As you probably saw no bloggers got endorsed by the Columbia Flier. I have a strong commitment to openness and transparency and so I have decided to post here my answers to the Fliers endorsement questionnaire:
As stated on the CA website “The Columbia Association is a non-profit public benefit organization, created to nurture the
I firmly believe that one of my main roles is to look out for the efficient use of lien-payers’ money. I have concerns about bonuses to senior staff, effective oversight of technology contracts, and whether CA is getting a fair value on easements they have given.
One new expense I will propose CA take on is building sheds at each of the swimming pools that have a swim team so that the swim teams have a place to store their gear. CA collects money for the swim teams, but the teams must store their gear in parents' homes. I have learned from the parents who currently run the KC Waves swim team that many parents, particularly those not living in single family homes, often do not have room to store this gear. Getting sheds built at the pools so that they can store their equipment at the pools will help allow any parent to run the swim team not just parents with storage space to store the teams gear. It will cost CA $500 to build a shed at each of the 14 CA pools with a swim team. This $7000 total is a much better use of CA money than large bonuses to senior staff. It should not take residents long drawn out bureaucratic navigating to get CA to take action to improve its services to make residents' lives easier and support the building of a strong community. Our swim teams are one of the great community building activities that CA supports.
2. What would you as a
I am deeply committed to the Columbia Association being a more open transparent organization. I have proposed that CA create a searchable online database of board decisions on its website. I believe this will provide a clearer awareness of what are the CA policies set by the board, help clarify what policies the board has established for staff to implement, and make the board more accountable to voters by allowing anyone to easily find out how each board member voted on a particular issue.
My strong belief in the voters’ right to know about the proceedings of an organization that collects their money will make me a strong and consistent voice for keeping meetings open.
3. Do you believe your village needs a master plan to guide its redevelopment in the coming years? If so, how would you suggest such a plan be devised and implemented?
Yes, I am a strong advocate for quality planning before building is approved. I have a long track record on my blog and at public meetings advocating quality planning. The tough questions need to be asked when there is still time to fix a plan, not after construction has been approved. Piecemeal development rarely serves the community as well as quality comprehensive planning.
I have attended all of the charrette meetings and most of the Focus Group meetings on downtown redevelopment. I believe the first day of the charrette, when residents drew their vision for downtown on maps and presented them to the rest of the community that chose to attend, was a good way to start developing a master plan, but I believe that after the open mike session on the Monday of charrette week it became clear that the community was not getting listened to and the plan was not reflecting the community’s concerns. I believe that any master planning process must be done in an open way responsive to the community and it must involve careful planning to make sure the infrastructure will meet the community’s needs. Sloppy planning creates preventable frustrations, lost time, and the reduction of the quality of life in the community. If we can with a little pain in the short-term reduce a lot of sustained long-term pain we should.
4. Do you think the board/council does an adequate job representing the interests and concerns of residents to the CA president and staff? If not, what improvements would you suggest?
There seems to be a difference of opinion within the board/council on whether or not it is their function to represent the interests and concerns of residents. I strongly believe that one of my primary duties as someone the residents elect will be to represent their interests and concerns on the board. I will hold monthly listening sessions at the Bagel Bin in Kings Contrivance so that any resident can come by and talk to me about any issues they have. I will champion the needs of residents on the board and be proactive in making sure board decisions are implemented in a timely, financially efficient way as the board directed.
I have serious concerns about the clarity of the communication between the board and the President. To solve this I propose that CA create a searchable online database of all board decisions so the board, the President, staff, and the public knows what decisions the board has taken and what instructions the President and staff have received.
5. If there are any issues of particular importance that this questionnaire does not touch on, please outline them, and your prescription for dealing with them, here.
An over arching issue that CA faces is there seems to be a lack of understanding of mission and purpose in many recent CA decisions. CA needs to constantly judge its actions off of its purpose as stated on the CA website “The Columbia Association is a non-profit public benefit organization, created to nurture the