City Council Candidates Question of The Week

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Question 6:

How do you plan on implementing renewable energy such as solar panels within the city of Tempe and how do you plan on funding these projects?

As a follow up, I am aware that ASU has previously partnered with a Chinese company by the name of Suntech that brought one of their plants to the Phoenix area.  Do you believe that it makes sense to take advantage of an already established partnership?

-Kim Bauer
(ASU Undergraduate Business Sustainability Student)

 



David Schapira

TempeDavidSchapira

New city solar projects would be a wise investment in the financial and environmental sustainability of Tempe. Although there is an initial investment in solar infrastructure and maintenance costs along the way, solar energy production will provide a long-term cost savings to the city. Therefore, a city bond for solar would make financial sense. I think we should certainly leverage existing partnerships between other governmental entities, especially ASU, and the solar industry to ensure that our taxpayers are getting the best deal. On the council, I’ll be proactively pro-solar. If you believe, like I do, that solar is a wise investment in our city’s future, I hope that I can earn your vote.



Robin Arredondo-Savage

robin arredondo savage

Question 1:

I am very supportive of our efforts to research and implement renewable energy opportunities in the City of Tempe. I am committed to our recently approved 20% minimum renewable energy goal and hope to see that increase over the years. We have already installed a solar system at the South Tempe Water Treatment Plant and have plans for three more solar projects in the near future. Also our efforts in recycling, composting, grease cooperative, and transitioning to N.G. efficient vehicles will contribute to our commitment to sustainability. However, it is important that also we utilize rebates, incentives and allocated resources to obtain this goal without passing on additional cost to our residents. It is also important that we expand our ASU, School District Partnerships and seek possible public/private partnerships to help plan and fund these projects.

Question 2:

I believe in partnership opportunities. I would like to know more about the company with whom ASU has partnered. I would certainly support exploring new partnership opportunities that will help us expand our renewable energy efforts.



Lauren Kuby

Lauren-Kuby

The Council is tentatively moving towards solar and renewable energy, and I fully support recent advances, including the implementation of a goal for renewable energy powering city-government operations. I hope to see this goal strengthened in the coming months, as Council and staff gather more data on the potential for solar on City facilities. The City should also look beyond government operations and streamline solar-permitting processes for resident and businesses.  Additionally, there are a number of steps the City could pursue to make solar more accessible to residents and businesses.

 

1558422_262154707312504_7531021675142304215_n (1)It’s hard to find an opportunity equal to what solar energy represents for Tempe. Every commercial-scale solar project installed in our city yields millions in energy savings for Tempe taxpayers, meaning anything short of a strong commitment to this energy source would be a fiscally questionable. Solar equals not only a more efficient city, but a city with more economic activity, as formerly unused rooftops and parking lots become safe local power plants.

I also believe that elected officials at all levels have a moral obligation to be stewards of our nation’s resources and our shared environment. By seizing upon clean local energy, Tempe can do its part to address air pollution, conserve water, and fight climate change, while creating local jobs.

Through power purchase agreements (PPAs) and other innovative financing arrangements, our City can take advantage of this abundant resource at low-to-zero upfront cost. This financing arrangement is common in cities around the country and is a large reason why ASU was able to install 23 megawatts of solar in just a few years. ASU has the largest solar installation of all US campuses and leads the world in solar technology and innovation.

As an administrator at ASU, a University with the world’s top solar engineers and policy experts, I intend to take advantage of Tempe’s unique strengths and, working with my fellow council members. make our city a worldwide leader in clean-energy technology.

As for the follow-up question, Sun Tech shuttered their Goodyear manufacturing facility last year, but yes, it surely would benefit the City to consider leveraging ASU’s established partnerships with solar companies. The benefits of sharing ASU’s best practices, as well as those of other cities, are clear.

 



Dick Foreman

dick foreman

Energy policy is one thing my career has really given me great insight in to. For example, when I was a legislative staffer in the Arizona House of Representatives, my position as natural resources and energy analyst led to my assignment to draft among the first solar incentives in Arizona’s tax code. They exist to this day in multiple amended forms but the intent is the same. How do we best take advantage of the sun in Arizona? I was even recognized by our emerging solar industry at the time for these efforts. Anyone remember our first Chairman of the Arizona Solar Energy Commission, Mr. James Warnock?

In Tempe, we have multiple strategies that I would continue to support to reduce costs and to provide long term citizen benefit in terms of both energy and tax savings. Partnerships with local utility providers, private ventures and ASU are all vital pieces of this success. We need to continue to pursue these partnerships.

