Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Platform Paper for Dennis Lieb: Remember to VOTE Today!

Dear Neighbors,

This could prove to be a tight race. Polls are open until 8pm and if we want our neighborhood physical quality to improve in the West Ward over the next few years, we need every one of our votes to ensure that Dennis Lieb is elected as our first ever West Ward representative on City Council. Below is Dennis's platform paper, which will give you an idea of why I am endorsing him--especially with regard to community development and wider public input in planning stages engaged by our local government. Dennis will make sure that our neighborhood voice is heard:

Neighbors,

As we move into the 21st Century the United States will be dealing with serious issues which have been neglected, put off and ignored for decades. We will be dealing with climate change, peak oil, alternative energy development, transportation network problems, infrastructure collapse, fresh water shortages, agricultural crises, land use problems, and much more.

We will be doing all of this as a much less wealthy nation. In the future – as suburban living arrangements become untenable for various reasons and large cities shrink under the weight of today’s problems, places like Easton will become the refuge of those fleeing failing communities elsewhere. There is no guarantee however that we will still be here to take advantage of that fate unless we begin to think clearly and honestly about our own shortcomings and make the necessary changes to survive and thrive in the era of new urbanism.

When elected, I will fight for the adjustments that must be made to the city to prepare us for success. The Brookings Institution surveyed college graduates between the ages of 25 and 34 and 33% of them will choose to live in an urban environment over any other choice…an amount greater than any other demographic group. This same group was polled by CEOs for Cities and two thirds stated they would be choosing a place to live first and finding a job when they get there. The importance of placemaking is the key to community and economic success for Easton.

When people have decided that Easton is a beautiful and functional place to live, we need to reward their decisions with local economic incentives to retain them and help them build long term business relationships and family lives here. We should foster fifty small local entrepreneurial ventures before we commit to one mega-project that will most likely fail, as have Pomeroys, Riverwalk and The Majestic condo projects

Here are the issues I will attack as the West Ward representative on council:

Placemaking

Design Standards for neighborhood fa├žade grants and new development.

Reconstitute a legally recognized Shade Tree Commission, which incorporates the functions of
the Environmental Advisory Council.

Plan and implement an Urban Forestry program that takes management and care of trees out of the residents’ hands and gives the city responsibility.

A full-scale sidewalk and curb replacement program that addresses the pedestrian safety and movement issues in an integrated way as streets are rebuilt.

Transportation

Make sure that LANTA thinks of itself as a Transportation Authority and not a bus company and making sure new appointments to the Board represent the public desire for rail service from and within the Lehigh Valley.

Bring rail back to Easton

Make sure our next transit facility is an open process and is built in a safe, accessible place that serve the riders and supports local businesses.

Public Safety

Work with local neighborhood experts on gangs, youth violence, drug rehab and new policing policies to stop the status quo of recycling career criminals through the county prison.

Fight expansion of the prison facilities in Easton and make sure other communities share the burden for the county’s criminal facilities.

Blight and Disruptive Behavior

Review and improve the existing Rental Licensing Law.

Improve customer service and the dissemination of information from the city to the community when dealing with code complaints and response.

Leverage all available laws and procedures to discourage investment by absentee and amateur
landlords.

Public Input

Institute a Public Participation Ordinance that places the public input phase before the subdivision, planning or zoning approval processes, giving you the chance to suggest what best works in your neighborhood.

Create a formal recognition process for neighborhood groups that organize and find answers to their own issues and facilitate their progress at the city level.

Community Development

Stop the practice of giving large tax breaks and cash grants to large, outside Developers.

Promote localization of all aspects of our community: food production and access, commerce, industry, education, ecology and governmental decision making.

If we pull together; public officials and citizens, we can start to assemble the talent and dedication from inside and outside the community to create the city we all want and the city we all need.

Onward and Upward,

Dennis R. Lieb
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Please remember to VOTE and encourage all your neighbors who are registered Democrats to vote in this primary. A lot of people don't realize that this is it--whoever wins this primary, wins the general election. As of tonight, we will have our first representative on City Council. May the best man win!

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