1) In Flagstaff, our indigenous community has been marginalized for centuries. Nationally, there are efforts to limit the teaching of the histories of marginalized populations in the U.S. How would you ensure that Flagstaff is an inclusive and welcoming community, and do you have ideas for how to include historically marginalized groups in local policy decisions?
As the first Asian-American elected on Council, I strongly advocate for inclusion, diversity, equity, and access for all. I’m mindful in identifying which voices, stakeholders, community partners, and perspectives that are not represented on decisions, then make sure they are included. I served with previous Council that adopted the City’s Indigenous Initiatives work plan. I fully supported creating the Indigenous Commission, making the coordinator for indigenous initiatives a full-time position, and adopting Council’s land acknowledgement.
I support the City’s indigenous initiatives focused on community interface, engagement, accountability; economic inclusion and impact; visibility; education; public safety; wellness; housing; and transportation. With my roles on Arizona@Work Coconino Workforce Board, METROPLAN Greater Flagstaff, and Rural Transportation Advocacy Council, I’m the doing the groundwork to bring workforce training to the under-served and economically disadvantaged residents of Coconino County; and engage transportation partners to deliver transit services from the Navajo and Hopi reservations to Flagstaff.
2) Northern Arizona Healthcare is proposing to move Flagstaff’s hospital from the center of town to a new location near Fort Tuthill. Do you have any concerns about the impact of this move on the Flagstaff community? How will you approach NAH to ensure that all new construction is in line with the city’s carbon neutrality plan, including the utilization of clean energy sources? How will you ensure that the City is not burdened with expenses associated with the move, e.g., with the need for an additional bus line, emergency services, etc.?
As the region’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, Northern Arizona Healthcare (NAH) needs to grow in another location. With a holistic approach to patient health and well being, including Native American traditions and healing practices, it’ll bring the next generations of healthcare advancement.
NAH relocation will contribute to our economy: 387 million in economic benefit; 6.7 million in construction-related sales tax and 1.5 million in annual tax to the City; 4.5 million in annual tax revenue for Flagstaff Unified School District and Coconino Community College; healthcare job training; hundreds of jobs; and 315 housing units.
Development pays for itself. Addressing increases to the City’s fire protection services, enhancement to current capabilities, and risk/gap analyses of needed service levels are necessary to support the rezoning of the proposed new location. NAH committed to best efforts in implementing sustainability. NAH can partner with public entities to provide transit all the way to Sedona.
3) Which state laws do you see as impediments to the city’s ability to craft appropriate regulations? Which of these would you prioritize as a target for the City’s lobbyist?
I’ve been actively involved in the City of Flagstaff’s lobbying to promote local control and home rule; and protect and enhance state shared revenues. The City has specifically iterated the following as top two State Legislative Priorities:
• Support legislation that preserves or enhances the City’s ability to govern locally and oppose legislation that reduces or restricts the City’s local authority.
• Protect and recover state shared revenues to municipalities and oppose new legislation seeking to divert shared revenues away from municipalities.
If re-elected to Council as a write-in candidate, I will advocate to maintain these priorities front and center. With a new composition of State Legislature in January 2023, Flagstaff can lead policy advocacy and mobilize the AZ League of Cities and Towns to repeal SB1487 passed in 2016 that withholds shared revenue from cities and towns that are found by the Attorney General to have violated state law.
4)The uncertainty of climate change impacts on Flagstaff’s water supply, coupled with projected growth means that the City is looking for additional sources of water for Flagstaff’s residents. What is your opinion of the Red Gap Ranch pipeline project and proposals to increase our drinking water supply with treated wastewater (indirect or direct potable reuse)? What do you believe is the best way to protect our water resources from contamination by compounds of emerging concern? How can the Flagstaff City Council ensure that growth does not impact an adequate and safe water supply for our population now and into the future?
Flagstaff obtained the “Adequate Water Supply Designation” from the Arizona Department of Water Resources, since the City has demonstrated supply availability for 100 years, legal rights to water, water infrastructure, finance, and water treatment capabilities.
Keep implementing the Water Services Master Plan covering water, wastewater, and reclaimed water infrastructure and policy. Flagstaff Water Services works diligently to provide water that meet our community’s present and future environmental, health and safety needs. The new waterline loop on Route 66 is an example of expanding crucial infrastructure in water and technology to meet the future needs of our community, ensuring water flows consistently and safely to residents and businesses.
Water reuse is vital to the sustainability of our water supply with two water reclamation plants with high-quality (Class A+) reclaimed water.
Protecting City taxpayers’ investments on Red Gap Ranch, I oppose any efforts to access it for helium, gas and energy exploration.
5) The needs of the residents of Flagstaff are changing and will continue to do so as climate change impacts are felt locally. We face the disastrous cycle of severe wildfires (e.g., the Tunnel, Pipeline, and Museum fires) followed by devastating flooding. How should the City respond strategically, proactively, and equitably to predicted local impacts on our neighborhoods?
I support Prop 442- Investing in City of Flagstaff wildfire suppression, storm water flood mitigation, and wastewater treatment infrastructure. It includes replacing wildfire suppression engines and water tankers and increasing capacity of flood waters within Spruce Wash.
The City has taken major strides in immediately addressing flooding on Spruce Wash area in the past year which include Dortha Avenue Crossing, Killip Retention Basins, and Design for Park Way Basins. And in the last 3 months, the City addressed Pipeline West flooding with 20-acre Schultz Creek Sediment and Detention Basins and Schultz Creek Downstream Channel Stabilization.
Long-term planning for flood mitigation and attenuation is needed for Spruce and Schultz Creek which must include box culvert improvements at Hwy 180, Inner Basin pipeline repairs and mitigations. It’s also important to seek funding mechanisms to help residents flood-proof individual structures.
6) The City has begun the “Visioning” (Phase II) of the Flagstaff Regional Plan 2045. This plan is mandated and is a policy guide focused on land use. The Regional Plan covers a range of topics with information on current conditions, the community’s vision for the future, and goals and policies to realize the future vision. What is your vision of the future of Flagstaff related to land use and development and what goals do you believe should be included in the Plan?
The Flagstaff Regional Plan serves as the general plan for Flagstaff and Coconino County Comprehensive Plan, covering current conditions and the community’s vision for the future: land use and development, housing, natural resources, transportation, and sustainability. The plan requires voters’ approval. I envision Flagstaff as a safe, diverse, just, vibrant, and innovative community with a unique character and quality of life for all. Flagstaff fosters and supports economic, environmental, educational, and cultural opportunities.
Future land use and development must balance the 7 key community priorities: livable community, safe and healthy community, robust resilient economy, inclusive and engaged community, sustainable innovative infrastructure, and high performing governance. The priorities are interdependent of each other, and they create synergy – where the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.
As Flagstaff evolves and grows, it’s imperative the entire community, stakeholders and partners are at the table in shaping our region’s future.