Action Annapolis Questionnaire
Fred Paone (R) | Ward 2
Vision and Priorities
1. Please share your campaign vision and priorities. What strengths will you bring to the job, and what past experience has prepared you for the role of Alderman?
My campaign vision and priorities are more than adequately expressed in other parts of my answers to this questionnaire. My strengths are my communication skills with my constituents and colleagues combined with a solid intellect and work ethic. My family, my faith, my education and my life experiences, mostly acquired here in the City of my birth have all prepared me to continue as Alderrman. Perhaps what has prepared me the most is my experience with the City as an active member of the Council for the last nine years.
2. Do you support strengthening the role of the City Manager? Why or why not?
Yes, I do. An experienced and knowledgeable City Manager is in a much better position to run the City without a political bias or political motivation.
3. Annapolis has vibrant economic opportunities. We also have a history of challenges in sustaining businesses in the City. What are your ideas in attracting and keeping businesses in Annapolis?
I would emphasize the City’s charm and the spending power that it brings with it. The sailing community, the millions of tourists and visitors the City attracts, the USNA and an affluent, at least in part, citizenry are all huge pluses.
4. How would you focus specifically on businesses owned by African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities?
I believe in equal economic opportunity for all citizens regardless of race or national origin. Once that is established, I believe in fair competition. That is what our free market economy is about.
5. The Market House has a history of instability. What are your plans for a long-term solution to stabilize the Market House for the next generation and make it a hub for city activities?
My long term plans for the Market House involve bringing in businesses (or a single business) that appeals to visitors and residents alike. The City has no business being in landlord/tenant relationships with commercial industry. We need to have someone with the knowledge and experience in running a similar commercial enterprise to lead the Market House venture. Neither the City Council, nor our other government leaders truly possess this expertise.
6. Residents of HACA (Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis) locations continue to experience a disproportionate amount of crime and inadequate living conditions. What four actions would you recommend to address HACA residents’ immediate safety, security, and quality of life needs?
Why four actions? This is not a good question! More foot patrols and better community policing are needed to help with security. Better leadership from the public housing community itself is needed even more. Better police-community relations are also needed. When the bad guys learn that public housing residents are no longer afraid and will report their illicit activities to the authorities, the quality of life will improve dramatically. I would also strongly encourage the occupations and educational programs (STAIR & Seeds 4 Success, etc) . Security and education are the keys to success.
7. With federal funding eliminated for renovation and new construction of public housing, where will money come from for redevelopment of our existing public housing?
Public-Private partnerships. The jury is still out on how well they will work in our community, but for now … so far, so good.
8. Some of the housing has been redeveloped through public-private partnerships. Is this a good model, and why or why not?
see #7 above. Many have worked in other cities. Why shouldn’t they work here?
9. What is your position on privatizing of any of the city’s assets, e.g., recreational facilities, Market House, services?
I do not know what you mean by “privatizing … the City’s assets”. Privatizing City services, I understand, but that is not what is asked here. Poorly phrased question.
10. What will be your approach to reduce and prevent crime?
Crime is such a multifacited problem that I could not begin to explain what is needed in a few sentenses here. It involves socialogical, economic, educational, familial, religious, housing and medical issues. There are no easy answers.
We can make sure that we adequately fund our police department and protect our officers as best we can. We can educate the public and be sure all have opportunitiesfor success in life. We need to work with the churches and to combat the scourge of drugs. We need to make sure adequate drug treatment programs are available. Just throwing money at the problem does not solve anthing.
11. The budget currently before the City Council anticipates hiring additional police and fire employees. The city would have to provide funding in subsequent budgets to support the additional employees. What is your proposal regarding the source of those funds?
They may or may not be needed after the present grant money runs out. We will cross that bridge when we come to it.
Budget and Taxes
12. How will you propose financing general budget needs?
Through taxes, collecting fees and grants. The City does not have a revenue problem, it has a SPENDING problem. We need to determine the City’s budgeting priorities and work from there. The fat needs to be cut!
13. What is your position on the current mayor’s proposed tax cut of $330,000?
It has already been voted down. End of story.
14. Please rank the following for budget priorities, from highest to lowest priority: Arts, Community Parks and Recreation, Education, Infrastructure, Transparency, Transportation
My budgeting priorities are: (1) Public Safety. This will always be #1 for me. (2) Fiscal Responsibility. It is my duty as an Alderman to see that the taxpayers money is not wasted and that the City operates on sound financial footings. (3) Economic Development within the City – from property flows jobs and overall better quality of life. While the priorities lists in your question are important (the City has little to do with the Board of Education policy), maintaining and improving the City’s aging infrastructure might be my #4 priority – everything else only comes after my top four.