We are also fortunate to have cutting edge research in this area at ASU. We are blessed with this natural resource, the creative talent in the middle of our city, and an enlightened city staff that is committed to renewable and sustainable action on in to the future.

Technology is changing fast as costs for renewables keep coming down, so continued emphasis on being more efficient, economical and environmentally friendly is a must for Tempe. We can and should continue to be an Arizona municipal leader in our uses, commitment and development in these areas.

How do we pay for this? Obviously, all energy use comes with a price. Our efforts must continue to look at longer term benefits, not just short term paybacks, to continue to fund such uses. Cost benefits for energy use do indeed create the trigger points for continued commitments within our city budget to continue our pursuit of current targets and to expand in to even more renewable and energy efficient opportunities with tremendous taxpayer and citizen benefits apparent.



Shana Ellis

Shana Ellis

I am proud to serve on the City Council’s Sustainability Working group which worked hard to create the City’s first ever renewable energy goal of 20 percent.  In order to achieve this goal for renewable energy by 2025, we must convert non-renewable energy used on City property to solar.  We are already implementing this goal and this spring, we brought a new solar system on line at one of our water treatment plants.  We will soon start installing solar at our Police and Courts building and we have planned for at least two other facilities in the immediate future, including the Tempe Public Library.  These substantial changes in our energy policy will have a positive effect on our environment in addition to saving Tempe taxpayers an estimated $2.3 million in energy costs.  We have budgeted for our facilities to be retrofitted with solar moving forward, as we will realize our energy budget will be reduced.

 

For our solar initiative, we have partnered with Optony, supported by the US Department of Energy, which will provide us with resources to achieve our goals.  ASU has a robust solar program and our staff works with ASU staff to continue to explore partnerships.  Please visithttp://tempe.gov/city-hall/public-works/sustainable-tempe to see Tempe’s Sustainability Program at a glance and http://www.solarroadmap.com/ to learn about how the U.S. Department of Energy partners with communities.

 



Matthew Papke

matt papke

I work to be as personally sustainable as possible. I walk, ride bikes and drive a car that gets almost 30 MPG. I started recycling programs at my company and at the property where I live. We’ve been gardening and raising chickens to become more sustainable as well. Self sufficiency and sustainability go hand in hand. As Councilman Papke I would be open to initiating and funding pilot programs to identity sources of energy that would be both economically viable and renewable. However governments should not be in the business of picking winners and losers.

Working with existing partners is ideal, as long as they are good partners. There is no sense in putting time an energy into a bad partnership.

True leaders lead by example. They set trends that make sense. Individuals who discern these trends are correct will follow suit. I lead by example, and would never attempt to foist my beliefs upon another. The voters of Tempe are plenty capable of making their own decisions.

 



 

Editors Note: Candidate Emesto Fonesca  did not send a response prior to publication. Remember to vote for your favorite candidates in our straw poll.

http://tempethoughts.com/vote-2014/

 

City Council Candidates Question of The Week

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QUESTION 4:

 In view of this, will you take a pro-active stance and push for a requirement that city of Tempe police officers be equipped with such cameras?

Do you have a question for the Candidates for Tempe City Council?  If so please send it to editor@tempethoughts.com

 



David Shapira

TempeDavidSchapira

The city should catch up with surrounding municipalities by moving forward with plans to provide officers with wearable cameras. I agree with Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff that equipping officers with this technology is a step in the right direction. There are multiple benefits. They record interactions that police officers have for the purpose of better documenting what has actually occurred. Memories of an encounter can vary, but it certainly helps to be able to “go to the tape.” Also, the knowledge that these interactions are recorded also likely helps to mitigate negative behaviors from all involved. On the council, I’ll support the use of this technology in order to help the police department to better serve our community.



Matt Papke

matt papke

In my discussions with Tempe Police Chief Ralph Tranter (ret) this came up. It is something I have given a good amount of thought to and done some research into. While there are concerns about privacy for the citizens at large I am confident that there is a system we can employ to create a benefit to all involved. The benefits are clear: the officers are protected from spurious allegations, the city is protected from frivolous lawsuits, and most importantly the citizens are protected from abuses of authority. Abuses of authority by peace officers can and should be swiftly investigated by the city in line with an independent citizen run review board. With this technology in play the reviews should be more accurate and timely.

 There are a few stipulations that I would recommend:

1) The data is disallowed to be used for identifying additional criminal activity after the fact. Only activities identified by the officers at the scene should be capable of having charges filed against the accused.

