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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Q&A: Victor Noder, running for Spokane City Council president

1. Why do you feel that you are the best candidate? My character, my common sense, my vast experiential base, my informal education, my social aptitude, my sincere public servancy inclinations and my looks. 2. What is your top priority and how specifically would you work to achieve your top priority? I am victor the green, aka (vtg). My top priority is environmental protection which includes humans or community. This while accomplishing economic prosperity. This however is visionary and mayoral. Presently, for the job I apply, city council president, my top priority would be to get city council working more efficiently and intelligently. Besides building a collaborative disagreement process by performing exceptionally as a chairman, I would implement an additional place at the briefing meetings whereby we would invite special authorities from the public and private sector to aid us in the analytical and investigative process on current legislative work in process. Also the lines of communication between city council and mayor and city council and the public, I would improve. BUDGET AND TAXES 3. Given the expected $7 million shortfall between the revenue the city expects in 2012 and the amount needed to maintain current services, should the city maintain a youth department? Should the city maintain an arts department? Should the city maintain a weights and measures department? Are there other city services that you would consider eliminating? These questions I figure on the job. I am not in a position to know how efficient the directors of these departments are, moreless how hogtied they may be due to alleged corruptions within our municipality. I can tell you this much. Not one of those services would I cut. Certain individuals I may. And more than likely, I would find ways for improvement. My budgetary balancing act would be found in performance-based improvements. Also in economic developments which make sense for both business and community interests. 4. Do you support increasing hotel taxes to help balance the budget? Only in the event we have too many hotels at this time. In general I believe tax increases should be avoided while operations and efficiencies improved. After consulting with a finance officer who I find confidence in, tax increases should not be disproportionately high on any industry we enjoy. Industries we do not enjoy, the same equitable taxation rate would not apply. I believe Spokane is not burdened by the size and fact of the hotel industry, so unless this particular industry is below averages in taxation, I would not find it prudent to increase its taxes by reason of city budgetary problems. 5. Spokane has one of the highest utility tax rates in the state. Would you consider implementing a local business and occupation tax, as many cities in western Washington have done, as a way to lower the utility tax or other city taxes? No I would not. These are difficult economic times. Now is not the time to increase taxes of local business. Playing a game of tax here to lower taxes there is no solution. We need to increase efficiency of operations and reduce waste and fraud in these difficult economic times. 6. The city recently has lobbied the Legislature to amend state law regarding binding arbitration so that if contract negotiations stall between the city and a union representing firefighters or police officers, an arbitrator could consider additional factors when setting wages and benefits, such as a city’s ability to pay and to maintain a reserve fund. Do you support this change to state law? Presuming I would have decent research assistance and a city attorney who is not lazy or corrupt, I could confirm my first gut response in the affirmative. I belief our unions are too strong and possibly a factor in our budgetary woes. Whenever contract negotiations occur, it is important they occur at arms’ length and where parties are equal in strength. I believe the culture of Spokane is one whereby this fair and equal stage is not set. Probably due to deals, candidacy endorsements and other collusive unforeseens. This is a formula for inefficiencies in these contracted for services. Legislation of the type described in this question, I believe, could help balance this stage. Such would also require an independent and competent arbitrator. The laws of the free market, like the right wingers proclaim, ensures that both parties as well as Spokane’s operative finds equity and fairness. UTILITIES 7. City officials increased sewer charges by 17 percent last year and predict more increases the next few years in large part to pay for nearly $650 million for projects required by the state to improve sewage treatment and prevent untreated sewage from spilling into the river. Do you support sewage fee increases that could top 10 percent in each of the next couple of years? If not, what would be your preferred alternative? It is more likely a billion rather than a mere 650 mil. I do not have a problem with progressive investments for the planet. I am VTG. The public is being used to foot the bill for remediations which should occur earlier theyre chain of production. This is a play on the public’s guilt who are not responsible for the pollutants but are asked to finance a remedy caused by profit-oriented sources. Worse, the far more optimal remedy lies earlier in the pollutants’ entry. Also, the main reason, phosphoruss, have since been addressed and eliminated by intermediate legislation. No to increases in utilities and prop taxes. Yes to make the perps pay. And yes to investments of this nature, but ones which are more intelligent. Most important are public disclosures which I believe have not been properly made. This thing is wrong on many fronts. 