What three attributes do you consider Flagstaff’s greatest assets and why?
Three of Flagstaff greatest assets, ecologically speaking, are our people, environment and history. The people of Flagstaff are boldly unique in their resilient independent nature. We have a strong desire to build an equitable community that resembles the diversity of this land we occupy. In Flagstaff we are simply human beings that are compelled by respect for our natural surroundings. Our environment is sacred to us and we will fight to preserve it. Historically our ancestors were drawn here by the Peaks, which reside as the fulcrum for northern Arizona and the place of worship for our indigenous relatives.
What government strategies and policies, if any, do you believe can address Flagstaff’s high cost of living and unaffordability?
The Regional Plan 2030 is a strategic working document that’s designed to alleviate many pressures that Flagstaff will inevitably face under our future growth projections. This strategy outlines the placement of Activity Centers spread throughout the city where High Occupancy Multi Family Housing can be focused to, not only divert density from our neighborhoods, but also increase our housing stock thus promoting affordability. Although this plan has been indoctrinated, it is not a law and often suffers side effects from Proposition 207. From a policy standpoint, unifying this plan with our zoning code would promote its continuity and increase affordability.
Flagstaff’s High Occupancy Housing Plan was approved in 2018 and staff is starting to bring to Council changes to the zoning code promoted in the plan. What are your thoughts about the goals in this plan regarding building height, location and size and do you think they are adequate to deal with the concerns people have expressed about this type of housing going into the future?
Articulating the criteria for what constitutes multi-family housing within High Occupancy Housing units is one way to curtail excessive student-housing when developing these projects. Everyone in our community can agree that we have enough student focused housing but need more workforce housing. It is imperative that we as a council encourage an Affordable/Workforce Housing component integrated within the HOH plan. High Occupancy Housing is a more efficient form of housing many people with the least amount of environmental impact. Keeping HOH within Activity Centers, as planned, will help alleviate density from our neighborhoods and promote more equitable housing for all.
In 2018 the City Council passed the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. Just recently they declared a Climate Emergency and elevated the goals of the CAAP to carbon neutrality by 2030. What strategies would you prioritize in order to achieve carbon neutrality and how will you reallocate budget resources or come up with new revenue streams to fund these changes?
The idea of offsetting carbon emissions is an opportunity where we can balance one negative carbon influence against its positive counterpart, so that there is no great difference as a result. Encouraging the sustainability departments to bring the drumbeat as the baseline throughout all other city departments will help us, as a city, march into 2030 more environmentally adept. Enforcing environmental impact fees can be a way to not only mitigate energy exploitation by industrial/corporate use, but also can help to fund the future of our sustainability program. Environmental, ecological and climate impact studies can also garner department funding.
Flagstaff has been using reclaimed water to replace the use of potable water for applications such as irrigation, toilet flushing and snowmaking. City Water Services is starting a study to consider how to manage reclaimed water for the long term. The study will consider whether to expand its use, use it for aquifer recharge, or reserve it as a future potential source of drinking water (after further processing). What are your thoughts about the future of reclaimed water use?
De facto reuse through recharge and recovery has been in use since the 1900’s in Flagstaff and is an adequate form of water resource management. One issue with this process is finding storage for the reclaimed water that goes unused during our non-irrigation seasons. Feeding this excess of reclaimed water directly back into the C-aquifer without first reusing it as a reclaimed water resource could be seen as wasteful. Incentivizing reclaimed water piping (purple piping) into new and existing residential structures can help solve the excess reclaimed water issue, while conserving the use of potable water for reclaimed purposes.
Flagstaff has long used tiered water rates for residential customers as an incentive to conserve water (under tiered rates, the price per gallon increases as usage rises). Do you favor extending tiered rates to commercial and industrial customers?
Yes. I believe that commercial, NAU, manufacturing, industrial and lawn/landscaping meters should be held to the same level of accountability as residential. By utilizing the tiered system among all community partners, we as a city, can truly make a commitment to water conservation holistically. Holding everyone to the same standards will incentivize everyone to be more cognizant of our water usage. There is an actual, quantifiable factor that will truly determine how much development we can sustain over the next 100 years. This factor is right beneath our feet. It’s our water supply.
Flagstaff’s minimum wage will rise to $15.50 per hour on January 1, 2022. On January 1, 2026 the tipped minimum wage, which is currently $3 less than the full minimum wage, will match the full minimum wage. Do you support the minimum wage ordinance that was approved by Flagstaff voters?
Equity is at the heart for why I’m running for Flagstaff City Council which also includes wage equality. I support a livable wage for Flagstaff. Beyond that I am honored to live in a community that values all of its members and will stand up to support those most in need. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the concerns from all sides of our community regarding this increase. But I advocate we come together, as a community, to find the best implementation of this increase with the least negative impacts to our local businesses/non-profits. We’re all one!
What, if anything, do you believe the City ought to do to support and protect undocumented residents?
It wasn’t long ago that this land we call Flagstaff in this state known as Arizona was a territory of Mexico. For 700 generations before that this was a place of true freedom where indigenous tribes worked harmoniously with mother nature while being guided by grandfather sun. It is important that, we as a city, internalize the lessons learned by our past generations, before this land was marked by a flag pole. Diversity built this town and I am committed to make certain diverse people can live here without fear of displacement over racial bias. Being different is our strength.
In light of the recent national protests against racism and police violence, many people are calling for re-imagining the role of policing in our communities. How do you envision applying this to Flagstaff?
In re-imagining the role of morality within justice, we need to look far beyond the institution itself. A closer look inside the ideology of punitive justice may prove that restorative justice could be a more humane alternative. When living within a system that favors authoritarianism over egalitarianism we have to approach the reformation of law enforcement philosophically. How many misdemeanor traffic tickets will it cost to keep our new courthouse operational? What if we treated mental-health, substance abuse and homelessness with social services instead of incarceration? Is it possible to fund our courts with violators committing corporate-corruption, environmental-warfare, and ecological-injustices? What if we lead with social justice first? These are the type of questions I like to ask.
What are your three greatest concerns regarding Flagstaff’s future and what steps should we take to help address them?
The three greatest concerns facing Flagstaff are economic stability, balanced growth and equitable housing for all. While issues will change with time, our values will remain to help guide us in our decision making. Good communication, including listening to all sides of what our community values, will be the cornerstone. Respect for ourselves, each other and our environment will build a more resilient foundation. Lastly, equity. Until we are all represented by a voice at the table there will be gaps in our system. It is our job to fill those gaps. This is our town. We decide the future!