John Dodson

(candidate for 2005 Moscow City Council (4 year seat))

1. Moscow’s police officers recently approached the city with a request to form a union. The city refused. Was that the right choice – why or why not? What should the city do now?
First of all, I'm neither for nor against unions as part of a philosophy. I do feel that historically there are times when arbitration on behalf of a group is needed, and in these cases unions have filled a need. However, it's a case-by-case situation.

So, in our case, if city employees feel the need to unionize, we must first ask ourselves why they feel the need. You have to assume they have issues that need serious consideration. However, all avenues of mediation should be explored before taking such a drastic measure as to unionize.

2. Which schools, if any, (K-12, colleges/universities, commercial schools) should Moscow's zoning code allow downtown in the central business district, and under what conditions, if any? Explain why.
I think you are asking about whether certain alternative schools should be allowed to be downtown. For reference, there is some controversy over a religious college that is based in downtown Moscow, as well as an alternative high school that is on the edge of town (not specifically downtown).

I am pro education. I will say that I find it appalling that people can claim to be “for the children” and tolerant of other groups, but take actions that say otherwise. People rallying against alternative schools based on zoning issues are making nothing but an attempt to hide bigotry and intolerance of other groups. These same people have allowed the school of massage and a hair cutting school to exist downtown for years. Alternative schools often are the only avenue for some students to receive an education. Let's not destroy that chance because a few intolerant people have found a loophole in a zoning clause.

3. Please list the changes in city regulations or policy, if any, that you favor to lessen the depletion of our aquifer: for example, a stronger tiered rate structure, required use of treated effluent water for irrigation in parks, required installation of water-conserving designs in new structures, limitations on building permits, or any other changes?
Obviously, this is one of our most important and urgent of issues. Our city is growing, as well as our population base. Unfortunately, our water source has not. The likelihood of finding new sources of water that can keep up with our population growth is limited. I believe that recycled water should be used for the irrigation of city parks and fields. We should visit new avenues of conservation, rerouting, storage and use of storm water, as well as investigating new sources and increased storage of potable water. I am not in favor of a stronger tiered rate structure that penalizes the population of Moscow because of a lack of foresight of the city to plan for the future of Moscow's water use. As a city, we are only now taking the steps to research exactly the nature of our own aquifers. Once this is done, we will have a greater understanding of our needs, and the steps necessary to resolve this issue.

4. Should a bridge be built over Paradise Creek to connect Third Street between Hayes and Mountainview Road? If no, why not? If yes, should that bridge be built for use only by bicycles and pedestrians or should the bridge be designed for motor vehicles? Are there ways to improve the city’s approach to planning and maintaining our transportation needs?
This is a very specific question to a general problem. First the problem is we have terrible arterial flow from one part of town to another. The East half of Moscow is growing faster than any other part of the city. Yet, we still channel traffic through a vein-like series of residential streets, past parks and schools. At its best, this is not efficient. At its worst, it's dangerous and likely to result in future accidents. We need to explore a more efficient channeling of arterial traffic from the East side of Moscow to downtown. If the best and only true solution is to extend Third Street through to Moscow, then it may be necessary to do so. I understand those that live along the Eastern part of Third Street want to maintain their quality of life. However, you have to look at the bigger picture, and also realize the needs of those people that already have traffic forced through their neighborhoods in order to preserve your quality of life.

5. What are your views about the proposed city ballfields on Palouse River Drive? To ensure that neighborhood parks are created in new subdivisions, should development of dedicated parkland there occur simultaneously with the initial development of the subdivision? Are there ways to improve the city’s approach to planning and maintaining city parks?
Moscow is a sports oriented community. At any given time, you can find a sporting event in our town. We need to be able to provide the facilities for our kids to continue to participate in these activities. I don't believe anyone can make the argument that we have met this need. We have very few ball fields at the moment, yet we have an ever-increasing demand. The current facilities for these purposes are poor and overused. Having said that, I believe that Palouse River Drive is ideally suited for this purpose. The controversial issues surrounding this project, such as water conservation and area impact are the same issues that every expanding community has faced in the past. If these communities, such as Pullman, Lewiston and Spokane can solve them, are we any less capable? This is a perfect example of the “Not in my backyard” syndrome. If we don't build the fields there, where will we?

6. Please include biographical information about yourself and any other message or contact information you want to share with Moscow voters.
I'm an avid outdoorsman who believes in conservation for the future of our children. I am married with two children and the myriad of pets that come with family life. I'm a homeowner, and a long-time resident of our town.

I believe we need to pass on a legacy of stewardship to a younger generation. However, I also believe that growth is inevitable. Those that blindly fight it, make mistakes that harm future generations. Similarly, those that blindly accept it without question, make equally irreversible mistakes.

Responsible growth is the cross that our generation must bear. We need to make sure that the decision making process for present and future growth pass a stringent test weighed against the needs of the future of our town. I believe the greatest neighbor anyone should have is your local government. We also need to bring in business that will make good neighbors as well. We want businesses that give to the city instead of just taking. We want careers, not just jobs. We need technology infrastructure and other positive impacts on the population.

In conclusion, I have no agenda other than the welfare of our town in mind. I'm running for city council because I feel that too many people with specific agendas dominate our local government. I want to look at both sides of an issue and make the best decision for the people of Moscow.

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