energy efficiency, sustainability, green buildings, solar, hybrid cars and alternate fuels.

"A society built on green design, sustainable energy and closed loop systems, a civilization afloat on a cloud of efficient, non-toxic, recyclable technology." ~~Alex Nikolai Steffan

10.19.2012

BIG BEND ENVIRONMENTAL FORUM #2 RECAP

Interested voters gathered at the Leroy Collins Public Library last night to hear the candidates' take on sustainability, water issues and the environment.  Although the crowd was smaller than the first forum in July at City Hall, the questions were just as direct and the answers just as interesting.  

At the beginning of each panel, all candidates in all races were asked to answer one of the following questions:

What is the most important environmental issue facing Leon County today and what would the candidate do to resolve the issue?
or
What does sustainability mean to you?

Candidates for Florida Senate District 3 present:

Bill Montford and John Shaw

Montford:  The most important issue is water.  Poor planning has impacted our community in many ways including the availability and accessibility of clean water.  

Shaw:  Hemp is the most important issue that could greatly assist sustainability.  Hemp can absorb four times more CO2 than trees.  Removing the ban against growing this crop would help the US get off fossil fuels in many ways.  It can also be used as a biofuel.

Would you support oil drilling within ten miles of the Florida shore?

Montford: Absolutely not.  The negative effects of the BP oil spill are still not all known.  We have only scratched the surface of the impact of the oil spill, including the effect of the dispersants.    

Shaw:  Opposed to removing the ban and allowing any drilling within the ten miles.  Florida needs to look at alternative fuel sources instead of depending on fossil fuels.  Hemp can product biofuels and the plastic made from hemp is biodegradable.  This would resolve the floating islands of plastic that are now in our oceans.  

Do you support the Florida's Water and Land Legacy amendment proposed for 2014?

Montford:  Yes, it's important to preserve and protect what we have.

Shaw:  Yes.  

Do you believe that the activity of humans and the increased emissions of carbon (Co2) has contributed significantly to climate change?

Montford:  Yes.

Shaw:  Yes, but regardless of what has caused climate change, we need to fix the problem of ruining our earth with fossil fuels.  We need to get off (fossil fuels) at all costs.  

How do you think the punitive damage fines from the BP oil disaster should be spent?  

Montford:  First, the way the dollars have been spent to date is wrong.  We need a blue ribbon panel of environmentalists and financial experts to make a well defined plan that will really help the people and the businesses affected by the oil spill.  

Shaw:  We need to get experts who understand the issues to make recommendations on spending these funds.  

Specific questions to candidates: 

Montford:  As a former educator, how did you impact others on environmental issues?  As stated in opening comments, having been an educator and in the school system most of my career, there are a number of things that I did during that time like making purchases of energy efficient buses that had a positive effect on the environment. 

Shaw:  Where would environmental issues rank within your priorities? It is of utmost importance.  

Montford:  The 2012 FL Legislature repealed the mandatory septic tank inspection law.  What do you think should be done to address septic tank control?  The best way is to allow local officials make decisions about how best to regulate in their area.  A blanket law for all of the State does not work.  

Shaw:  What experience do you bring to environmental issues?  Although I am still in my twenties, I own my own computer business.  As a small business owner, I know how to troubleshoot problems and find solutions.  

Montford:  What is your position on the elimination of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and changes in growth management laws?  I am opposed to the elimination of DCA and its role in managing growth. Florida needs to do a better job in tying environmental issues to economic development decisions.  

Shaw:  What should be the State's role in growth management? I strongly believe in local decision making.  

Montford:  A number of other states have a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards, but Florida does not.  Do you support a Renewable Energy Portfolio for Florida? Yes

Shaw:  Why are you running as a Rebublican? Really would like voters to look past the labels of a party and vote for the person.  

Montford:  What is your position on local toll roads such as the one being discussed for Orchard Pond Road in Tallahassee?  Not a fan of prioritization of roads.  Do not like them and feel it is a responsibility of government to provide roads and maintain them.  

Shaw:  Would you support a ban or curtail plastic bags, bottles and StyrofoamTM?  All of these items are non-biodegradable.  Growing hemp could resolve this issue, as it is biodegradable and can replace components of all these things.

