I Am Running For City Council
January 25, 2010 in Local Elections
I have to apologize for not posting as often here lately, and I am now offering my excuse. Having reported here on so many candidates and campaigns, I find myself now on the other end!
I am running for City Council in Oshkosh, Wisconsin this spring. I am running for local office because I feel that I can help develop a future focused course for the city that incorporates sustainable practices, local economies, increased energy efficiency, decreased energy consumption, and greater stewardship of the two large lakes that border the city to the East and West and the Fox River that connects them.
About the election
It is a non-partisan election. There are 7 candidates vying for 3 seats, all candidates appear on the same ballot, and there are no districts – the entire election is “at large”, i.e. the entire city casts up to three votes per voter. The February 16 primary narrows the field down to six candidates, and at the April 6 general election, the three candidates with the most votes win seats on the seven member Council.
Oshkosh has a population of 65,000. In 2009, 3,622 people voted in the primary (7.85% voter turn out), and 11,267 people voted in the general election (24.72% turnout).That year, Tony Palmeri running for re-election finished first and Bob Poeschl finished third on the ballot, putting two Greens on the Oshkosh Common Council. If I am elected, there will be three Greens on the seven member Council.
Sustainability is Key to the Future Viability of Local Communities
“Community Sustainability” means balancing our present needs with the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability is about *very* long-term planning. For Oshkosh, this means asking “what do we want to leave for our children and our grand-children?” and “what can we do now to ensure that our children and grandchildren can live satisfying lives in Oshkosh many years from now?” A community wide sustainability plan should be future focused – it should establish goals based on reducing energy consumption, reducing the amount of chemicals that are dumped into our landfills and waterways, preserving or improving the natural eco-system we live in, and ensuring equitable access to resources. As the Chair of the City of Oshkosh Sustainability Advisory Board, I believe that citywide sustainability efforts are extremely important to the long term viability of the city. I place a very high priority on making sure that the city implements a sustainability plan and sustainability measures when it comes to planning, development, housing, transportation, economic growth, public works, public health, parks, and natural resources.
These are three of the issues that I have made priorities if elected:
1. Put in place a storm water retention plan that can both alleviate the flooding issues we had two years ago that led to the loss of hundreds of homes in Oshkosh and also reduce unfiltered and contaminated run-off into our river and lakes.
2. Implement a bicycle / pedestrian plan so that we have safer streets, and so that new road construction factors in bike and foot traffic as well as motor vehicles. We need to work toward a more walkable community, but we can’t do that when road construction doesn’t factor in bike and foot traffic at the planning stages.
3. We need to be better stewards of the water resources we are blessed with in Oshkosh. The health of the river and lakes are critical to local recreation and tourism, fishing, boating, as well as our drinking water. We need to make the water more accessible, and we need to take steps to reduce pollutants that threaten this valuable Oshkosh resource. A sustainability plan for Oshkosh would help to accomplish this.
“What have I done to deserve this?”
I have been engaged with local issues and local politics for five years. I co-created a local website MainStreetOshkosh.Com to provide an alternative view of local issues. I am the Chair of the City of Oshkosh Sustainability Advisory Board. I’ve been serving on the board for two years, where we have been working toward developing a sustainability plan, working on a shoreline restoration project, water conservation, water testing at the public beach, and an audit of municipal and community greenhouse gas emissions to identify ways to reduce energy consumption.
I was the Adviser to the student GLBT organization Rainbow Alliance for HOPE, and Adviser for the Students for a Fair Wisconsin, which led the local campaign to oppose the state constitutional amendment referendum to ban civil unions in Wisconsin. I have been the co-chair of the Lake Winnebago Green Party on and off for the last four years, and worked to elect two Greens to the Winnebago County Board and two Greens to the Oshkosh City Council. I was a member of the Winnebago Peace & Justice Center, and co-facilitator of the 2005 Oshkosh Troops Home Now referendum drive. I was an election poll worker for two years, and also an outspoken critic of the implementation of Diebold electronic voting machines in Winnebago County.
“But who am I really?”
I am a librarian at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, a husband, father of two beautiful young girls aged 2 and 8, a Main Street Oshkosh home owner, and generally speaking a good guy.
About the Campaign
Having worked on other campaigns I have been fortunate to have brought together a veteran team of local campaigners. Justin Mitchell is the Campaign Coordinator, he ran Tony Palmeri’s election in 2007 and re-election in 2009. We have an awesome graphic designer on board, you can see his work with Progress Media here. Bob Poeschl’s volunteer coordinator Michelle is on board, our treasurer Barbara has been treasurer for several non-profits, and a host of others are offering advice, support, money, contacts, and other valuable contributions to the campaign.
You can help support my campaign by making a small donation here, or if you are in Oshkosh we can put you to work in a variety of ways.