8. Should the city continue to use the Waste-to-Energy Plant to dispose trash collected within Spokane? Go to mikeforSpokane. If you really care. We were ripped off on the waste of energy debacle. The VTG’s main concern is planetary. We need real recyclers running these waste management developments. There should be no such thing as waste as any good gardener knows. We can find decent models in Germany, we can even be exemplary and lead if our vision is first defined. But waste to energy? Cmon, how old are ya? I have another deal fer ya, it is called something for nothing. Recycling is not found through shortcuts. But rather, good jobs. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 9. Do you support tax incentives for historic renovation? Do you support tax incentives for building condos and apartments downtown and in certain neighborhood centers? I do. There are in place a number of programs including bonus density offerings, state grants and tax incentives. Permanent downtown dwellings are good for downtown. 10. Many candidates are focused this campaign season on job creation. Should the city actively try to create jobs? If so, what should it do? Absolutely. But we have a few chores in order. First we rid our city of corruption. Then find vision and get it in the citizenry. Then we the people determine what developments and developers we want for our fine city. Only then should we work with business in developing Spokane’s marketing strategy for job creation. Who and what first. We don’t need tennis shoes or toasters on this planet. What the planet needs are technologies and products related to our earth’s sustainability. This is where global demands are headed and what victhegreen believes we should agree on pursuing for our macro economic development plans. And we should get busy because we do need jobs. These type developers naturally invest in community and care about environment. Additionally, higher education and research and development are industries Spokane should attract. Such is inductive to the high quality and character Spokane is worthy of. PUBLIC SAFETY 11. Do you support the use of red light cameras? If so, do you support diverting ticket revenue from a fund for traffic safety projects to help balance the budget? I am glad I am not a red light runner. This because I would much rather battle something more interesting like the First Amendment than some mere evidentiary violation issue. Red light tickets days are numbered. I don’t have the space to talk law. Due process and the rules of evidence are deep subjects. VTG believes that red light tickets are a cheap way to make money. Also, I would like to see the stats on red light runners. If we want safety, how bout cops that show up in less than 40 minutes when responding to a 911 call? 12. Do you support the decision to have a full-time police ombudsman? Do you believe that the ombudsman should have the authority to conduct independent investigations into alleged police misconduct? Yes. And so does our police chief. Except when it disturbs evidence. When I spoke with the chief in a previous campaign, on this question she exclaimed, “Why the hell should I care if there is honest oversight?” You people just don’t get me. You hired me to turn around a corrupt police dept. I have cops turning in cops and after I do the difficult work, I am over rode and the bad cops are forced back into my ranks. And now we are loosing her. I am fine with our ombudsman. And we were intelligent when his contract allowed us to change the function of his job. Our police chief is one public official who is transparent and strategic. She has a police department to run, not a political campaign. I term her the first domino. The ombudsman should not be necessary. But today, Spokane needs one. 13. Would you support a law, modeled after a law in Seattle, to make misdemeanor possession of marijuana by an adult the city’s lowest enforcement priority? Yes. I have come to believe that we know virtually nothing about food and drugs. If I made it onto the national stage I would lobby for real education in this area moving us as a group away from surgical interventions and pharma. It is ridiculous in that all these ailments we are currently plagued with, especially depression are cause by a lack of understanding that food is medicine and no longer are we receiving living and real food. So called dope or weed, could be medicine. What do we know about medicine in our culture. Organic problems are caused Nature does not cause them in my opinion. If it is grown from the earth using living water and air, it probably has some intertwining function above our understanding. I am very skeptical as to what motivated the illegality of marijuana in the first place. 