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Voters Receiving Ballots this Week

Flagstaff’s General Election is May 15. Ballots should arrive in mailboxes about 26 days before the election.

Flagstaff Business News received these statements for each of the candidates.

Mayoral Candidates

 

Jerry Nabours 

Our city has made some major financial blunders in the last few years. (Auto Mall, Horizon Airlines, sewer plant, Aspen Place, Presidio in the Pines, etc.) Although well intentioned at the time, these things show a lack of experienced and knowledgeable leadership on the City Council. The job of the mayor is to keep the city out of ill-advised ventures and focused on its primary responsibilities to the citizens: providing reliable services, providing public protection, keeping the streets repaired and providing parks and recreation.

A city also has to keep building its economy. We either move forward or we end up moving backward. Cities everywhere are learning that offering financial incentives to new businesses is a losing proposition. We can get companies interested in Flagstaff by factors such as our interstate and railroad location. The next step is for them to see Flagstaff as a place they want to live. We can do this by having an efficiently run city and a welcoming attitude at City Hall. “How can we help?” rather than “Here are the hoops to jump through.”

We should make our city as attractive as possible. Our roads look bad. They have to become a priority. We can build civic pride with promotions such as a summer of bulky trash every week with a “Trim it, paint it, trash it” theme. I would start a long-term program of burying overhead utility wires. This creates a subtle cleanliness much needed in the older areas. (The intersection of Fort Valley Road and Forest has a beautiful view of the Peaks, with 22 wires overhead.)

I have been an attorney in Flagstaff for 37 years. I have scaled back my practice to perform the office of mayor. I am fortunate in that I have these years of experience in Flagstaff. But more than my own experience, I share the experiences I have seen and discussed with hundreds of clients.

 

Al White 

I am running for mayor in order to bring some continuity to the office and help our community foster the concepts put forward by investing in economic development, environmental stewardship and support for education as the key tool for an educated electorate and a workforce that meets the needs of a changing economy. The noble task that is public service is under fire these days as somehow self-serving and polarized. I hope to prevent that sentiment from gaining traction at the local and regional level. It is my belief that we have more in common with each other than we do in opposition and that my experience and established relationships with most of our regional partners gives me the ability to do more faster with these groups.

I will be able to pick up the work with our state delegation and our federal delegation as well as the Greater Arizona Mayors Association without losing a beat. The ability to get work done with a diverse council is crucial to the success of any mayor. I will try to see the values of others as the consensus-building tool of choice.

The economic recession of recent years demands a re-evaluation of our approach to economic development. The provision of city services as our primary function is heavily reliant on sales tax revenues. This has been the policy of choice of the community and so a vibrant economic atmosphere is vital. This I will foster through a reinvestment in tourism and continuation of my efforts in business incubation and investing in small businesses (85 percent of all businesses in America are small businesses) that have established themselves in Flagstaff.

I have always looked at the balance of needs that constituents have brought in front of us as the way to accommodate and serve as many of the diverse interests of the community. These goals have been captured most thoroughly in our Regional Plans. Implementation of those plans within the budgets we have is my goal.

 

 

Flagstaff City Council Candidates 

Karla Brewster 

I decided to run for re-election as a Councilmember, since we as a community have many positive accomplishments and we need to continue to progress for the betterment of Flagstaff.

I am an advocate of aggressively pursuing economic development, which brings jobs, prosperity and wealth to our region. Businesses aren’t waiting at our door to come in. We must pursue a diversity of high tech, entrepreneurial, light industrial and manufacturing businesses to complement our tourism, incubator (start up businesses) with our very successful Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurial and Technology, and our retail businesses.

The city’s partnership with the newly formed Economic Collaboration of Northern Arizona has been a great success so far in bringing in businesses to our region, in cooperation with city, county, and six other sectors, all of which benefit from the cooperative effort, instead of being in competition.

Economic development is tied to our quality of life in Flagstaff, as businesses looking to relocate are drawn to our beautiful community with our trails, excellent educational choices, university research, recreational opportunities that are affordable, multimodal transportation and friendly atmosphere. We have a large community with still a small town atmosphere.

I am thankful for being allowed to serve our community the last four years, and I would like the opportunity to serve the Flagstaff community another four years as I represent all of Flagstaff. My decisions don’t favor any one special group, but I vote on issues for the good of the whole community.

Thank you – Karla Brewster

 

Coral J. Evans

Hello, my name is Coral Evans and I am running for a second term on the Flagstaff City Council. I was first elected in May 2008. In addition to being on the council, I am the executive director of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association. Currently I am pursing a Ph.D. in Sustainability Education; I hold a Master’s degree in Business Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. I am certified nationally in workforce development and public participation practices and a graduate of the Flagstaff Leadership Program and the Flinn-Brown Foundations Center for Civic Leadership.

As a third generation Flagstaff native, I believe neighborhoods are the backbone of a community; in them is where families live, work, learn and grow, and that Flagstaff’s strength and character comes from the diversity of its neighborhoods and the people who live within.

As a member of the Flagstaff City Council, I believe in a balanced approach to the allocation and use of our limited community resources and I have worked hard to create community redevelopment and investment opportunities which in turn have created viable economic opportunities for our city and to strengthen collaborative partnerships that work toward the long-term success of our community in the areas of business, education, arts/culture and youth/family.

I will continue as a member of the council to work on creating avenues for civic engagement and participation, to strengthen and grow partnerships that work to create a sustainable and resilient economy for our city and for the genuine advancement of our city’s residents. For more information, please visit my website, www.coralforcouncil.com. There you will find information regarding projects that I have completed and initiatives I intend to bring forward in my next term.

