Monday, July 14, 2008

Some Clarifications (Shopper News Article)

Sandra Clark of the Shopper News invited me to clarify some of what she perceived as "vague" answers during the West High forum (see her article here). Actually, I got a mixed review from people after the forum- most thought that my answers were more complete and reflected more thought than others, but I can see how they could be perceived as rambling, as I tend to search for a little more nuance, rather than offering the quick/easy answer. Call it the "Al Gore Syndrome" if you will, but most citizens say they appreciate it.

So let's get to it, shall we?

Do you favor or oppose reducing the size of Commission?
That's a decision that should be put to the voters, not decided by commission. As an individual voter, I would oppose it and recommend against it because the job is too much work for one person.

Under what circumstances would you vote against an MPC staff recommendation to amend the sector plan?
(being the first responder to this question, I spent some of my answer explaining this issue to the audience, which I think threw Sandra off. I had two people from the audience thank me later for doing this...)
- Commission is far too eager to amend the sector plan. In cases where there is no local opposition or potential harm, Commission should use this opportunity to require the developer to take steps that will reduce future County obligations (low energy development, additional stormwater improvements, sidewalks, etc), in exchange for amending the sector plan.

Given that the question was "under what circumstances," a "yes" or "no" was insufficient.

Should small branch libraries be closed?
I took the opportunity here to discuss how our budgeting process should be fixed (see web site, blog, etc)- in brief, we should only cut the "fatter" departments and leave "lean" departments alone. If the library system is fat, they get cut and it's up to the director Larry Frank to determine how to deal with those cuts- Commission shouldn't micromanage. If the library system is lean, then no cuts, the branches stay open.

Thanks again to all of the journalists that covered the Forum, in particular the in-depth question by question coverage provided by the Shopper and the Focus. And thanks to all of the citizens who attended!

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