Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Special Meeting

Monday, June 06, 2005

June 6, 2005 - 5:15 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

Meeting was called to order at 5:15 p.m. by Mayor John Morrison.

Councilors Hardesty, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson and Silbiger were present.

Councilor Hardesty suggested the following question: Do you think the council should be more aggressive in setting the agenda?

Suggestion was made that the questions be common and asked of all candidates. It was noted that resumes had been provided and have been helpful to the Council to learn more about the candidates. Council discussed the initial questions that the council had considered.

These questions are:

1) What do you believe you would contribute to the City Council based on your experience? What are you good at?
2) What do you want to accomplish while serving on the City Council?
3) What do you think are the biggest issues facing the city?
4) Relative to the key issues mentioned, what approach would you recommend the Council take?

Council continued to discuss the number of questions to ask and to allow a little time for ad lib questions.

Michael Riedeman

1) Stated that he would contribute good decision making, cooperate experience, and consensus building to the Council. He stated he has experience in research on various issues including technical, building, construction and environmental issues. He stated that interactive communication is one of his strong traits and stated that he was a good listener. Commented that he prefers to hear people out before making decisions.
2) Stated that he would like to: make the council more pro-active, find a means to reduce planning disputes, provide a dedicated budget for an economic vitality committee, maintain and enhance the watershed and the quality of air, provide guidance to the downtown planning process with primary focus on areas other than parking, focus on AFN and the possible lawsuit against predatory pricing, small business development, sustainable programs, find a solution to the closing of Ashland schools, and address the homeless issues.
3) Stated that some of the biggest issues facing the council are: making the council less of a dispute moderator, the economic budget and the livable wage, affordable housing and a sustainable economy, preservation, the local media and the downtown planning process.
4) Stated that regarding the council's role as a dispute moderator, some ways to address this would be to create a mechanism to reduce the number of planning disputes, create a more pro-active appeal system and establish an elected appeals board. Regarding the economic vitality and affordable housing issues, these could be addressed through: Community Development Block Grants and more grant writing, an ordinance to increase the minimum wage, a more sustainable economy, and more proactive programs. Regarding the downtown planning process, the council could: focus on more than just parking issue, look at overall aesthetics and goals, protect against communal spaces being taken over by cars, enhance bike lines, include mass transit and develop more pedestrian and access ways.

David Chapman

1) Stated that he is a good problem solver and noted his experience as a commissioner where he is able to listen to public input and make decisions that make everyone happy.
2) Stated that he would like the council to accomplish fixing the appeals process. Noted his interest in trails, open space, clean air and transportation. Stated that he also has an interest in the criteria for downtown development and voiced support for a mix of building sizes in the downtown area. He also noted his experience with the Nevada Street LID process.
3) Stated the biggest issues facing the City are: reducing the number of appeals, AFN (stated that this issue was not as simple as whether it makes a profit or not and thinks that it should be a system than everyone can afford to use), and the pressure of money and people on a nice small working system and what affect that is having. He stated that these pressures are the root cause of the downtown building arguments. Commented that one of his personal goals was to get low density mass transportation in the valley and noted that he has been involved in the Master Trail Plan.
4) In regards to how to approach the issues raised, he stated the Master Trail Plan was being addressed by a group of city councilors, parks departments, and citizens at large who visited neighborhoods and prepared reports on what the residents stated they would and would not like to see. Regarding the money pressure and people pressure problem, thinks that this is kind of a hopeless problem and does not currently know how to address this problem. Regarding AFN, stated that this is a utility and does not think it is as simple as to sell or don't sell, and stated that cable television was not as important as internet access and stated that everyone should have access to it. In regards to the problem with appeals, he stated that he does not have a distinct idea on how to handle this problem. Noted that a key problem was that Planning could only base their decisions on the criteria and stated that often there are other issues involved. Suggested that there be some sort of review committee that could resolve some of these issues. Stated that it is nice to have constraints but it seems that there needs to be more flexibility.

Tom Dimitre

1) Noted his ability to problem solve and his ability to do research and bring people on opposing sides of the issues together. Stated that he frequently uses the mediation process and thinks this would be a valued asset on the council. Stated that he has the ability to scrutinize legal contracts and figure out if the contract language is correct or if there are loopholes. Stated that he often brings people together, such as organizing meetings and quorums. Stated that he works with a diverse group of people with varying opinions and stated that it is always a challenge to bring those opinions together. Stated that he is a hard worker and prides himself on being very honest. Stated that some of his core values include equal rights and commented that he feels very strongly about the downtown. Stated that his values and experience would translate well to the council and noted his experience with problem solving in his current occupation.
2) Stated that if selected to be on the council, he would like to work on the Downtown Plan and the Big Box Ordinance. He also noted the number of appeals regarding downtown development and stated that it needs to be clarified as to what the requirement are. Stated that he would like to see an even stricter Big Box Ordinance. Commented that the uniqueness of downtown is what brings most people to live here and visit and stated that this needs to be preserved. He noted the AFN issue and stated that they need to determine whether the citizens should be subsidizing this. He also voiced support for affordable housing and stated that he would like to see if there are additional things that could be done.
3) Stated that the three most pertinent issues facing the City are: the Downtown Plan, AFN and the appeals process. He noted the additional issue of needing to stay in touch with constituency by allowing more public input.
4) In regards to the Downtown Plan, stated that the process for this was already in place. He stated that in general, obtaining more public input was a key goal. As far as AFN, he stated that the hiring of an administrator was a good start, and stated that they need to wait and see if this helps to improve the situation. If it doesn't improve in 6 months to a year, he would suggest getting more citizen input and determining what action the citizens would support. Regarding affordable housing, he stated that the council was doing a great job and supports what is being done.