2) The data is sent in real-time to a central server with a appropriate back up system in place.

3) Data is accessible by the civilian review board at any time without redaction or truncation.

4) Peace officers’ cameras immediately and remotely turn on when a call or stop is initiated.

5) All data is explicitly property of the City of Tempe and is not accessible by other institutions without a court order. When such court order is issued the City must immediately inform the public of the order and the institution that is demanding the data.

I have spent time considering this initiative and I see it as beneficial for the citizens. I would like to explore the costs associated as well as seek grants from private entities or the public to fund this as other municipalities have.  My mission is to defend the life liberty and property of the residents of Tempe objective transparency is good way to accomplish this.



Dick Foreman

dick foreman

Interesting question. I don’t have data on costs for such equipment and that would obviously be a factor, but an accurate record of public safety efforts in the field might indeed be a helpful tool. However, we need to be concerned that a full and accurate record is more than what a camera lens can do alone and for due process, we need to keep in mind all of the information that can be gathered and use it all in context to be fair to both citizens and public safety officers  (such as testimony, eye witnesses, potentially other camera angles from other sources, just to name a few



  Shana Ellis

shana ellis

Yes.  Not only do I support the concept, I fought to make sure the City put police body cameras into the budget.  During recent public budget discussions, I noticed the wearable cameras were on the “unfunded” list for 2014-15.  After seeing the data about the reduction in complaints from other jurisdictions, I asked my colleagues to consider funding this in the new budget (2014-15).  The data included the statistic mentioned: ASU’s study showing complaints were down 50% since Mesa implemented this technology.   Tempe is now developing an RFP and our police department is writing procedures so that we can put this new technology on the street.  I’m proud that I raised the question and that this will be accomplished by year’s end.



Lauren Kuby

Lauren-Kuby

Tempe PD has been testing the wearable cameras, which record real-time video and audio footage of police interaction with the public. By the end of this coming calendar year, the cameras will be standard equipment in a Tempe police officer’s toolkit. The cost, ~$500 per unit, is affordable, and the anticipated benefits are many. I fully support the use of this state-of-the-art technology.
The Mesa Police Department, in collaboration with ASU’s School of Criminology, conducted a study to determine whether the cameras altered officer behavior and increased safety for citizens. They concluded that the cameras led to more accurate reporting, reduced citizen complaints and more-cautious police behavior. The real-world study is yet another example of the benefits of collaboration between ASU and metro-area cities.



Robin Arredondo-Savage

robin arredondo savage

Yes, I support this technology. A couple of months ago, the City Council approved a request from the Tempe Police Department to purchase body cameras for all of the reasons cited in the study. Cameras are currently being purchased, policies are being written and the necessary training will be effectively implemented to ensure the correct and best use for this new technology.

 



Editors Note: Candidate Emesto Fonesca  did not send a response prior to publication. Remember to vote for your favorite candidates in our straw poll.

http://tempethoughts.com/vote-2014/

Final Call to Nominate a Tempe Humanitarian

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2012DCHeaderDo you know an individual or couple who has given outstanding service to our community, has benefitted the less fortunate in lasting ways and has made Tempe a better place to live?  Tempe Community Council invites you to nominate a Tempe humanitarian by completing the online nomination form. All nominations must be received by June 29. The awardee will be announced in August.  Mark your calendars to attend the 31st Annual Don Carlos Humanitarian Awards Ceremony & Dinner being held on October 15.  For more information visit: www.tempecommunitycouncil.org/don-carlos or call 480.858.2300.

City Council Candidates Question of The Week

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Question submitted by Ron Pies,

In 2008, the citizens overwhelmingly voted approval of general obligation bonds. Among those approved were bonds for park improvements. These were much needed projects as described  below:

BOND QUESTION NO. 2 | PURPOSE: PARK IMPROVEMENTS/ COMMUNITY SERVICES

AMOUNT: $10,500,000

Shall the Mayor and Council of the City of Tempe, Arizona, be authorized to issue and sell general obligation bonds of the City in the principal amount of $10,500,000 to provide funds: to acquire, construct and improve park and recreation (including park lakes) infrastructure, equipment and facilities; to improve recreation and sports facility lighting; to improve athletic field  lighting; and to improve park and street landscaping? Since that time we have had an economic down turn. But the projects promised to our citizens are no where to be found in coming capital improvements. When the bond election was passed in 2008, we had such high hopes to make major upgrades and improvements with the renovation of our park system. We were able to build one new park, renovate another park and make some major improvements in Kiwanis Park in the next two years. However, we had just completed the construction plans  for the renovation of four parks and had the master plans completed on four other parks and Clark Pool when the entire project was put on essentially permanent hold in 2010 due to the economic down turn.We were just getting started, and were so close to making a major difference for the residents and the condition of our parks.

