1) As a new council member, I would listen to and work with the whole community to achieve the best possible solutions in critical areas. It would be great to create an atmosphere of cooperation to reduce the energy cost to citizens by giving everyone the energy-saving devices in each of their homes or apartments that will substantially reduce the amount of electricity they use (potentially greater savings in the long run than just lowering rates). Increased communication, openness, and more speedy approval processes are among my goals for a better Oberlin.
2) The Green Acres situation is complicated. It gives the city the opportunity to develop residences that are badly needed, both areas for new single-family homes and affordable, yet attractive, rental living spaces. Because of our commitment to energy sustainability as a community, the city/council should ensure that high standards of energy sustainability and efficiency are required of the builders, whether it is one developer or multiple independent individuals. There are a lot of questions; the solution does not seem clear yet.
3) Oberlin’s biggest problem is its inability to attract businesses that can survive in a town that hasn’t grown much in population over the last 30 years. Its strengths are many, but mainly its rural setting with advantages of a great liberal arts college, amazing music, and wonderful people.
4) Resources could be shifted to reflect the goals of a better Oberlin: If we want people to ride bicycles, put in bike lanes; if we want the city to look better, put the electric lines underground and get rid of the need to make trees into grotesque monsters; if we want to help lower-income people, bring more jobs and create more available carbon-neutral public transportation; if we want to lower taxes, create incentives for new businesses and buildings to occur without so much red tape so there is a broader tax base.
5) My experiences leading other organizations and willingness to serve the community would make me a valuable council member. I’m willing to listen to all sides, dedicated to understanding details, determined to speak up for what is right, and committed to developing consensus to serve the best interests of the community.