14. The Spokane Fire Department’s goals for response times (arrive on scene within 8 minutes and 30 seconds 90 percent of the time) are significantly lower than standards set by the National Fire Protection Association (arrive on scene within 5 minutes 90 percent of the time). Given the city’s budget problems, do you have proposals to improve response times? Yes. Dispatch needs higher strategy and skills. Medical and fire responders should be physically housed together. Using eminent domain they should be placed exactly where it makes most sense. And finally, If it is a medical emergency, save the fire responders. Both should roll on fire calls, only ambulances should mobilize on medical issues. And they should speed. Drivers are goofy when they hear the sirens. The oceans part. Even on the opposite side of the street. Responders do not need to slow down to a near-stop at intersections. They should really haul ass, and have real drivers. And the highest in the intellectual hierarchy should be at what we call Damage control central. This should be the new dispatch and brain center designed with modern technology. I believe that we are living in modern times using old techniques. We need disinterested, unbiased and objective analytical procedure in general. 15. Given the recent finding of a bomb placed along the annual route of the Martin Luther King Jr. march in Spokane, what should be the role of the city’s Human Rights Commission? Education. And lots of it. LIBRARIES, PARKS AND ENVIRONMENT 16. Spokane’s library system offers significantly fewer hours than many of the 20 largest cities in Washington. Would you be willing to ask voters for a tax to boost this service as was requested earlier this year by the city library board? I think the new libraries of today should be a place where bums can go to crash out. And the economically unproud (like myself) should be able to go to for educational resources. They who like myself wish to learn and are not concerned with the imagery but seek substance typically do quite well with bums. In fact many of them are smarter than the fancy people. Libraries are very important and offer public assistance in theyre own way. We should be progressive with libraries. Design them for today’s needs which is not the same as yesterdays. 17. A consultant hired by the city to review city services in 2006 said that the city was not investing enough in its urban forest. Should the city do more to plant and maintain street trees. If so, how? I am the VTG. I just turned my front yard into two gardens. One for my mentor gardener neighbor and the other for my wish I could garden self. Urban trees pose a problem for gardens due to the light they block and grass yards do nothing more than drink heavily and receive toxins. We need to get rid of fertilizing companies and broad leaf trees and worthless grass yards. We need to use water for real food growth and boycott the fast food industry. Then we will be able to attract the developers of the moment who are the most profitable and who are most inclined to invest in its beautiful community. 18. Do you support the sustainability plan promoted by Mayor Mary Verner, which was adopted by the Spokane City Council in 2010? Do you support the decision of former Mayor Dennis Hession to sign the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement? I do not support either Verner or Hession. Because I perceive them to be indentured pawns in a corrupted environment. They do not resonance with me. I have no reason to believe either understands sustainability. I believe what they understand is politics. They are the end tentacles of a food, pharmaceutical, medical and insurance industry group which profit not on what is good for us but what is bad for nature and humans. I don’t mean to imply they’re hearts are wrong, I believe that they are pawns in a bigger fraud. I am just not impressed with what they say and what they do. 19. Some nearby cities have crafted restrictions for watering lawns during certain hours. Would you support instituting similar rules in Spokane? We need education, not dictatorial control. Especially when it conflicts with a person’s property. I may agree with the outcome, but the method if needed is due to a failure in understanding how to manage our resources. All these sorts of implements can be averted by education and other creative ways. A city can develop and possess such vision which would cause the positive results we need. For instance, most fellow Greens believe yards are inefficient and wasteful. Especially when chemicals are used to lazily create a beauty which is functionless. We believe there should be a push for yard conversions to gardens. There is synergism in intelligent design. It all begins with vision which breeds all the positives in society. Like, cooperation, health and wellness, reduction of waste, higher efficiency, and so on. Therefore, only in the event we fail to induce or guide people towards an optimal solution. TRANSPORTATION 20. Most