Paul Deasy for 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)?

  • Improving infrastructure
  • Diversifying the economy, and
  • Cultivating community partnerships
 

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

One decision I strongly supported was to deny a special election for The Sustainable Wages Act and instead amend Prop 414 directly. This helped stymy a potential economic shock while upholding the will of the voters to reach $15 an hour minimum wage by 2021.
One decision I was disappointed with was signing a prison labor contract with the Department of Corrections. DoC is rampant with human rights abuses, e.g., they have 1 medical violation for every 2 inmates every single year, and we should not be doing business with any private or government entity with this track record.

 

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 am a board member with Coconino County Advocates for Human Services, which helps the elderly in Flagstaff and surrounding areas access needed services. I was heavily involved in mediating the minimum wage issue we faced after the 2016 election, founding the organization Bridging Flagstaff to press a middle ground solution. I continue to discuss and provide information/research to councilmembers regarding local issues, including prison labor contracts, addressing homelessness, and the smoking ban in city parks.

 

NAU: Are you satisfied with the relations between the City and NAU? What are some areas for improvement?

NAU and the city used to better communicate and work more collaboratively with each other. That seems to be less the case now, and as we grow, we need to act as the community partners that we are. Working with NAU to create high occupancy housing on south campus is in all our best interests. Working with NAU to attract private sector employment that fits with our workforce’s skillsets is in all our best interests. We can create a better community environment through collaborative efforts rather than drawing lines in the sand.

 

WATER: 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 think it would be irresponsible not to take water resources into consideration when planning for growth and development. We may want to consider putting water resource requirements straight into our zoning codes like they have in other cities in Arizona.

WATER: Do you support or oppose recycling reclaimed water for drinking? Why?

Flagstaff currently has the Adequate Water Supply Designation, which means we have proven to have over 100 years of water supply for our population and projected growth. Drinking re-purified water isn’t something we’ll need to do in the next 4 years or even 20, but inevitably most of the US will have to go to it out of necessity. Orange County, California is already doing so. When it comes to necessity, re-purified water is better than the alternative—no water.

 

HIGH OCCUPANCY HOUSING (100 word limit): What additional solutions do you have to the challenges related to dormitory-style (high-occupancy) housing developments such as the Hub?

High occupancy housing is necessary for students and our working class alike, but we need to make sure these developments are placed in locations that don’t detract from our historic neighborhoods and in accordance with the public’s will. Our Regional Plan voted on in 2014 allowed for the Hub and should be amended with the knowledge we have from recent experiences. We had a low voter turnout in the spring 2014 election. We should consider placing an amended version on the 2020 ballot when we’ll have a higher voter turnout and greater public participation to craft the Plan.

 

HIGH OCCUPANCY HOUSING

Supports:

  • Providing incentives for affordable housing units within HOH developments
  • Sustainable building practices including renewable energy and water conservation
  • Placing limitations on parking spaces for HOH developments near transit
 

CLIMATE CHANGE: 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 definitely consider updating the city’s Energy Code for more energy efficient standards, but we always need to balance this with other considerations. More codes and greater requirements means higher costs. Energy efficiency is very important, but so is having a reasonable cost of living.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE: How high of a priority is implementing the City’s new Climate Action and Adaptation Plan when approved?

It is very important to implement the City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, and we need to make sure the most important elements are prioritized. Our forests are still not sufficiently thinned around town to protect us from wildfire. The Rio de Flag flood control project still hasn’t been started, putting our town at risk of severe flooding. We need to focus on protecting our city from the existential threats of climate change. This should be a priority not just within the plan, but in our city discussions and operations in general.

 

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

Addressing the high cost of living is going to require a multifaceted approach, including opening new land for residential neighborhoods, public assistance, and reworking our zoning codes. There is no silver bullet. An added idea I’d like to pursue though is a program to connect young adults to our elderly community. We have many elderly with extra bedrooms that are in need of assistance at home, and we have a lot of able-bodied, hard working adults who can’t find an affordable place to live. Creating an intergenerational program alone isn’t going to solve the city’s problems, but is an additional approach we should consider.

 

WASTE: What do you propose to move our community towards zero waste targets?

We should investigate new productive uses for our waste. Cities across the world, even the state of Texas, are now putting recycled plastic into asphalt to increase the durability and longevity of roads. Recycled plastic bags are being used to make manufactured flooring. These are just a couple of examples, but actively finding private sector markets to utilize our waste is key to meeting our zero waste targets.

 

TRANSPORTATION TAX – ROAD/PED/BIKE/SAFETY: Do you support or oppose a sales tax increase for roadway, pedestrian, bicycle, and safety improvements at outlined in Proposition 419?

I support the transportation tax. We need to improve our roads as well as our bike and pedestrian paths. This is one of the fundamental functions of government.

TRANSPORTATION TAX – LONE TREE RAILROAD OVERPASS: Do you support or oppose a sales tax increase for a Lone Tree Railroad Overpass from Butler Avenue to Route 66 as outlined in Proposition 420? Why?

I have my concerns. It would be great to have another bridge over the tracks, but with a price tag of nearly $75 million and the number of tax increases on the ballot, we need to set some priorities. I will consider this further in relation to my decisions on the other propositions.

TRANSPORTATION TAX – TRANSIT: Do you support or oppose a sales tax increase to expand frequency and times of service for transit as outlined in Proposition 421? Why?

My main concern with the transit tax is that it does not expand the transit area, just the frequency of services on currently existing public transportation routes. I need to look more into the numbers to understand how this will impact number of people served, number of cars on the road, etc. In general, I believe increased public transportation is a good investment for our community, I would just like to be more informed before announcing support or opposition.

ATTAINABLE HOUSING BOND: Do you support or oppose a bond to pay for new affordable housing, rehabilitation of existing affordable units and homebuyer assistance as outlined in Proposition 422? Why?

We need affordable housing, but I’m concerned with Council’s funding choice. Rather than an independent funding source, Council decided to use up half our city’s remaining bond limit until 2037, kicking the can down the road for future Councils with no outline on how the money would be spent. My vote will depend on the financial plan, which hasn’t been properly explained to the public, and we all need to know more to make an informed decision. Throwing money at something doesn’t solve the problem unless we have a plan to reach our goals.

SUSTAINABLE WAGES ACT: Do you support or oppose a new minimum wage law that would repeal the provisions of Proposition 414 passed in 2016? Why?

I oppose the Sustainable Wages Act. Flagstaff has the highest income inequality in Arizona. The people voted to increase minimum wage to $15 last election and there’s no evidence to suggest this had a detrimental impact on our economy or the people it was intended to help. In fact, unemployment has gone down by a full percentage point, 100 new business licenses were issued in 2017, and business revenue is up more than 5% from the year before. By 2022, over 2/3rds of our workforce will receive more per hour with our current local minimum wage laws in place.

FUSD: Do you support or oppose the FUSD bond? Do you support or oppose the FUSD Override Renewal? Why?

I support the FUSD Override Renewal. Education is the best investment that we can make as a community.

CCC: Do you support or oppose the continuation of CCC bond spending to support programs and curriculum? Why?

I support the CCC bond continuation. The skilled workforce we need in our city and the country as a whole comes from training in community colleges. It is also a great avenue for students to transition to a 4 year degree who otherwise may not be able to afford it.