Equal Protection under the Law
15. In February 2017, the City Council passed Ordinance 0-1-17, Non-discrimination Foreign-Born Residents Equal Protection, acknowledging that all persons are due equal protection under the law. If you had been mayor/alderman at that time, how would you have voted on this ordinance, and why? If you are an incumbent, how did you vote and why?
I voted against it because it does NOTHING to help our foreign born residents. It was unnecessary and misleading. The City already had in place the exact same protections that the ordinance purports to provide. Indeed, the City’s regulations even have the exact same penalties for violations that this law has. This was, of course, not mentioned by the sponsors. The whole sorry episode was a shameful act of preying upon a certain element of our residents for political gain and I regret that my colleagues on the Council did not have the courage to stand up to the political pressure put upon us. A community has been mislead and not one person is safer from deportation than they were before the was passed.
16. What are your environmental initiatives? What will you do to address long term environmental sustainability needs and what is your plan to pay for these initiatives?
Enforcing provisions, of the Forest Conservation Act, particularly the one-for-one tree replacement provision is huge in terms of the future. I support storm water initiatives, including the screening of streams leading into our creeks and rivers. National and State initiatives play a large role in this also. Our work will not mean much if our air in filthy and the Bay is polluted by industrial waste.
17. In March 2017, the City Council adopted the Forest Conservation Reforestation ordinance, known as “No Net Loss,” which requires developers to replace each acre of trees they cut down. If you had been mayor/alderman at that time, how would you have voted on this ordinance, and why?
I voted for it and strongly support it. It requires that each tree be replaced, not each acre. It is a clear, fair and reasonable requirement that can help our environment immensely over a lengthy period of time.
18. Do you believe that additional storm water treatment initiatives /efforts are required? If so, what would you recommend and how would they be funded?
I do believe this. The City needs to clean up the runoff before it enters our creeks and rivers.The City is addressing this issue, but private industry must do much more. Taxpayers, national, State and local will have to foot a large part of the bill, but business and industry has to join in as part of the solution.
19. Would you consider joining with the 246 Mayors in the US in supporting the commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement and work with them to support 21st Century a clean energy economy?
I believe strongly in the goals that were set by the Paris Climate Agreement. I do not believe that we as a country need to pay anything close to the $3 Billion to assist other countries to clean up their mess.
20. The Eastport development project involves conflicts in the interpretation of the zoning code. How would you resolve this and future conflicts so that the developer and the community can rely on consistency in the approval process?First, the zoning code needs to be completely rewritten. I plan on introducing a Resolution to insure this happens. Second, the developers and the City need to sit down ahead of time and review all anticipated issues well prior to the permitting process. The fewer the surprises, the better for all involved.
21. What is your position on requests being made by the Department of Recs and Parks for funding for the before and after-school program?
We already voted to subsidize this program so long as it sustains itself during most of the school year.
22. How do you think art in public places should be regulated and financed?
It is supposed to be financed through a percentage of certain fees the City collects. Some regulation in the Historic District is necessary, but beyond that, it should be quite limited.
23. Members of city boards and commissions are required to provide a signed Statement of Compliance with the Provisions of Ethics Ordinance, affirming that they understand the provisions of the city code regarding public ethics and financial disclosure. Several members of the advisory boards and city commissions resigned because they took issue with the wording of the statement. Do you support any changes to make the statement non-controversial, and if so, what changes?
The wording of the statement is not the least bit confusing! None of our 200+ boards and commissions members have resigned over this, to my knowledge going back as far as 1985 when I came on the Ethics Commission. We need more transparency, not less. The cockeyed arrogant interpretation of one individual who thought he knew more about the law than any of the attorneys consulted should not be allowed to negatively effect our long established ethics practices.
24. Do you support the current Mayor-Council form of government or a Council - Manager form, and why?
I favor the Council-Mayor form . It is potentially more efficient and economical. I have always felt that the change, however, should come by way of the ballot box, not Council actions. I am reconsidering that position and support Council- Manager form of government.
25. Should boards and commissions have final say on the level of detail needed for their minutes, as long as that level met all legal and code requirements?
26. Would it be useful if the Mayor were to attend at least one board or commission hearing per month?
27. Should annual reports for each board and commission be posted on the city website?
28. How would you address the lack of women and minorities on City Boards and Commissions and as department heads? If so, how would you address it?
[Paone did not respond to this question.]