Effective governance is crucial to the success of any community. To be effective, our elected officials need to recognize their obligations to the public that they serve by actively engaging their constituents and creating an environment of responsible decision-making.
As a city council member, I will prioritize the following efforts:
Emphasis on Community Engagement
Community engagement is the cornerstone of a thriving and inclusive society. To ensure that local governance is responsive and accountable, it is imperative for city council to foster robust community engagement. Recognizing this need, in 2016 the city formed the Public Participation Working Group which developed a series of recommendations to improve public process and drive greater transparency in governance. While the recommendations of the committee were approved in 2017, there has been little progress in executing on these initiatives. I would like to see a renewed focus on this topic with specific emphasis on more inclusive public involvement in the decision-making process and greater access to the workings and policies of city departments.
Accountability to Voters
In order to build trust and drive greater engagement, community members must feel like they have a voice in the process and a government that is responsive to their concerns. For city council members, who are elected at-large, this means actively seeking out and responding to diverse constituent perspectives in order to make informed decisions that reflect the values and interests of the entire community. It also means fostering an environment that encourages meaningful and civil dialogue in a manner that helps us expand our understanding of one another. Finally, it requires consistent and unbiased respect for the existing laws and policies that have been approved by the voters. Making the city council meetings more interactive and providing for more informal opportunities for the public to engage with city council members will allow for greater transparency in the decision-making process and strengthen trust in our city leadership.
To create a budget with finite resources, there will always be winners and losers. Therefore, a key part of budgeting is to critically assess the trade-offs in spending decisions and be transparent about the impacts of those decisions. It also means balancing short-term needs with long-term priorities to ensure strategic initiatives aren’t sidelined year after year. Finally, bringing a healthy dose of scrutiny to recurring expenses forces regular check-ins on the effectiveness of ongoing spending decisions. Whether it is providing funding for our rec centers or day services center, or figuring out how to deploy the Library District savings, we need our city representatives to have robust and inclusive public conversations about priorities and ensure our spending decisions are in alignment.