John Gaffey

1) Noted his communication skills and his problem solving ability. Stated that he is a good listener, is enthusiastic and is very interested in the issues before the city.
2) Stated that he was concerned with AFN and would like to see the City either get out or figure out how to make this work. He stated that he is interested in the downtown process and understands the impetus for the downtown plan. He commented that public input was important for the downtown plan process. He voiced his concern that the council was getting bogged down and noted their inability to get through the agenda without postponing issues. Stated that he would like to see something done about this.
3) Noted the visioning process and stated that he was concerned that the city plays such a large role and questioned whether the visioning documents should come from the community. He stated that when then Waste Water Treatment Plant was built the DEQ had indicated that they would implement Point Source Temperature regulations and questioned when this issue would be coming back to the council. He noted his desire to address the AFN and Downtown Planning issues and presented the council with an example of a problem solving situation.

Steve Hauck

1) Noted that he had previously served on the Council and was aware of the process and time commitment involved. Noted his experience in social services, economic development, affordable housing, communication, working with people and noted that he has a masters degree in management.
2) Stated that he had been following the goal setting process and stated that there are several goals that he was interesting in, including: developing a working economic development plan, affordable housing, and the public participation plan.
3) Stated that the biggest issues facing the City were affordable housing and how they are driving the people who work here and families out of town, and dealing with the affects of growth and how it is changing the character of the city.
4) Regarding affordable housing, stated that the plan that has already been developed is a way to move forward but it going to take a lot of community buy-in. Noted economic development and broadening the base of what is currently being offered. He suggested developing a concrete plan that looks at our strengths and weaknesses and what works and what areas they should concentrate on. He stated that in terms of growth, they needed to have a concrete goal of what they want the community to look like and suggested that they do another visioning process.

Noted that he would likely not run for a full four year term due to personal commitments.

Don Laws

1) Stated that he would contribute context to the decisions that the council can make and hopes that he would be able to contribute consensus building. Noted that he would use his patience and stated that in some cases it was appropriate to speed up the process, however they need to be aware that it may take longer to build consensus.
2) Stated that he would like to accomplish bringing the community together and stated that there are two problems in the city: the first is fear and noted that citizens are fearful that the city is changing, and second is distrust with the city council because they have not been able to stop the change. He noted that one of his goals if appointed would be to spend one afternoon each month visiting a different neighborhood and talking to the citizens. He stated that the council needs to make sure that all of the different stakeholders are involved in the process and stated that they need to create a means of getting people involved who aren't just the directly affected persons.
3) Stated the biggest issues facing the city are: the fear that people have that the community is changing, and distrust that of the city council because they have not been able to stop this from happening. Other issues include: AFN, the watershed and affordable housing, which are all based on our concern for growth and stated that they are somewhat in conflict with each other.
4) Noted the need to clarify ordinances in regards to land use matters in order to relieve some of the ambiguities and reduce the number of appeals. Stated that the council needs to be willing to find out where the different interests are in the community and bring them together. Stated that he considers himself a cautious liberal and would like to bring people together and make compromises.

Greg Lemhouse

1) Noted his experience in public safety and stated that he has been a police officer for the past 10 years. Stated that he could bring his professional experience to the city as an inside source to help people understand the challenges that public safety faces. Thinks that one thing that police departments in generally do not do as good a job of is explaining themselves to the public and educating people as to why they do the things they do and the reasoning behind their actions. Professionally, he would be able to bring his experience to the council. Personally, he is a young man with a young family, and stated that he could bring a different perspective to the council.
2) Stated that the most important issue before the council was growth and how they would address this. He stated that the Rogue Valley would inevitable be faced with growth and questioned what we could do in the mean time to manage the growth so when it happens they will be equip to deal with it. Stated that this valley is above the norm in elderly population moving to the valley and noted that the elderly people in his line of business are often victimized and questioned if they were doing enough from a public safety sense to deal with this ahead of time. Stated that studying the growth issue and how it affects all of the parts of city government would be his focus.
3) Stated that the biggest issue facing the city was growth and stated that this issue branches out and affects others areas such as crime, city services, environmental issues, traffic, and the number of children in the school system. Stated that they need to try and address these smaller issues before they become larger issues. Stated that in his professional field, the number one problem is drugs, and noted that this is a high intensity drug trafficking area.
4) Stated that in terms of the growth issue, they need to stay creative and keep an open mind to new ideas. Stated that the council make up would be best served if it had differing views to approach different problems. Stated that one of the problems with government was its lack of creativity and stated that in terms of the drug and crime problem, they need to be proactive

Meeting was adjourned at 7:00 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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