(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?
I am looking forward to the possibility of a new initiative in city
government to encourage greater citizen participation. It would provide
a means for Moscow citizens to bridge the digital divide. Nicknamed at
this point, “the Democracy Project,” I spoke about this option at the
last Council goal setting session. There are grant dollars available
from public sources and private foundations to aid citizens in becoming
more knowledgeable and involved in their local government and overcoming
the barriers to access to technology.
With a cooperative program with a Latah County non-profit organization,
we could leverage the hardware, software and technical support to make
such a program a reality. It could be housed on the middle floor of the
1912 Center, further advancing the city’s goal of wider public
participation in our community and bringing in additional financial and
public support for the Center.
Right now, I use the Vision 2020 list serve for an occasion, mostly
weekly look at city government, highlighting the meetings and issues I
am involved in and encouraging comment and feedback, whether it’s
historic preservation, parking on campus or mall
deforestation/reforestation. And I like to talk to the press, most of
Do you believe that public (taxpayer) money should be used for maintenance of the 1912 building?
All the money we in the city use, from whatever source, is ‘taxpayer
money’ and we try, every day in every way, to take the best possible
care of it! If the question is, should the city have a direct role in
funding the operations of a community center, the answer is yes.
We have a history of providing city money to combine with rental revenue
to support the room on the main floor of the Old Post Office/City Hall.
We have a large number of community uses lined up for the 1912 Center
that are supported by the city. We are the only city of our size in
Idaho that does not operate a senior citizen center. We have a great
arts commission and lots of support for the connection between the arts
and economic development. All of these activities and more are destined
eventually for the 1912 Center. I see a partnership of fees and revenue
from the facility with modest city support.
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?
The impression this question leaves is that most controversial
discussion occurs in committee and not at the council meeting. I don’t
think this is correct. Certainly, controversial matters presented to a
committee will generate sparks at the committee. Sometimes, as a result
of conversation and even compromise, the committee can come together
with a unanimous recommendation to the Council. The sparks have been
defused by the time the issue gets to the Council.
Just as many times, the split votes on issues will come to the council
and get a full discussion, sometimes with fireworks included.
I have no objection to televising ANY meetings, including P&Z, Historic
Preservation, or whatever. The practical problem we face is money,
because we need to have a camera operator available to assist us as well
as set up the room. The timing of the committee meetings is such that I
doubt that there would be a great deal of value added. I would prefer to
use our limited budget in this area for council meetings and add P&Z, if
we have the funds.
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 track record is modest. City government has helped in the
establishment of the Park and in the establishment of the business
incubator, now under the University of Idaho. We appoint the members of
the Urban Renewal Agency and we have the opportunity through the Agency
and through our joint efforts with the Latah Economic Development
Council to encourage business development at Alturas.
I’d like to see a closer working relationship with the University and
encouragement of spin off technology businesses. New businesses should
follow the plans of the Park and should complement and extend our
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?
We don’t know enough about the aquifer. We need more information about
the shape, possible recharge, and permeability of the upper and lower
aquifers. I believe our next big challenge will be the request for water
and sewer service from the land on the Washington side of our border. I
do not favor this. I have asked that our Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee
consider establishing a set of growth factors for new development so
that we could get a handle on whether a given development is a high,
medium or low water user and make informed decisions. I hope that we
will see something develop from this for adoption by the various
governments and universities.
During my most recent tenure on the Council, we have adopted new
ordinances governing storm water runoff and reduced residential street
width to reduce run-off, among other things. We have supported
xeriscaping in landscaping. We are also looking at the possibility of
aquifer recharge through a new effort to have a sustainability policy
for the use of water on the Palouse. For example, can we move to a point
where the amount we use is approximately the amount we can replace in
the aquifer? The technology, feasibility and desirability of this option
are all open to question right now but the idea is tantalizing! I am
anxious to cooperate with Pullman, the Universities, the counties and
private groups like PCEI to have regional sustainability policies for
water, land use and other resources.
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 and Yes! A lot of people are looking for a great place to live and
find it by looking through the 100 Best Art Towns book or looking at the
recommendations of the state arts or humanities council. Moscow is a
favored choice of all these. We benefit by our visitors as well as by
the vitality the arts community brings to Moscow and our life every day.
If we want to continue to attract students to the University, we need a
vibrant, exciting life in town and the arts is an integral part.