Jamie Whelan for Flagstaff City Council

PRIORITIES: What three specific issues will you bring forward to the City Council if you are elected (What are your three main priorities)?

1. Respect citizen input;
2. Jobs, affordable housing;
3. Resource Conservation

CITY COUNCIL CRITIQUE: Among City Council decisions in last 24 months, what is one decision that you support and one that you were disappointed with and why?

I supported the votes of Vice Mayor Barotz and Councilmembers Putzova and Evans against the Hub rezoning application. (A super majority was required for approval.) I find it very hard to believe that a project like the Hub with its immense scale and mass can be deemed compatible with the Southside historic neighborhood.

I was disappointed with the votes by Mayor Nabours and Councilmembers Overton, Brewster and Oravits to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for development of city land across from REI on Lone Tree and Butler, it didn’t include citizen input that reflected development preferences of the neighbors.

EXPERIENCE WITH CITY GOVERNMENT: Please describe your experience serving on City boards, commissions, or task forces and describe your involvement so far in shaping City-level policies.

Represented Flagstaff’s Commission on Disability Awareness as Educator of the Year

Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team Our Flagstaff and Coconino County review team’s recommendations were sent to the Attorney General, the Senate President, Speaker of the House, Governor, AZ Domestic Violence Coalition, Supreme Court Chief Justice, and Secretary of State.

Victim Witness of Coconino County Board member and President. This important organization is extensively involved when crimes are committed within the city and county. Our board was instrumental in ensuring the agency became a budget item in both city and county budgets because of our legally mandated involvement.

CAMPAIGN FOR A GREATER BUFFALO PARK BALLOT INITIATIVE: Do you support or oppose the ballot initiative to protect the city-owned lands on McMillan Mesa as a park? Why?

I support this important citizen initiative because it will do two things:
1. Make sure that city owned undeveloped land adjacent to, and near Buffalo Park, is managed as park.
2. Requires that city council ask the voters if/when it wants to sell/develop/lease the land. This initiative is not asking the public to pay to acquire land but instead it is asking the voters to ensure the land is managed as a passive park for the public to use and enjoy. Flagstaff residents express strong support for their parks and open spaces. It is what makes life here so special.

FLAGSTAFF NEEDS A RAISE BALLOT INITIATIVE: Do you support or oppose the ballot initiative to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15/hour over 5 years? Why?

I believe that all residents have the right to a fair wage that will allow them to live and raise their families in Flagstaff. We lose many hard-working people to larger cities where wages are higher and the housing is more affordable. I would like to be part of a solution to this very real problem. I oppose this initiative because I think it’s not the best solution. I would like to participate in a task force comprised of not only workers, but also owners and managers of Flagstaff businesses of all sizes to determine what is best for Flagstaff.

WATER 1. Do you support or oppose having our limited local water resources be taken into consideration when planning for growth and development in Flagstaff? Why?

Water resources must be taken into consideration when planning for growth. To do otherwise is foolish. How can we grow if we don’t have adequate water for both existing residents/businesses and new ones? Flagstaff must do everything we can to encourage water users to use less water before we invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a new pipeline. I am pleased that the city tries to attract low water use types of businesses.

WATER 2. Do you support or oppose accessing water from Red Gap Ranch to meet future water needs? Why?

This is a complicated question. Flagstaff should do as much as possible to encourage conservation, which is why I did not understand when last April Council, by a 4-3 vote, raised water rates but did not extend tiered water rates to businesses. This would have incentivized businesses to conserve. (Residential users have tiered rates already.) I also think that the city could implement a water connection charge that would incentivize more water-efficient construction. We live in a high desert where we do not have infinite water resources.
I question the wisdom of the ‘build it and they will come’ mentality.

DORMITORY-STYLE (HIGH OCCUPANCY) HOUSING 1. Would you support or oppose re-evaluating the zoning code to ensure that new development is compatible with surrounding neighborhoods and historic areas? Why?

I would support re-evaluation the zoning code. Neighborhood compatibility was the intent of transect codes initially. The problem arose with the broad interpretation of those codes. Council must be clear with city staff that preservation of our historic neighborhoods is a priority, that maintaining our community character comes first and that traffic impacts must factor into development decisions.

DORMITORY-STYLE (HIGH OCCUPANCY) HOUSING 2. What additional solutions do you have to the challenges related to dormitory-style (high-occupancy) housing developments such as the Hub?

There are areas in Flagstaff that can handle this type of housing and not negatively impact our historic neighborhoods and our quality of life. As a member of our city council, I will make sure the zoning codes, land use policies, and our community’s vision work together and work for the benefit of our citizens.

CLIMATE CHANGE 1. Would you support or oppose the resolution presented by the Citizen’s Climate Lobby regarding Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation to address climate change? Why?

Yes, I would support this. It considers the needs of the consumer offering a rebate to households while protecting our environment. The fee is also assessed at the point of production adding safe guards to restrict the ability of manufacturer to move abroad. It is the responsibility of our city council to send the message to our state legislature and congress that protecting our environment is essential to our future.

CLIMATE CHANGE 2. Would you support or oppose updating the city’s Energy Code so that new buildings must be built to be more energy efficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Why?

I would support this. I believe that Flagstaff can and should be an example of best practices in energy efficiency. We need to model what we want to see from builders and developers. We can’t afford to wait and as a member of the Flagstaff City Council, I pledge to help lead the charge toward resource conservation and energy efficiency.

COST OF LIVING: What strategies or policies would you propose to address the high cost of living in Flagstaff?

Wages are low and housing costs are high. This is a bad combination when it comes to raising a family in Flagstaff. The city must do everything in its power to help attract higher wage jobs and to encourage the construction of affordable housing—including rental housing. We need to continue to collaborate with organizations such as the Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona (ECONA) and the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET) to grow and attract business. Partnerships to create affordable housing are just as critical. This isn’t a problem that will be solved with just one approach.

TRANSPORTATION What strategies or policies would you propose to enhance our transportation systems?

Belief that a city can grow its way out of its transportation problems leads to continual new road construction and expansion. In city after city, this approach has failed. Let’s focus on moving people. When we focus on moving people, more opportunities arise and we begin to become creative problem solvers. Flagstaff has an award-winning transit system that we should continue to support and grow. Continual development of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure must become an even bigger priority. Transportation—like our high cost of living—is not a problem that can be solved by one approach.