1. What is the most important issue affecting your district in particular? How would you fix it?
The most important issue facing District 5 is the future of the Newark Country Club. The club is tottering on the edge of bankruptcy, and has tax liens by the city and school district of over $600,000. Now is the time to work with the Brandywine Conservancy and the state and county to establish a land conservancy out of the Newark Club.
2. The effects of the pandemic have left the city’s financial stability in question. How can the city take steps to shore up its finances? If necessary, how would you approach a decision between cutting services or raising taxes?
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, there are a few ways the city can shore up its finances:
a. Work closely with county and state governments to assure that Newark receives a fair allocation of federal funds
b. Stop unnecessary outside contracting, for example the $100,000 contract for a PR firm to promote the new parking meters
c. The mayor/staff should be responsible for legislative issues, eliminating the expense of a full-time lobbyist
d. Reach out to the corporations in Newark to sponsor the costs of operating and maintaining recreational centers
e. Reach out to Widener School of Law, and our legal community and the Attorney General to perform the functions of city solicitor
f. Suspend all capital projects
g. Mandate a temporary 10% pay cut for all senior city staff, and suspend cost of living increases
h. Explore new funding sources for the proposed $5 million police firing range
i. The city can avoid cutting services or raising taxes if the city aggressively and creatively pursues sources of supplemental funding through grants, corporate sponsors, foundation and federal funds
3. How should the city approach development in a way that balances the growing population of students with the needs of residents?
Newark’s population is projected to grow by 3,000 by the year 2030. During these years, the city must diversify the population by assisting moderate-income residents to offset the aging population.
4. What specific steps should council take to improve the city’s relationship with UD?
The council and the university need to engage in a comprehensive, collaborative, and formal planning process to jointly plan for future parking lots and future housing programs in the center of the city. The mayor, council, and city manager must schedule formal meetings with UD’s president, provost, and development offices to enhance communication and air grievances. The university must explore with the city how to encourage young faculty and staff to live in Newark. Both the city and UD leadership should explore public/private partnerships for development of housing and recruitment of new industry to Newark.
5. What qualities or skills set you apart from the other candidate?
My degrees include a BA in Government from the University of Illinois, Urbana, and a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) from The American University. I have worked as a university administrator and taught numerous courses in political science and government at three universities. I have worked at all levels of government from the Newark School District to the White House. I have served on the City of Newark revenue sharing committee and represented the Newark School District at meetings of the Newark Area Parish Council.
6. Name one specific piece of legislation you would like to see council pass within the first three months of your term.
To address the existential crisis of the Newark Country Club, I will reintroduce my proposed ordinance creating a landscape preservation trust at my first council meeting. Given the impending crisis I will amend my proposal to seek assistance and funding from the Delaware Land Conservancy (DNCR), the Brandywine Nature Conservancy, and other organizations.