County And Local Candidate Category: City Council
Waking up to this disconnect between Arizona residents and their local representatives inspired me to participate in politics. In hopes of engaging the disengaged, I began a group that met weekly at a local bar to stream City Council meetings. We wanted to inspire people to understand and engage with the local decision making process. We helped rally hundreds of people around a variety of issues such as support of low-income communities facing relocation due to inappropriate developments, phasing out the use of plastic bags, protecting community spaces, advocating for in-state tuition for DACA approved Dreamers and much more. In many of these cases, we were successful in promoting social justice and sustainability.
We the people need to stand up and speak up for our values and elect those who represent us into office!
Official Website: www.shimoniforcouncil.com
Facebook Page: facebook.com/ShimoniForCouncil
Other InformationPrimary Election Date: 11/6/2016General Election Date: 11/6/2016Election Date Details:
Find your poling place at www.ServiceArizona.comOpen or Closed Primary: Open Primary (you do not have to be registered with my party to vote for me)Party/Voting Registration Deadline: 10/8/2016Vetted by: Vetting Team
1. Student Housing
DEVELOP A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN IDENTIFYING APPROPRIATE LOCATIONS FOR HIGH OCCUPANCY, DORMITORY STYLE STUDENT HOUSING.
I plan to work with city staff and commissions, listen to the public, and help to develop a comprehensive plan for high occupancy student housing. I’d like to create a map and guide that identifies appropriate locations for these developments. I will meet with NAU to help encourage as much on campus housing developments as possible. NAU has a huge influence on community growth and diversity and should be at the table for discussions regarding student housing and student life. I’d like to work with the community to assess the best locations for student housing. This will help preserve historic neighborhoods, provide students with necessary housing, and free up more houses for non-student residents. Looking at other towns’ growth models, we can learn from the successes and challenges of student-driven development. We must be proactive in this shift, and work with all those who will be influenced by these developments.
2. Low Income / Affordable Housing
WORK WITH DEVELOPERS AND BUILD PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS TO INCREASE THE AVAILABILITY OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
Flagstaff needs more affordable housing. I plan to explore policies and work with developers to designate a portion of appropriate new developments to affordable housing. In addition, I’d like to explore options for small home developments, as well as private public partnerships to increase the availability of affordable housing. Different policies and partnerships work well in other towns, and I plan to explore existing models and adjust them to fit our needs.
3. Council Minority Voice
ENSURE THE MINORITY VOICE ON COUNCIL IS FAIRLY REPRESENTED.
The minimum vote requirement to add a discussion item to an agenda was recently changed from a minority vote of 3 to a majority vote of 4. I feel this change marginalizes minority views and prevents important discussion brought forward by Council members. Each elected Council member brings views and concerns of our citizens and deserves a chance to be heard. Many times, Council reaches a compromise after the presentation and discussion of a city staff report. Allowing Council members a chance to bring forward an issue to create solutions is very important to me. I look forward to the opportunity of creating a safe space where quality collaboration is possible.
4. Water Conservation
ENHANCE WATER CONSERVATION EFFORTS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL.
Water is a critical resource and before even discussing future water sources, such as Red Gap Ranch, we need to truly commit to and invest in Flagstaff water conservation. I will advocate for incorporating water conservation measures in new developments, reexamining our water rate structure to ensure maximized water conservation, researching and investing in advanced wastewater treatment, and developing a clear policy guiding Council on the allocation of reclaimed water for recreational uses. Living in Arizona, water is a real concern to me and I look forward to making some strong steps in the direction of water conservation and preservation.
5. Civic Engagement
CONTINUE WORKING ON INFORMING AND ENGAGING RESIDENTS IN LOCAL ISSUES THROUGH CREATIVE METHODS OF OUTREACH.
