1) What do you offer as a candidate?
As a small business owner in Indianapolis for over 13 years and community development advocate for nearly a decade, I understand many of the issues that will be important in the coming years to make Indianapolis the first class city I know it can be. I also bring a geographic diversity to the At Large seat. Over the last 16 years, only 3 of 12 At-Large councilors have come from south of 38th Street. Many of the most pressing issues facing our city, including crime, abandoned housing, crumbling infrastructure, transit needs and others, have a much higher concentration south of 38th St. I believe our At-Large councilors should be as divers as our city in order to bring a well-rounded perspective to the council.
2) What does your district most need from the City Council?
At-Large council district is the entire county. The number one thing our city needs is to get Marion County residents back to work. We need a comprehensive small business development plan that works with communities along the established commercial corridors. Communities with once thriving commercial corridors are now littered with opportunistic businesses that prey on the depressed economic condition of our residents. Many of our neighborhoods have more check cashing and pawn shops than grocery stores.
3) What's your opinion of the 2012 budget proposed by the mayor? The 2012 budget is very misleading. Its taken money from the water sale and from the downtown TIF district to shore up its bottom line to make it look balanced. One item of serious concern for me, on a personal note, is the proposed cut from Animal Care. Animal Care already operates on a shoestring budget and the animals are already suffering because of the current economic conditions. A cut from $185,000 to $34,000 would be catastrophic for this important agency. I don't believe its right and I don't think Marion County residents would either. (Please call your councilors) All in all, I believe its going to be a very tight year in Indianapolis.
4) What is your position on a comprehensive smoking ban?
I support a comprehensive smoking ban for the main reason that there is no reasonable debate surrounding the impact of smoke to our health.
5) Do you think the city needs more police officers?
Yes. And there was money for this allocated and we never got them. We're short about 300 police officers.
6) Do you support increased funding for public transit?
Absolutely! Indianapolis is the 13th largest city in the nation and our transit ranks 100th. It doesn't run long enough and doesn't go far enough. Transit has numerous benefits beyond just moving people who don't have cars. Its a catalyst for economic development and is an attractant to business looking to relocate and to a work force of the best and brightest. The American Public Transportation Assoc. has shown that for every $1 invested in public transit there is a $4 return, in both direct and indirect. Additionally, its an indicator to visitors and perspective transplants the degree of investment we as a city have made in our basic infrastructure.
7) Do you think the streets and sidewalks in your district are in good shape?
No. In fact, many communities don't even have sidewalks. I support making our communities more walkable.
8) Name one project that would most benefit your district.
By far, a comprehensive jobs plan. As a small business owner I recognize the importance of, and support reaching out and working to bring in the mega employers and fortune 500 companies, but a diversified economic plan will help us survive times like today. That's why my focus wont be so much the fortune 500 companies but rather focused on improving the fortunes of 500 of our neighbors.
9) What question do you wish we'd asked?
What do you think about the Parking meter Deal? I think it really bites. It has a negative impact on businesses and the deal was terribly one sided in favor of an out of state company. Every revenue-generating mechanism in the parking deal is technology based. Technology that we as a city had access to. We could have done our own parking modernization and kept the estimated $1.6 billion to invest back in our own communities rather than sending it off to a Texas company. The parking meter deal, in my opinion was extremely shortsighted and will end up hurting small businesses who are already struggling to make it.