"Des Moines is a great city, and I want to work with you to make it even greater. We need to invest in our established neighborhoods, engage our city's youth, and make fixing our aging infrastructure top priorities."
LIST OF ISSUES
When it comes to infrastructure, Des Moines faces many challenges that come along with an aging city. Our streets and sidewalks have suffered from years of neglect, and our sewer and storm water systems are no longer able to keep up. We need to ensure that our investments in updating deteriorating infrastructure align with community goals and establish a "Fix it First" approach. That means focusing your tax dollars on making improvements in established neighborhoods in need of critical maintenance. More than just fixing potholes, I want to focus on preventing potholes from developing in the first place by rebuilding our streets properly.
It's no secret that Des Moines has one of the highest property tax rates in Iowa. With the new funding provided by the Local Option Sales Tax, it is imperative that our elected officials be held accountable. It is my belief that the Citizens of Des Moines should have a more direct voice in how the revenue generated by the new sales tax will be spent. This should be done through the introduction of a participatory budgeting system that allows citizens to generate ideas for their neighborhoods and then vote on them to receive funding. Several other cities around the country have introduced this type of budgeting system and I believe it would benefit our neighborhoods as well.
Providing the children of our community with a great education is paramount to the future success of Des Moines. City Council needs to find new ways to work more closely with the Des Moines Public School District and the elected school board to ensure that all of our children have access to a quality education.
Beyond the walls of the classroom, the City Council should be encouraging young citizens of our city to be involved in their community through the establishment of a Youth City Council. The Des Moines Youth City Council will serve as an advisory committee to the City Council on a wide variety of issues that impact youth in our city. This will help cultivate future generations of leadership and finally give the 60,000 kids under the age of 18 living in Des Moines a true seat at the table.
Extreme weather events over the past few years have brought to light a new sense of urgency to address the environmental challenges of today's world. We must work together to address the issues of poor water quality plaguing our rivers and streams, while also finding new and innovative ways to reduce stormwater runoff and mitigate dangerous and devastating flash flooding.
View my Stormwater Relief Plan here.
In addition to stormwater, our city should be committed to transitioning to 100% renewable energy and develop a Climate Action Plan to move us in a more sustainable direction.
Ensure that future development aligns with PlanDSM
- Encourage higher density and mixed use development along major transit corridors
- Stop incentivizing costly development on the fringes of the city where services must be extended
- Stop competing with the suburbs, that is a losing game until we offer something different
Argonne Public Market
- Water trails
- Merle Hay Mall redevelopment/gateway
- Corridor investments
Cities all over the country are now taking a more multi-modal approach to transportation, placing less focus on moving cars and more focus on people biking, walking, and taking transit. Des Moines has made some progress in recent years, but we are quickly falling behind. We need to invest in enhancing opportunities for biking and walking throughout our city. This includes additional funding for trails, bike lanes, sidewalks, and mass transit.
Today, our city's transportation system is designed, built, and managed by a number of different city departments and external contractors. This has led to streets that are in major disrepair, poor sidewalk conditions, an undersized bike network, and transit stops lacking proper investment.
I support a reorganization of current city departments that would lead to the creation of a city Department of Transportation to bring all transportation-related responsibilities under one roof.
In order to attract and retain the best public safety personnel, our city must provide quality facilities. Nearly all of our existing fire stations are over 40 years old, and three are over 55 years old. We have not invested adequate money in updating these facilities over time, and many of the stations are in dire need of major upgrades or total replacement. Earlier this year, Station 3 on our city's east side was out of commission for months as construction crews made emergency repairs to fix electrical problems, water damage, and stairwells. This not only put lives at risk, but it was a completely avoidable situation that no city should ever put its residents and first responders in.
The way our city responds to emergencies and delivers public safety must also evolve to meet the needs of today's world. Our fire department's primary job is now responding to medical emergencies. These situations do not require the use of fire-fighting equipment, and we should no longer be sending full size fire trucks in response. Our EMS personnel should be equipped with SUVs for daily use in an effort to reduce wear and tear on larger and much more expensive equipment, making EMS delivery more efficient and cost-effective.
Our police department does a tremendous job keeping our neighborhoods safe. The Neighborhood Based Service Delivery (NBSD) Unit in particular does a fantastic job working with our neighborhood associations, and I would like to see that type of law enforcement work expand. I also recognize that there are communities in our city that do not feel
Parks & Recreation
Des Moines benefits from our extensive recreational trail network and a large number of well-maintained city parks. LiveDSM should guide our future investment for upgrading city parks.
We should also be pursuing the activation of the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers by implementing the regional water trails plan. Funding should be identified for the future removal of existing low head dams and construction of river access points throughout the entire city.
Several of our community pools and aquatic centers have begun to show signs of severe aging. Rebuilding the oldest facilities while renovating and updating others would provide residents with improved neighborhood recreational opportunities during the summer months.
As more families continue to move to our downtown core, the need for a playground space has become apparent and work should begin to make that a reality in the near future.
- Construct tiny home village in partnership with Joppa
- Permit SRO housing
- Permit ADUs citywide