informed decisions than are possible. If other city decisions are made using this private process, decisions will be suboptimal for our community.
However, this issue of communication, transparency, and process extends past these specifically private decisions. The general interactions between the Council, commissions, and public fall short. I would like direct interaction between commissions and Council in meetings. Council should also address public concern and provide the community with explanations of their thoughts during and after decisions.
I recently read an opinion concerning public safety that made a false comparison between elected officials and car mechanics. The purpose of a Council member is not to know everything but to listen to the needs and wants of diverse groups of community members, pair this with expert input, and lead the community to the best, creative solutions.
I always come back to the fact we all have blind spots which can be identified through inclusive conversations. As a Council member, I will purposefully engage with those who may be impacted by my decisions. I will write regular explanations of my positions. I will have regular “office hours” like I am doing now, so anyone can have a conversation with their representative. I am listening.