city officials say that the street department has not been adequately funded to properly maintain city streets once they are reconstructed. This year, the City Council approved a $20 vehicle tab tax to boost street funding. Do you support this decision? If not, would you support a change in state law to allow the city to create a street utility fee that would be charged on city trash and water bills? I am skeptical regarding current operations of street maintenance. I believe there is opportunity for improvement. We need new blood. Someone at the top who has more than book smarts. And who is capable of doing comparable research related to developments in new technologies which other cities might be implementing. I would not limit this to the U.S. Especially regarding pothole repairs. Regarding money, I find the question to tax or not to tax to be less significant. More significant is what we do with our tax revenues. My area of expertise lie in operations. Financial are statistical questions, I would defer to our C.F.O. And heaven forbid he or she incompetent. I am not the “to tax or not to tax guy to ask. I figure out why pothole repairs don’t last, that contracts are fair and performed to specification and improve operational efficiencies in general. 21. The city has nearly completed the projects it promised voters in the 2004 street bond. Would you support asking voters for a new street bond of a similar or greater scope? If so, should the bond include money to pay for sidewalks, bike lanes, street trees or other street improvements besides pavement from “curb-to-curb?” Street trees conflict with yard gardens. No more broad leafs and push for more fruit bearers and other less sun gobblers which provide functional benefits. From aloe vera to wild white strawberries. Also move the masses toward organic gardens and away from fast garbage for so called food. Bike lanes yes. With Vision, Spokane can morph its inner city transportation which requires large cumbersome gas guzzlers to move unnecessary imported consumer garbage around while locally produced products and small businesses would naturally find more support. This sort of thinking sets us up for pursuing research grants from state, national and global sources. Regarding what fund to dip into or what bond to create, I would seek my brother Mike for Mayors counsel. 22. Do you support asking voters for a sales tax to build a streetcar or trolley system in central Spokane? I do not know. Sounds sexy though. Could be beneficial in the broader cost benefit analysis by adding character to our place. My problem is that we always pay exhorbant amounts for these type developments. If we could just get fair and competitive prices and a product which works well while being economical in construction. So, a very qualified yes. 23. Where should the city install bike lanes? Would you be willing to support the installation of a bike lane on a street if the city engineer determined that doing so could cause an intersection to earn a “failing” rating for car traffic congestion? Wherever they don’t cause traffic congestion that’s for sure. I may be green, but this one comes with brain. Many of my constituents deny my leadership because I insist we wrap our minds alongside our hearts regarding all issues. If we wish to subordinate business to community, we must understand practicality and methodically move in the direction we know is right. In the end Roadways are first functional. We can go to parks for lollygags through the tulips. In the meantime, bike lanes are important and we want them. But we must develop them in a way which dovetails with other vehicles and does not impede on the very real function of transportation and safety. We can do it. But, it should be done intelligently not forcefully. We need to find solutions collaboratively with our sights set on Bikes being extremely important to the character of our city and community. 24. State leaders have said that local funding may be needed to pay to finish the North Spokane Freeway. Do you support the completion of the North Spokane Freeway south of Francis Avenue to Interstate 90? If so, would you be willing to support local taxes, fees or tolls for the freeway? We have earmarked the majority of money needed from the federal Dept. of Transportation. Aso the state should be kicking in most of the remainder of this portion of the project. This from previously collected gas taxes. I would push hard to make the state fulfill its obligation in the event it tried to escape it. I believe in the end, we may need cut on some amenities which really add up. So I am not seeing budgetary issues at this time with this portion of the highway development. 25. Current plans for the North Spokane Freeway call for its interchange with Interstate 90 to expand I-90 to about 20 lanes wide, including onramps and service roads, in a portion of the East Central Neighborhood. Do you support this configuration? Yes but more of scaled down version. I don’t see the need for a twenty wide lane interchange. In these difficult economic times, I feel we need to stick with what is needed and the many lanes seems rather exorbitant. I have more research however to do on this particular.