Mose Dunkel

Mayor of Sandpoint

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TOP ISSUES AND HOW I WOULD ADDRESS THEM AS MAYOR

QUESTIONS
 ANSWERS
Biggest challenge for the community? 
We are in rut between growth and contraction.
I believe the tourist dollars are important to our economy but more important is local good paying jobs that people can be trained for here. There are many growing aerospace businesses here that will need trained help in the future. Sandpoint has an opportunity to facilitate this training and needs to look for more ways to build on this idea.
What are your ideas for bringing new business and jobs into town? How about supporting those that already exist, particularly in the downtown sector?
Sandpoint needs facilities that can train skilled people to do these jobs. Local people are best suited to take these jobs since they already have a connection here. Its the most positive way to build a local economy by supporting local companies with local people. Outside businesses will appreciate the strong support and new business ideas will be created in that environment. As far as downtown I think its time to reevaluate the BID and see if local business still want it. I'd like to let businesses have more say in what works for them after all it is their downtown. 
Young people in Sandpoint are often forced to move out of town to make anything of themselves, even though many would prefer to stay. Do you have any ideas to provide them with more opportunity? Why do they leave?
They leave mostly for school and jobs. I think they also know how expensive it is to live here. Just south of us there are legitimate college campuses along with more available jobs. To top it off rent and home ownership are much more affordable outside of Sandpoint. Its not a secret why, there is substantial growth there and very limited growth here. A community college campus here would be a great start with a focus on local industry so that our youth could be trained for job openings in existing companies. 
City Administrator Position - good idea or not?  Should public be involved in hiring process?
Not a good idea but it appears to be a done deal. Unfortunately, everything but naming the person to be hired is done. My stance is this - the City is charged with providing services to the public and to me that means anyone working for the City needs to work hard and be accountable to the public. As Mayor, I will work hard to create a strong relationship with whomever is hired and be clear about expectations of high performance in this highly visible position. I want this professional to help lower utility rates and fix our looming water/sewer issues. I want them to help find ways to support the youth and low income families of Sandpoint.
 City Hall Lack of Transparency
People feel they do not matter when decisions are being made without their voices heard and when their concerns are shot down.  City Hall needs to rebuild trust and this can be done through transparency. The divide between residents and city government needs to be removed. I am committed to making this transparency happen!
 Community Youth programs/support
The youth of our community need more support from us. There needs to be a collaborative effort to create a safe and open youth center to help kids stay accountable and grow into healthy and productive adults.  More resources and facilities are needed by the local groups and churches already working to help address this need.
Downtown parking issues - Does 2 hour parking hinder tourism?
Yes, it does to some extent.  However it does keep people from parking all day, taking up a spot.  Parking enforcement should be handled by local law enforcement, with a light hand.  Not outsourced to outside firm.
Downtown parking issues - Solution for employees
Downtown employees and business owners should be allowed to park in the City lot. Perhaps money from the BID could pay for the maintenance of the facility.
Sales Tax increase for Memorial Field
I hope it passes! I am voting for it myself, this project is something i've supported for a long time. The sales tax is a fair way to spread the burden out and the Sandpoint economy brings enough outside dollars from tourism that hopefully it doesn't hurt low income families. The only better plan would be to make it a county wide tax. 
 Utility Rates
This issue is not getting enough attention at City hall. We must find a way to hold off any more increases in utility fees! There needs to be relief and I will do everything in my power to lower rates.
Downtown streets – turn the main ones into two-way traffic or keep as is?
If creating two-way traffic is done in a way that DOES NOT hurt local businesses and can also help alleviate our parking problems then YES.  We need an improvement here.
 Environmental Issues - Herbicide use in the Lake and Coal Trains coming through town
I do not support anything that will knowingly cause certain harm. Since both herbicide use in our lake and the coal trains coming through are serious and complex issues, I believe the City Council should let professionals in their respective areas handle each.
 Railroad Quiet Zones
I lived by the railroad for 5 years and it was tough getting used to the noise.  I knew it would be an issue when I purchased the property and built my house.  There seems to be less train traffic than when I was a young kid growing up here so quiet zones work for me.
Why do some residents feel they are disenfranchised from City Hall?  How would you address this as Mayor?