Montford:  How should Florida power itself?    Natural gas is the way to go.  Am opposed to coal and have reservations about the safety of nuclear power.

Shaw:  Do you support the State stepping in to protect first magnitude springs?  If the local protection doesn't work, it should be pushed up to the State to protect them.  

Montford:  What has been Florida's greatest growth management success and greatest failure?  
The creation of the Department of Community Affairs and the work that it accomplished to prevent urban sprawl.  The state's failure has been to protect the water including the Apalachicola River.  

Shaw:  What has been Florida's greatest growth management success and greatest failure?  Not sure of State's greatest success, however, water management is its biggest failure.  

Candidates for Florida House District 9 present:

Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, incumbent

Biggest concern in Florida is the quantity and quality of water.  Sustainability means we maintain healthy eco-systems, but we have not done that in Florida.  

Do you support the Florida's Water and Land Legacy amendment proposed for 2014?  Yes.

Do you believe that the activity of humans and the increased emissions of carbon (Co2) has contributed significantly to climate change?  Yes.

Would you support oil drilling within ten miles of the Florida shore?  No. Florida uses more fossil fuels than 47 other states.  We need to reduce our consumption and change from fossil fuel, not drill off our shores.   

How do you think the punitive damage fines from the BP oil disaster should be spent?  Florida could use these dollars to grow renewable energy in Florida.  

Do you agree with the current efforts to life the ethanol requirement for fuel in Florida?  No.  

Would you comment on recent reports that professionals in state government whose job it is to enforce regulations have been subjected to intimidation and sanctions?  Florida must elect people to the Legislature who care about the environment.  What is happening now is that the State's workforce is being reduced so that staff with institutional knowledge of the issues are no longer in place.

Would you support a statewide bill that would require foods that are genetically modified to be labeled?  Yes.  

Candidates for the City Commission Seat One (no incumbent):   

Scott Maddox and Steve Stewart

What is the most important environmental issue facing Leon County today and what would the candidate do to resolve the issue?
or
What does sustainability mean to you? 
  
Stewart:  Managing growth is the biggest environmental issue we face.  This affects everything including transportation and city services.  

Maddox:  Protection of lakes and canopy roads.  Growth creates pressure against canopy roads.  Also, lake quality, the City can do a better job in coordinating with the County on issues.  Support the joint comprehensive planning process.  

Do you support Multi-Modal Transportation District?

Maddox:  It's the way to go.  Support additional bike lanes and sidewalks.

Stewart:  Yes.  We also can do a better job on communicating with people and understanding options.  This is why the project to reconfigure Tennessee Street failed, because there was not enough communication between the City and those affected by the proposed changes.  

What is your biggest accomplishment related to the environment? 

Stewart: As a consumer advocate with the Public Service Commission.  

Maddox: Commitment to Greenways and Trails.  

Do you think the Urban Service Area could maintain its current size?

Stewart:  Don't think it needs to be expanded.  The City should encourage and promote urban infill.  

Maddox:  Big believer in the joint comprehensive plan. It would need to be a very compelling case as to why the area would need to be expanded.  

If elected how would you protect the environment?

Stewart:  Insider politics affects the long term environment of the community.  Need to find commissioners who are coming from the outside.  

Maddox:  Have a track record of protecting the environment and will continue to do so. 

How should the City promote the creation of green jobs?

Maddox: The environments has to be the top priority as a way to 'sell' our community.  

Stewart:  Apply my business experience to protecting the environment and creating green jobs.  One example is building a business incubator, an idea that has been mentioned by university faculty and others in the community.  The City needs to support innovation and keep entrepreneurs in Tallahassee.  A business incubator is one way to do this.   

Do you support the extension of the additional tax revenue for Blueprint 2000?

Maddox:  Supported it last time it passed.  It is important to stay on track for spending on projects that were proposed.  

Stewart:  Support the extension.  It works because of citizen engagement and the fact that money generated locally is spent locally.  People can see the results of their money.  

How does the Urban Service Area accomplish controlling growth and sprawl?


Stewart: It is important to know the priorities of the community and dis-incentivize urban sprawl in order to protect the environment.  

