2014 Municipal Election
1. What do you see as the principal environmental challenge you would face if elected?
The principal environmental challenge I would face revolves around climate change and the multi-dimensional impacts it will have on the city of Santa Fe. The increasing risk posed, by the continuation of severe drought conditions, for our water supply, forest health, fire danger, land erosion and ultimately our local economy, can not be overlooked. These conditions warrant stepped up measures incentivizing more broad-based water recycling and conservation efforts – expanding to include educational, commercial and gov’t properties. Strategies for the recycling of water in all its forms and from all its sources must be incorporated into all new and existing public and private building projects. Similar conservation measures must also be adopted by the agricultural sector. State Senator, Peter Wirth, entitled his recent talk on water issues in New Mexico, “Things Have Changed”. Indeed they have. I see it as a call to create new strategies for doing more with less - across all sectors of our society.
2. There is room at the old landfill next to the Buckman Road Recycling & Transfer Station (BuRRT) to place as many solar panels as needed to provide electricity for all City-owned buildings downtown. Would you support this proposal?
Yes, it is an opportunity for the City to become pro-active in the formation of a ‘community solar cooperative.’ It might be one that could be entirely capitalized by both residential and commercial users/investors.
3. That same site (next to BuRRT) has been identified as a candidate for a community solar site to enable Santa Feans to buy panels and receive a credit on their PNM bills. What is your position on this “community solar garden “proposal?
See answer to question 2.
4. Some environmental advocates argue that producing significant amounts of renewable energy in the Santa Fe region would require that the region would own its own utility. What is your position on this issue?
I am entirely in favor of such a proposal, though I am concerned about the ‘cost’ of such purchase agreement with PNM. Otherwise, given Santa Fe’s ownership history with the Water Company, I believe that municipal ownership of the electric utility is a feasible undertaking – one that will improve operational transparency, pricing accountability, and more aggressive promotion/use of renewable energy. Since PNM’s embracing of solar will not occur until their coal fire plants reach ‘obsolesence,’ and since they will be unwilling to loose paying customers for that invested technology, I do think that the City of Santa Fe will be in for a fight whether it is to develop a community solar co-op or to purchase the utility. Progress on the purchase may ultimately hinge on the outcome of several things, including community will, environmental imperatives, PNM’s long term view of the profitability of solar vs. fossil fuels, and judicial rulings on the ‘community rule’ movement.
5. Clothes drying with electric or gas heat has a significant energy impact. Do you support minimizing restrictions and encouraging use of clotheslines?
Hah!, with our nationally acclaimed clean and filtered fragrant mountain air, why not do all we can to encourage the practice of air drying clothing and the clotheslines that support them!
6. What is your position on transferring water from the agricultural sector for municipal use?
I believe that the transfer of water rights for municipal use from the agricultural sector should only be done in concert with a thorough evaluation of the long term cultural, economic and agricultural needs of the communities from which the water rights are being purchased. To that end, I believe that New Mexico’s agricultural communities must undertake new water conserving/management approaches, independently and in concert with those practiced by the municipalities, to ensure their long term viability.
7. Downtown park improvements along the Santa Fe River have made the river park more usable and friendly. However, the river is hiding behind a line of parked cars, invisible from streets leading from the Plaza. Would you support removal of the 12 parking meters along Alameda between Don Gaspar and Galisteo?
Yes - and I would also support expanding the landscaped area into the former parking lane. The lost parking could be obtained through an agreement with the State to create additional parking spaces on the adjacent State-owned land. I see this relocation of the parking spaces as feasible because the State could be made to see the additional river park space as beneficial to its downtown employees.
8. St. Michael’s Drive has plans under development to convert it into a four-lane boulevard lined with dwelling units. The goal is to attract the creative class, health care workers, and university students. Would you support such a transformation?
I would, and have. I have studied the physical and regulatory challenges existing for such a conversion of St. Michaels, as an interested architect. I have first hand experience with the highly successful, pedestrian and transit friendly, yet efficient, boulevards of Barcelona, Spain, having lived there for 3 months. I would support ‘progressive zoning’ measures and development incentives necessary to engage current owners and future developers in the envisioned transformation.
9. Food waste in Malmo, Sweden, is separated from its landfill stream to make biogas that powers its bus fleet. Would you support a similar program for Santa Fe?
