Monday, October 1, 2007

More Questions & Answers from Sierra Club Candidate Survey

Here is the last four questions from the Sierra Club's Candidate Survey - part of the basis for candidate endorsement in the City Council election on Nov. 6. I am proud to have been endorsed by our local Sierra Club for election. I also believe that I have the strongest commitment among the five council candidates to ensuring environmental consideration in all issues that would come before the next city council.

Questions 5 - 8 from Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club's Survey of Candidates for Charlottesville City Council (with my answers)

5) Do you believe the City Council should determine an optimum sustainable population size and use this information for future planning?

Yes. Clearly population growth drives many of the environmental impact, transportation demand, and natural resource availability concerns in our community. I do not believe that population growth can be separated from the city’s sustainable development vision. Our current availability of natural resources (land, water, etc) as well as infrastructure currently in place (sewer, roads, schools, etc.) can only support some upper limit on population. As part of the comprehensive planning process, I believe population levels, investment in natural resource development, and investment in infrastructure must be considered jointly to ensure that the quality of life for all residents of the greater Charlottesville area is maintained, and improved where possible.

6) The City of Charlottesville is surrounded by Albemarle County and the environments of the two localities are deeply intertwined. Is there any environmental issue in which you believe additional City-County cooperation should be sought?

I believe that our local environmental challenges follow no recognized jurisdictional boundaries. Our watershed is clearly being heavily utilized and must be jointly managed through city-county efforts. I believe joint consideration of stream protection activities, ground water management, regional tree-cover expansion, and waste management (including material reutilization, recycling, trash disposal) all could result in greater regional benefits and a healthier regional environment.

7). As a private citizen or elected official, what do you consider to be your most significant contribution, to date, in the preservation of our local environment?

I believe that my efforts as an involved citizen in promoting sustainable transportation development in Charlottesville-Albemarle is my most significant local environmental contribution. I have promoted use of transportation planning funding opportunities to improve the range of transportation choices available to residents and visitors to our area that will reduce reliance on single occupancy vehicles, reduce air pollution emissions, reduce consumption of fossil fuels, reduce the need for additional roadway, and reduce the impact our transportation systems have on our sensitive ground and surface water systems. I have served on several transportation planning committees, served on the board of the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation (ACCT), done independent studies on the environmental impacts of proposed highways (including the now defunct Western 29 Bypass and the Meadowcreek Parkway), reported my findings and suggestions to our Metropolitan Planning Organization, city council, and the Albemarle County board of supervisors, and provided information to a broad range of organizations working to support a healthy urban environment in Charlottesville.

8). Once elected (re-elected), what would be your top three policy priorities that focus on preserving our local environment?"

8.1 Evaluate the vehicle fleet owned by the city (it is something like 600 vehicles) to determine if city business could be adequately handled using many fewer vehicles, consuming significantly less fuel, and emitting significantly fewer greenhouse and other environmentally undesirable gases and other air pollutants.

8.2 Explore opportunities to promote increased tree cover in the city. I would work toward an aggressive tree planting program on city owned land, and promote tree planting by local residents and businesses through education programs, providing native plant materials, and generally encouraging improvement to Charlottesville’s urban tree canopy.

8.3 Explore the state of our stream system. Many of our local streams and tributaries have very poor water quality and receive pollution from a number of untreated point and area sources. I would also encourage engaging local schools, groups, and interested individuals to become involved in identifying pollution sources, identifying stream remediation opportunities, and working with the city’s environmental program coordinator to invest some city staff and financial resources toward improving the city’s ground water and surface water quality.

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