Tomorrow The Independent Weekly will release their coveted candidate endorsements, so I thought we should go ahead and post Mark’s responses to their questionnaire better late than never. He actually submitted this two weeks ago, and I had planned to post it here much sooner.
As you can see the questions are challenging, and Mark’s answers are thorough. The Indy also bases their endorsements on interviews with community leaders and journalists. I hope they will agree with me that Mark will bring some sorely needed progressive leadership to the Board of Orange County Commissioners.
1. What are the three most important issues facing Orange County? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?
- Fulfilling our obligations to the Rogers Road community: Whatever decisions are ultimately made about solid waste disposal, the discussion must begin from the position that 1) there will be no further solid waste impacts on the Rogers Road community, and 2) we will finally provide the community with the long overdue compensations it is owed for the decades of bearing the substantial burdens of the county’s solid waste operations, including complete water and sewer connections to homes and comprehensive cleanup of illegal dumpsites. We also must quickly re-start the process, in collaboration with the towns, to develop a local waste disposal plan.
- Maintaining and enhancing our socio-economic, racial and ethnic diversity: aggressively recruit and nurture economic development that meets social justice and environmental values as well as enhances non-residential tax base; increase support and incentives that promote housing affordability and diversity and preserves existing and vulnerable communities; increase outreach to, participation by and government responsiveness to needs of underserved demographics, including low-wealth neighborhoods, communities of color, students, and rural areas.
- Developing a coordinated strategy and providing active leadership on critical emerging issues: the commissioners must adopt policies that highlight the interconnected nature of key issues and recognize that decisions regarding one directly implicate others. The three biggest issues facing the county–transit, economic development, and solid waste– require smart, intentional strategies that will work synergistically to ensure that all communities benefit from the decisions that shape the county’s future. That will require better coordination and leadership both within the county government itself, as well as with other governments in and around the county.