As a council member what will you do to fulfill the promises made to our citizens?

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Robin Arredondo-Savage

Robin Arredondo-Savage

I believe our parks are essential to our residents, our neighborhoods and the culture of our Tempe community.  I have supported and will continue to advocate for additional funding for maintenance, renovations and upgrades to our parks.  Due to the economic downturn it was not financially responsible, nor was there capacity in the budget, to issue bonds for the major renovations that were anticipated.  As our economy improves we must do our best with our current funding capacity to maintain our park assets.  The council will be approving a CIP budget that calls for a $17 million investment over the next 5 years for our city parks.  Also, new development in Tempe will generate additional revenue.  It is important that we put a portion of these tax dollars back into our neighborhoods and parks and improve the quality of life across our entire Tempe community.

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Shana Ellis

Shana Ellis

In 2008, our economy was robust and Tempe’s budget looked different than it does today.  Although permission was authorized by Tempe voters for $241.3 million in bonds (including $10 million for our park system), once the Great Recession began, we realized passing on additional debt to residents at this time was unwise.  If we had spent the over $200 million authorized in 2008, we would not have been able to repay that debt without drastically raising taxes.  Our bond rating, which is among the best in the country, would have been in jeopardy, causing our city to pay higher interest rates.  We heard from numerous residents who were on the edge financially, and requested the City not pass its debt on to them.    In 2012, voters approved a much more realistic $29.8 million bond package.  Parks are being renovated and improved, although not as quickly as we anticipated in 2008.  The City of Tempe 2014-15 Capital Improvement Budget includes $3.6 million for renovation and replacement of park playgrounds and aging park infrastructure.

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Dick Foreman

Dick Foreman

Bond Question No. 2 was very popular for good reason.  Parks are an incredibly important lifestyle option that many Tempe families benefit from.  The recession obviously played havoc with our property values and resulting debt capacity and taxpayer impact.  It would be nice to blame someone, anyone, for not having perfect vision but the economic catastrophe that plagued our entire nation did not leave Tempe unscathed.

Going forward, we are seeing a small recovery in valuations and I doubt Tempe citizens have changed their views on parks.  I sure haven’t.  So not only should we be seeing a slow but steady recovery in our economy, we should be seeing a slow and steady recovery in our parks maintenance and investments.

As our capacity to offer these bonds improves, we should eventually be able to finally recover from the “loss” of these essential improvements.  I would go one step farther, though.  I think voters deserve a straightforward communication and a specific action plan to deal with all of our parks issues.

It seems that we sometimes just do not communicate well enough, no matter how good the intention.  I don’t think we have maximized good, old fashioned customer service in Tempe.  I’m old enough to remember when the customer was always right.  It’s a pretty good ethic to this day.  We could use a little more of that in Tempe and I don’t mind taking the lead on that issue one bit.  People use parks.  We have spent millions on some investments that barely reach Tempe’s families.

Bottom line?  It may be convenient and accurate to blame the recession, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Leadership in getting Tempe’s parks back on the front burner would be a pure pleasure for me, if I am lucky enough to be elected to council.

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Lauren Kuby

Lauren Kuby

In 2008, Tempe voters overwhelmingly approved $10.5M in general obligation bonds, which included bonds for park improvements. Before placing the bond issue on the ballot, city staff traversed Tempe neighborhoods, soliciting feedback from residents on the condition of their parks. Valuable input from residents was integrated into construction and master plans, and staff and neighborhoods alike had high hopes for a revitalized park system. Then came the Recession.

I will not second-guess the decision council members made to re-direct much of the funds meant for system-wide improvements to Tempe Town Lake. They were responsible stewards of taxpayer money. The City was facing enormous financial challenges brought on by the recession in general and the 2010 dam burst in particular. It’s unfortunate that the Lake–an item listed as parenthetical expression below–ended up as the main beneficiary of the bond funding, which aimed:

“to acquire, construct and improve park and recreation

(including park lakes) infrastructure…

Facing the twin challenges of recession and the dam emergency, the Council and staff felt they were left with few options.