We are very disconnected from our representatives, at all levels. The first and most important level of engagement is local. I am very passionate about this issue and plan to make creating a culture of engagement with local politics a top priority. One simple way to address this disconnect is to host Council meetings in different parts of town to encourage engagement in different communities. Council once did this, and I would advocate doing so again. During Council meetings, I will advocate the Mayor or a Council member, explain the meeting process, review and explain items on the agenda, and make sure to provide adequate time for public participation. Most of my peers engage with the world through social media. As a representative, I would educate, empower and engage my community through social media outlets. I would also work with our city’s social media personnel to improve our city’s social media presence. I plan to host monthly events in a public space to discuss local issues and concerns. I would also like to see City Hall host First Friday events. This could be a great opportunity to make the space more approachable to the public. I have many other ideas and look forward to implementing them.
6. Youth Empowerment
RE-ESTABLISH YOUTH COMMISSION AND EMPOWER AND ENGAGE YOUTH IN APPROPRIATE LOCAL ISSUES.
I believe in the importance of getting our youth involved in local and community issues at a young age. I would first like to re-establish the youth commission. I’d like to create an avenue for youth representatives to communicate their concerns, issues, and interests to council, while keeping their peers informed on local issues. In addition, I plan to mentor, inform, and empower young leaders by welcoming interested youth to shadow me. I would teach them about how our city government works and how to make it work for them, the future. Our youth are our future and I want them to be equipped with the skills needed to lead their generation on the issues they will face.
7. Local Businesses
SUPPORT AND PROMOTE LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESSES.
Representatives must lead by example and I would do just that. I am a small business owner and I understand the difficulties and struggles associated with opening and running a business. I would attend grand openings, encourage people to shop locally, highlight the benefits of local spending, and more. In addition I would like to review our procurement and contracting policies. Other cities have procurement decisions that give preference to local businesses, as a means of supporting and growing their local economies. While there are limitations and restrictions with some policies, I would research our options. Finally, I would like to explore and promote the City becoming more of a technology hub and research center in hopes of attracting larger companies to settle here. Flagstaff has so much to offer a business and their employees.
8. Cultural Diversity
ENSURE POLICIES AND SERVICES ARE CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVING TO MATCH THE NEEDS OF MIGRANT, LATINO, NATIVE AMERICAN, LGBTQ, AND OTHER DIVERSE COMMUNITIES.
I will work to create an official Cultural Diversity Strategy, a policy document, that ensures a strong commitment to celebrating and enhancing diversity while battling discrimination and protecting the rights of individuals, groups and communities. The strategy will not be “lip-service”, but rather, a list specific action items. This includes addressing law enforcement discrimination and providing cross-cultural staff and law enforcement training. I’d like to create a culture of inclusion by implementing communication processes to better reach individuals with English as a second language, promote employment of bilingual and multicultural specialist staff. I’d like to encourage Council members to visibly participate in events involving the multicultural community and to ensure Council’s decisions are informed by inclusive consultation. Finally, I’d like to ensure our social and urban planning is addressing the needs of the entire community.
9. Police to community relations
WORK TO BUILD TRUST, UNDERSTANDING AND COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE COMMUNITY AND POLICE FORCE.
I would like to work with community members, youth groups, faith based leaders, Flagstaff Police Department, NAU Police Department, and community organizations to promote a safe, welcoming and non-biased law enforcement environment. I would like to create a progressive police reform manual that will include Community Forums, reviewing Use-of-Force Policies, enhancing De-escalation Training and Implicit Bias Training, funding a trained mental health and substance abuse response team, and more. I believe Flagstaff needs to become a leader on this issue and I will make this one of my priorities.
10. Party (Noise) Ordinance
COLLABORATE WITH STAKEHOLDERS TO ADEQUATELY ADDRESS AMPLIFIED SOUND AND DISTURBANCE ISSUES.
In trying to address large, dormitory style student housing noise and party complaints Council adopted new amendments to the Nuisance Party Ordinance. However, these amendments are inappropriate and unrealistic. I will work collaboratively with the Police Department, city staff, apartment complex managers and the community to find other ways to reduce amplified sound nuisance while allowing people to enjoy get togethers. As a former undergraduate student who loves social gatherings, yet respects my neighbors, and understands the need to control underage drinking, I am looking forward to working on this.