I was born in Indiana and raised along with my 5 siblings in a chicken coop we converted into a home. After high school I enlisted in the Air Force and indeed had the opportunity to meet and experience many different ethnic groups around the globe. I was injured in Vietnam. Following my medical discharge I received a BS in Physics with Graduate Studies in Microbiology and Nuclear Physics. I was employed in the Space Program and in the development of military weapons and weapons delivery tactics. My wife and I were contributors to the founding of a non-profit organization that provided medical treatment to remote villages in Mexico. I served as a volunteer on the board of directors of that organization for several years. In 2006 my wife and I decided Valdez was the community we would like to be part of. We are retired and not a local business owner.
I have often said I really like the quietness of the winter in Valdez but I also recognize the necessity of having successful businesses and year round employment opportunities for the youth and residents of our community.
I have read most of the council meeting agenda packets available online and attended many of the council meetings over the last few years. So, whether I’m elected or not, please support your Council, attend a few of the meetings, give them your input. Stand up and be heard!
1. What are three main challenges for the City of Valdez in the next five years? As a potential council member, how do you plan to address them?
1) Wasteful Spending
a) Stop deferring maintenance on city assets. The useful life of city assets will be extended through good maintenance practices.
b) Write clear, concise and complete contract requirements and get the contracts out with plenty of lead time to give more contractors time to bid and schedule.
c) Have oversight and make sure the contracts are completed correctly.
2) Job Creation
If we want to see the community grow we need year round full time jobs. How many non-city year round jobs are being created by our ports (air and marine)? We need to identify what makes it difficult to successfully start a new business in Valdez and if possible address those issues. The city management has solved the parking problem at the harbor in the summer by not keeping the harbor clean, by not providing adequate launch facilities, and increasing fees. Unfortunately the parking problem resolution reflects the reduced usage and fewer opportunities for our local businesses. We need to attract visitors both in the summer and winter by encouraging the use and development of the assets we have. Let’s improve and maintain the assets we have.
3) Disaster Preparedness
Which part of “prepared” excludes planning? Valdez was rated very low in several areas at the conclusion of the Alaska Shield Exercise a couple of years ago. I do not think that fire hydrants buried under snow and overloaded structures reflect foresight and preparedness. City management has not promoted CERTS training for the citizens. The lack of training for volunteers puts all of us at risk in an emergency. These are certainly things that fall into Disaster Preparedness. Has anyone in city management been held accountable? I believe our citizens deserve accountability from city management.
2. The City of Valdez has put considerable effort into strategic planning in the last few years, do you feel the current level of planning is lacking, adequate or excessive? Please explain.
In the recent round of Strategic Planning the City once again spent considerable man hours and our tax dollars to determine a plan for the future. The first challenge for the consultants from outside the city was to review the 27 or 29 previous studies paid for by the city. That means we have a strategic plan for approximately every 120 citizens. I have heard several residents say “The only thing these plans do is collect dust, they never consider input from the community”. How about city management listening to what the community wants? Management could be implementing the ideas of the community that have majority support and stop spending our taxes on studies.
I have attended many of the council meetings over the past few years. To sum it up, the planning appears to be lacking in implementation, inadequate follow-through, and excessive amount of tax dollars and man hours spent. Let’s start the process of planning and implementing.
Our future depends on it!