Yes. Wouldn’t it be great if we used the old Buckman Land fill site, not only as the location for a ‘community solar’ program, but also for the capture of methane gas to power the City’s entire fleet buses AND service vehicles! It may be case, as the Swedes have found, that a bio-waste specific land fill might be more efficient for gas production than that from a typical ‘mixed use’ land fill.
10. Do you support the initiation of a bike-share program to accommodate daily mobility needs of both Santa Fe's residents and visitors?
As former President of one of Santa Fe's earliest cycling clubs, and director of the Santa Fe Classic (3-day Competitive Cycling Stage Race), I am fully invested in Santa Fe becoming increasingly more bicycle friendly. Even in a smaller city like Santa Fe, a bike-share program operated by a passionate group of supporters both public and private, could be quite viable, both financially and operationally. I do see it as a public/private undertaking, to ensure "buy-in" by all sector of our community.
11. Car sharing as used in Philadelphia has decreased the need by 14 parking spaces for every shared car. Similarly, city hall car fleet use dropped by 30%. Would you support car sharing in Santa Fe?
I would, but it may be that Santa Fe will need to reach a certain size/congestion/gas price threshold before gov’t employees or downtown workers would see the value of local car pooling or transit options from remote lots. While our existing City and State parking structures are still used well below their capacity, there is the competing need to efficiently use these structures.
12. Tell us about your vision for coordination/cooperation between the City Council and County Commission on environmental and resource issues.
The two bodies are needing to continue to collaborate on water and land management strategies to ensure a sustainable and healthy water supply for their respective residents. Issues of particular concern to this process
pertain to domestic well metering and use conservation measures, improving wastewater treatment production, marketing and distribution systems, and the cost/resource sharing for the Buckman Direct Diversion Project. Providing environmental protections to sustain the water quality and dwindling storage levels in the Esplanola Basin Aquifer is an absolute necessity, given the pressures being placed upon it from outside mining interests and non-conserving users.
13. Please describe your public service record on environmental issues. (Please be as complete as possible, including specific programs, projects and dates.)
My back ground, as a licensed architect, has me thoroughly engaged in the latest developments in energy conserving building technologies and design approaches. I have employed ‘green building,’ passive and active solar measures,
throughout my career. I am currently utilizing the cutting edge “Passive House” energy conservation principles, first developed in Germany, in current architectural project.
As former President and current director on the board of the Canyon Neighborhood Association – CNA, I have been actively involved in the preservation of the delicate balance between the natural landscape and the developing neighborhoods. I serve on the CNA’s Architectural Review Committee (CNAARC)that oversees construction on ridgetop lots in the High Summit development. The CNAARC was created 4 years ago as a condition of the High Summit development permit from the City. We have ensured that there is no visible development on the natural ridgetop to the south.
I currently serve on the Board of the Canyon Preservation Association (CPA), a non-profit charged with the preservation of natural conditions along the Santa Fe River Canyon area. The CPA is actively fundraising ($6000.00) to support the City’s Fire Risk/Mitigation Property Assessment Program for properties bordering the upper reaches of the Santa Fe River.
In 2012, I served as ‘Neighborhood Captain’ for the Santa Fe Fire Dept’s Combustible Deadfall Removal Program, for the Upper Canon Road and Apodaca Hill neighborhoods.
I have also served for two years (2010-2012) as a member of the City’s Historic Districts Review Board, where I was charged with the enforcement of the City’s Historic Ordinance. The Ordinance, first created in 1957, has endeavored both to preserve the City’s existing historic buildings and to ensure that new buildings respect the City’s historic character and needs of its citizens.
I am currently co-chair of the Atalaya School Community Task Force. We have been successful, in collaboration with the Santa Fe Public School (SFPS) administration (Superintendent, School Board, Citizen’s Review Committee), contractors and architects, in guiding a school project to become much more in harmony with the surrounding natural landscape and historic neighborhood. We have pushed for and are working together on State Special Capital Outlay Funding proposals for both roof water collection tanks and photo voltaic systems at the school. Together with the newly drafted Early Neighborhood Notification procedures, these proposals reflect a new more community-based and environmentally sustainable approach by the SFPS in the construction and operation of its schools.
I appreciate having this opportunity to present my point of view on topics of concern to the Sierra Club.
Candidate for City Council District 2