I look forward to continuing to serve our community as a member of Council. Thank you for your support.

 

 

Avtar Khalsa

Our unique small business community is one of the things I love about Flagstaff. I’m grateful to have the support of so many of these business owners. They are an integral part of what makes Flagstaff so special.

I think the best way to grow our local economy is by supporting ideas that make Flagstaff a great place to live, go to school, do business, raise a family, and take a vacation. I want to attract businesses with the quality of life we are building, through our respect for diversity, education, the arts and sciences, clean technology, the amazing natural beauty that surrounds us, and our strong, well-educated workforce. These are the qualities that draw people to Flagstaff. I believe they are far more attractive than tax gimmicks.

My own business puts me in contact with several other business owners each day. I like to ask them about their relations with city government, about their experiences with the City Council, staff, and the various boards and commissions.

Surprisingly, I’ve heard very little about ordinances, taxes, or regulations making it hard to do business. Of course, experiences vary, and each story is different. Most business owners report very positive interactions with city staff.

But there is one thing I hear that I find very troubling. That is the perception that important city decisions are sometimes made behind closed doors, without public input or citizen oversight.

This has to change. It erodes confidence in government, and inhibits the city’s ability to conduct the people’s business successfully.

In government, just as in business, we need to be able to trust one another in order to succeed. That trust has to be earned. I want to return honesty, transparency, and accountability to our City Council. That’s my commitment to the citizens of Flagstaff.

 

John Malin 

My name is John Malin and I am a candidate for Flagstaff City Council. I will approach city issues as a businessman – seriously, logically and purposefully. My focus is on doing the right things, for the right reasons, for the most people.

I started my first business at age 16, sealcoating driveways, and turned it into a small business that had eight employees and continual growth until I went to college at age 18 at ASU. My entire career, including eight-year segments with both Marriott and Westin hotels, has been spent developing, managing and growing businesses.

Flagstaff is a large business and would benefit from being consistently run like a business. Interestingly, Flagstaff residents are both the owners and the customers. City government works for the residents and we should be partners, working on meeting immediate needs and carefully and productively growing the community. Residents sometimes feel confused about the direction in which the city is headed rather than experience the security of believing the city is moving forward in the best interests of all. This has to change to promote a more inclusive and vibrant community.

Revenue and spending should be directed to core services. Roads and streets, utilities, libraries, recreation, trash and community maintenance and all other services should be well managed, in cooperation with the private citizens, to enhance the quality of life. The city has significant money and the allocations should be directed and overseen by the mayor and Council, and managed by the city manager and staff accordingly.

Long-term and short-term water issues need to be continually addressed and modified, and action taken to provide those services at reasonable and affordable prices.

The city has a chance to change to a business-minded, management model. I appreciate your vote for a business-like, thoughtful, common sense government.

 

Jim McCarthy 

I have the values and experience to represent our citizens well on City Council. I am chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission, and serve on the Water Commission. These commissions study some of the city’s most important issues and make recommendations to the council.

My background is engineering and business. I managed personnel and multi-million dollar budgets at Honeywell. I am now retired but manage two rental properties in Flagstaff. I have the time for council duties.

Supporting local business is essential for our survival. While on Planning and Zoning, I have used a balanced approach to assure that the character of Flagstaff (which makes us a tourist destination) is maintained, while encouraging growth.

I hear that the city does not act as a developer’s friend. While there is some truth to that, progress has been made. For instance, the time required to get new projects approved is better in Flagstaff than other Arizona cities. Simplification of the land development code was a step in the right direction; the community involvement in the rewrite process was good. I will assure that the new Regional Plan has land available for commercial, light industrial, and residential development.

We need to keep our fees and taxes reasonable. While the city should not subsidize new development at the expense of existing businesses, the fees should not be a profit center. Our sales tax is so high that it discourages local purchases, to the benefit of out-of-state businesses.

I support the work of NACET, ECoNA, and similar collaborative organizations to bring rewarding high-paying jobs to Flagstaff. There are reasons that companies like WL Gore came to Flagstaff; we need to further improve the business-friendly attitude here so that we flourish. Cities either gradually degrade, or gradually improve; the choice is obvious.

 

 

Jeff Oravits 

I’m Jeff Oravits and I’m asking for your vote for Flagstaff City Council. I’ve lived in Flagstaff for over 22 years. My wife, Angela, and I have founded several companies that have provided employment and affordable housing for many in our community. As a father of three, I want to make sure that my kids and yours have the opportunity to prosper in our community. So as your council representative, two of my top priorities will be to use my business, economic and public service experience to focus on finding solutions to our economic and budgetary challenges.

For the past several years, Flagstaff has faced budgetary shortfalls. This year is no different. Now, City Council is threatening to cut core city services such as snow removal, street sweeping and even services to our parks. I know that if the City Council was to be more fiscally responsible with our tax dollars, we could maintain core services at current levels.

City Council also needs to recognize that as a city we are competing with cities around the state and around the world to attract and retain business and investment in our community. As a business owner, I know we can do a better job of creating a business environment that allows businesses and residents of Flagstaff to prosper.

As your council representative, I want to make sure that City Council adopts sensible policies, sound budgeting practices and fiscal responsibility.

I look forward to the opportunity to serve as your council representative and I know that together we can build a great future here in Flagstaff.

Please visit www.Jeff4Flagstaff.com for more information. FBN

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