John B. Guyer
(candidate for 2001 City Council)
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?
Our governmental system was designed to be representative in nature.
At its core, that means that a small group of civil servants are
selected by the people to represent the interests of the people in
decisions on their behalf. The very purpose of representative government
is to overcome the practical limitations of communicating, accurately
polling, and executing decisions with the approval of the population as
a whole. However, without proper communication between the government
officials and the people served, the representative nature of government
breaks down. Balance is necessary in order to properly serve the people.
This required balance underscores the need to elect representatives that
are prudent and trustworthy.
I believe that our society has many tools available to inform the
residents of Moscow of pending decisions. While I am clearly an
advocate of using technology (the web, email lists, etc.), I also
realize that there are residents that these forms of communication will
not reach. Consequently, I would recommend the following:
- Publish the council agenda electronically (web site, email lists,
etc.) and in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.
- Provide transcripts/recordings of the council meetings available for
- Publish mailing/email contact information for council members in order
to facilitate feedback from the residents.
Do you believe that public (taxpayer) money should be used for maintenance of the 1912 building?
While the concept of the 1912 Center is a fine one, it is also
possible that fine ideas can undermine other fine ideas. While I
welcome the 1912 Center and its ability to provide a gathering place for
the residents of Moscow, I believe that the residents of Moscow deserve
careful, prudent use of public monies. The city operates on roughly a
37 million dollar budget. Of that amount, there is a small reserve that
is not allocated. If we consider the use of taxpayer money for the
maintenance of the 1912 Center, we must also consider what will not be
accomplished with those tax dollars. Already the city must consider
cutting back because of declining tax resources. In addition, providing
tax funds to support the building only serves to divide the community
(the very opposite purpose of the building) by conscripting funds from
people opposed to the project. I believe the use of tax payer's money in
this regard would be fiscally unwise, and demonstrate disregard for the
unity of this community. I cannot in good conscience support the use of
tax payer money for the maintenance of the 1912 center. There are many
options before us regarding funding of the 1912 Center maintenance; I do
not believe tax funds should be among them.
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?
I would only oppose the use of televising committee meetings if they
cost the City of Moscow additional money, and in the event that
confidential information was to be discussed (e.g. security procedures,
etc.) While I believe it is important that the residents of Moscow have
insight into the decisions that are made on their behalf and the people
making them, I am not sure that televising the meetings of two
committees is the best way to achieve this end. Televising the meetings
would give Moscow residents the opportunity to see, and hear what is
said, but it does not provide all of the information. For instance, if a
report or study is submitted, it does not provide that information.
Personally, I would rather have transcripts and reports from all
committees rather than televised sessions from some.
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?
Alturas Technology park may not have attracted the numbers of new
businesses that some anticipated (yet), but as a Moscow resident that
works for a thriving company located in the technology park, I can
assure you, it is a success. Using urban renewal options was a creative
method to improve our community that did not cost the tax payers
additional money. What was gained was a place for businesses to locate
as they grow and flourish. While it is true that there may have been
other places for the businesses to go that are there now, they might
likely have simply left the community (meaning fewer jobs, fewer taxes,
and a lower standard of living of for the area. Technology companies
need a variety of things in order to succeed, one of which is
concentration of effort. This concept is not unique to technology but it
is certainly important. As you concentrate more technology companies
together, they gain momentum, and this momentum alone is a powerful tool
used in recruiting talent, customers, and additional complimentary
businesses. Recruiting and retaining these businesses is essential to
diversifying our economy. For each technology job created, there are
roughly 2-4 other jobs created in the community. The bottom line is that
success begets success.
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?
Managing natural resources is an ongoing effort that requires ongoing
attention. It is a fallacy to assume that a limited effort to understand
our resources, our consumption of those resources, and our preservation
of those resources is sufficient. However, I also understand from
talking with people more familiar with the problem that we are not
currently in a critical situation in regard to our water resources.
While, we cannot continue with our current rate of consumption given the
current rate that the aquifers recharge for an indefinite period, we
also should not jump after panicked solutions to solve the problem. Once
again, I believe a balanced, educated approach is the most prudent.
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?
Moscow is a community. There is a quality of life that is unique to
this area that continues to attract people from far and wide. Art is a
significant part of that community atmosphere. I believe the city should
continue to highlight and promote the significant role that art plays in
this community, but it should also look for opportunities to involve
other organizations. Rendezvous in the Park plays a significant role in
the community. As long as the people of Moscow continue to support
Rendezvous in the Park, the City should stand behind the event. In an
ideal world, it would not be the city government supporting Rendezvous,
but rather a private organization that desires to give back to the