Core beliefs from town council and mayoral candidates
PJH: What does the town need more of? What does the town need less of?
Geveva Chong (mayor): I would like to see enforcement of speed limits, hands-free device use, and stopping at stop signs. Obeying/enforcing the law while driving will go a long way towards making our streets “complete” in that they can be used as-is, right now, safely if people are driving safely. Certainly encouraging fewer car trips would also help.
Sara Flitner (mayor): We need more solutions for clean, affordable homes for our working and middle class. We need the comprehensive plans to be passed. We need all hands on deck
I believe in our community’s ability to work together and solve problems. To do that effectively, we’re going to need less criticizing and blaming, so people can bring their best skills to the table.
Mark Nowlin (mayor): [inadvertently skipped question].
Don Frank (council): Our community benefits with each citizen’s involvement in civic discourse. Come to meetings, read, listen, learn, ask questions, educate yourself and comment. That is the fundamental core of inclusive democracy at work.
John Stennis (council): We need more housing of all types and we need to fill the gap between subsidized and the million dollar homes that are not affordable to most of our community. Housing is critical to our long-term success and character of our community and we can help foster it by creating less cumbersome development regulations, which allow property owners more development options by right.
PJH: Discuss your platform in the context of some of the things you would like to get done. What is one of the first things you want to see eliminated, changed or accomplished if you take office?
Geneva Chong (mayor): [Recently] our hospital emergency room staff (and all other first responder groups) responded to multiple accidents from Grand Teton National Park and in town. They must be ready to respond to incidents typical of much larger, more populated areas. We need to make sure all levels of staff (e.g., janitors to surgeons) can live nearby. Similarly, if the people who plow the airport or work for TSA can’t get to work, the airport can’t open and/or people will miss their flights because they can’t get through security in time.
I want to promote and facilitate conversations that lead to actions that will allow development of the full spectrum of housing products – from affordable/workforce rentals and ownership to market value – in the places where workers are needed. This means density. This means incentives to developers (the ones under our control such as time it takes from planning to ground-breaking, density bonuses, etc., or those out of our control such as federal tax credits). This means partnerships for managing multiple types of products. This means enforcement of existing policy designed to not lose workforce housing to tourists. This means looking at every possible combination of options to get what we need.
A possible “low-hanging” fruit is reintroduction of the proposal to allow a third unit on AR lots to be rented (not short-term) – likely a very valuable product for a large segment of the workforce, and it would allow free enterprise, not managed by a housing entity or subsidized.
Sara Flitner (mayor): I am running to serve and to provide balanced leadership. That is my agenda and platform. You got the part about workforce housing, right? (“We need more solutions for clean, affordable homes for our working and middle class.”)
Mark Nowlin (mayor): The town needs permanently reasonable priced housing. This is my main concern. A complete community of people who stay a short time or a lifetime. I will continue the good work already accomplished.
Don Frank (council): Original and innovative thinking adapted wherever it occurs. To quote Einstein: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Workforce housing achieved through imaginative and flexible land use practices is a critical need. I’d like to see multimodal transportation systems expansion used flexibly by more people employing diverse modes of travel. We need broader and more robust systems for securing high-quality services at best value costs on all publicly funded projects. We need to assure that ongoing maintenance funding is addressed and in place whenever any SPET or capital improvement projects are envisioned. I would like to see continued commitment and steady focus on reducing energy consumption while assuring a legacy of environmental stewardship.
John Stennis (council): I want to see us be a community that makes thoughtful choices but is not afraid to try new things. We need to be flexible to meet the needs of our changing economy and population and work toward an incentive-based regulatory system instead of a punitive system.