Ward 2 candidate
What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected?
We need to work as a whole, because it’s not just you. We have to convey and convince others what is important.
My priority is the opiate crisis – it’s big because we’ve been dealing with it for years. Over 5 million people have died since the 90s. Then we had COVID and, I don’t want to say we weren’t dealing with it, but it got worse.
You can’t deal with crime if you’re not dealing with the root. 40% of overdoses have been from fentanyl. If you don’t have a place to stay and you’re dealing with addiction, you need someone who will help you.
You can’t have city hall and these meetings if everyone is not invited to the table. I’m not afraid to talk to the people they’re talking about, they look like me.
St. Paul has a ballot measure this year to increase sales tax in the city by 1%, with the funding going directly to improving roads and parks in the city. What is your stance on this measure to increase sales tax? What are your thoughts on the City’s current plan for how the increased funding would be spent if passed?
How do you feel about 3% on rent control? It isn’t even capped. Some increases are 18%. We need to make sure the 1% increase stays there and is transparent.
I’m completely for it if you’re going to fix these potholes. Not only that, but I think people should be able to send in pictures and to get reimbursed from the city if their car is damaged by a pothole. We need serious snow removal. Especially last year when we had restrictions and it wasn’t enforced or enforced well. Giving people tickets when it’s bad weather, stop, it’s ridiculous.
The West End of St. Paul, and especially West 7th, have long been considered prime redevelopment areas in the city, especially with the long planned Riverview Transit Corridor. What are your priorities related to housing and redevelopment? What is your current stance on West 7th as a major transit corridor? How do you balance those priorities with supporting small businesses in the area?
Sometimes stuff like that takes away from businesses and sometimes it can be a great thing. I’m not for something that will take away from businesses. I am for redevelopment, but not that will hinder the community. Look at Town Square downtown, it was a place we could play as a kid and it isn’t there any more.
West 7th has crazy traffic, so anything that creates more traffic and keeps people away won’t work.
St. Paul needs a heartbeat again. We have a health crisis and an opiate crisis and we can’t do anything until we address those things. We need to make sure people feel safe.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has reported that St. Paul is experiencing vast reductions in violent and property crimes this year, putting crime rates on pace to be below 2019 levels. At the same time, St. Paul is seeing historic highs in unhoused populations in the city and annual increases in emergency response calls, including a 5% increase in 2022 alone, taxing already overburdened systems. What is your approach to addressing public safety in the city to address these and many other issues?
We take people for granted. If there are dogs out there, we’d be trying to feed them, but we aren’t doing the same for people.
I believe you can’t call the police for mental health crises. That’s not what they’re equipped for. If you can call healthcare professionals, people can get the help they need. The detox has been closed since June 2013. People are supposed to go to Hazelden, but don’t know where it is. The people who are supposed to get the information aren’t getting the information they need. We need to create more organizations and get the information out to the people. We have a lack of information and lack of resources.
We don’t want to be in a situation like Minneapolis, who don’t have enough personnel. The St. Paul fire department doesn’t have a contract. If they go on strike we’ll have a problem. If they don’t get enough pay, get them what they need. I have plenty of art to auction off to help our St. Paul EMTs and fire department. There are other ways to help get the budget we need – galas, etc. There are other creative ways to fix this other than pointing fingers and getting mad if we can holistically approach it.
We got kids who are actually marketing gurus, entertainers, online influencers; we can find something for them to do. Teach them where they feel they’re valued and loved. Have all these different things out here, or they are going to continue the cycle.
People talk about drugs, let’s talk about marajuana. Kids are out there doing illegal drugs. People aren’t dying from smoke. If you want people to stop dying from smoke, stop driving cars. Ask me what it’s like walking past someone smoking meth or fentanyl. It hurts my heart.