 Why - Because when the city does something unpopular and people feel powerless to affect a change. Voter turnout of 24% in the past is proof.  How - I would work hard to involve people who describe themselves as out of the loop, I would ask people to become involved who have different opinions than myself, I want diversity in thought and motives, I want a broad range of ideas to be heard. Sandpoint needs to be welcoming to anyone with a good idea regardless of which political spectrum they claim. The City needs to have an atmosphere of approachability and inclusiveness.
 Biking or Walking – what approach…
Nothing that has been done in the last ten years makes walking or riding a bike any worse or better. People know how to walk and will or won't regardless of the city painting crosswalks or bike paths. Leave people alone.
 Law Enforcement
I love our local law enforcement. Corey Coon is a longtime friend growing up here and I can't think of a better person to do the job. There has been a steady improvement in public perception and trust in the last few years which I am excited to see.
 Pedestrian safety
I'm happy with the direction we've gone the last couple years. Crossing 5th Avenue is still precarious, but not like it used to be.
 SPOT Bus System 
I like that we have a public transportation system. I believe in enabling it to keep going as much as possible along with very strong encouragement for it to be self supporting. We can't continue to totally support it monetarily. I would propose that people under 18 remain riding for free and possibly start charging adults for a monthly or yearly pass.
We've seen a lot of concern over coal and oil trains and their impact on the town, especially when it comes to the danger of a potential derailment. What role do you see Sandpoint playing in supporting or opposing the potential expansions of these shipments?
I wouldn't say we've seen a lot of concern over this but we have seen some concern regarding it. I feel like the agenda is a lot more than safety, which I support in every aspect of life. I think the best approach is to work with the railroads to do as much as we can to facilitate their operations to be safe and efficient.   I wouldn't say we've seen a lot of concern over this but we have seen some concern regarding it. I feel like the agenda is a lot more than safety, which I support in every aspect of life. I think the best approach is to work with the railroads to do as much as we can to facilitate their operations to be safe and efficient.  
For the past several years, the Sandpoint Comprehensive Plan has been an important guiding document for public officials. What's your opinion of it?
Planning is a good idea as long as you make it realistic. It should also be flexible so that obvious mistakes are not made. Parts of the plan are great and parts are not, I plan to learn more about it and work towards things that benefit Sandpoint as a whole. 
Next year will see the implementation of the new downtown streets configuration, which will transform transportation in town. What's your stance on the new plan? 
It's been a long time coming and I still remember the old traffic pattern from when I was young. My stance is I want to make sure the diagonal parking is done correctly so that traffic has room to travel safely through town.  Its been a long time coming and I still remember the old traffic pattern from when I was young. 
While you and your opponent are very different candidates, we understand one unexpected area of common ground is the legalization of cannabis. Could you talk about this in more detail?  While you and your opponent are very different candidates, we understand one unexpected area of common ground is the legalization of cannabis. Could you talk about this in more detail?
I'm in favor of natural ways to help people heal and I'm also ok with people being responsible with personal use. I'll be honest I know very little about this but when liberty is given to people with restrictions its kind of not liberty anymore. The fact is the state of Idaho will probably be one of the last to legalize any use and the federal government still enforces its laws regarding it, so about the only thing Sandpoint could do is make it a least priority enforcement inside the city limits which I'm open to talking about. Bonner county I believe will still continue to treat it as a priority which will make it a possible issue. As mayor I'm open for good ideas and collaborative planning.
Apathy appears to be a problem when it comes to getting residents invested in local government. Do you have any ideas to engage the public and encourage them to be a part of the process?
This is the result of the divide I talked about earlier and it is not new here. People absolutely feel like their voices are not heard! I don't believe its apathy I think its powerlessness. If you have a good plan then people will show up to support it. I think having committee meetings in different locations would be a good idea to help bring attention to people who don't know what going on. Also wouldn't it be awesome to have some city council meetings at the city beach during the summer? How about a city sponsored community dinner right on the downtown streets? Town hall meetings frequently where people have a real opportunity to engage with the mayor and council. A true open application period for any resident to apply when city council seats become vacant. Once again i'm open to creative ways to stimulate local involvement! Apathy is not an option.