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Why I’m running

Posted on Categories Policy

Thanks for your consideration. I’m pretty involved in Des Moines already, but before I get talking too much about what I hope to do, I want to spend most of my time listening to what you want me to accomplish if I’m fortunate enough to be elected. But for now, here are some of my reasons for running:

  • We need to focus on small businesses throughout the entire city. Despite all the cranes, the downtown still hasn’t improved much and the rest of the small business community tells me that they feel ignored.
  • Increasingly, many people throughout our town do not feel as safe as they once did. We need much improved partnerships with surrounding communities to address the root causes of these problems now.
  • As a lifetime sailor and fisherman I will be the first councilor in a generation working hard for the Marina community. And our Poverty Bay has environmental issues that I want to help correct.
  • The City Of Des Moines needs to be far more transparent and easy to work with. I will use my decades of experience in IT to work to make it easier to report the problems we can help with, make more information easier to get, speed permitting, and make the workings of Des Moines much more accountable to voters.
  • I hope to focus the city’s attention more on our residents than we now do. I am thrilled to see all the new families that are making Des Moines their home. Welcome! To serve your needs, we need to do far more for Parks and Recreation services. And our traditionally strong support for Senior Citizens also needs an upgrade.
  • Finally, we can do a lot better to reduce the increases in air traffic, mitigate the noise and pollution and obtain compensation for homeowners. I have worked tirelessly on this issue for several years and I will be the first council member to give this issue the attention it demands.

It is my intention to ‘doorbell’ every likely voter so I’ll be visiting you soon. If you’re not at home when I knock, or if you’d like me to stop by at a more convenient time, please Contact Me. My number one priority both now, and as a member of the council, is to be available for you.

Saving The Masonic Home

Posted on Format VideoCategories Neighborhoods, Policy

The Masonic Home is truly unique in Puget Sound and one of the only remaining pieces of real architectural history in Des Moines. In the video, I use the word ‘dignity’ quite intentionally. The place has great dignity. And if we lose this magnificent structure and these beautiful grounds, we will be robbing future generations.

This is not just another real estate sale.The city needs to make every effort to intervene with the owners and make sure the property is put to a use that is in the best long-term interest of Des Moines. To me, that means preservation.

What is maddening to me is the constant state of uncertainty. The fact that the public never seems to know what is going on with iconic projects like this.

If you want more information on historic preservation (or anything else related to municipal government, the MRSC is always a good good place to look. You can also search the Des Moines Municipal Code 18.125.

Paid Parking At The Marina

Posted on Format VideoCategories Neighborhoods, Policy

Paid parking was implemented by the current city council despite literally years of public opposition. The original justification was to pay for rebuilding the seawall. But it has brought in far less revenue than expected because the public now avoids using our marquee attraction!

The City has now obtained bonds to pay for the seawall. Great. That means that the purpose for this fee has gone away and therefore the gates should also disappear… at least during the day.

For those who feel safer with the gates, I hear you. I’m in favor of keeping the gates in place after sunset.

But for the majority of the day? Access to the Marina should be free.

Utility Taxes

Posted on Format VideoCategories Economic Development, Policy

Des Moines currently gets a third of its annual revenue from utility taxes. We do this because we haven’t developed the vibrant small business community we’ve needed for decades. We should be aggressively working to build our small business community–and especially our downtown. That’s the only way we will be able to ween ourselves off of these kinds of addictive and ultimately unproductive and unfair taxes and fees.

I want to be clear on this: In 2012 I wrote a letter to then Mayor Dave Kaplan urging him to raise taxes because at the time it was clear that many programs were desperately under-funded and the City was heading towards a fiscal cliff. (He sent me an ‘LOL’ reply, by the way.)

My point is that I have no problem with taxes when they are necessary. But the City’s current policy is that these Utility Taxes will be in place forever and that is simply wrong. They should have been implemented as a temporary tool to get us out of a hole and then phased out as soon as possible as our business economy improves.

Our goal should be to pivot our revenue sources towards the much healthier and productive business and sales taxes.