1) Why should voters choose you over the other candidate?
I have spent years addressing the issues that all in York City face through consistent advocacy and tireless work. Whether it be fighting for fiscal discretion when the city bought 101 S George St., burying attempts at regionalization, or championing a girl beaten by police in a city school when no one else would touch the issue; I and my running mate Manuel Gomez have been in the forefront fighting for all the people of this city. In that same time my opponent has been the root or overseer of nearly all the problems we have faced as a city. When comparing track records like these anyone can clearly see who has been working for them, elected or not, these last four years and who has been working for themselves. I can only hope that clear unbiased minds prevail this November.
2) What do you think are the most important issues facing the city and how would you address them?
That would be finances and law enforcement. Financially we need a combination of more money and less debt. My predecessors have done little to none in reducing the debt of this city. How can there be prosperity for any of us when our very city is always a note payment away from losing it all to the bank? Regardless of what role you feel government should play in the lives of the citizens it can do nothing but burden us all when in bankruptcy.
So that money has to come from somewhere folks and taxes are not gonna cut it. Tax the homeowner more? How's that gonna work in a city with a median income of $13,000/yr? Tax business more? How many businesses can we afford to chase away to greener pastures? I hear today talk of taxing people to work here? How many jobs can we afford to chase away? How many talented people will leave us to seek employment elsewhere? How much of our problems can we put on these people's shoulders ... very often our own shoulders?
We have got to do everything we can to get those jobs, those investors, those talented people into the city. Freedom attracts all of these. We need to cut our own red tape and get out of the way. We need to facilitate investors from inside the city limits and beyond with prompt courteous service and a clear map of what the city requires of them from start to finish. Whether it is a enterprising young woman on the corner selling t-shirts or a mogul real estate investor we need to get them conducting business in a clear and timely manner. To be blunt we need them. They do not need us. This city needs to start acting accordingly.
In Napoleon Hill's classic treatise "Think and Grow Rich" J.P. Getty is quoted “I would rather have 1% of 100 people's efforts than 100% of mine own." The City has got to stop trying to milk everyone it can get in its grasp and instead roll out the red carpet while collecting that 1% from everyone who will then see in York an "opportunity too good to be true". Believe me or not but we have the store fronts and offices to spare.
3) How would you address crime and safety in the city?
As to law enforcement It is high past time we stop talking and start showing some of this community policing I've been hearing about for years but have yet to see out side my own front door. Bright lights are not gonna do it. Military equipment and training are not gonna do it. York is not a battlefield. York is our home. Our brothers and sisters, our daughters and sons, our neighbors; these are the "combatants" a militarized police force target in the drug war. It's time for peace on the streets and that starts with the police.
I fully intend to reintroduce civilian oversight of the York City police when elected. Most are good people doing the best job they can under the orders they are given. I want them to have better orders. The police should be answering to the same communities they are employed to serve.
Some have been throwing about numbers that would surely indicate that crime is on the run in York City but come on folks. Your windows were open this summer. What do you hear at night? Any bureaucrat can make numbers appear favorable on an election year. What do your own observations tell you? We can clean up our streets but it will take smart community-conscious application of our officers with an eye towards preserving the integrity of individuals and community alike. Not what we have seen in the last four years or for many years before that. It's time for real change ... for everyone.
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FAST Track Business Permits
All permitting for business shall be reviewed with an eye on “cutting the red tape”. It is high time for the city administration to get out of the way and let business happen. We have enterprising individuals - both inside the city limits and beyond - just looking for a window of opportunity where there is not one currently. I want to give them that chance. It will be these business pioneers that create jobs and opportunity for York.
I will set a tone of restraint when spending taxpayer’s hard earned monies
Debt reduction will take precedence over capital expenditures and pet projects. While the decades of bad moves before me cannot be fixed in a day, we are also not going to be building Rome.
I, or in my absence a suitable appointee, will attend EVERY York City council meeting
The administration, ideally the mayor, should be readily available in “real time” during these meetings of council. This simple gesture will serve to lessen miscommunication between the city council and the administration. Meanwhile; doing so will simultaneously expedite the outcome of real matters facing the people of York.
We need REAL community policing
York is not a battlefield. Our peace officers must reflect that.
A) We MUST refuse Federal grants and military handouts of equipment and training that create a quasi-military police force and makes “enemy combatants” out of the citizenry.
B) We must put an end to Policing-For-Profit. As long as the police (along with the court system) profit from arresting us, no arrest is without question of motive. There cannot be a profit motive in justice.
C) Accountability. For too long we have heard the administration pass buck to the police and the police pass buck to policy. In a class III city such as York the mayor is where the buck stops. Whether that be policy, implementation of advanced equipment such as license plate scanners, or officers beating our children blind in the public schools; the buck stops with me. As mayor I will:
Seek to reinstate public oversight of the York City Police. I’ll work for you. The police work for you. They should be accountable to you.
I will see that police priorities are set based on the needs and wants of the people in the here and now. Assault and robbery will take precedence over parking tickets and pot heads.
There will be a publicly viewable policy on data retention and data sharing of non-criminals. Never has privacy been more important than in the information age. Our federal government has recently been shown to itself be inept and possibly insidiously motivated when it comes to protecting, or not, individuals privacy. I refuse to allow the first capital of these United States to fail its people in this most solemn of concerns.
I wish to trade York City’s 1,000+ parking meters in exchange for “Free-For-You” business sponsored parking
Each meter can be replaced at an advertiser’s expense for a small sign and post highlighting the business sponsor that has made that space “Free-For-You”. These signs would then only have an associated fee of $50/sign/month to the advertiser.
I would like to first offer these opportunities to businesses, including non-profits, located on the actual block first then open the remaining to a first-come/first-serve basis. By pursuing this voluntary solution all will benefit. It can also be easily expanded to visibly desirable locations throughout the city where meters are not currently utilized and further expand this revenue base painlessly.
I will see that the three hundred plus properties currently held in land bank by the RDA are introduced to the open market
While instituting an artificial deadline would lead to compromised deals simply listing these properties on the open real estate market will move these non-productive pieces of real estate from the city’s hands (and responsibility for upkeep) back into the tax rolls. Homeowners, investors, and entrepreneurs will then bring much need investment to our communities. All this will take place in a publicly viewable and accessible fashion. There will be no room in my administration for “back room deals”.
I will be lending myself and my position as mayor towards marriage equality
I know the place of government is not in marriage at all and that will always be my primary concern. However; until such time as government is not dictating the terms of marriage for anyone - I must, in good conscience, insist that all have equal access under the law.