Karla Brewster 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. Business, job development
2. More workforce housing
3. Master traffic plan

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 fully supported the road tax that went to voters and was approved. During hard financial times, roads get ‘put off’ and thus they get worse as time goes by. The community saw the value in voting for this self-imposed tax and that was a good thing.

I was disappointed in the final outcome of the HUB, as the one with community input was so much better than the one that was voted in, due in part because of the super majority needed for the one that had community input. The council ‘no’ votes voted against that community.

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.

I have a voice in all the City-level policies that have come before us recently since I am a current councilmember. I am on the Library Board currently and previously, when we were on commissions, I was on the Open Space commission for several terms, the Board of Adjustments, the Historical Preservation commission, and I served several terms on the NAIPTA board. My most recent experience on a board was for ECoNA, the Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona, who has been instrumental in business development in our region.

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?

No, areas of preservation should be away from development, not next to it. If NACET properties, or USGS wanted to expand, they wouldn’t be able to do so. There are also private homes further back. The area south of Cedar has development that was planned out some time ago. It includes a residence for elderly, a school, the Catholic Church, the EMT building and a future Veteran’s Home. The trail areas can be preserved even if there is development. Additionally, the more city land you ‘take out of circulation’ for potential workforce housing, the more expensive housing will become here.

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?

No, raising wages is a business owner decision, based upon the market. If a business is already struggling, that owner will cut jobs on the lower end to pay others the increased minimum. So, the ones you are trying to help are often out of a job. The non-profits in Flagstaff will be gone, as they can’t afford to make these changes. I have spoken with several and they are very worried about being able to stay in Flagstaff, even if the wage is phased in.

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?

I do support that it is taken into consideration. If you have talked with Brad Hill, our Utilities Director, that is the first issue that is looked at when developers want to invest and build in Flagstaff – how much water will you need now and over time?

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

Yes, I support it because ‘down the road’, Flagstaff will need that water source. We must plan on how we will pay to get it here. We have the I-40 right of way secured from previous Governor Brewer (in writing), but it will be expensive to get it to Flagstaff. Even with more conservation, we will still need this water source. Flagstaff is already the most conservative with water use of medium to larger communities in the state. But Flagstaff will continue to grow, so the city needs to plan way ahead on water resources and funding mechanisms.

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?

That’s a loaded question. If you follow the Regional Plan, it calls for infill to be more dense and higher to avoid sprawl. So, the 2 choices for growth and infill are: either taller and denser, or lower and spread out. Growth that spreads out will affect opens spaces and also walkability of services and goods, which is one of the good points of infill. Not all old development is historic, just old. The historical buildings near the HUB were moved.

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?

A key to behavior problems comes from their management who must have leases that account for breaking the rules resulting in losing their lease and space they rented. NAU is working on including off-campus regulations that more match those that are on-campus for behavior that results in not being good neighbors. Incorporating behavior ‘rules’ in leases gives the management/owners legal authority to ‘boot out’ those who do not comply. Campus Crest near the law enforcement facilities changed both management and leases to have better control over negative behavior that had been making news in the paper.

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?

Although I agree with the concept, to make this work has to be on a very large scale, or else it will be ineffective. I think this is an uphill battle, but worth the try; locally, I don’t see it working unless many states or the nation as a whole buy into this. Initially, I see it as very expensive until those rebates start flowing into households. Congressional action will be needed to accomplish this goal (good luck).

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?

The council has adopted some better standards for energy efficient buildings. Here, again, this raises the cost of housing in a community where it is already so expensive that professionals, such as nurses, teachers, professors, and others can’t even qualify for homes in Flagstaff. There is a group of larger employers that are looking at what they can do collectively to mitigate this problem. Yes, home owners will make up that extra cost of the house in reduced energy cost over time, but it’s a moot point if they can’t qualify initially to buy that house.

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

Give incentives to builders for workforce housing; encourage more housing overall as lack of inventory keeps housing costs high (more rentals, duplexes, apartments). Focus on more infill and better use of open spaces. Every time open space is tied up as permanent open space (which we do need), that eliminates the possibility of growth in that area. Why not some open space, and some housing in a combination? Lack of inventory of housing keeps housing costs high. The passage of the open space on McMillan Mesa will just eliminate housing and raise its cost everywhere else.

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

Passage of the transit tax coming up. NAIPTA is an organization that has plans for more and better busing for our community. Getting people out of their cars is one of their goals. They are looking at rapid buses that run a particular route that doesn’t stop at every stop, but goes to a designated location, such as a business, school, or large company.

ADOT roads needing widening: Milton; 180 to Snowbowl. An exit from I-40 to Lonetree would help relieve congestion on Milton and an overpass at the tracks, like 4th St. help traffic flow (many millions to accomplish.)