Campaign for Roanoke City Council
January 11, 2010
I announced in early December my intention to run as an incumbent for Roanoke City Council. Now the campaign is heating up- so I need to devote my web-page to the campaign.
I started this blog about two years ago during my first term as an extra way that citizens can stay in touch with me. I do believe one of my better assets is my ability to listen and garner input as issues develop. The earlier elected officials get input the better and more informed the ultimate decision is. I have always picked up my phone, answer every email and try to be out in the community in various venues as much as possible. The blog does indeed add an extra dimension to this ongoing dialogue- citizens can hear my full view and rationale behind certain decisions (not just a convenient part of the story that other media sources focus on) and I can receive more informed feedback that may and has altered my position. Of course, I frequently get significant negatives that are helpful, some re-enforcing positives, and the occasional hostile feedback that really is not relevant at all to the issue- but that is all part of the process. In its entirety, the blog has been useful and fun for me.
The main problem with blogging has been my fault- I haven’t always been a regular blogger that is a pre-requisite to good blogging and my posts are frequently too long! Now as the campaign starts, I vow to do better and hopefully if re-elected can continue on a better blogging course for the next several years.
In December during my announcement, I focused on several important issues that make up my reason for desiring another term on Roanoke City Council. I have added a few, but in short order here they are:
- Continued support of Roanoke City Public Schools, including: meeting our commitment to increased yearly funding above our funding formula through 2013 and at that time a re-visit to the entire funding formula; a financial commitment to the Community College Access Program (CCAP); funding for better availability and access to School Nurses, Teen Health Centers and Occupational Health; improved joint services between the City and the Schools to cut costs; and consideration of one-time initiatives that may have a direct impact on outcomes such as graduation rates- including text book adoptions (particularly math) and summer programs. While our revenue and the State’s revenue continue to fall particularly short, it is my desire to attempt to keep the schools financially “whole” from the city side as we did last year but this may be harder and harder depending on actual revenue.
- Continue Regional initiatives- as Chair of both the Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Commission and the Metropolitan Planning Organization I have a clear commitment to regional approaches to our needs including green initiatives such as Storm Water Management, Transportation- including Passenger Rail Service, and pursuit of funding for valley-wide improvements in roads and corridor planning, RIDE solutions programs, extended Greenways, and improved Bicycle accommodations. This along with support of Economic Development initiatives, improved connections with the New River Valley and continued focus on Air and Water quality initiatives that impact our entire valley will continue to be a special focus of mine.
- Continued incentives for Downtown Living and Downtown Redevelopment
- Continued Green Initiatives including business and rehab initiatives
- Continued focus on Library expansion and improvements
- Continued and timely focus on Capital needs of our Park and Rec system that will have a direct effect on quality of life, economic development and population growth
- Continued focus on the evolving Jefferson Street Corridor between Downtown and Carilion Clinic including our successful Trolley program, with planned expansion of the Trolley to other potential Corridors and Village Centers including Grandin Village
- A Balanced Progressive Perspective- a focus on improvements that impact daily life in All Parts of our City while realizing our tough Economic conditions. While this last summer, I supported a somewhat reduced Capital Improvement Plan that slowly phased in projects- albeit less than originally planned in previous Capital Budgets- given further reductions in Revenue over the last few months, it is clear in my mind that a further slowing of these projects is needed. I continue to support renovation of the Market Building as our Number One Project and believe we absolutely should move forward on this project with our proposed schedule but only after we have clearly spelled out what we can offer our Restaurants/Vendors in return for the inconvenience including incentives upon re-leasing of space. I believe we need to do this soon and move forward. While RFP processes can continue, I believe all other Capital Project Contracts should be put on hold for at least six months until we see where revenues land. This does not mean projects that have been slowly moving down the pipeline need to be stopped forever- just put on hold
I have learned a lot in my first term on Council. Things don’t need to happen quickly and more public input as early as possible is always best. Despite this some issues don’t get traction publicly until after decisions are made- hopefully this too can improve through blogging! I am excited about what I have accomplished and plan to address that in future blogs. I am also excited about the work ahead. I am the only incumbent running and as such believe I have much to offer. Having worked with our current council on the selection of our new City Manager I welcome the opportunity to work with him and, as Chris Morrill has stated, continuing the very progressive nature of our City despite tough economic times. We have indeed had much National Press recently about our progressive nature and how we continue to balance this with the serious fiscal needs we are facing, in my opinion, will be helped with some continuity in a fairly young City Council. I hope to win over your trust and vote for both the March 2nd Primary and the May 4th General Election. Please start to post comments and I will begin more in-depth posts on each of these and more issues that we are all facing in the coming weeks.
Well- I got a post up, next one will be shorter!
What are your thoughts?