FIVE QUESTIONS: Oberlin city council candidate Sharon Fairchild Soucy

1) I would like to redouble my efforts to pass a minimum wage for the lowest-paid hourly workers employed by the city. Convert all street lights to LED. Further expand the rebate program to encourage residents to replace energy inefficient appliances. Offer tax incentives for present and future industries in order to offer hope through employment, particularly for our young people. Continue the beautification of our downtown streetscape with creative lighting. Build, in cooperation with Oberlin College, a modest parking structure to provide support for our local merchants. Install a public art mural to commemorate Oberlin’s Tuskegee airmen.

2) Patterns of housing in Oberlin and throughout the country reflect a growing demand for rentals rather than home ownership. Much of Oberlin’s rental stock is old, in poor repair, and energy-inefficient. The Green Acres site is ideal for a mixed-income rental community. It should feature attractive, energy-efficient, low-income housing integrated with market price units and condos. I believe if people are offered decent wages and affordable housing, their economic profiles will grow, benefitting the whole community. There are builders who could, through active and passive solar, aggressive insulation, and recycled materials, create a fine example of Oberlin’s climate action goals.

3) Oberlin’s biggest problem is the unfortunate tone of discourse that has developed over the past year. The discourse is full of blaming, bullying, and simplistic labeling rather than problem-solving. Our strength is the intelligence and passion of our engaged citizenry.

4) I am concerned about the city’s aging infrastructure, particularly sewer and water lines that are over 100 years old. I am eager to have Oberlin’s storm water utility provide solutions to persistent flooding. Although money is budgeted yearly to address these problems, I’d like to speed up the timetable to replace older pipelines. Similarly, I would shift funds toward road repairs on an earlier timetable. For example, redoing Morgan Street, an expensive project that will require resurfacing and curbs, could be addressed more immediately. Finally, I’d explore shifting funds toward a modest parking structure built in conjunction with the college.

5) I am a life-long resident and experienced council member. I take seriously my commitment to listen, learn, and lead. I respect the professional competence of city administrators. I have a broad involvement with the community as a member of NAACP, the League, Oberlin Heritage Center, and Meals on Wheels volunteer.