Public safety will be my number one focus. We cannot afford to take our security for granted. We must prepare for the growing threat and not just hope for the best. Because of our local values and priorities, Rochester has an elite, professional police force. This force has kept crime at bay for generations. Now, anti-police “non-profit” foundations and “reform” organizations undermine police morale and cohesiveness. Our police force is always improving and studying best practices. However, saying the police need to be “re-imagined” is a dangerous concept that threatens to weaken our police and put the public at risk.
My plan is to build on the record of honor and service that our force has established over the past century. Rather than risk hindering our police force, I will ensure they have the training, technology and personnel they need to more effectively do their work. I support enforcing our laws to the fullest extent.
As our city emerges from the pandemic, one thing is clear, a lot has changed. The cost of living in Rochester is skyrocketing. With the advent of telemedicine and telecommuting, much of DMC may need to be re-imagined. The conjectures of DMC consultants and reality are not aligning. Changes are being made to our city that we neither asked for nor want. We must be vigilant when it comes to the millions of tax dollars that might be wasted on a pre-pandemic plan. The citizens of Rochester should not be mere worker bees for DMC. With our downtown small businesses in tatters, and consultants actively planning to erase our local culture, DMC is in danger of burning the village in order to save it. The citizens of Rochester have contributed over 78 million dollars to DMC so we must ask, how do we benefit? We have sacrificed, but for what?
Partisanship in Our City Government
According to our Rochester City Charter, the elected positions in our city government are supposed to be non-partisan. Until recent times, this is a rule that most officials honored. We should not advance the agenda of billionaire elites and “non-profit” foundations. The governance of the city should be seen through the lens of cost benefit-analysis and serving the needs of all citizens. Bullying the city council and abusing emergency powers undermines the cooperative partnership that should exist between city officials. I will also apply the non-partisan standard when appointing citizens to city boards and commissions.
Transportation is a hot topic in DMC circles and is frequently pushed by the current mayor and consultants. Strangely, the citizens of Rochester rarely voice concerns about the need for rapid or mass transit. I believe the push for big city style transit solutions for small city Rochester are more the result of special interests and consultants than needs voiced by actual tax payers. When we apply cost benefit-analysis and common sense, circulators and bus lanes just don’t add up. We cannot spend millions in anticipation of citizens turning away from a car-based transit system. Government leaders should not force their will or political agenda on the citizens. This is also evident in the many surface street bike lanes that get limited use in our city. This bending of government policy to serve a small part of the population is not innovation or improvement. At this time, I will work toward establishing a city goal that gives preference to a car based transit plan.
Inexpensive energy is a key element to a healthy, growing economy and affordable housing. As a landlord, I am well aware of how important energy costs are to making housing affordable. While renewable energy sources show promise, trying to go carbonless prematurely will result in unfairly punishing those who can least afford to pay. I do not see higher prices as innovation. Further, the growth in subsidies and energy prices are not sustainable. Cheap energy is also a principle driver of economic growth. The wrong energy plan means we give up our competitive advantage. For these reasons, I will be a voice for the local production and control of our energy. Ramping up our indigenous production of power from reliable, clean sources is critical to future growth and sustainability. Fortunately, this local production can be achieved while preserving our clean air and water.
My view on affordable housing is that it should focus on ownership rather than high density. As a landlord, I know well the need for rental housing. Unfortunately for the renter, they get all of the squeeze but none of the juice. Is living in the new Rochester only for the wealthy? For most people, their home is their most important financial asset. We should incentivize the construction of modest, affordable homes. This way, most citizens can enjoy the benefits of property ownership. Low energy prices are also a key component in keeping home ownership attainable.
As a parent and former teacher, I know that quality education for our children is a trans-partisan issue that many of us can agree on. Sadly, our local schools have begun to lose focus on teaching the basics in favor of untested theories and political agendas. In our schools, history and culture should be dealt with truthfully but fairly. We should encourage rigorous debate and critical thinking. Diverse thinking should be welcomed, not canceled. Our school curriculum should also better serve the needs of our diverse students. We should have the very best advanced courses while also offering trade programs. We must return to the principle of dignity in all work. Trade programs will also supply the critical workers needed for growing our economy.
Arts and Parks
The arts are an important part of our local culture and community. I support the establishment of a history and art museum in Rochester. These museums would be a great asset not only to our citizens but to our many visitors. The Olmsted County History Center and Mayo Clinic have a vast collection of artifacts, most of which are not on display. Re-purposing architectural treasures, like the former Lourdes High School facility, would allow for a new history and art museum. We owe so much to our predecessors which is why I support responsible preservation of our historic buildings and cultural sites. We should also add historic elements to some of our existing parks. Static aircraft displays and other large artifacts add interest and depth to our leisure areas. An outdoor amphitheater would also be a welcome addition to Rochester’s landscape. I will promote a City Beautiful movement style master plan for beauty to ensure Rochester does not slip further into dystopian architecture.
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