Although Tempe is now re-investing in park improvements and maintenance, albeit on a smaller scale, residents are voicing their dismay. The issue surfaces repeatedly on my walks, no matter the neighborhood, no matter the neighborhood’s socioeconomic status. Concerned citizens fret that their neighborhood parks will not be maintained or improved and that, as a result, home values will decline.

As a council member, it will be my job to join with fellow council members to empower the city manager and staff to find creative solutions to this funding and planning challenge. To fulfill the promise made to our residents back in 2008, to maintain the trust of the voters, we must make our neighborhood parks one of our high priorities. Tempe Is unique in the Valley, in no small part because of our excellent neighborhood park system. Let’s keep Tempe different.

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Matt Papke

Matt Papke

The shifting of monies from one fund to the next to keep the ship afloat is a symptom of a city living paycheck to paycheck. Had the city had proper reserves and sensible debt obligations the $10MM would have been applied to the parks as promised. The voters of Tempe are sick of the corporate welfare doled out while we suffer degrading services and amenities in our city. Electing me former Marine Matt Papke will ensure that at least one voice on the council will stand up for the people and stand up to special interests.

 

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Editors Note: Candidates Emesto Fonesca and David Schapira did not send a response prior to publication.   Rember to vote for your favorite candidates in our straw poll. http://tempethoughts.com/vote-2014/

Cool July 4th at Tempe Center for the Arts

4th of July Celebration at TCA
4th of July Celebration at TCA

4th of July Celebration at TCA

Friends of TCA are hosting a Fourth of July celebration at the Tempe Center for the Arts from 6 to 10 p.m.
Guests will enjoy a buffet dinner, entertainment, free parking and a magnificent fireworks display over Tempe Town Lake in the air-conditioned comfort of the TCA Lakeside Room.
General admission tickets are $50. VIP tickets, $75, allow access to views from the TCA rooftop Terrace and the 201 Lounge.
Tickets can be purchased through the TCA Box Office by calling 480-350-2822 or online via tca.ticketforce.com Service and convenience fees may apply. Limited number of tickets available.
For sponsorship commitments and inquiries, contact Melody Johnson 818-288-0234 or mm@melodymarie.com
That same evening “Right Wing, Left Wing” will be presented by the Tempe Comedy Concert Series at 7:30 p.m. Using a town hall format, conversative and liberal comics will take on hot button questions from the audience. Tickets range $10 to $25 through the TCA Box Office

HONORING THOSE WHO CARE – Call for 2014 Don Carlos Nominations

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DonCarlosBustDo you know someone who has given selflessly to better the lives of those who live in Tempe? The Don Carlos Humanitarian Award, presented by Tempe Community Council annually to a deserving recipient, honors individuals who have positively impacted our community.

The award is named after Tempe’s founder, Charles Trumbull Hayden – known affectionately by the Spanish pioneers as “Don Carlos” – who spent his life working to help those in need. The Don Carlos Humanitarian Award embodies Hayden’s legacy and spirit, and is considered one of Tempe’s most prestigious distinctions. Winners of this award exemplify true humanitarianism and have made Tempe a better place for everyone.

To nominate a humanitarian, visit www.tempecommunitycouncil.org/don-carlos. Nominations for notable Tempe volunteers are also being accepted for the Spirit of Tempe Karma Award. All nominations are due no later than June 29, 2014. For more information, call 480-858-2300.

Winners will be honored on October 15, 2014.

The illustrious list of Don Carlos Humanitarian recipients includes: Dr. William Payne, Leonard Monti, Sr., Margaret & William Kajikawa, Jinnett B. Kirk, Peggy Bryant, Eliza Carney, Naomi Harward, Mimi & Mac Bohlman, Virginia Tinsley, Betty & John Waters, Pat Hatton, Lawn Griffiths, Rudy Campbell, Bobbie & George Overby, Sue & Bob Lofgren, Carol E. Smith, Sue Searcy, Zita Johnson, Bobbie & Don Cassano, David B. Cutty, Joseph Spracale, Jane & Dick Neuheisel, Gail Fisher & Mel Kessler, Linda Spears, Pen Johnson, Sue Ringler, Catherine May & Dan Abbott, Alice & Ralph Goitia, Harry E. Mitchell, and Kerry Fetherston.

About Tempe Community Council

Tempe Community Council brings our community together – including government, nonprofits, faith groups and residents – to provide support to Tempeans in need, to plan for present and future needs, and to build a lasting foundation for future generations.

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Bend into Action! Adopt-A-Street, Path or Park

Helicopters, storytime and live guitar music at Tempe Public Library this week