Evan Holmes

(candidate for 2001 Mayor)

1.  How can the mayor and City Council better communicate information about issues facing city government to citizens? What specific strategies would you advocate to inform the public about pending decisions?
Hear No Evil

Communication between elected government officials and the residents can only be improved if the elected sincerely want it. The elected representatives will have to "go more than half way" to insure that this happens. It is no longer good enough to say "Well, the meeting times are posted.." or "They could have called the office..."

As mayor I will (1)prepare and deliver an annual State Of The City Report; (2) hold regular office hours and encourage drop-in visits; (3) strive to define what we mean by "community" in part by developing a repository of demographic and socioeconomic data; (4) publish monthly updates of City business, telling "why" as well as 'what"; and (5) ask "How Are We Doing?" and welcome your responses via answering machine, web site, phone inquiry, etc.

In addition I would ask the City Council, when voting about controversial or contested business, to consider following procedural rules that require three separate readings of the matter before the final vote. Pertinent information or ideas may come forth in the interim that could sway the vote or raise calls for amendments. Often, in the interest of efficiency, this rule is waived and matters are voted upon when they first officially appear before the council.

2.  Do you believe that public (taxpayer) money should be used for maintenance of the 1912 building?
The 1912 Overture, Movement #63

Normally I'd say that taxpayers should expect to pay some of the costs of the 1912 building, and personally I don't begrudge some of my property taxes going that way. (Dare I say: One black hole is as good as another?) In this case, however, I realize that a promise was made to the contrary. I will assist the City Council to develop/negotiate a solution to this dilemma that satisfies the "Not A Dime!" members of our constituency.

3.  Currently, much of the discussion of controversial items takes place at the city's two committees: Finance/Public Works and Administration. Do you favor televising these meetings over the city's public-access channel so the public can have greater insights into the council's decisions? Why or why not?
See No Evil

We might consider this an extension of the first question. The discussions that take place during Administrative and Public Works committee meetings combined with the level of attendance and participation by council members sometimes transform them into de facto council meetings. This is done in the name of efficiency but creates the appearance of duplicity. I don't think these rough edges can be smoothed by merely televising the meetings, but it probably can't hurt. I'd certainly want to hear a cost/benefit analysis for the cable broadcasts. Still, televising meetings real time should not be considered an adequate response to the need to foster information exchanges between the government and the electorate. After acting on divided or controversial issues I'd like to see the City Council offer a summary of reasons for the decisions and reasons for the dissent.

4.  How would you assess the success of the Alturas Technology Park in attracting new business to Moscow? Does the City Council have any role in trying to attract additional businesses to locate in the park?
You Can Call Me Al

Name it what you want; success or failure, inspired planning or simple deceit. That doesn't alter the fact that the money used to pay off the bonds must come from other places within the tax base until the Alturas Technology Park is sufficiently developed to carry its own weight. Of course the City Council has a role in making the Park succeed or else they'd be ignoring their fiduciary obligations to manage our taxes wisely.

5.  The depth of our aquifer continues to drop. Continuing land development increases water use from that aquifer. Have we studied this issue sufficiently? How can we address this problem?
Another Campaign To Make Us Drink More Milk ?

I can't answer the time honored question "How do you know when you know enough?" But it is probably not too soon to elevate the status of the Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee and to offer them more administrative support. Thus empowered they could take the lead in developing different water management strategies while research continues to pinpoint the physical characteristics of our underground reservoir. The city could encourage water-use efficiency with a tiered rate structure approach to volume based billing and demonstrate efficiency in its own water use at parks and in buildings. This is just one of the lenses through which we must scrutinize growth and development in the Moscow area.

6.  Should Moscow continue to support economic development by focusing on increasing tourism to art-based events? Specifically, should the city continue its support of the Rendezvous in the Park concert series?
Viva Le Rendez-vous!

The question as stated seems simplistic. Of course any broad based economic development initiative would include tourism and of course any tourism plan would seek to capitalize on art events and attractions. Unfortunately, a lot of the factors that determine the economic success of tourism enterprise are unpredictable and outside the control of the planners and advocates. This is not a basket into which I'd want to put too many eggs. City support for Rendezvous has not been burdensome and should continue. To calculate the level of that support we should perhaps first decide if we want the event to be part of the local economic engine or if it should be a celebration of our city, put on by us and for us.

7.  Many city boards and commissions currently have vacancies. What strategy should the mayor use to attract more applications for these positions?
Free Balloons and A Chance To Win Fabulous Prizes!

Increasing public awareness of city management will increase the number of citizens interested in and knowledgeable about the issue facing our city. This might, in turn, assist recruitment of volunteers for advisory committees. In addition, we must make the participants know their efforts are valuable and appreciated. When the City Council makes a decision that contrasts with the recommendation or decision of one of these adjunct groups they should write an explanation to the group. Also, as the issues handled by these committees become more frequent and complex we must consider offering more administrative help so that the volunteers' roles are not burdensome. Maybe some material inducements are not out of the question.

8.  What process would you use for filling vacancies on the City Council, should any occur during the next four years?
Yahtzee Tournament?

To appoint somebody to a post that is normally filled by an election I favor any process that solicits and values citizen input. Interested candidates could apply to the council then finalists might appear at a public forum to answer questions. After this the Mayor would make a choice. There are a lot of suitable variations on this theme.

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