I just wanted to write a quick note of how impressed I was with all of our town council candidates at the Boone Chamber of Commerce forum last week. Our fearless Mayor, Dr Rennie Brantz, also did an excellent job as he always does. A big thank you to Mr David Jackson and the chamber for setting that event up, the Fairview Cafe for hosting, and Mr. Ken Ketchie for the wonderful high-quality video and photos.
I am very excited that at first glance it appears that all of our candidates seem to support the vision of Boone becoming a leader in sustainability, that we need to reign in large-scale development in order to retain our small-town feel, and that we need to continue and support our thriving small business community. Support for stormwater solutions as well as for ‘big’ trees instead of asphalt and scrawny sticks are a bonus we can all agree on as well.
While some of these issues have been on-going for years, I am most proud that issues of long-term community sustainability and resilience have finally become part of the election discussion. That in itself I consider a victory. I am looking forward to our new Howard St. and downtown improvements, greenway expansions, renewable energy, and upcoming green infrastructure plans.
Even though all our candidates wonderfully agree on many issues, it does seem like I do see a slight difference of opinion on a few:
- Housing: Only 1/3 of Boone’s workers live in town, and 2/3 of its students. How many workers and students should be burning fossil fuels and asphalt driving into town every day instead of walking/biking/busing to class and work?
- Voting: It seems the campus voting site, as popular as it is, seems to always need a continuous fight to remain open. Even if you don’t think students should be able to live in town, should the ones that still do be able to vote conveniently on campus?
- Middle Class: Is the lack of student housing actually causing owner-occupied neighborhood housing to change into rentals? Over 1,000 owner-occupied citizens appear to have left Boone in the last 5 years according to the census. Yikes.
- Changes to Development Standards: Has the addition of the planned development process and setback/height changes made over the last few years been adequate enough to prevent and discourage mega-buildings?
- Sales Tax: Which party, exactly, is now at fault for the theft of Boone’s sales tax? This was almost a 100k a month change in our budget and it appears Boone keeps less than ~7% of what it generates, while dealing with 90% of the traffic.
- Environment: Is pulling 7 or 8 times the current environmental standard of flow out of the river an environmental disaster we should all be absolutely ashamed of, especially if it is not remedied soon?
- Transportation: The buses are full, there is no parking, and traffic is awful. Why is transporting your entire living room and stereo system while chugging gasoline legal, but rolling just yourself on tiny wheels without pedals illegal? Why, in the year 2017, is skateboarding an actual crime in Boone?
With just 1 day of voting left for the election Nov 7th, I expect a clean fight. Gloves on. No hits below the belt. It takes three votes of the council to get anything done in this town, and there are three seats up for election. That means if you sling the mud a little too hard you could spend the next 2-4 years sitting beside that very person and having them reminding you of your distasteful campaigning instead of voting with you to support your issues. Never-mind these are your actual neighbors you are talking about. We are in this together, and if we do not set a positive example for the younger generations, we can not expect them or our fellow council members to respect us back. Boone has a $58-million dollar budget, 19,000 citizens, and 16,000 jobs we do or will represent, and we can certainly agree to disagree on the issues above and act like adults.
I like to get things done, and I need a council that supports getting things done with respect, reason, and ethical decision making that takes all of the town citizens into account no matter if they voted for you or not. We have a tough few days coming up, and I wish all of our candidates the best of luck for the upcoming November 7thelection day. However the results turn out, I look forward to our future working together to make this town as great, and as green, as we know it can be.
For that slim 5-10% of Boone citizens, those ~1,500 or so brave souls that will actually vote, now is your chance to make a difference. Contact all of us candidates, ask your questions or the ones above, tell us how you feel, and VOTE!
See you at the polls Tuesday!
Quint David – perpetual Boone town council candidate, and your neighbor who can’t believe you would say that about him or anybody you would ever expect to speak with again. I thought we were better than that.