Peg Hamlett

(candidate for 2001 City Council)

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?
I have suggested in the past that we televise many of the city meetings, such as Administrative Committee, Public Works, Planning and Zoning and other Public Hearings. I also believe that keeping a current web site that not only gives meeting times but also minutes from previous meetings is a way to help the public understand why decisions are made, and how they are made.

2.  Do you believe that public (taxpayer) money should be used for maintenance of the 1912 building?
Yes, it is a city owned building, that the city will partly occupy. We should be responsible for our part of the building. Though I believe we should make the rental spaces of the building cover the additional maintenance costs. Rental fees should be tiered for non-profit groups at a lower cost, as they are a benefit to the community and higher costs for private parties. These revenues should defray operating and maintenance expenses.

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?
As I mentioned earlier I have been in favor of this idea for several years. Most important decisions must first go through either the Administrative Committee or Public Works, so the public misses the debate, discussions and explanations. Unfortunately by the time it is on the Council docket, most times the debate has happened earlier so unless we re-enact or repeat the debate solely for the televised meeting the public does get the benefit of hearing the full discussion. When we do repeat the discussion it is generally not as encompassing as the previous discussion and lacks the passion. I think this leaves the public with the idea that the Council shows up at meetings and simply agrees without ever discussing issues, when in fact the issue has generally been discussed at length and what is brought to the Council Agenda is usually a compromise or reworked item.

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?
The City Council does have a role in attracting businesses to our community, but we should be selective in the business we want here. I am not anti-growth but I feel we should look for businesses that are in harmony with our community, are non-polluting and do more than provide jobs. I think Alturas Technology Park may have started as a good idea, but I do not think that it has been very successful. Also I have also been disappointed with the way it has been handled, businesses recruited and the lack of City oversight. I was pleased this year when the city increased the number of members of the URA (Urban Renewal Agency) to allow for a broader interest range and better communication among the members and to the community. Though in the same breath I was disappointed that some community members who has expressed interest were not appointed. I believe it is important that businesses that locate into the Alturas Park meet the spirit and intent for which it was created.

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?
Our aquifer levels are and should be a high priority for all community members and leaders. This is an area we have not studied enough and need to find the exact size, dimensions and levels of the aquifer. We should expand our public education programs and awareness of the water wasting. I believe also those who choose to use more water should pay more. Our water bills should reflect more accurately what water actually costs and should create an incentive to be more water wise. I think that encouraging gray water systems in new constructions, watering parks with gray water, using more native plants and having smaller grassed areas is a start.

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?
Yes. I think art as a economic agent is very effective. Art events and art sponsored events such as the Farmer's Market, Young People's Art Festival, the many wonderful art gallery openings, Rendezvous, Renaissance Fair, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Festival Dance to name just a few bring dollars into our community. Visitors stay at our motels, eat at our restaurants and shop at our stores, I feel the money we spend on these events more than pay for what the community gets back. Along with dollars brought into our community these events make Moscow a great place to live. We are nationally recognized a one of the best small art towns (ranked #38, John Villiani The 100 Best Small Art Towns). We attract businesses and families to our community to live because of many of these events. On our new city signs we say we are the "Heart of the Arts" and I am very proud that we have these activities that enrich all of us from the very young to our senior citizens and these events bring us together to celebrate Moscow.

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