Maddox:  Redevelopment is very good and the Community Reinvestment Areas (CRA) encourage development in the urban core.    

Stewart:  (follow-up) Funds from the CRA now support private private developers, for example, to assist private companies to build student housing.

Maddox:  (follow-up)  CRA funds pay for infrastructure for these developments.

How does the City best protect historic buildings?  

Maddox:  Big believer in historic preservation.

Stewart:  The historic nature of Tallahassee is one of the things that attracted me here.    

Do you support 'low water' plantings in the right-of-way (medians) of City streets?

Maddox:  Yes.  And plant trees that are indigenous to this area, not palm trees.

Stewart:  Yes.  

At one time in the past, annexation of land in the County by the City was an area of contention.  Your comments on annexation?    

Stewart:  15,000 City electric customers do not live in the City--they should.

Maddox:  Tallahassee has been able to keep pace with annexation. If a resident wants street lights, sidewalks and parks and recreation, then you should live in the City.  

Campaign financing, comment on contributions to your campaign from developers:

Maddox: When originally elected to the Commission, was not a part of either the developer camp or the environmental camp.  

Stewart:  Money influences politics.  Citizens need to know where donations come from.  

Would you support a feed-in tariff for City utility customers similar to the system used by Gainesville Utilities that allows customers to be compensated for excess solar power generated to the grid?

Stewart:  Yes.  Proposes an independent citizens advisory board to provide input on this and other utility issues such as rates.  The same company has set rates for the City utility since 1968.  The City needs to look at diversafication and innovation.  

Maddox:  Yes.  

Do you support Amendment 3 also called the "Smart Cap"?

Stewart:  Undecided.  There are good and bad implications from this amendment.  

Maddox:  No.  


Candidates for the County Commission At-Large Seat:

Mary Ann Lindley

What is your position on local toll roads such as the one being discussed for Orchard Pond Road in Tallahassee?  If the Orchard Pond Toll Road is built, the surrounding land would be changed.  Not certain in supporting that project, need more information.  It would open that area to further development. 

Do you support the Florida's Water and Land Legacy amendment proposed for 2014?   Yes.  

How does the Urban Service Area accomplish controlling growth and sprawl?  It is important to look at how to do urban infill.  Very interested in historic preservation, so as not to destroy the characteristics and historic nature of a neighborhood.  The County needs to be cautious about infill.  Communication has resulted in developers appreciating Tallahassee's beauty.

Where do you draw the line in the sand on the clash between development and preserving the environment?  Don't have an answer about where the line is, each development has to be reviewed individually.  Bringing people together and reaching consensus is very important.    

Are there dangers in the new streamlined permitting by City and County?  Streamlined permitting should apply to small developers as well as the very big developers.  All should get the same review. 

As a Commissioner, how would you use Blueprint 2000 funding to improve livability?  Support greenways and linear parks.

What has been your significant accomplishment related to the environment? Writing as a journalist about State Legislative issues such as Florida Forever. Writing to support programs.  

The 2012 FL Legislature repealed the mandatory septic tank inspection law.  What do you think should be done to address septic tank control?  Well, this issue was discussed a lot at the last Forum.  Would support some kind of entity to educate individuals about water quality.  

What is the best way to balance historic preservation with responsible development?  The community in Tallahassee does not seem to be very educated about historic preservation and people don't think much about it.  Historic structures make Tallahassee unique.  More education is needed.  

What environmental issue do you need to learn more about?  Probably everything including human service issues.  




This summary is compiled from notes taken at the Environmental Forum, October 18, 2012, and is provided to Green Readers as a service. Green Tallahassee is the author of this summary and solely responsible for the content. It is not intended to support or endorse any individual candidate.  All links are provided by Green Tallahassee and are for background and informational support to the reader. They do not represent references given during the Forum.  





0 comments:

Blog Archive

PRIVACY POLICY

We do not share personal information with third-parties nor do we store information we collect about your visit to this blog for use other than to analyze content performance through the use of cookies, which you can turn off at anytime by modifying your Internet browser's settings. We are not responsible for the republishing of the content found on this blog on other Web sites or media without our permission.

Copyright under Creative Commons: You are free to:

  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
  • Credit --credit greentallahassee.net
  • The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.
Google+